NBA midseason report

At the beginning of the season, the majority of the hype was surrounding the Boston Celtics having acquired All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to complement the already talented Paul Pierce. Most of the talk was concerning whether the three stars could put their egos aside and put together a legitimate run at an National Basketball Association (NBA) championship. Through 49 games the Celtics are a league-best 40-9. Proof that with KG running the show, the Celtics are living up to the hype.

In the Western Conference the Los Angeles Lakers are serious about winning the Pacific Division. The Lakers (34-17) have finalized a deal that brought the 7-foot forward/center Pau Gasol to the team for the underachieving Kwame Brown and rookie guard Javaris Crittenton. Brown was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, but since then he has averaged a dismal 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, well under the expectations of a top pick.

Signing Gasol gives the Lakers a better chance at defeating the division-leading Phoenix Suns (36-15) who lack size in the front court.

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul has put up Most-Valuable-Player-worthy numbers this season. Paul, at 6-feet 175 pounds, is small by NBA standards but has averaged 20.8 points, 10.7 assists and 2.56 steals per game. Paul has played big, and his play has the surprising Hornets atop the Western Conference at 35-15.

With a league-leading 30.1 points per game, LeBron James is doing just about all he can do for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet at 29-22, the Cavs are still more than nine games behind the Detroit Pistons (38-13) for No. 1 in the Central Division.

As long as Dwight Howard is healthy, the Orlando Magic will be a powerhouse in the Southeast Division. Howard leads the NBA in rebounding at 14.9 points per game. You know how running the football makes for success in the NFL? Well, rebounding is pretty much the same concept in the NBA.

Led by head coach Jerry Sloan’s old-school fundamental basketball tactics, the red-hot Utah Jazz (33-19) have won six consecutive games and are in the lead in the Northwest Division. The lead could be short-lived with the Denver Nuggets (32-19) right behind the Jazz. Of the six divisions in the league, the race to win the Northwest could be the closest.

If your team were 9-41, would you have the star point guard in your favorite five? Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat has scored a solid 24.8 points per game this season, but the injury-prone Heat, the oldest team in the NBA, have the worst record in the league, and most people would rather read the 20 questions segment in The Gramblinite than watch the Heat play.