By TaRon Richardson
LifeOfTheDogs.com reporter

The National Basketball Association season has been under way for four months and the All-Star Weekend was two weeks ago.

All-Star Weekend is a venue in which some of the NBA’s biggest stars come together and have events that fans attend such as the Celebrity All-Star Game, The Foot Locker 3pt Contest, The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, Rookies and Sophomores Game, The Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the newly added Degree Shooting Stars sponsored by State Farm, and The 2015 All-Star Game.

nba280x150All-Star Weekend has been televised on TNT for the past 16 years. It has been the 65th All-Star game and was hosted by Brooklyn, New York.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the winner of the Foot Locker 3pt Contest. Timberwolves rookie guard Zach LeVine won the Sprite Slam Dunk Competition. Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins won MVP for the Rookies and Sophomores Game. And finally on Sunday night, the All-Star game was played. The West beat the East 163-154. The MVP was Russell Westbrook, who had 41 points and came one point shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 points.

But with All-Star weekend over, most look forward to the playoffs with the NBA halfway through the season. Many NBA fans are hoping their teams makes it to the playoffs, which include eight teams from the Western Conference and eight teams from the Eastern Conference. The first seed of each conference plays against the eighth, the second plays the seventh seed, the third plays the sixth seed, and the fourth seed plays against the fifth seed. The teams will play in a seven-game series and the winner advances on. When there is only one team from each conference remaining, those two teams will play in the NBA Finals.

The team with the best record in each conferences will clinch home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs are currently 15 games over .500, but their record this season has been overshadowed by the records of the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.

But why are people talking about the playoffs already when they don’t start until April 21? Even though it’s a month away, there are only 25 to 30 games left in the season. After the All-Star game, the games that are left are consider  “Crunch Time Games,” because the wins can decide whether or not the team will be in the playoffs.

The Miami Heat is one of the sleeper teams this season.  The Miami Heat has won two of out the last four NBA championships and has been in the playoffs 18 out of the last 23 years. They are currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The teams that have surprised most fans, players, and even the coaches are the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks, which are first in standings in their respective conferences.

Coach Steve Kerr, a former player who won five NBA championships, has lead the Warriors to a 42-9 record with early MVP candidate, point guard Stephen Curry, leading the team in points, assists, steals, and plus-minus.

Another early MVP candidate is Houston Rocket’s shooting guard James Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring with 27.2 points per game.

With the season winding down, the second half of the season should be very interesting for the teams trying to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Contact TaRon Richardson at taronrich1231@gmail.com.