The second half of the NBA season


Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, and Miami all put in one room, who will come out alive?

With the NBA All-Star break just coming to an end, players and coaches are getting ready for the second half of this season to commence. With this year’s NBA All Star weekend being more of a pitstop then a break, expect teams to begin showing signs of urgency for a postseason run. Only time will tell the future, and on April 26, we will all know for certain who rose up to the occasion of a playoff appearance.

These are some major storylines taking place and creating themselves during this uptempo 2012 NBA season.

The recognition of Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio 

Ricky Rubio has woken up the Minnesota Timberwolves and revived their fans again. The Timberwolves last saw success when Kevin Garnett carried them to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Those years have been over for a while now, and the Timberwolves have been one of the worst teams in the NBA since Garnett left the Timberwolves for the Boston Celtics. This move upset many Timberwolves fans, but today the Target Center is jumping again. With Ricky Rubio averaging 8 assists and 11 points a game, he has brought a sense of surprise and excitement to the Timberwolves. Their team has risen to the occasion and created a stir. The Timberwolves have been playing with a lot more passion on the court this year and have a fresh look. They already have 18 victories this season, last season they finished with 17 wins. With the second half of the NBA season still yet to be played, expect the Timberwolves to make a playoff push with their young energetic team.

Clippers winning the Pacific Division

The Los Angeles Clippers are the worst franchise in the history of the NBA. In their history, they have made the playoffs three times and lost in the first round twice. They have never made it to a Western Conference Championship, and they share the city as well as the Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers. With all the pressure to succeed and live up to their older brother the Lakers, the Clippers have always been the rookie of the NBA teams. With superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin taking over the youthful spotlight in LA, the Clippers out of nowhere have become the team to watch. With the Clippers off to their best start in the history of their franchise, they are ahead of the Lakers by one game in the Pacific division and looking to fight their way to the Western Conference championship for the first time. They certainly have the depth in their roster to do it, but will the Clipper curse strike again?

The Thunder that rolled from down under

The Seattle SuperSonics were about to be moved to Oklahoma City and there was nothing left for the team.  Kevin Durant was playing college basketball at Texas while this chaos was going on. As time went by, the “SuperSonics” as once called moved to Oklahoma City where they renamed their team the Thunder. They have been around for three seasons and have already managed to make it to Western Conference finals last season. This was a remarkable start for a new team. This season the Thunder have converted themselves into a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and is getting an MVP season performance by their super star Kevin Durant, who is averaging 28 points with eight rebounds a game. Looks like the Portland Trail Blazers are still stepping on their toes after snubbing Kevin Durant and drafting always injury-prone Greg Oden, as their No.1 draft pick back in 2008. Look for the Oklahoma City Thunder to be fighting for that No.1 seed all season and contain home court advantage through the playoffs.

Miami fell asleep with the heater on

“Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but seven NBA championships!” I remember when Lebron James said this on national television after he abandoned the sinking ship in Cleveland and migrated to hot and spicy Miami. Those words haunted James all last season and the Heat lost in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. With James putting all that pressure not only on himself but on his teammates, it just gave them something else to think and worry about. Now that the first season of his contract has ended, and they didn’t win like promised, the Miami Heat have been playing with a pace and fury they didn’t play with last year. I am not a dreamer; I recognize that no relationship will be perfect at first, this is why I believe the Miami Heat will reach the championship again. They have too much talent and leadership to not make a decent run. Age is not an issue and revenge always has its sweet after taste. Will anybody in the West be able to match the heat in Miami? Expect the push from the Oklahoma City or both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

Bulls chasing after the Gold

In the Eastern Conference the Bulls have been in control of the No. 2 seed for two years already. Will this be the year the Chicago Bulls make it to the NBA Finals? With Derrick Rose performing at an MVP level, he should be in the running for MVP of this year again. With Chicago having a point guard like Rose, it allows Chicago to expose their shooters due to the attention Rose receives from the opposing defense. Being able to stop Rose is a hard task. Last year the Miami Heat were able to bring them down in the Easter Conference finals. Will Rose and the Bulls be able to learn from their mistakes and get to where they haven’t been since the Michael Jordan days?

Linsanity in New York

New York has been inconsistent again this year, even after making the acquisitions they made last year by bring in Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amare Stoudemire. All three of those players are elite NBA players consistent players. This year I thought the Knicks were going to easily be in the playoffs; looks like I thought wrong because they are siting at No. 8 seed. New York was saved by Jeremy Lin just before the All-Star break, a bench warmer from the University of Harvard who sparked New York and its fans. Even with their not so hot record the fans in New York have hope and energy for the second half of the NBA season. With a now consistent rotation working its way in New York, expect them to slowly climb their way up the playoff ladder.