Four NBA Teams to Watch After the All-Star Break

Written by on February 19, 2018

The halfway point of the NBA season is here and that means a few things for the league mainly that players get to relax and take a weekend off.

Some teams are slumping, including contenders, while others are hitting their stride. A few clubs will heavily alter the championship picture in the second half of the season.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have lost three straight games and nine out of their last 15. They look nothing like the team who once had a 16-game winning streak earlier this season. 

Coach Brad Stevens even hinted at possible lineup changes after Thursday’s 129-119 loss to the Clippers. “We’ll look at everything,” Stevens said. “Obviously, you’re always looking for small tweaks defensively and offensively, but we haven’t gotten enough out of our rotations and subs and all those things. We’ll take a deeper dive into that.”

Does anybody remember a guy named Gordon Hayward? Boston got off to a hot start, and everyone thought they would be fine without Hayward. That was largely due to the fact that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were playing at high levels. They no longer are.

Brown is shooting 42 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep since the new year. Tatum is shooting 41 percent and is 33 percent from three since January 1. They both need to play major roles on the team if Boston wants to regain its confidence.

Toronto is surging and the Cavs look rejuvenated after they swapped nearly half of their team. If the Celtics don’t wake up fast, they could be looking at an earlier-than-expected playoff exit.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs are back! The Cavs are back! That’s what everybody (it seems) is screaming after Cleveland has gone 3-0 since getting rid of nearly half of its roster.

Two of those wins were impressive: a 22-point beatdown versus Boston and a victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City. In those games, everybody on the team looks happy to be there which was not the case before the new acquisitions came into town.

While Cleveland isn’t a shoe-in to make it back to the Finals, they look as dangerous as any team in the league.

Then again, it has only been three games.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets entered All-Star Weekend a half-game up on the Warriors for the best record in the NBA. James Harden has to be considered the MVP front-runner as of now and his backcourt mate Chris Paul should’ve been an All-Star.

Anybody who says the Rockets don’t stand a chance against the Warriors is ignorant. They beat Golden State two out of three times this year, owning the tiebreaker between them which could be huge during playoff time.

Houston’s obsession with the Warriors may be paying off.  

Hopefully, we’ll find out in the Western Conference Finals.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors aren’t first in the West anymore.

Break them up! Fire Steve Kerr! Get a new team!

Pause.

Just because Golden State is a half-game behind Houston for the best record in the league does not mean they should blow everything up. They’re just bored. Boredom is the reason why Steve Kerr allowed his players to coach during a game against Phoenix.

The Warriors know they will make another deep run and you should too. They will be considered the favorites to win it all and for good reason.


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