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Welcome to my blog which deals with mixed martial arts betting and preview with a detailed analysis on the world of MMA. This blogs covers anything relating to the UFC, Strikeforce, Dreams or any other MMA organization.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Second Half Look at the NBA

As the second half of the NBA season gets underway, let's examine how the first half went and take a look at what we can expect down the stretch. One thing is for sure, the Western Conference is superior to the East, despite what happened in the All-Star game.

Although, the Western Conference is so much better than the East, the best team in the NBA resides on top of the Central Division. The Detroit Pistons were the only team to get to the break with single-digit losses. The Pistons feature the most experienced and sturdy starting five, with Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed and Ben Wallace.

The only other team with a chance to represent the East in the title game is the Miami Heat, led by Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Anytime you have that combination, you're a threat. In addition, the Heat have shown they can win on the road. The LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers are the only other team in the conference to finish 10 games over .500 at the break.

The New Jersey Nets lead the Atlantic Division with a 29-23 mark. It looks like the Nets will be the third seed in the conference, while the Cavaliers will take the fourth spot. The top four places look like locks. The remainder of playoff teams will all be around the .500 mark. The exception is the eighth and final spot, which will probably be a team playing under .500. If the playoffs were to start now, the Philadelphia 76ers would get in with a record two games below .500.

The teams looking like outcasts include Boston, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte. The Knicks, Hawks and Bobcats will continue to battle for the worst record in the league.

The Western Conference is loaded, especially the Southwest Division where the Dallas Mavericks and World Champion San Antonio are doing battle for the top spot. Both teams have been proven winners on the road, as both finished the break with 19 wins away from home. The Memphis Grizzlies are looking like a playoff team, as are the surprising New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

The Pacific Division is led by the Phoenix Suns, which continue to win games despite not having Amare Stoudemire for the entire season. The All-Star center is expected to return some time next month. Both Los Angeles teams are playing well, with the Clippers finally heading toward the playoffs with a legitimate club. The Lakers will need to have a hot second half to make the postseason.

The only team in the Northwest Division that looks like a playoff contender is the Denver Nuggets. The rest of the conference is made up of disappointments. Minnesota, Seattle and Portland seem to be out of reach, while Utah has a shot with a strong second half.

The Western Conference playoffs should be a blast, with several great matchups. If the regular season ended today, the matchup of No.1 versus No. 8 would be the Dallas Mavericks against the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers. Even the Mavericks would have to admit being a bit scared of that first round opponent.

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