With the conclusion of the All-Star Game on Sunday and Monday being an off-day for NBA players and fans, it’s time to look ahead to the second half but not before we look back at some of the highlights of the first half of the NBA season.
First, let’s be thankful that the labor deal got done. Without that happening there would have been no season. Common sense. Paul Pierce passed Larry “Legend” Bird on the Boston Celtic all-time scoring list and is now in sole possession of second place behind John Havlicek. Speaking of scoring, Kobe Bryant became the Los Angeles Lakers‘ all-time leading scorer when he passed Jerry West in Bryant’s home state of Pennsylvania.
Just recently, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder had his first 50-point game of his life. As great of a scorer as he is, it’s amazing to think that he has never scored 50 points in a high school, college, or NBA game.
No one ever thinks of the San Antonio Spurs when they talk about the best teams in the league. The Spurs hold a 24-10 record heading into the second half of the season, despite losing Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter to injuries and stubborn Gregg Popovich resting vets Tony Parker and Tim Duncan several games this season.
Now, what do you expect in the second half of the season?
At this point, it looks like the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Miami Heat are the favorites to win or, at the very least, make it to the NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Clippers are a game and a half up on their rival (Lakers), but can they hold on? The Clippers have a deeper squad than the Lakers, but never count out Bryant.
Have you forgotten about the Dallas Mavericks? Remember that they got blown out by the Heat on opening day? Well Dirk Nowitzki has gotten himself back into shape and has the Mavericks in position to make another playoff run. Their roster is filled with veterans and I expect the Mavs to be a tough out in the playoffs.
With the NBA draft just a few months away, I expect the Anthony Davis sweepstakes to come into play. I hoped teams don’t tank the rest of their season in hopes of getting the number one pick. Toronto, New Orleans, and Washington are the teams that have single-digit wins this season.
Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love currently have the Minnesota Timberwolves in good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. If they make the playoffs, they could be a tough out in the first round.
There are currently 12 teams (six from each conference) that have 20 wins or more.
Seven teams in the Western Conference are within four games of the fifth playoff spot.
The sprint to the finish line starts tomorrow. It should be an exciting two and a half months until the regular season is over.