The 5 Most Surprising Stories from 1st Half of the 2012-13 NBA Season
The NBA season is starting to heat up with just a few months away from playoffs.
The first half of the season helped show who the top teams are and who are at the bottom. There have also been surprises with the way certain teams are performing. Some players have really stepped up from how they played last year.
Here are the five most surprising stories from the first half.
The Lakers' Roller Coaster Ride
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The preseason expectations were high when the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard and signed Steve Nash. But the team has fallen way below those expectations.
The Lakers currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference with a record of 20-25. The NBA world did not expect to see such a poor start from a team with an all-star roster.
The Clippers have overshadowed the Lakers as the best team of Los Angeles because of how well they are playing. It's tough to see the Lakers make a title run if they are having a tough time of making the playoffs.
Things could certainly change for the Lakers, but for now they are not playing up to their full potential.
Celtics Not Playing Up to Their Potential
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After losing to the Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, it's surprising to see the Celtics have a below-.500 record so far in the season.
The good news is that the Celtics are only 8.5 games back from first place. The bad news is that Boston just lost point guard Rajon Rondo to an ACL tear for the rest of the season.
It looks like the Celtics will still make the playoffs, but it's going to be tough to make a run without their floor general leading the team. Hopefully Jason Terry or Avery Bradley can step up in place of Rondo.
More and more games without Rondo will show how much this team is affected by the loss.
The Depth of the Clippers Bench
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The main reason the Clippers are playing so well this year is because of their bench.
Jamal Crawford has been one of the best offseason signings in the NBA. Crawford is playing like the best sixth man in the league, as he is averaging 16.6 points per game, which is tied for second on the team.
Also, Matt Barnes has been a great outside shooter and defender for the Clippers this season. Lamar Odom hasn't been an amazing scorer, but he has been a solid rebounder for the team.
The bench of the Clippers will be crucial in the postseason and could help make or break their chances of going deep in the playoffs.
Bulls Excelling Without Rose
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Who would've thought at the beginning of the season that the Chicago Bulls would still be one of the best Eastern Conference teams without their star guard Derrick Rose.
The Bulls have a 27-17 record, which is just 2.5 games back from the first-place Miami Heat.
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer have stepped up and played very well so far in the season. Deng averages 17.3 points per game and Boozer averages 15.8 points per game. Joakim Noah has been a rebounding and blocking machine for the Bulls. Finally, Kirk Hinrich has been a solid substitute point guard with the absence of Rose.
The success of the Bulls shows that Rose shouldn't speed up his recovery and should take his time to return to the roster when he's fully healthy.
Warriors Playing Very Good Team Basketball
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The Golden State Warriors are the most improved team from last season.
Last year, the Warriors finished third-from-last in the Western Conference with a 23-43 record.
This season, Golden State is in fifth place with a 28-17 record.
The Warriors are in the top 10 in the NBA with points (eighth in the league), rebounds (fourth) and assists (seventh) per game. Golden State has a really talented squad that has been playing well.
Guard Stephen Curry has been a crucial player to this team's success. Forward David Lee is averaging a double-double, with 19.6 points (12th in the league) and 10.9 rebounds (tied for sixth) per game.
If the Warriors want to make a run in the playoffs, then they need to play better defense. Golden State allows 99.6 points per game, which is 21st in the NBA.