The NBA is Back
The NBA is Back
By Lee Whittemore
After a lockout that lasted 161 days, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached an agreement allowing the 2011-12 season to occur. The lockout began after the Collective Bargaining Agreement established in 2005 expired on July 1st, 2011, causing players, fans, and owners to worry about whether there would even be a season. Players were not allowed to use team facilities during the lockout, causing many to play their basketball abroad. The lockout cut into the NBA regular season quite significantly, normally set to begin at the end of October and instead beginning on Christmas Day.
The regular season, normally intended to be 82 games, was reduced to 66 due to the duration of the lockout. The shortened season is theorized to favor older aged teams like the Boston Celtics, who would have more energy left for the playoffs, while younger teams may have less time to work out possible problems that rookies sometimes encounter. Despite the fewer games, they are played with more frequency. While a normal season would have two nights where a particular team would play twice, the shortened version has some teams playing three nights in a row, making fatigue a large factor.
The normal powerhouses of the NBA are favored again this year. The Miami Heat, led by trio Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are expected to excel in the Eastern Conference along with the likes of the Celtics and the New York Knicks. The Philadelphia 76ers hold a surprising 2nd place in the east with a record of 11-4.
In the West, the usually favored Los Angeles Lakers are again expected to do well, alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder and the current NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. The often forgotten Los Angles Clippers are causing a stir behind All-Star point guard Chris Paul and Dunk Champion Blake Griffin. Currently, the Mavericks and Lakers are not meeting pre-season expectations, but the Thunder and Clippers are off to great starts.