The NBA season is over the hump having just reached the halfway mark.  For some teams  like the Rockets, this point hasn’t come soon enough; for others, they would have preferred things to move much slower.  From players just getting into their groove to others just returning from season-long injuries, it might be too little too late for a shot at the title.  Still, no competitor will be willing to give up the ball, and will refuse to go down without a fight to the bitter end.

Rockets Finally Lifting Off After Changes

Clint Capela was sent away from the Houston Rockets recently after under-delivering this year.  In return, Robert Covington has been brought in and it appears that, albeit a little later than the Rockets would have liked, the team is finally lifting off.  P.J. Tucker was put at center, Russell Westbrook has shown vast improvements and the team, in general, is meshing better.  Since Capela left, the Rockets are 9-2 and the squad is showing moves no one thought it had.

Perhaps his improved performance will help Westbrook get the respect he deserves.  Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies believes that he’s “highly disrespected,” despite having nine All-Star appearances, and would like to see him have more fans.  Morant could probably start a fan club to attract more attention, and says of his favorite player, “I just love that he still just goes out and plays and handles his business and doesn’t worry about it.”

Per NBA rules, for a player to make a playoff appearance with a new team, he has to have been waived prior to March 1 of the previous season.  This means that, if the Miami Heat want to get squared away for next year, the team only has a couple of days to make potential moves.  One possibility being discussed, according to rumors, is letting go of Solomon Hill.  This would be a win-win, as it would allow the Heat to possibly seek luxury-tax relief, and Hill would be able to go to a team that has the chance of making it to the playoffs.

How About The Nets?

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving might finally be healed enough to start spending more time with the Brooklyn Nets. They’ve both had to deal with serious injuries in the NBA this season and have avoided traveling with the team on the road.  Now, it seems that, even though they might not see any game time, they’re healthy enough to at least travel and support their team on away games.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has had a pretty good run lately.  He racked up over 50 points in two consecutive games, despite the team going on to lose both times.  The NBA wants to know if his performance is due to his own virtues, or if he had some assistance.  The league has ordered Beal to undergo a drug test to determine if his skills in those games were enhanced.  After his outstanding feat in the games, the Nets thought they could hit him with a box-and-one treatment last night, but it didn’t work.  He scored 30 points and helped the Wiz break its losing streak.

Chances of Beal popping positive on the test are pretty slim, but Malik Monk of the Charlotte Hornets knows what it feels like to be busted.  Monk, a third-year reserve, was suspended indefinitely by the NBA this past Monday for violating the league’s anti-drug rules, and won’t be allowed back on an NBA court until “he is determined to be in full compliance,” according to a league statement.  His suspension began ahead of Charlotte’s game against the New York Knicks last night, and it could reportedly cost him about $27,000 a game.

LeBron James didn’t mind showing on Instagram yesterday how he was able to dunk on Josh Hart when the LA Lakers took on the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday.  James put up a couple of pictures, as well as a video, of the action, which would have been embarrassing enough for the Pels’ forward.  However, Rihanna stepped up to rub salt in the wound, responding to the Instagram post, “Anybody check on Hart?”