NBA second half predictions

Tom Finnegan

The second half of the season is underway and if it is anything like the first half, we are in for a thrilling finish. Most people would just like to sit and watch as everything plays itself out. Not me. I feel that we need someone to come along and predict what is going to happen — and I am that person. And after watching basketball for my last 18 years of my life, who better than me to predict the rest of the basketball season.

The Lakers will win the NBA championship for a fourth straight year. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the Lakers. I would love it if they didn’t even make the playoffs. But you know as well as I do that there is no chance of that happening. Once in the playoffs, the Lakers are a completely different team. Players like Brian Shaw and Robert Horry begin to look like they belong in the NBA. Shaq puts on his game face and actually puts forth effort during the games. When teams play the Lakers in the playoffs, they find ways to lose games — every other team seems to choke.

Also, the Lakers have some momentum going into the second half of the season. They were one game over .500 before the break, and after beating up on the Nuggets, they are now three games over .500 and are on a seven-game winning streak. Lately, Kobe Bryant has been playing like a young Michael Jordan. He is averaging 42 points over the Lakers seven-game winning streak. It kills me to say this, but Bryant is by far the best player in the NBA. Look for the Lakers, led by Bryant, rather than Shaq, to take the West and the Championship.

The Pistons will win the East. The Bad Boys are back. Reminiscent of the days of Isaiah Thomas, Bill Lambeer and Dennis Rodman, the Pistons are old school. They play the best defense in the league, led by shot-blocking machine Ben Wallace. Wallace is averaging almost 15 rebounds and three blocks per game, plus he has a sweet afro. The Pistons just destroy opposing teams. Every player on the court dives for loose balls, boxes out and plays tough defense. They are leading the league in defense, holding opposing teams to only 85 points per game. On the offensive end, the Pistons have solved some problems. Led by Richard Hamilton and Chauncy Billups, Detroit can finally put some points on the board, this should be enough to propel them to first.

The Wizards will make the playoffs. I don’t know why this team is so bad at times. They have a pretty good squad. Obviously, there is Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time. Although he isn’t the best player in the NBA any more, he can still play. They also have Jerry Stackhouse, who can put points on the board in bunches. He can hit the three and also drive and finish with authority. The rest of the team is decent. Larry Hughes is very athletic, can play good defense and can score. Brendan Haywood and Kwame Brown are solid on the inside. They also have a very good player in Byron Russell. If you look at the East, there is no team that can catch the Wizards for the last playoff berth. The two closest teams are the Knicks and the Magic, and both have been playing terribly. Washington will be one and done, but at least they’ll make the playoffs.

Lebron James will set many high school records … for NCAA rules violations. Why does the NCAA and the Ohio High School Athletic Association even care to investigate this kid anymore? Why even try to figure out all of the rules that he has broken? Let him buy a freakin’ stealth bomber if he wants because he’s gonna be the number one pick in the draft and he’s gonna make millions off of his contract and shoe endorsements. Oh yeah, another prediction — James will sign with Nike.

Well there you have it, my predictions. They are bold and daring, much like those new Doritos. You can be assured that chance that any of these predictions coming true is slim to none, but if one thing is right, then I will be able to gloat, until next time.