Commentary

Top 10 things to watch in second half

Can LeBron James best Wilt Chamberlain in PER, and other trends to keep an eye on

Originally Published: February 27, 2012
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
Kobe BryantMatthew Emmons/US PresswireShawn Marion and the Mavericks have been playing stellar D. Can they continue in the second half?

Sure, there were some unfortunate injuries and plenty of equally unfortunate shooting displays, but overall, we just witnessed a fantastic first half of NBA basketball. And there's still so much basketball to be played.

Here are 10 trends I'm watching after the All-Star Break:

1. The Dallas Mavericks' D allowed an NBA-best 94.3 points per 100 possessions in February.

So how long will the national audience sleep on this team? Perhaps it's because Tyson Chandler is anchoring someone else's defense. Perhaps it's because they have radically sat their star Dirk Nowitzki with no apparent injury. Perhaps it's because they didn't get off to a sparkling start like they did last season. Whatever the reason, you need to be paying attention.

Holy smokes, has this defense been good. Despite playing without their championship anchor in Chandler and their defensive guru assistant coach Dwane Casey (who's now calling shots for the Toronto Raptors), the Mavericks have quietly suffocated teams with their defense. The perplexing thing is that their offense has been a mess (19th in the NBA) this season, but something tells me this is a sleeping giant. Or maybe it's just that Nowitzki still suits up for them.


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