NBA: Past the Halfway Point


Winston Tavarez, Journalist

Since the last edition of THE NEW DEALER, a lot has changed throughout the NBA landscape. As we move past the halfway point of the season, and with the all star game rapidly approaching, many surprising headlines have surfaced. At the beginning of the season many basketball enthusiast believed that the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers were destined to meet for a third time in the NBA finals, a feat that has never occurred throughout the course of NBA history. On the other hand, the NBA has shown us once again that the regular season is nothing but unpredictable. Many teams have risen and fallen, and those who are left standing are sure to make up most of the headlines as All Star Weekend rapidly approaches.

To start things off, James Harden’s Rockets have proven to be way better than many expected, thus elevating the Rockets to contender status come April. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are going head to head in this year’s MVP race, which makes things interesting as we approach the third trimester of the season. Where Westbrook’s Thunder end up in the standings compared to Harden’s Rockets, when it’s all said and done, will undoubtedly play a role in picking this year’s MVP.

A couple of teams that have surprised many NBA fans are the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards. The Utah Jazz sit 5th in the West with a 29-16 record despite finishing last year with a 40-42 record and narrowly missing the playoffs. The Wizards also sit 5th in the East with a 25-20 records despite starting this season off with a 6-13 record. The Wizards are in the midst of a 14 home game winning streak that has certainly helped their surge through the standings. Gordon Hayward and John Wall have helped their teams rise above the rest, as they pursue their goals of making the playoffs.

Other headlines that are worth mentioning are the strong play of Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s unquestioned rise to stardom. Isaiah Thomas has established himself as a premier 4th quarter scorer, evidenced by his league high 10.1 points in the 4th quarter. No one in the NBA has averaged 10 points in the 4th in the last 20 years. Thomas is now second in the league in scoring with 29.0 PPG only trailing the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (30.8 PPG). Giannis has led the young Milwaukee Bucks to a .500 record, while displaying his skills to the basketball world. Giannis leads the Bucks in all statistical categories, and his play has awarded him an All Star starter nod for the first time in his career for the East All Star squad. There’s no doubt that the Celtics and the Bucks would not be where they are without their respective stars.

As we approach the All Star break, there is no way to be sure about what the final part of the season has in store for us, but if what we’ve seen provides any indication, there is still a lot of quality basketball to be played.