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Fact or Fiction

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We're just about at the All-Star Break, and that means we’re heading into the second half of the NBA season. Check out some of the hot topic items as we head further into 2014 for NBA betting fans, as we decipher which is fact and which is fiction.

Fact

The Detroit Pistons Could Be the Best "Other" Team in the East: We know that the Pacers and the Heat are the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, but aside from that, it's up for interpretation. We think that the Pistons are starting to come into their own though, as they scored big home wins this past week over Denver and Brooklyn. No team can throw a lineup on the court as big as Detroit can, as Josh Smith makes an awesome shooting guard. Andre Drummond is one of the best rebounders in the league, and Greg Monroe is a center which can dominate at times. The Pistons are still a couple guards away from being able to really compete, but to think that this team could get into the playoffs and push some teams is definitely plausible. And, the recent firing of head coach Maurice Cheeks might actually spart this underachieving club.
 
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GM Chris Grant Needed To Go
: The Cavs dismissed general manager Chris Grant this past week in a move that flat out had to be made. Cleveland has drafted poorly for the most part since the departure of LeBron James, and trading for Luol Deng and then watching the team fall apart was probably the final straw. It's time to hit the reset button again in Cleveland, and for a franchise that really never recovered from the last time it hit the reset button, this could be a brutal overhaul.
 
The Washington Wizards Might Literally Be a Player Away: Washington made it above .500 for the first time in several seasons this week, and the only reason why it isn't still above .500 is because it lost a heartbreaker to Cleveland on Friday. Still, this is a team that really hasn't played a terrible game in almost a month, and the pieces are really starting to come together. The backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal looks to be legit, and Marcin Gortat is a serviceable center. The depth for this team is suspect at best, but at least the Wizards are headed in the right direction. After years of losing, this is firmly a playoff team and it might evolve into a contender again next season.
 
Fiction 

The Houston Rockets as NBA Championship Contenders: The time is going to come when the Rockets realize that they are the new incarnation of the Suns. They aren't going to be able to keep Chandler Parsons around when it comes time to re-up his contract, and they don't have the team right now to do the job either. Sure, Houston has won five straight games, but it has only won one of those on the road against a legit foe. We'll see what happens when the Rockets have to travel to San Antonio or Los Angeles or Oklahoma City in the postseason. We just don't see Dwight Howard and James Harden being a good enough duo to stick with the bulky teams in the Western Conference at really any point in the near future.

The New Orleans Pelicans Being a Joke: The Pelicans are seven-games under .500, and we have spoken about them at length as potential contenders down the line in the future before. New Orleans is 3-5 SU and ATS this season in games in which Anthony Davis doesn't play, so if it can just keep its big man on the court, we might see some amazing things happen. The Pelicans have gone 6-1 SU and ATS in their last seven with Davis in the lineup, and they might be able to play the spoiler role in the Southwest Division this year.
 
The Minnesota Timberwolves Beating Anyone Without Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic: There really might not be a worse team in the league right now in its current form than Minnesota. Granted, it's not the Timberwolves' fault that both Pekovic and Love are out of the lineup, as they are both injured. Without them though, the team had little chance against either the Trail Blazers or the Pelicans, especially with Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng really being the only big men on the roster. Love and Pekovic badly need to get back in the lineup in a hurry if Minnesota wants to even think about contending for a playoff spot in the West.

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Friday's Tip Sheet
Akins: Hoop Trends - Friday
Sportsbook: Friday's Top Action
News: SB50 Cross-Sport Props
Dunk champ LaVine has new tricks
Jazz-Wizards rescheduled for Feb. 18
All-Star Saturday participants released
Spurs' star Ginobili out at least a month
Caldwell-Pope out with groin injury
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