As we enter the middle part of the season it is that time where pretenders fade off, veteran squads start to put together a run and a Cinderella or two becomes a contender.

Pretenders

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors lost 7 of their last 10 as they faced off some of the best teams in the league. The Raptors if they do manage to put it together will not be in the best position if they are a top rank seed and have to face a team like the Heat or Cavaliers in a first round matchup. In this stretch of losing, Kyle Lowry has been absolutely terrible. His shooting in their losses sit at 37%.

Los Angeles Clippers

Doc’s team simply has not been able to put it together. They are winning, but even their wins have not been impressive. This is another squad that likely exits in the first round even if they have a pretty good season and as a top 4 seed. The addition of Austin Rivers spells bad news for Doc and the team chemistry. It is never a good idea for a coach and his son to be on the same squad unless it’s a meaningless league.

Veterans

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have broken out big winning 8 of their last 11. Before that stretch they lost 8 of the previous 11. Much of their success has been due to Tim Duncan dominating the paint. He has been a great mentor and leader for second year man Aron Baynes.

It is inevitable that San Antonio will pass Dallas and Phoenix in the standings. Kawhi Lenard has been very inconsistent this season, but once he gets it together the Spurs should roll through the Western Conference.

Miami Heat

The Heat are coming off a 3-2 road stretch and have a schedule in the next 10 days that should make or break their season. If the Heat goes 6-4 they would be back in the saddle and in the middle of the Eastern Conference rankings. If not their season is likely doomed despite the play of Dwyane Wade.

Wade is clearly not as good as he used to be, but still is the best shooting guard in the Eastern Conference as he ranks 8th in scoring in the NBA and number one in defense.  His counterpart, Mario Chalmers surprisingly also ranks number one in defense. So sitting at #13 overall is a strong indication that Miami’s bigs, specifically Chris Bosh, have been an absolutely failure.

Contenders

Golden State Warriors vs Atlanta Hawks

If you had to bet on who will face off in the NBA Finals then it should be the Hawks and Warriors. They both have been unstoppable and proved they can beat anyone on any floor. The Warriors have a slim shot at breaking the NBA record for most wins in a season. It’s a slim chance, but a very likely possibility.

Steph Curry and Jeff Teague are having career years. Curry is definitely the MVP of the league for the first half of the year.

Oklahoma City Thunder

After injuries sidelined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook their season looked to be over, but now that the best duo in the NBA is back and healthy they are rolling and sit only 2 games out of the 8 seed.

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