By Kaloyan Ivanov
Full of emotional returns, big hopes and unexpected performances the 2014-2015 NBA season might just be the most vivid and exciting one in recent memory.
It all started with the 2014 NBA draft when many eyes followed the up and coming talents of rookie guards Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins get drafted. The top two draft picks had different fates with the first suffering a season-ending injury early on and the latter being traded from Cleveland to Minnesota in a deal that brought All-star forward Kevin Love to the Cavaliers.
LeBron James decided to “come home” addressing the Cleveland fans in an emotional letter. A “Big Three” was formed consisting of James, guard Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. But all has not been well for the Cavs who are currently running behind from their expectations. Cleveland is fifth in the East with a 19-14 record, raising speculations over the future of rookie coach David Blatt and his control over the team and a recent two-week injury blow of LeBron James.
A nice surprise in the East have been the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks. Both teams are without what some might say a “superstar” in their team, but are holding on to the first two places in the Eastern conference. Reports are also circulating that the Hawks franchise is going to be put on the market in the upcoming week.
On the other side of the table, the West has been extremely competitive. Nine out of 15 teams have a positive record with the Golden State Warriors leading the way followed by the Portland Trailblazers and the defensively strong Memphis Grizzlies. Guard Stephen Curry of the Warriors has established himself as the front runner to the Kia MVP award.
Oklahoma City Thunder have been experiencing problems early on in the season with their two major stars, Russell Westbrook and the current league MVP Kevin Durant getting injured. A team that was seen as a contender before the start of the season now can’t afford to lose any more games as experts say that even a 45-37 record, as shown in previous seasons, wouldn’t bring the Thunder in to playoffs in the though West. But both stars have returned in to action and as a result the team has won six out of their last ten games standing now 10th in the West with a 17-17 record.
Other big news have been Kobe Bryant making history and surpassing Michael Jordan on the all-time leading scorer list at the third place in a 100-94 win against the Timberwolves in December. He now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
We’re thirty games in to the 2014-2015 NBA, but everything has been unpredictable so far. Will Cleveland bounce back and establish itself as a legit title contender? Can we expect for Kobe Bryant to go for more records and the Thunder to make it to the playoffs? With such a hectic and unpredictable season anything can be considered a surprise.
Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics: Rondo leads Mavs to victory in return to Boston
On Friday night Rajon Rondo helped the Dallas Mavericks to overcome his former team the Boston Celtics with a dominating 119-101 win.
The veteran point guard from Kentucky was traded on December 18th in a deal that saw Boston acquiring several players and two future draft picks in return. The deal ended long speculations on Rondo’s future in Boston that were ongoing for the last few seasons.
Emotions were already running high before the game as a full-packed TD Garden prepared to honour the last member to leave the Boston organization of the famous Celtics team that won the championship in 2008. Rondo received a standing ovation in the pregame warm-ups and introduction.
From the start the Mavericks dominated the court. They used the open spaces on the perimeter to score three-pointers as the Celtics struggled to get under the basket. Rondo delivered a fine display of performance as he finished with a season-high 29 points, scored the first ten for his team and made a career-high five baskets from behind the arc.
After the end of the first period a video tribute was played in honour of the former Celtics point guard who spent eight seasons in Boston. More standing ovations followed as Rondo got up from the bench to thank and wave to the fans.
The game continued with Dallas staying in control throughout much of the game. The Celtics came close to no more than ten point differential in the fourth, but Dallas pulled away again.
Monta Ellis added 22 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 17 and Tyson Chandler collected 16 rebounds paving the way for a fourth consecutive Mavs victory. For the Celtics Avery Bradley scored 22 points and Tyler Zeller had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Boston (11-19) are playing the red-hot Chicago Bulls next on Saturday night as Dallas (24-10) are continuing their three-game away trip in Cleveland to play the LeBron-less Cavs on Sunday.