NBA season headlines at the break

By Kevin Moylett
February 19, 2015


Kevin’s Point of View

The NBA is having an unusual, crazy, record-breaking season. There have been many surprise teams and disappointing teams. What a first half of the season it has been.

The Atlanta Hawks and the Golden State Warriors are first in their respectable conferences. To call the eastern conference respectable might be stretch considering that the seventh and eighth seeds are eight games under a .500 winning percentage.

What are the Atlanta Hawks doing in first place over teams who have superstars like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade? The Atlanta Hawks play team basketball that is why. Although the Hawks do not have a superstar they have four all-stars this year; Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap.

A little less surprising is that Golden State is in first place in the Western Conference. Although I do not think most people would have thought the Warriors would be 42-9 at the all-star break. Also with the West being such a deep conference for so long it just looks weird to see the Warriors at the top.

It has been a few years in the making for this great year they are having. Each of the past three years the Warriors have improved. Mostly to the maturation of their young sharp shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who most refer to by their nickname the “splash brothers.” Having players like Andre Iguodola, David Lee, Shaun Livingston and Marreese Speights come off the bench for you does not hurt either.

Former Head Coach Marc Jackson deserves a lot of credit for bringing a defensive mind-set to this team. The scorers were already in place and Jackson brought a toughness to this team that is playing dividends now with the current team. Head coach Steve Kerr also deserves his own credit for taking this team to the next level.

We cannot talk about the NBA and not talk about LeBron James and his team at least a little bit.  He is the face of the NBA and the best player on the planet. The latest big three and the Cleveland Cavaliers got off to a very slow start and whispers of the players problems with Head Coach David Blatt started.

However the Cavs have been the hottest team in the east over the past month winning 14 of their last 16 games. The Cavs still have to work on chemistry and defense if they want to succeed in the playoffs. Talent can only get you so far.

The joke of the NBA so far this season has to be the New York Knicks. They have the worst record in the league and yet have “superstar” Carmelo Anthony. Melo is putting up some good statistics as usual but I know that any team that has LeBron, Durant, Paul, etc. would not have only 10 wins at the all-star break no matter who was on their team.

The Knicks do not have enough talent to have a winning team but Melo should take charge and win a few more games. Melo plans to shut it down for the second half of the year because well there is no point to him risking his health to play a meaningless second half of the year.

The front runners for MVP this season are the Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and the Rockets shooting guard James Harden. Curry and Harden are shooting the lights out this season. Curry is averaging 23.6 points per game, 7.9 assists per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.2 steals per game. Harden is averaging 27d4 points per game, 6.8 assists per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 2.0 steals per game.


Harden probably has the slight edge at this point in statistics but Curry’s team does have the best record in the NBA so that helps. The dark horse for MVP is LeBron James, LeBron is once again putting up great stats as usual. If he did not do this so consistently every year then people would be talking about his stats so much more. He is averaging 25.9 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game.

MCT Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Bulls guard Tony Snell.
Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Bulls guard Tony Snell.

Howard’s Point of View

Now that we have entered the halfway point of the NBA regular season, we have seen teams shape themselves into contenders and individual players emerge into MVP candidates thus far.

The Golden State Warriors have the NBA’s best record at 42-9 and possibly the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in Stephen Curry heading into the All-Star break. Curry is averaging 23.6 points per game and 7.9 assists and has been the leader of the first place Warriors. The best news for Warriors fans is that Curry has played injury-free basketball thus far and has yet to miss a game. While Curry has shouldered the majority of the load, his splash brother, Klay Thompson, has lit it up as well this season. He set an NBA record for most points in a quarter with 37. With the tough play of Draymond Green and Marreese Speights coming off of the bench, the Warriors are running the table in the West and may have the deepest team in the NBA.

Surprisingly the Warriors are accompanied at the top of the entire NBA by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have had a remarkable season so far considering they are atop the Eastern Conference without a true bona fide superstar. It has been a team effort for the Hawks. Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap lead the young Hawks team while veteran Kyle Korver is doing his part shooting an NBA best 52 percent from the three-point line.

We all may have expected prior to the season that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the number one team in the Eastern Conference considering how weak the Eastern Conference is compared to the West. But we were all very wrong. LeBron James and the Cavaliers are only the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment. The Cavs are going through their growing pains.

All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are trying to find their roles as second and third fiddle to LeBron James. The process has not been easy as we can see from a 33-22 fifth place record. Irving has been making strides and looks as if he is finding his rhythm recently. Kevin Love still continues to struggle. Even though 17 points per game and 10 rebounds sounds efficient, it is not as good as we have seen from Love during his past years in Minnesota. Frustration has been looming with James concerning Love as he tweeted indirectly about Love needing to fall in line and be a part of something special that the Cavs are working towards. However ,the Cavaliers have won 14 of their last 16 games.

But over in the Western Conference the Houston Rockets are sitting at the fourth spot. James Harden has been mentioned alongside of Curry for this year’s MVP honors. Harden is a scoring machine and has put the league on notice that he cannot be guarded one on one.

Harden has abused his defenders by getting to the rim at will and averages at least nine free throw attempts per game. He leads the NBA with 27.4 points per game and has his highest assist totals thus far in his career with 6.8 per game. He has put the Rockets on his back and looks like the best shooting guard in the NBA this season.

However, the NBA’s sleeper team would have to be the Oklahoma City Thunder. With early injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the Thunder found themselves out of the playoff race early.

However, with their two stars healthy, they have done their part to get themselves just one game out of the eighth seed for the playoffs. This team is so dangerous and if they find a way to secure the last spot in the playoffs, whoever finishes with the first seed will not be too happy having to face KD and Westbrook in the first round.

All in all it has been a great start to the season and it will be interesting to see if teams can hold on to their spots for the remainder of the season.

MCT ATL Hawks guard Jeff Teague and GS guard Steph Curry.
ATL Hawks guard Jeff Teague and GS guard Steph Curry.

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Kevin Moylett

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