I have to say, it’s a pure joy to be able to watch the NBA every single day now, thanks to BTV! And this season has been “simply amazing” to watch. There have been quite a number of surprises and disappointments in the current 2008-2009 NBA season and this is the first part of my year-end review of the teams that are surpassing everyone’s expectations and the teams that have been total disasters. These are the Top 5 teams and 5 most disappointing teams of the league in the first half.
1. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (25-5) – it was a toss-up but Kobe’s squad had their revenge against the Celtics on Christmas day by defeating them by 9 at home. It was the same day Phil Jackson notched his 1000th win and became the fastest coach to do so surpassing Pat Riley. The Lakers are 16-1 at home and are definitely the most balanced squad in the league. And with Jordan Farmar being out until late February due to surgery, the Lakers still haven’t missed a beat.
2. BOSTON CELTICS (28-5) – they were off to a historic, franchise-best 27-2 slate which is the BEST start in NBA history for a team with only 2 losses. In that streak, they are currently 17-1 at home, had a 19-game winning streak, and had KG surpass David Robinson for 27th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Unfortunately, December was a terrible month for them as they ended their West Coast year end trip with a 1-3 slate starting with that Christmas loss to the Lakers on the road, and followed it up with a terrible loss to the hapless Warriors who were without 2 of their main guns. And then they ended the year losing to a Roy-less Blazer squad to close out their record at 28-5. They’re still the team to beat as you can’t put down the Big 3. But losing Posey is going to be quite glaring in the playoffs and it looks like a rough road ahead if they go up against the Magic or the Cavs in the early rounds.
3. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (26-5) – King James has a little helper named Mo Williams now, and the Cavs look rock solid. They lead the league in point differential at more than 12.5 points a game, and they are tops in points allowed which is a testament to their defensive mindset They are also the only team in the league with a perfect 16-0 slate at home and will challenge the Celtics in this year’s playoffs and have a very good chance at toppling them this time around.
4. ORLANDO MAGIC (24-7) – whoever doubted that the Magic would be one of the elite teams in the league this year are now hush hush. Dwight Howard has been an absolute monster posting career numbers yet again this year. He leads the league in rebounds (13.8 a game) and blocks (3.7 a game) coupled with 19.8 points a game and shoots 54.7% from the field. You put him alongside 2 of the best 3 point shooters in the league in Rashard Lewis (leads the league with 90 makes) and Hedo Turkoglu (with 50 makes) and their much improved court general in Jameer Nelson (who also has 47 threes made) makes this Magic squad a team to be reckoned with. I’m 100% sure no one wants to play this team in the playoffs this year and rightfully so.
5. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (19-9) – with the best point guard in the league running this team, the Hornets are off to a solid start. Chris Paul leads the league in assists (11.5 a game) and steals (2.93 a game) and now holds the NBA record for consecutive games with a steal at 108! With the demotion of Mo Pete (finally) and the rise of Rasual Butler and with their key acquisition this year in James Posey from the Celtics, the Hornets look to improve on their playoff performance last year and get to the Finals. And with this lineup, that is a very distinct possibility.
Next: Can These 5 Teams Get Any Worse?