Houston (USA), Feb. 19 – The All-Star Weekend break came to an end and the 30 NBA teams restart actions on Thursday to complete the second half of the season in which , so far, the big winners are the Milwaukee Bucks, undisputed leaders, who will seek to secure that position.
While Los Angeles Lakers, with superstar LeBron James, who is still full of individual performance despite having already turned 35, will try to remain the alternative to the Bucks as leaders of the Western Conference.
The second half of the season will also be decisive when defining the winners of the two great individual prizes such as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Rookie of the Year.
The Bucks, with the 46-8 mark, the best in the league, are dominant in all facets of the game, in addition to having the MVP prize as the highest contender, as is the Greek power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who with averages of 30 points; 13.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists, is a guarantee of consistency by the Milwaukee team.
The six and a half games of advantage that the Toronto Raptors take (40-15), the current NBA defending champions, is the best reflection of their superiority within the Eastern Conference.
Although the Raptors, despite having lost star forward Kawhi Leonard, with whom they won their first NBA title, they have done a great teamwork with the development of young values and the good performance of players like the wing. Spanish center of Congolese origin Serge Ibaka, decisive before arriving at the rest of the Star Weekend.
Cameroonian power forward Pascal Siakam, 25, the team’s new All-Star, took over from Leonard as the new Raptors franchise player and has not disappointed anyone with his 23.5 point averages; 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
The Boston Celtics also go more with a squad of young values in which power forward Jayson Tatum is the great figure and his 38-16 mark gives him all the hopes to be in the fight for the title of the Conference East.
The Miami Heat (35-19), turned into the great revelation of the first round, hope to consolidate their status as a new winning team and the Philadelphia Sixers (34-21) find out of their field the winning formula they own at home , the best in the league.
If in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are the team to beat, in the West, the Lakers (41-12) are the target of the rest of the rivals, among which are their neighbors of Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets , Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
The presence of James, in his condition as a superstar with the Lakers, and the arrival of centerman Anthony Davis as the main reinforcement, has made them a winning team and full of aspirations to fight again for the league title, which they already got 16 Times in its history.
The tragic death of the legendary former Lakers escort, Kobe Bryant, who died last January 26 in a helicopter accident, did not favor the emotional state of the players of the Angelino team when competing.
But it is expected that when the last public tribute to Bryant and the eight people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who traveled together aboard the helicopter that crashed in the Calabasas area (California), the players of the Lakers and the entire organization fully focus on the goal of fighting again for the league title.
Their rivals to beat will be the Clippers (37-18), which, reinforced with the arrival of Leonard and forward Paul George, have shown that they have all the potential to fight for what could be their first Western Conference title.
As the Nuggets (38-17), loaded with great young talent, aspire to the Jazz (36-18), the Rockets (34-20), the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-22) and the Mavericks (33-32).
James with averages of 25.0 points; 7.8 rebounds and 10.8 assists -the best mark of his career-, has all the elements of fighting again to get the MVP prize in the League, after he already has four in his possession.
Harden, as league leader in the league, has averages of 35.3 points; 6.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists, will also compete for the MVP prize, which he already has in his possession.
Something to which the Slovenian base Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks aspires, although he has only been in the NBA for two seasons, but his class, field performance, All-Star condition again and averages of 28.9 points; 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists make him a candidate for the MVP prize with only 21 years of age.
While two other young values, the base Ja Morant, of the Memphis Grizzlies, 20, and the power forward Zeon Williamson, 19, of the New Orleans Pelicans, have all the elements to fight for the prize Rookie of the Year, the same as last season Doncic achieved.