The unpredictable NBA: A mid-season report

It has been an interesting last couple of weeks for the NBA. The Lakers, Spurs and Kings all lost on Tuesday night this week. The Blazers broke the 12-game winning streak of the Kings at the Rose Garden, 116-110 in overtime. The Spurs fell to a rejuvenated Nets team from last year, 92-86. The Lakers lost handily in the Staples Center to, of all teams, the Western Conference trailing Nuggets, 107-91.

The Lakers were given back their center on Tuesday night, and Shaq went on to score 40 points and grab 11 rebounds in the losing effort to the Nuggets. Meanwhile one of the best point guards around, Nicky V., had a solid line with 17 points and 12 dimes leading the Nuggets to victory. The Lakers have struggled against bad teams this season, losing their fifth game to a last place team, and dropping two out of their last four games (three of those minus Shaq).

Iverson and Jordan went up against each other, but the struggling Wizards fell again, 91-84. Jordan scored 28 of his 30 in the first half, and then went cold in the second, while Iverson said it was his turn to take over. Iverson scored 22 of his 34 in the second half to carry his team to the victory, making its record 20-21. The Wizards’ record stands at 19-20.

In the last two weeks, O’Neal lost his cool and almost took out Brad Miller of the Bulls, then got suspended for three games. Shaq’s sidekick, Kobe, went off for 56 against Memphis, then the very next night Iverson topped that with 58. The Kings extended their win streak to 12, only to get beat by the .500 Blazers. To top all these latest performances, the Miami Heat not only broke the 100 point mark for the first time this season in their win over the Lake Show, but they have now won six in a row. Pat Riley, Alonzo Mourning, Eddie Jones and Brian Grant: yes, they should be winning every night. Let’s look at the overall standings. If someone would have predicted last year that New Jersey would be atop the Atlantic Division with a record of 28-13, you might have laughed, but that’s the picture right now. Milwaukee goes through its ups and downs, but stands at 26-14, leading the way for the Central Division. Minnesota is another one sneaking in to lead the Midwest, standing at 30-10. While in the Pacific you might think the ugly Lakers would be in first, it’s the team from boring Sacramento, 31-10.

That’s the full wrap-up for the NBA, and not too far from now, a definite highlight of the season arrives: All-Star Weekend. It will be more than interesting to see who is voted to start, and what corps of players will be made out of so much talent this season. So until then, if you’re a real basketball fan and you need something to do, I highly recommend NBA 2K2. It’s sick. Just the intro alone gets me going. But if you’re from the real old school of hoops on the game system, who can beat Live95? It really doesn’t get much better, unless of course you’re watching the real thing.