Grind Time

Posted by By at 29 February, at 01 : 18 AM Print

Grind Time

The second half of the season is among us ladies and gentleman. All Star Weekend was, for lack of a better word, different from previous occasions but those three days represent the blooming of a special part of the season that NBA basketball fans all know and love. It’s grind time. All of the deciding factors come into play during this time of the season and, with the NBA lockout as the catalyst for emerging stars, interesting trades, and sorrowful injuries, the second portion of the season shall be all the more peculiar. Who knows what will happen next, this is the NBA- where amazing happens.
The All Star break gives teams their off time to do a little bit of relaxing but, ultimately, to fix the areas in which they may be somewhat incompetent or find solutions to discrepancies that need to be polished.

However, the All Star players need to practice to be in the spotlight all weekend, showing why they were selected in the first place. The Rising Stars Challenge, which featured Team Shaq and Team Chuck, was thrilling to watch due to the fact that these players are extremely young. Can you imagine what they’ll be like in a few years and how they will help their teams to go further and further as the season gets down to the last few games? Subjectively speaking, I thought Team Shaq was going to win because he had a roster of a lot of great point guards. However, as the game progressed, the score and the style of play made me realize that Team Chuck might take the crown. He had a list of big men who could use their body in the game and players who could also shoot. Kyrie Irving, the game’s MVP, was 8 of 8 from the 3 point line; perfectly shooting and helping Team Chuck win the game. I enjoyed watching because some of these players go unrecognized and talent is talent. I always say there is a reason for every player to be in the NBA. They are the future of this association and I’m excited to see what they do 10 years from now.

The dunk contest. Even players in the NBA gave their opinion on the contest, such as Kevin Durant who actually gave names as to who he wanted to see next year (included LeBron and his fellow teammate Westbrook.) Some say it was mediocre, some say it was okay, and few say it was actually good. The dunk contest undoubtedly could’ve been better but, watching the pregame concert, Kenny Smith brought out a valid point. He said before the dunk contest, he didn’t know what Spud Webb was capable of, or Nate Robinson or some of the other basketball players who didn’t necessarily have “big names” when it came to dunking. I do concur with what he was trying to point out but it could’ve been better. It may have been more disappointing because fans were already counting it out when they saw the list of names who were participating, which wasn’t very practical if you watch basketball games on a regular basis. They do damage to the rim in regular games so a chance should’ve been given. The upside to that contest is that we now will notice these guys more in regular games as they try to give fans what we want to see, even though it may have been lacking in the dunk contest spotlight.

As soon as the game was over on Sunday, here come the “LeChoke” jokes, which never get old to LeBron haters around the world. Although the caustic jokes were flaunted on all social networks and even in regular conversation, people seem to forget who brought the East back in the game. It seemed like whatever LeBron put up, it went in. Effortlessly draining threes and dunking emphatically, by the time the end of the fourth quarter came, the East could almost smell victory coming back from a more than 10 point deficit. But, LeBron is always the bad guy so they needed someone to blame it on right? What about before LeBron got the ball? D. Wade missed an easy layup where the East could have taken the lead. I’m not pointing any fingers but the “LeBrick” or “LeChoke” jokes get old when folks don’t see the realities of the game. Overall, the game was fun to watch with the greatest players in the league battling and having fun doing what they love to do which is also their occupation, which is what I’m striving for. It’s great stuff and makes you love NBA basketball even more.

So, this is where it gets interesting. The end of All Star Weekend marks the second half of the season commencing and the air is filled with talks of the playoffs and finals. Here’s my take on it all. This year in the NBA is the year of the underdog. My definition of an underdog is a team who you weren’t expecting to do better than the leading teams in the NBA or a team that has potential but hasn’t proven what they have to offer to the fullest. Honestly, who wanted to watch the Clippers two years ago and thought they would beat the Lakers in preseason and the regular season? Who would’ve thought the Knicks would beat the Dallas Mavericks and LA Lakers? And do you see how close the Heat were to getting a championship last year and they were a new team? They sure were and still are underdogs but this year they are more cohesive, more confident, and hungry. I’m sure LeBron is getting tired of the jokes about his fingers having no jewelry. Last year, the Lakers were #1 in standings and this year, they are 11th in league standings and 6th in Western Conference standings. The Knicks have an outstanding bench and are 6th in the East. Young teams, in terms of young in age or young in playing together, otherwise known as the underdogs, are top notch in the league right now and have proved that it may be their time.

Conversely, as time dwindles down, there’s only so many teams who can make it. Even though I would love to see the Knicks make it, Thunder vs. Heat in finals? I think that may be my prediction but, just like everything else this season, there may be a few surprises along the way and, as I pointed out, it’s the year of the underdog. All I can say is happy watching because this is going to be fun.

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