The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Mavericks are team to watch in NBA

By Daniel Sayers/reporter

   The NBA has half of its season left with several teams still in the playoff push.
   The Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are the elite teams in the NBA this season and will maintain their status through the second half.
   The Dallas Mavericks are the front runners in the Western Conference for the first half of the season, with a 41-11 record. The Mavericks split the first half of their series with the Spurs.
   Both games were played in Dallas, meaning the remaining two games are in San Antonio.
   Dallas is in good shape to take the West over in the remaining 30 games of the season, but it will not be easy.
   With the Mavericks playing two games in San Antonio and the final nine games against playoff contenders, it will be no easy match for the Mavericks. The race will be tight until the last few games with the Spurs for the Western Conference’s top spot and home court throughout the playoffs.
   The Mavs, under Avery Johnson, have been a phenomenal team in all aspects this season, scoring like the Mavs of the past and playing defense like the Spurs and Pistons of the past two championships—two teams who have proved defense wins championships.
   The edge for the Mavs this year is their depth off the bench. They average 40 points from their bench, and come playoff time, that’s what really matters.
   The Detroit Pistons hold the league’s best record so far at 42-9. Playing in the East with the talent and new offensive presence of head coach Flip Saunders, they could have a better second half than the first. The Pistons should have no problem finishing the season with the best record in the league.
   The Pistons’ starting five is as good as any ever assembled with a perfect mix of flash, style, power and grace. And all five can contribute on both sides of the floor.
   The Pistons and the Spurs were last year’s finals match up and could very well be again. They have met twice this season with both games ending with the Spurs’ failing and the Pistons’ triumphing, which of course, is not how it went in the finals last season.
   The Miami Heat underwent a head coaching change earlier this season, which usually means a set back. However, when the coach is five-time NBA champion Pat Riley, that’s not too shabby.
   The Heat has already lost more this season than all of last season, but since the return of Shaq and the change to Riley, the team has been dangerous.
   Dwayne Wade is having another fantastic year alongside the big fellow. Anytime he is on the court, he frees up a lot of options.
   In the playoffs, this team could turn into a powerhouse. With Riley at the reigns with Shaq and Wade, a great coach must find a way to win.
   The San Antonio Spurs are the defending champions, and until they are dethroned, they are the best team in the league.
   After a very busy off-season for a usually quiet team, the Spurs have not fallen short of expectations. Continuing their dominance where they left off last season, the Spurs are still rolling along. On paper, they have the easiest schedule for the second half, so the Spurs could gain some ground toward their back-to-back title run.
   The second half of this season is crucial to all four of these teams, especially the Spurs. If they let Dallas get the top spot in the West this season, they could find themselves in a deep hole playing in the very loud American Airlines Center in the finals. Mavs owner Mark Cuban would love nothing more than four home games in the semi-finals against the Spurs.
   Surprisingly, the Lakers are currently eighth in seeding, but it really does not matter what seed they get if they manage to get into the playoffs. Once-in-a-generation, players like Kobe Bryant find ways to win championships.
   What better way to get out of Michael Jordan’s shadow than to win a fourth NBA title without any help, especially from a guy called Shaq.

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