Mid-Season Heat Check

January 12, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

A slow Wednesday featured a lot of punchy headlines, but not much substance. The NBA and NHL seasons are reaching the mid-season checkpoint, and we\’re taking a closer look at what\’s to come in the second half. Plus, one NFL team is without their pro bowl quarterback for Super Wild Card Weekend, and playoff football is just two days away.

Letter Rip!



NBA Mid-Season Heat Check


Checking In With NBA Standings, Stats & Awards Leaders at the Halfway Point


The NBA season is officially half gone with every team surpassing the 41-game mark in an 82-game season. And with that, we’re starting to tab all-stars, award-winners, and more as we unpack the conference races that are unfolding. The East features five giants vying for supremacy while the West is a little more top-heavy. We have our eyes on five MVP candidates at the halfway point, but anything can happen down the stretch. Here’s where they stand, as well as awards leaders nearing the all-star break.


NBA Standings


Eastern Conference

1. Celtics (30-12)

2. Nets (27-13)

3. Bucks (27-14)

4. 76ers (25-15)

5. Cavaliers (26-16)

6. Knicks (23-19)

7. Pacers (23-19)

8. Heat (22-20)

9. Hawks (19-22)

10. Bulls (19-23)


Other: Raptors (18-23), Wizards (18-24), Magic (16-26), Pistons (12-33), Hornets (11-31)


Western Conference

1. Grizzlies (28-13)

2. Nuggets (28-13)

3. Pelicans (25-17)

4. Mavericks (23-19)

5. Kings (22-18)

6. Clippers (22-21)

7. Suns (21-21)

8. Warriors (20-21)

9. Jazz (21-23)

10. Timberwolves (20-22)


Other: Blazers (19-21), Lakers (19-22), Thunder (18-23), Spurs (13-29), Rockets (10-31)


NBA Mid-Season Awards


MVP Ladder

L. Doncic (DAL): 34.2 PPG, 8.9 REB, 8.7 AST (50.1% FG)

N. Jokic (DEN): 25.0 PPG, 10.8 REB, 9.7 AST (61.6% FG)

G. Antetokounmpo (MIL): 31.7 PPG, 11.8 REB, 5.2 AST (52.7% FG)

J. Tatum (BOS): 30.8 PPG, 8.1 REB, 4.2 AST (47.2% FG)

K. Durant (BKN): 29.7 PPG, 6.7 REB, 5.3 AST (55.9% FG)


Defensive Player of the Year: Brook Lopez (MIL)

Rookie of the Year: Paolo Banchero (ORL)

6th Man of the Year: Jordan Poole (GSW)

Most Improved Player: Lauri Markkanen (UTA)

Coach of the Year: Jacque Vaughn (BKN)


Additional Storylines & Highlights

NBA: LeBron James, Kevin Durant Lead in 1st Fan Returns of All-Star Voting

NBA: Jaylen Brown (41) Outduels CJ McCollum (38) as Celtics Top Pelicans

HoH: Kyle Kuzma Hits Game-Winning 3 to Lift Wizards Over Bulls (100-97)



Dolphin Dive: Tua Ruled Out


QB Tua Tagovailoa Ruled Out For Dolphins-Bills AFC Wild Card Game With Concussion Concerns


The Dolphins-Bills AFC East rivalry clash in the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs won’t have the sizzle it could’ve had after Miami officially ruled out QB Tua Tagovailoa on Wednesday. Tagovailoa remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol where he was placed on Dec. 26. It was the second time Tua suffered a concussion during the 2022 season, and it leaves the Dolphins turning to rookie QB Skylar Thompson for Super Wild Card Weekend. The Dolphins and Bills split the regular-season matchups (1-1) with both games decided by three points or less.


The Dolphin Dive

Miami was a pleasant surprise early in the NFL season with an 8-3 start that included two win streaks of three and five games, but it’s been a Dolphin dive ever since. They lost five straight down the stretch before surviving in Week 18 to nab the AFC’s 7-seed. Their reward? Buffalo in January with a third-string quarterback.


Dolphin Quarterback Records (2022)

Tua Tagovailoa (8-5)

Teddy Bridgewater (0-2)

Skylar Thompson (1-1)


The Dolphins’ only win without Tagovailoa was an 11-6 barn-burner behind Thompson in Week 18. Buffalo, on the other hand, are winners of seven straight and riding the spirit of Damar Hamlin’s recovery. The Bills were 9-point favorites, but that will certainly grow before kickoff.


Additional Storylines

Yahoo! Sports: NFL Betting: Bills-Dolphins Line Moves After Tua Ruled Out

NBC Sports: Dolphins Rule Out Tua Tagovailoa for AFC Wild Card, Prepared to Start Skylar Thompson



Metro Madness \"🤯\"


Travis Konecny’s Hat Trick Leads Flyers Past Capitals to Tighten Chaotic Metro Race


If the Metropolitan Division wasn’t an absolute dogfight, it is now. The Flyers — ranked 7th of 8 teams in the division — used a hat trick from Travis Konecny to oust the Capitals (5-3) for their second straight win. Scott Laughton also added a goal and two assists for Philly, and the Flyers have won six of their last seven to tighten the screws on the NHL’s most chaotic division. The Metro features seven of eight teams with more than 40 points, and teams 1-7 are separated by just 16 total points (see below). What looked like a narrow six-team sprint has now brought Philly — the hottest team in the division — into the fold by the season’s midway point.


Watch: Konecny’s Hat Trick Leads Flyers Past Caps (5-3)


Metropolitan Division Race

1. Hurricanes (57 pts)

2. Devils (55 pts)

3. Rangers (53 pts)

4. Capitals (52 pts)

5. Penguins (48 pts)

6. Islanders (47 pts)

7. Flyers (41 pts)


Full NHL Standings


Additional Storylines

NHL: Mitch Marner Scores Go-Ahead Power-Play Goal to Boost Leafs Past Preds (2-1)

ESPN: Midseason Report Cards: Grades for All 32 NHL Teams at Midseason of 2022-23



NCAA Scoreboard

Men’s Basketball (Top-10)

#1 Houston def. South Florida (83-77)

#4 Alabama def. #15 Arkansas (84-69)

#25 Marquette def. #6 UConn (82-76)

#10 Texas def. #17 TCU (79-75)


Women’s Basketball (Top-10)

#4 UConn def. St. John’s (82-52)



\"🏈\" The Lowest CFB Title Game Ratings

It appears fans did not feel like watching most of Monday\’s College Football Playoff title game between Georgia and TCU, and it\’s difficult to blame them. The 65-7 show of force from Georgia yielded the least-watched title game since 1999. (Yahoo! Sports)


\"🏀\" Resetting the NBA Tank Race

Where does the NBA\’s race to draft Victor Wembanyama stand at the season\’s halfway point? The bottom four teams will have an equal chance at picking No. 1, so which teams are dreaming of adding the 7-foot-4 French center to their lineup? (ESPN+)