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What To Watch For in the Second Half of the NBA Season

Brian Taylor

Posted on February 21, 2018 20:42

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The dust is anything but settled as the NBA comes down the home stretch.

All Star Weekend has come and gone and the final stretch of the NBA season gets fired up tomorrow night. For the first time in history, the Trade Deadline came before the All Star Game, meaning that barring some catastrophic injury, the rosters are set and teams know who they'll be sprinting to the gate with. With that in mind, here's what I'm watching for in the final two months of the season.

Battle For the West - It's been a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors are going to cakewalk to another NBA Championship and there's nothing anybody can do to stop them, but don't tell that to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets find themselves with the best record in the NBA, a half game ahead of the Warriors, and looking every bit like a team that can go toe to toe with the Warriors firepower over a 7 game series. The trade that brought Chris Paul to Houston has proven genius as he has paired seamlessly with James Harden. Meanwhile the Warriors limped into the break looking tired and disinterested, frustrating Steve Kerr to the point where he told the players to coach the team. While everyone expects the Warriors to get it together by Playoff time, they have looked far from invincible this season and I fully expect Houston to give them all they can handle and maybe more.

The Rest of the Pack - Let's face it, the West is a two horse race. 9.5 games separate the Warriors from the 3rd Place San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves. That doesn't mean there won't be any drama coming down the stretch, as just 4.5 games separate those two teams from the 10th place Utah Jazz, who are on an 11 game winning streak and finding out what they have in likely Rookie of the Year Donovan Mitchell. With only six spots left for those eight teams, I'm looking for New Orleans (DeMarcus Cousins injury) and the Clippers (traded Blake Griffin) to be the teams on the outside looking in.

Who is the Beast of the East - Things are a lot more complicated in the East. The focus remains LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who turned their entire roster over at the trade deadline and since then smashed the Celtics and Thunder to take some momentum into the All Star Break. But guess what: they're sitting 3rd in the East. The Celtics have looked like a better team most of the season and we all know Kyrie Irving is dying for his chance to knock off The King, but Boston is sitting 2nd right now. Who's #1? The Toronto Raptors of course! Led by the backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozen, the Raptors have won seven straight and if they can overcome the curse of Drake, there's no good reason they can't win the East.

Bold Prediction - Warriors over the Celtics (God I hope I'm wrong.)

Wishful Thinking - Blazers in 6.

Brian Taylor

Posted on February 21, 2018 20:42

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Source: Yahoo Sports
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Now in his 14th NBA season, you'd think LeBron James would be starting to slow down given all the wear and tear on his body...

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