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NBA mid-season report

After a thrilling few months of professional basketball, and only a few weeks until the All-Star break, teams are about halfway through their 82-game regular season schedule. Here are some of the things that have stood out in the first 40-plus games this year:

Injuries. Some of the biggest names in the game have gone down with injuries over the last three months. Household names like Kobe Bryant, who came back early this year only to get hurt again, and Derrick Rose, who will be out another full season after another knee injury, are just a few players. Guys like Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook have been out for most of the year; Chris Paul and Al Horford are out now with a various injuries. The story of a season should never be the injuries, but this year is challenging that with the high-profile injuries so far. 

The East is bad. Bad might be an understatement because the Eastern Conference may be the worst single conference in the NBA that we have ever seen. As of Sunday night, there were three teams over .500, which would look bad by itself. On top of that, the East boasts six teams with less than 15 wins, as well as the worst three teams in the association with the Milwaukee Bucks leading the way at 7-33. An underlying theme of disorder is how bad the two New York teams have been; that is, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, with records of 17-22 and 15-26, respectively. There are all of two quality teams in the East, but they may be the best two in the NBA. The Indiana Pacers hold the best record in the league at 32-7, with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat coming in behind them at 29-11. In this conference, we’re patiently waiting until June to see the Eastern Conference Finals, which will be an instant classic between the Pacers and the Heat. That day couldn’t come any quicker.

The West is good. To give you a comparison, only two teams in the East would be in the playoffs right now in the West: the Pacers and the Heat. That speaks to how deep the conference is, with ten teams having 20-plus wins as of Jan. 19. Another West fact: they are 143-66 against their Eastern counterparts this season. The West boasts three of the four teams with 30-plus wins in San Antonio, Portland and OKC. Portland has been the surprise of the season thus far, sitting in second place in the West at 31-9. The Spurs continue doing every little thing right and find themselves in first. The Thunder are relying more and more on scoring-leader Kevin Durant, and it seems to be working without Russell Westbrook, who is out with an injury. The Rockets are playing every type of basketball under the sun on a nightly basis, while the Warriors are still one of the most fun teams to watch in the league with the 'splash brothers.'There are a lot of storylines to watch in the West, unlike their little brothers in the East; this conference could unfold a lot of different ways and we will be watching to see how it does. 

With all the excitement in the NFL, a lot of viewers and interest may be lost, but it shouldn’t be, there are a lot of teams playing good basketball, a lot of teams who are waiting for the All-Star break to get here, and a few more who can’t wait for the draft in June. I’m looking at you, Milwaukee. 

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