Monday, February 18, 2008
A Look Ahead
The NBA is entering the second half of its season with the conclusion of last night's All-Star Game in New Orleans. Their have been many suprises through the first part of the season and their should be some good stories in the second portion as well.
One of the biggest suprises this season has happened in New Orleans itself. The Hornets are in first place in the superior Western Conference. Chris Paul is the young point guard and leader for this team. He is averaging a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists a night. David West and Peja Stojakovic have also been playing well for the surging Hornets. Tyson Chandler is finally showing his talents, especially in the rebounding department. He is averaging 12.5 rebounds along with 12.1 points per game. I don't think the Hornets will be on top of the West at season's end, but they will make the playoffs
Boston has dominated the East so far, and I expect them to continue at that pace. They are three games ahead of second place Detroit. The trio of Kevin Garnett (top), Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen are just unbeatable. Not sure if this team will win the championship, but I can tell you this: they definitely have a good shot at it. I am suprised at how well they meshed together. They will win the relatively weak East.
The Lakers and the Suns both made big moves before the All-Star break. The Lakers aquired Pau Gasol, which definitely made Kobe Bryant happy. Put Gasol and Bryant with Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum and you have one of the best teams in the league. The Lakers showed the NBA that they want to win and NOW. Gasol and Bryant seemed to play well together in their few games together before the break. While L.A. was upgrading the Suns were working out a deal with the Heat for Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq is a shell of his former self but I think he still has something left in the tank. He is still one of the strongest players in the NBA and can overpower anyone in the low post. The Suns gave up a talented player in Shawn Marion for Shaq, but he was unhappy in Phoenix anyway. The Suns and Lakers have showed their commitment to success and a championship.
Going into the break, the 76ers were holding on to the final playoff spot. The Sixers are lucky they are in the East because they wouldn't even be in contention in the West. They may have enough talent to hold onto that final spot, especially if they put winning streaks together like they are now. They have won five straight games.
The first half of the season was good, but I looking for the second half of the season should be even more enticing as the playoff race heats up.