The midpoint of the season is when the best players gather to compete for the All-Star game. Hosted in New Orleans, the All-Star game is not a defensive battle. There were plenty of dunks and balls flying off the rim from attempted dunks as players broke records for points in any All-Star game. This competition is not a match of the best players at their peak performance but a battle for style and a toss up for an incredibly high scoring game. The Western Conference came out on top.
With the football season at its end, I've had more time to catch up on basketball and assess which teams are going to be playoff contenders.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are still at the top spot with Lebron James leading the charge. They did lose Kevin Love for a major portion of the season and have shown some signed of weakness that could be exploited by other top teams in the conference.
The Boston Celtics are the Cavs greatest competition with Isaiah Thomas as their top player. Only three games back from first place, they could easily swoop in a take home field advantage for the whole playoffs. Other teams that looked to be competitive in the playoffs but probably won't prove much of a challenge are the Washington Wizard, Toronto Raptors, and my favorite Atlanta Hawks. Rounding out the eight teams in the playoffs are the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and Detroit Pistons.
The trade for Kevin Durant has taken over all of the headlines as the Golden State Warriors seem unstoppable. Their matchups against the Oklahoma City Thunder have been highlighted because of the Durant drama with Russell Westbrook but Steph Curry and the Warriors have put them away easily as the Thunder are in seventh place.They've also met their playoff nemesis, Cleveland twice this year and split the games.
The Spurs led by Kawhi Leonard, an All-Star starter, are putting up an impressive performance this season. Their four games back from the Warriors and will not be an easy opponent to put aside. The top four are filled out by the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. The remaining four teams that are in the playoffs at this halfway point are the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Denver Nuggets. Looking forward to an exciting second half of the NBA season.