The 9 Storylines That Will Catch You Up On The NBA Season

LeBron James

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We are about a quarter of the way through this shortened, post lockout NBA season and not everything is turning out the way several experts predicted.The New York Knicks are not taking over the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division and the Los Angeles Clippers are far from looking like NBA Finals contenders.

Scoring may be down from last season due to the work stoppage, but there are still plenty of intriguing stories as the All-Star break approaches.

Are the Celtics done? Can the Lakers figure things out in time?

Age is a big problem for Boston, but those old legs are doing just fine in San Antonio.

Things have gotten so bad in Boston, there's even talk of blowing up the 'Big Three.' Paul Pierce's numbers are WAY down and Kevin Garnett looks ancient out there.

On the other hand, the San Antonio Spurs are doing just fine led by ageing players. Manu Ginobili is out for another 6 weeks with an injury, but it hasn't stopped Tony Parker and a deep bench from putting up wins against much younger playoff contenders like Orlando, Portland, Memphis, and the LA Clippers.

Ricky Rubio is making people notice the Minnesota Timberwolves.

We know, the Timberwolves are in last place behind four playoff teams in their own division, but they've already beaten the Mavs, Spurs, and Clippers. Ricky Rubio has changed the attitude around the team, helping Kevin Love continue to improve his game and Luke Ridnour find the skills that made him a lottery pick in 2003.

Introducing your new Eastern Conference powers: Pacers and 76ers.

Keeping with the old adage that defence wins championships, both Indiana and Philadelphia's young squads are surprising everyone around the league by allowing less than 90 points a game. Both also easily define the word 'team,' as each features seven players averaging double figures in points and eight players averaging at least 16 minutes per game.

The Magic are so good they probably WON'T trade Dwight Howard anytime soon.

Despite speculation over all the distractions Dwight Howard's trade demands would cause, the Orlando Magic are in the thick of a playoff hunt while their All-Star centre scores, rebounds, and blocks shots like his usual dominant self.

Sorry Nets and Lakers fans, but Orlando is better off trying to get one more championship run out of Howard.

The Heat, Thunder, and Bulls are exactly who we thought they were: the NBA's best.

As expected Miami, Oklahoma City, and Chicago are playing at a different level compared to the rest of the league.

All three of these teams are among the NBA's top 10 in scoring, while LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose lead the early list of MVP candidates.

EVERYONE is getting injured and playing sloppy because of the rushed 66-game schedule.

Quick! Name five superstars who have gone down with injuries this season. Well it wouldn't take you very long, as the list includes Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Manu Ginobili, Zach Randolph, Danny Granger, Jason Kidd, and others.

Also, scoring is down an average of five points per game per team compared to last season. The last time it was this bad? The 1998-99 lockout shortened season.

The Lakers and Knicks offenses are absolute messes.

Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony are taking way too many shots. In the process, Pau Gasol and Amar'e Stoudemire are being lost in the shuffle.

The Lakers have had trouble with championship contenders, losing to the Clippers, Heat, Bulls, and Magic. New York has already dropped games to sorry sack teams like Toronto, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Phoenix.

The Clippers take over of Los Angeles isn't going as smoothly as predicted.

Sure 'Lob City' is filling up Sportscenter's top 10 every night and the Clips have already beaten the Lakers once, but their half court offence is shaky at best. Another big problem is that other than their two highly-touted big men -- DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin -- the Clippers don't hit the boards, ranking dead last in rebounding.

No Deron or Melo, No Problem: Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets have showed you can win without superstars.

Like the Pacers and 76ers in the East, the Jazz and Nuggets play a team first brand of basketball devoid of big name stars.

Utah pounds opponents with their interior depth, while Denver shoots the lights out (105 points per game at a 48 per cent clip) with six players averaging at least 10 a game.

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