This week in the NBA

Wake Forest was a huge contributor to the NBA All-Star weekend that took place in Houston, Texas on Feb. 15-17. It seemed as though a former Deacon was stealing the show in any of the many events that took place.

Photo courtesy of lakers.blog.com

Chris Paul, who propelled Wake Forest to No.1 in the country for the first time in program history during his time as a Deacon from 2003-2005, earned MVP honors in the weekend’s main event, the NBA All Star Game. While the All-Star Game is the ultimate showcase of the best of the best, the point guard made Wake proud as he racked up 20 points, 15 assists, and four steals in the Western Conference’s winning effort.

Forward Tim Duncan, who led Wake Forest to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 1994-1997, was also selected to be on the Western Conference All-Star roster. Duncan is currently a well-established veteran and team leader for the San Antonio Spurs who sit at 42-12, the NBA’s best record overall.

Jeff Teague represented Wake as a part of the Saturday Night Skills Challenge in which he helped the Eastern Conference win big by a margin of 30-10. The former Deacon point guard was a key contributor to Wake’s upset win over Duke and No. 1 ranking in the 2007-2008 season.

Lastly, Wake Forest alumnus Muggsy Bogues competed in the Shooting Stars Competition. The 5 foot 3 guard averaged 14.8 points per game, 9.5 assists per game, and 3.9 steals per game during his senior season at Wake and went on to represent the Deacons in the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

Looking Forward

Three things to look for in the second half of the season:

1)                    While the San Antonio Spurs own the best record in the NBA, the Miami Heat closed out the season on a torrid pace winning all of their final seven games. At 36-14, it’s frightening to think the already red hot Heat is just warming up (no pun intended). Unfortunately for the rest of the NBA, this is likely the case. With no ceiling on 28-year old LeBron James’s potential, his record breaking performances this season are likely just the start of many more amazing feats to come in this future hall of famer’s career.

2)                    After suffering a 17-25 season record through January, the Los Angeles Lakers closed out the half with an 8-4 record that boosted the team to just 3 ½ games out of the playoff picture. This hot streak could be the beginnings of a dangerous second half for the Lakers, or could fizzle away as nothing more than a flash of brilliance.

3)                    The Boston Celtics, who win the award for most injured team in the first half, have somehow salvaged playoff hopes. With Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and Leandro Barbosa all out, it’s a wonder the C’s managed to close out the half winning eight out of nine to climb to 28-24. It’s easy to think that a team as injury plagued as this poses has no real chance at a deep post season run, but it’s important to remember the depth of this team. Point guard Avery Bradley, forward Jeff Green, guard Jason Terry have done a fantastic job rising to the occasion as the team has come to rely on them more. At this point, it’s safe to say Boston’s fate this season hinges on the performance of these three players.