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2013 NBA Update

As we move into the second half of the NBA season, some unexpected teams are surging to the top of the ranks. Of course, nobody is surprised by the Miami Heat’s position at the top of the Eastern conference, but the wrong team from Los Angeles seems to be at the top, the Clippers. Many expected the Lakers to be the dominate team in the Western Conference, but they are not even in the picture right now. Here’s a quick look at where we stand as of right now:

Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat
2. New York Knicks
3. Indiana Pacers
4. Atlanta Hawks
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Brooklyn Nets
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Boston Celtics

Biggest Surprises in the East

Probably the biggest surprise is the rivalry matchup sitting in the 2 and 3 seeds currently. Both Indiana and New York were expected to be in the playoff hunt, but not sitting right behind Miami with a legitimate chance to win the East. The Atlanta Hawks can also be thrown into this surprise group, as they are right behind the Pacers and not far behind the east leading Heat.

It’s going to be an exciting run to finish the season and snagging Indiana Pacers tickets for one of the final games, as they renew their historic rivalry with the Knicks, can lead to an exciting and memorable experience. All eight teams have winning records and the top four teams all have a real chance to win the conference.

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Clippers
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Golden State Warriors
6. Houston Rockets
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Portland Trailblazers

Biggest Surprises in the West

The biggest surprise found in the western conference has to do with the team not in the playoff picture, as of right now. The 15-20 Los Angeles Lakers were picked to possibly win more games than any other NBA team in history, at the beginning of the season, but they currently sit 10 games back from the 8th and final playoff seed. Another huge surprise lurking even further back than the Lakers is the Dallas Mavericks.

Both of these teams have recently experienced quite a bit of success, but neither is even close to the playoff hunt right now. Without a long winning streak in the second half of the season, we may see the Lakers miss the playoffs for only the 6th time in franchise history and the first time since 2004-2005. We will most likely also see the playoffs played without Dallas for the first time since the 1999-2000 seasons.

Predictions

With the two biggest surprises coming from the west, predicting the NBA finals teams isn’t all that easy. At the beginning of the year, many experts picked Miami and Los Angeles Lakers to make the finals. However, it’s necessary to re-evaluate the picture now and it’s very likely a team, such as the Indiana Pacers or the New York Knicks could build enough momentum to overtake Miami in the playoffs.

The west is all up for grabs and the most likely team to go to the finals is the San Antonio Spurs, simply because they know how to get there. Another team to look out for is the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they are young and capable of making a playoff run.

Whichever teams end up in the playoffs and the finals, this season has created quite a bit of excitement. The top teams in both conferences are only a few games apart from each other and nobody is running away with the conference titles. It will be exciting to watch and fun to see how it all shakes out.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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How does Ty Lawson compare to Chris Paul?

Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Denver April 9, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Whenever I see Ty Lawson play, I think of Chris Paul. The two players have different games, but physically, they’re similar. Paul stands 6’0″ and weighs 175 pounds. Lawson is 5’11″ and weighs in at 195 pounds, so he’s a little stockier than CP3, but they’re both fairly undersized for the point guard position.

Here are the per 48-minute stats from each player’s rookie and second season. Since Paul played about 16 minutes more per game in his rookie season (and 10+ minutes more in his sophomore season), we need to adjust per minute for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ty Lawson breaks three-point record [video]

Ty Lawson broke the record for consecutive three-point makes without a miss when he made 10 straight threes against the Timberwolves. He would have also broken the record for most three-point makes in a game without a miss, but he missed his 11th attempt.

Did the Knicks give up too much to get Carmelo?

ESPN’s John Hollinger answers this question with an emphatic “yes.” In his trade grades column, he gave the Knicks a D+ in this deal.

The worst part, of course, is that this deal proves that no matter how many advantages New York gains from its magnetic appeal to potential free agents, owner James Dolan will screw them up. Leaning on the genius of Isiah Thomas — because it worked out so well for the first time — he fell hook, line and sinker for every bluff thrown his way by the Nuggets and Melo’s people. (Yes, Melo’s people participated — Anthony needed to make sure he got a lucrative contract extension under the current salary rules before being traded.)

New York still gets its Melo-Stoudemire nucleus, but now lacks the supporting pieces to do anything important with that core. And by extending Melo now, they agree to lock him up at such an expensive price that, in concert with Stoudemire’s deal, it likely precludes making a run at Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard in 2012.

The Knicks were bid up by the Nets, who never really had a chance at acquiring Carmelo in the first place. It would have been worth all of this to acquire a Top 5 player like LeBron James or Dwight Howard, but Carmelo is in the second or third tier of NBA stars and by acquiring and extending him now, they’re going to be paying a premium for his services for the next three or four years. His contract could make things especially tough if there’s a hard(er) cap.

Carmelo Anthony is not living the High Life

Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony (R) and Chauncey Billups watch the scoreboard during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center in Denver on January 21, 2011. The Lakers beat the Nuggets 107-97. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

This series is sponsored by Miller High Life – The Official Beer Of You. Find out how you can get sponsored by Miller High Life.

In case you haven’t heard, Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Knicks last night. If you haven’t heard, count yourself lucky (and completely oblivious), because all of this “Melodrama” got old a full month ago. A quick search at Twitter shows just how sick everyone was of the speculation.

You see, Carmelo didn’t ask to be traded. Or maybe he did, we don’t really know. He wouldn’t admit to the press that he asked for a trade, instead putting the onus on the Nuggets for wanting to trade him away. After what happened to LeBron’s image last summer, he didn’t want to be painted as the bad guy, but his act has worn thin. Everyone knows he wants to play for the Knicks. He wants to play in New York so badly that he doesn’t care that his new team had to give up the farm to get him. He just wants to be a Knick. Oh, and he wants a three-year, $65 million extension too. Let’s not forget about that.

There was another team pursuing him — the New Jersey Nets. But New Jersey (who will soon move to Carmelo’s hometown of Brooklyn) wasn’t good enough for this guy. The Nuggets and Nets worked out a trade, but the only thing holding up the deal was Carmelo’s unwillingness to sign the aforementioned extension. Who can blame the Nets? Why would they trade for him if he’s just going to leave after the season?

All of this drama would be enough to keep High Life from sponsoring Carmelo. But he recently took his hat off to himself — seriously — for playing through all this speculation. Here’s the mind-bending quote from FanHouse:

“I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis,” the Denver forward said about trade rumors that have swirled all season as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. “I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that’s going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don’t think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don’t think that.”

Somehow, in Carmelo’s World, he was the victim of circumstance. Not his team of eight years, the Denver Nuggets, who had no leverage and were forced into making a suspect deal because he was only willing to play for the Knicks.

Fortunately for the Common Man living the High Life, this NBA nightmare is now over. We can all go back to our lives and not be inundated with Carmelo rumors on SportsCenter.

Because it’s painful to watch a guy who refuses to live the High Life.

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