With the All Star break looming, the NBA is on its way to another exciting finish — a usual finish, but an exciting one nonetheless.
Two of the league’s most storied and decorated franchises; the Lakers and Celtics are both at risk of missing the playoffs.
There’s never been a team to ever do so little with so much talent as the Lakers have this year.
Dwight Howard thinks he needs the ball every possession, while Steve Nash actually does, but Kobe Bryant’s going to keep it for himself every possession regardless, so until the NBA adds two more balls to the court, the Lakers will continue to struggle. Though under Commissioner David Stern, it really wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he did just that.
Many suspected Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL would trigger a ripple effect that would result in the Celtics having to trade legends like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the interest of the long-term betterment of the team. Rondo was the spark of youth on an old team and losing him put their playoff hopes in serious doubt, at first.
But since losing Rondo, Boston has won four in a row. Boston still has to make trips to New York, Miami and Oklahoma City following the break, but if Doc Rivers keeps coaching as well as he has been, the Celtics just might sneak in.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is still the team to beat. Its controversial decision to trade reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden hasn’t affected it very much, mostly because Kevin Durant is on pace to shatter just about every single-season shooting record there is.
The date of Derrick Rose’s return from his ACL tear remains one of the great unanswered questions of the world, but rumors are that he might be back by the end of February. The Bulls have shown they have enough depth to be just fine without Rose, but if he comes back fit and fresh, he could propel them into championship contention.
The San Antonio Spurs will never change. They don’t play with a lot of flash and never have, but they keep winning and have been under the radar ever since winning all those championships in the 2000s. Gregg Popovich probably wouldn’t have it any other way as they’re on route to another No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.