2013 NBA All Second-Half Team

Brendan BowersContributor IIMarch 18, 2013

2013 NBA All Second-Half Team

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    The 2013 NBA All Second-Half team includes a list of players who are coming on strong since the All-Star break.

    It is also reserved for only those players who are competing in meaningful games down the stretch as their team prepares for the postseason.

    This list does not therefore include rookies like Dion Waiters—who improved his field-goal percentage enough to earn Rookie of the Month honors in February—or others like John Wall who recently returned from injury based on their teams being far from playoff contention.

    The 2013 NBA All Second-Half team also focuses specifically on a collection of players who have improved their production significantly as compared to the work put in over the course of this season.

Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

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    The Denver Nuggets have gone 12-1 since All-Star weekend concluded on February 17.

    During that stretch, Ty Lawson—who's scoring 16.8 points on the season through Sunday—has averaged 20.8 to go along with 6.9 assists. 

    He's hit for at least double figures in 12 of those 13 games and finished with 20 or more eight times.

    Lawson has also reached the 30-point plateau twice—scoring 32 against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 9 and 30 in a February 27 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers—after only doing so once during the 2012-13 campaign heading into the All-Star break.

    Winners of their last 11 straight games, Lawson has his team playing better than anyone in the league right now outside of the Miami Heat. He is also a major reason why the Nuggets will be an extremely tough out come playoff time.

Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

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    After making 10 appearances in the NBA's midseason showcase, Paul Pierce went uninvited to the 2013 All-Star Game.

    In the time since, Pierce has increased his production in each of the three major statistical categories.

    Scoring 18.8 points to go along with 5.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds over his 12 most recent games, Pierce has kept the shorthanded Boston Celtics locked into a playoff berth.

    At 36-29, the Celtics are actually only 2.5 games back of the New York Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead through Sunday.

    With 17 games remaining—as unimaginable as it seemed when Rajon Rondo first suffered his season-ending injury—one last push from Pierce could seed the Celtics as high as No. 3 in the Eastern Conference come playoff time.

Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

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    Brook Lopez did enough to earn his first trip to the All-Star Game last month as a replacement for the injured Rajon Rondo.

    In the 13 games his Brooklyn Nets have played since, Lopez has outscored his season average of 18.7 points on seven separate occasions.

    He's also finished with three or more blocked shots five times and grabbed more than the 7.1 rebounds he's averaged this year in three games as well. 

    On March 6, Lopez only needed seven shots against the Charlotte Bobcats to finish with 16 points while shooting 86 percent from the field.

    He has been the most consistently productive player for the Nets in 2012-13, and expect that trend to continue as the postseason begins.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    The Golden State Warriors have played 16 games since All-Star weekend.

    Despite being left off the Western Conference All-Star roster, Stephen Curry has averaged 25.4 points during that stretch—up from 22.1 on the season.

    Highlighted by a 54-point outing against the New York Knicks on February 27, Curry has scored at least 29 points six times since February 17.

    He has also handed out 10 or more assists four times while collecting at least five rebounds in eight other games during that stretch.

    Leading his team from the point guard position, Curry has his Warriors occupying the No. 6 seed through Sunday as he continues to prove he's more than simply a three-point assassin.

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Marc Gasol did not make a second straight trip to the All-Star Game in 2013. 

    As his Memphis Grizzlies head toward the playoffs, however, Gasol is coming on stronger than ever. 

    The 17.4 points he's averaging in March through Sunday is his highest scoring month since the one game he played in October of this season. 

    The 58.1 percent that Gasol is shooting from the field is a dramatic improvement over his previous high of 49.7 during that same stretch.

    More importantly, though, he also appears poised to once again combine with Zach Randolph come playoff time to form the best frontcourt duo in basketball.

Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Monta Ellis is shooting 53.2 percent for the Milwaukee Bucks during the month of March.

    He's averaging 26.4 points in the process—to go along with 6.4 assists—and has his Bucks essentially locked into a playoff berth. 

    Over 15 games during the month of January—as a comparison—Ellis averaged only 16.5 points on 39.2 percent shooting from the field.

    In the 14 games Milwaukee has played since the All-Star break specifically, Ellis has scored at least 22 on 10 separate occasions. 

    Positioned only three games back of the Boston Celtics for the No. 7 seed, the Bucks have an outside chance of improving their Eastern Conference standing if Ellis can keep this pace for the duration of the regular season. 

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Dwight Howard is figuring things out for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    He has collected at least 12 rebounds in 14 straight games and has helped the Lakers secure a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference through Sunday.

    During the month of March, specifically, Howard has improved his scoring average to 17.4 points to go along with 15.7 rebounds.

    He is also blocking an average of three shots this month, swatting at least that many in eight games since the All-Star break.

    With Kobe Bryant battling an ankle injury, Howard will remain even more critical as the Lakers close out their bid to qualify for postseason. Fortunately for Lakers fans, Howard is getting himself going at just the right time for all that.