Now that the NBA season is well underway, it’s time to give you all an update. Remember that I am a huge Dallas Mavericks fan, but I can also call it like I see it. When the season started, it seemed like the competition would be lopsided. Many superstars were on a select few teams, and that made fans (like me) a bit uneasy.
If you watch ESPN, you know how much the basketball announcers are infatuated with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though their record currently has more losses than wins, sports commentators continually analyze their playing. Let’s just accept the fact that this season there will be no Laker domination of any kind. Even with Bryant, Nash and Howard, it doesn’t seem like this year’s Lakers team is meshing the way their fans hoped it would.
Dominating in the Western Conference are the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs. Kevin Durant hit a career high of 52 points against the Dallas Mavericks Friday, Jan. 18 (but I would also like to point out that the Thunder only beat the Mavs by three in overtime— Mavs fan for life right here, no shame). The Thunder is a stacked team, as they were last season — even without Harden. Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Sefalosha, Martin and Perkins are only a few of the names that make this team great. Ibaka is one of the leading blockers in the NBA currently (Serge I-BLOCK-ya as he has been nicknamed). And of course the Thunder’s offense is impressive, averaging 106.1 points per game.
The Spurs’ greatness doesn’t surprise many people. As long as Duncan, Parker and Ginobli are healthy and playing, they’re basically unstoppable. And even when those three don’t play (like they did against the Heat in Miami), the Spurs are a consistently good team. They’re shooting just under the 50 percent mark and are sixth in the league in steals. As a Mavs fan, I will never root for the Spurs (unless they play the Heat), but I can always acknowledge what a solid team they are.
To me, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Clippers finally broke out of their “little brother” shell because of their current roster. They’ve always been thought of as LA’s other team, not an LA team….until this season. Blake Griffin still has a lot of growing up and practicing to do, but you can’t tell me you aren’t impressed by his dunking skills. Also, his Kia commercials are hilarious. Chris Paul is the NBA’s new little superstar. He’s averaging almost 10 assists per game and scoring well too. Barnes, Butler, Crawford, and Bledsoe are only a few of the names that help round out this team. Look for this team to make a run for the finals.
Other teams in the Western Conference to keep an eye on are the Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and (of course) the Dallas Mavericks. Jeremy Lin and James Harden have been playing some great basketball for the Rockets. The Mavericks finally have Dirk Nowitzki back and the rest of the team has finally started to mesh together and play more consistently. The Grizzlies and the Jazz are both fun teams to watch even though they don’t have any ESPN-named “superstars.”
Personally, I think the Eastern Conference isn’t as much fun to watch. The Miami Heat are currently ranked number one in the East, so maybe that’s why.
I was looking forward to the Celtics having another great season. As far as their record goes, they are currently just under the .500 mark. Watching Rajon Rondo is mesmerizing because he plays the game like no one else. If you put the ball in his hands, someone in green is going to get a shot — they just have to make those shots.
Despite my intense dislike for the Heat, they are doing well this season (as expected). Their shooting percentage is the highest in the NBA, and of course they have Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. The Heat are also third in the league for 3-pointers. Their record of wins and losses is still below the Thunder, Spurs and Clippers so, basically the Western Conference is dominating the NBA right now.
The New York Knicks had a great start to the season. At one point they had a 6-game winning streak. Success often comes with a little drama. I found it hilarious when I found out that Carmelo Anthony was suspended for a game because he started a verbal fight with Kevin Garnett. Then he blamed it on the fact that he was fasting for some sort of cleanse he does every year. Google it. It’s silly. You’re an athlete; you have to eat. The Knicks currently stand one place down from the Heat in the Eastern Conference.
Keep an eye on the Chicago Bulls this season too. They are having a decent season even without Derrick Rose. Once he’s back and in shape, the Bulls will be another tough opponent in the Eastern Conference.
The NBA All-Star festivities begin on Friday, Feb. 15, and the actual game is on Sunday, Feb. 17. Make sure you tune in to watch all of the superstars in action.