Ball Don't Lie - NBA

If you can wrap your mind around it, we're actually at the midway point of the NBA season. Most teams have played either 41 or 40 games, and with our limited math skills, this allows us to project a team's record for the entire season, flush with the knowledge that these teams have had half a season to get things right.

Do these projected records sound about right? Click the jump for more. Up this time? The Central Division.

Cleveland Cavaliers, projected record: 62-20

Does that sound about right?

With the best player in the game and a solid supporting cast? Sure. The team had defensive struggles and looked shockingly poor offensively in the first week of the season, but both areas have turned around in Cleveland's favor. LeBron James(notes) is far and away the league's MVP thus far, and the Cavs are seventh in offensive efficiency in spite of what is often an aesthetic mess on that end. The trick now? What to do with those expiring contracts, if the Cavs (who could blow some 2010 cap space by trading for an Antawn Jamison(notes) or David West(notes)) do anything at all.

Chicago Bulls, projected record: 37-45

Does that sound about right?

Probably. The team at once under and overachieves, the coaching can run from something that absolutely destroys the team's chances, to something that the team is able to overcome, and the result (as it was last year) is a record near or at .500. The Bulls have quite a few road games left this year, so it's possible that the mathematic course toward 37 might be a little optimistic.

Milwaukee Bucks, projected record: 35-47

Does that sound about right?

No. Through an All-Star season from Andrew Bogut(notes), the emergence of Luke Ridnour(notes) and Brandon Jennings(notes) at the point guard spot, and a good batch of coaching from Scott Skiles, it's hard to believe this team is still under .500. Losing Michael Redd(notes) hurts, of course, but he wasn't really helping the Bucks much when he was on the court, and the team is used to him being gone at this point. But still, when did all these losses pile up? Must've been moral victories that I wasn't accurately responding to.

Detroit Pistons, projected record: 31-51

Does that sound about right?

If you look at the roster, and then look at this team's injury woes (Ben Gordon(notes), Richard Hamilton(notes), and Tayshaun Price have played just 48 combined games), then the record seems appropriate. It seems even more appropriate when you factor in Hamilton's averageness, and Prince's overall poor play, alongside the fact that most of the rest of the roster has been hurt at times as well. That said, in watching the games, it's clear that this team needs to be making better decisions on both ends. Injuries are rough, but these Pistons had a chance to overachieve, and missed out.

Indiana Pacers, projected record: 28-54

Does that sound about right?

This team has had quite a few injuries of its own, but even with those, the Pacers should be at least approaching mediocrity, and not this far away from it. Uninspired starts and bad chemistry (anyone seen T.J. Ford(notes) ... lately?) have left the Pacers giving up continuous 30+ point first quarters, as the crowds in Indianapolis dwindle. This is Larry Bird's mess, it's not a good mess, and we're a little surprised we haven't heard more from the Hall of Famer regarding the potential destruction of said mess.

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