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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

NBA early season recap

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Sports

The NBA season is now several weeks old but it is never too soon to analyze how the season is going. Some teams are unexpectedly floundering while others are surprisingly dominant. And the Detroit Pistons are undefeated heading into Wednesday.

Miami has gotten off to a 5-3 start. Part of the reason for this is the ankle injury sustained by Shaquille ONeal. This injury has two impacts to the Heat. The first and obvious impact is that Miami will be without one of the top centers for a period of time. The second and less obvious impact is the one this will have over the course of the season. Alonzo Mourning cannot maintain playing more than half of the game for long. Because of his kidney transplant several years ago, Mourning just does not have the stamina or health to play for the majority of a game. Mourning is going to wear out and will have to miss time down the road.

Several teams have been dominating so far. The Detroit Pistons, whose only major change was in their head coach, won their first 7 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing well under LeBron James and their newest acquisitions. Cleveland has had several blowout victories already. The San Antonio Spurs team of stars is on top of the Western Conference, as expected. The Los Angeles Clippers are a major surprise and are at the top of the Western Conference.

Two surprisingly dominating teams this year have been the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards. The Bucks last minute pre-season trade of Desmond Mason for Jamaal Magloire greatly improved their team and T.J. Fords comeback has energized the team. The Wizards found a way to get around the loss of Larry Hughes and Kwame Brown and maintain their spot atop the Eastern Conference.

Three teams that are suffering so far this year are Houston, Sacramento, and Seattle. All three were predicted to make the playoffs, but are at the bottom of the pile instead. While Houston did lose Tracy McGrady for a few games, none of the teams have had an obvious reason for losing.

The Boston Celtics are one of the few teams that have had the same starting lineup the entire season so far. Every starter is contributing well, led by Paul Pierce. The Celtics are also playing stronger defense that last year. The most obvious indicator is that they are giving up fewer points per game than they did last season.

Finally, one of the big questions this year is Can Steve Nash repeat for MVP? Nashs repeat depends on several players. These are Quentin Richardson, Joe Johnson, Raja Bell, James Jones, and Boris Diaw. If the two shooters that left Phoenix falter and the three new acquisitions flourish, then Nash really is the difference maker and should be crowned MVP a second time.