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The All-Star Weekend came and went, the players are getting a much-needed breather throughout the league, but come Thursday, we will be back on and the season will get to its much more heated second half. So, what is going to happen, who is going to cruise into the playoffs and who will stagger? These are our predictions for the second half of the NBA season 2015-16.
For one, we believe that the Golden State Warriors might actually break the Bulls record of 72-10. Their schedule is more difficult in the second part of the season, but with teams getting tired and resting their players, the Dubs will probably cruise to the playoffs. Once there, we see very little chance that anyone will be able to stop them in their quest for another title. That is, of course, provided they remain as healthy as they have been these last year and a half.
Also in the West, we see the Memphis Grizzlies falling off, perhaps even all the way out of the playoff race. Marc Gasol, the anchor of their team, has suffered a season-ending injury and they will find it extremely difficult to stay in the race without him. On the other hand, we believe that the Utah Jazz might be on the rise, with most of their players finally getting healthy and with another post-All-Star surge brewing in Salt Lake City.
In the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the Conference locked down pretty much, but we think there might be some serious moves in the rest of the East. For instance, we think that the Washington Wizards might actually turn it up a notch and break into the Top 8 places that lead to the playoffs. We are expecting the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets to drop off a bit, especially the Hornets whose main player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been sidelined with another injury.
As far as trades are concerned, it feels that the teams are not really ready to make any major moves, probably because the Spurs and the Warriors are so good that no trade could make a team good enough to take them on this year. But who knows. You can never disregard other franchises. For instance, we would not be surprised to see the Boston Celtics make a big trade before the deadline, trying to contend more seriously with the Cavs.