Oldies but goodies at top of standings

Quick! Who has the best record in the NBA? What about Second? Or third, for that matter? OK, you can look now. Surprised? The answers for those three questions are San Antonio, Boston, and Dallas. Yes, with a 25-3 record and Tim Duncan playing like vintage Tim Duncan, the Spurs are the best team in the NBA, and not slowing down any time soon, as they are in the midst of a 10 game winning streak. They are first dominated previously by the Lakers and Jazz. They are led by a point guard in decline (Tony Parker), an old, often injured all-around shooting guard thought to be in decline (Manu Ginobili), and an over-the-top big man (Tim Duncan), all having great years. Parker is averaging about 18 points and 7
assists this year. The 7 assists a game is the highest of his career,
which is saying something, considering he’s been considered a top-
notch point guard for many years now. His 1.4 assists per game is
also a career high. For Ginobili, he has career highs in points and
steals as well, and is averaging 4.9 assists per game, tied with last year for career highs. Although Duncan’s statistics are down, his
assists total is near the top for his career, showing his unselfish
approach and getting others involved. Because of this, other Spurs,
such as George Hill and Gary Neal, have thrived.

For the Boston Celtics, the second best team in the NBA in terms of record, at 23-4, the 2010-2011 season has been a struggle, as starting center Kendrick Perkins has not played this year, and offseason signing Jermaine O’Neal has played very sparingly. They are red-hot, winning 14 in a row, but banged up too, as they have
been without Jermaine O’Neal, Perkins, Delonte West, among others.
Much like the Spurs, the Celtics’ old core are carrying the team, as
Kevin Garnett is showing explosiveness and quickness after a knee
injury hampered him the past year. Along with Garnett, Paul Pierce
is scoring 18 points a game, and even 35-year old sharpshooter Ray
Allen is contributing, scoring 17 points a game very quietly.

For the Dallas Mavericks, near the top of the standings isn’t a surprise. But the sheer domination that they have shown this year has. Dirk Nowitzki is once again a MVP candidate, although usually he gets overshadowed by LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Could this be the year that he breaks through and wins only his second MVP award? Possibly. For the Mavs, their core surrounds Nowitzki, point guard Jason Kidd, and sixth man Jason Terry. Nowitzki is shooting career highs in free throw percentage and three point percentage, which is astounding, as he has been excellent in both those categories throughout his career. For the Mavericks, how far will Dirk take them in the playoffs? If he doesn’t win an NBA championship soon, he might be the best player to not win an NBA championship and might limit his credibility and chance to make it to the Hall of Fame once his career is over. For the rest of the Mavs, Nowitzki has gotten solid help from. Kidd and Terry. The 37-year old Kidd (good one, huh?) Is averaging 10 points and 9 assists per game, not too shabby for a grizzled veteran. Terry has provided a spark off the bench, scoring 16 points and adding 4 assists per contest.

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