Thursday, February 15, 2007

NBA Midseason Report

Even though the NBA is ten games into its second half of the season, this weekend is the All-Star Break, the perfect time to catch up as we turn our eyes to the playoff race...
  • The Dallas Mavericks are the hottest team in the league, winning their last nine going into the break, standing atop the league at 44-9. It seems that they are set on a collusion course with the second seeded Phoenix Suns once again...
  • Sacre bleu! What about the Frenchman Tony Parker and Timmy D in San Antonio? It is amazing how the Spurs could be a dark horse after consistently being a contender for so many years. Take this to the bank: if Parker, Duncan, and Ginobli are all healthy, the Spurs will come out of the West.
  • The Utah Jazz are back folks. Remember, Jerry Sloan is one of the best playoff coaches because he can adjust during a series brilliantly, and would easily have two championships under his belts if it were not for some fellow named Mike.
  • Can Tracy McGrady finally get out of the first round? The team has been coping well without Yao Ming thanks to Dikembe Mutumbo (yes, he is still alive and well). Unfortunately, it will be terribly difficult to break the top four in the west, so the Houston Rockets will have to pull up an upset on the road.
  • The Denver Nuggets were expected to make a huge push with the offensive combination of A.I. and Melo, but they are still hovering around the bottom of the west because of their lack of defense under George Karl.
  • The two Los Angeles teams have a problem playing away from Staples Center. The Clippers and Lakers are a combined 16 games under .500 on the road which will prevent either from doing anything but giving a top seeded a team an entertaining first round series.
  • Greg Oden / Kevin Durant Sweepstakes Watch: Boston, Memphis, Philly, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Seattle!
  • We know the West is superior to the East, but check this out: Detroit, No.1 in the East, would be No.5 in the West with the same record. The Lakers, No.6 in the West, would be No.2 in the East with the same record.
  • The Eastern Conference will come down to the Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat. As good as Washington's and Cleveland's records are, they each do not have enough firepower behind their respective superstar to make it past the second round. Look for the Orlando Magic, led by Dwight Howard (beast!), to give a top seeded team a run for their money in the first round. Ditto for New Jersey if they make the cut, especially if they make a beneficial trade. Other than that, the remaining six teams stand no chance against the top two
  • Detroit is on a roll with the acquistion of Chris Webber. The Pistons will most probably hold on to the top spot in the East, making them the favorites to go to the Finals.
  • The Miami Heat won seven of their last eight going into the break. The Big Fella is back and is beginning to get in shape while Pat Riley is scheduled to return to the bench as well.
  • Without Ben Wallace, Detroit will have a difficult time defending Shaq in the conference finals. Throw in the fact that the veteran Miami team will turn up the Heat come playoff time, look for D-Wade and company to return to the Finals.