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. Next in line? The Southwest Division.

Dallas Mavericks, projected record: 55-27

Does that sound about right?

Sure. The Mavericks are old and top-heavy but quite talented, they defend well, are well-coached, and have Dirk Nowitzki(notes) on their side. And I'm not sure if you've noticed, but Dirk Nowitzki has been ballin' this season, putting up 25.5 points per game with almost eight rebounds a contest. The biggest worry is this team's shooting from the outside, which can go cold, and the fact that they've won so many close contests. No matter how great (or how lousy) the team, those records in close games tend to even out.

San Antonio Spurs, projected record: 51-31

Does that sound about right?

Taken the right way, sure. The team has had to deal with plenty of injuries, limited minutes for Tim Duncan(notes), and a host of new faces. But reputation tends to linger, and because the Spurs always seem to overcome whatever obstacles you put in front of them, they still feel a bit lacking while only on pace for 51 wins despite all the roadblocks. Manu Ginobili(notes) has slowly gotten better as the season has moved along, and Duncan's been brilliant, but the team doesn't defend as well as it used to, and Tony Parker's(notes) foot injury won't heal properly until the offseason.

Houston Rockets, projected record: 47-35

Does that sound about right?

Of course it does. Half this team could get lost on the way to the arena, never to be seen again, and we'd still expect them to win more games than they lose. The Rockets can't be destroyed, we know that. Doesn't matter that almost 39 million dollars worth of salary is injured and done for the season, or that the team has actually fallen off to the ranks of the mediocre defensively. Or that they seem to play 11 power forwards a night. The Rockets keep winning, because they want it more than you.

New Orleans Hornets, projected record: 45-37

Does that sound about right?

No. The Hornets have overachieved a bit since Jeff Bower took over as ostensible coach, winning a heap of close games and bailing out a ship that is losing money and running out of time. Chris Paul(notes) has been typically brilliant, and while Peja Stojakovic(notes) and Emeka Okafor(notes) have been inconsistent at best, they trade off enough good nights to pull out tough, close wins. These Hornets are winning by the skins of their teeth, and you have to respect that.

Memphis Grizzlies, projected record: 45-37

Does that sound about right?

Hell, no. Only Kevin Pelton and the guys from Basketball Prospectus predicted that Grizzlies as having anything resembling a winning record. I thought the team would hang onto Allen Iverson(notes) to spite its face, but I underestimated the resolve of Lionel Hollins, who has this team working its tail off. The defense is still miserable, but this group is a fun watch who can put up points in a hurry, with reformed me-first guys Zach Randolph(notes) and Rudy Gay(notes) leading the way.

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