10. Philadelphia 76ers (10-7, Last Week: 14): Even with no timetable for Andrew Bynum’s return, the Sixers have continued to play well despite his absence. Jrue Holiday is playing at an All-Star level, and Evan Turner has helped carry the load as well.
9. Golden State Warriors (10-6, Last Week: 10): The Warriors are currently on a three-game winning streak, and Stephen Curry has had 20 points in each of those victories (with over 10 assists in two of those). David Lee exploded for 31 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the Nuggets’ victory over Denver last Thursday. Klay Thompson has also provided a scoring burst, averaging 22.3 points per game during the three-game streak. The Warriors appear to be a problem for the rest of the league.
8. Los Angeles Clippers (10-6, Last Week: 8): The Clippers followed up a recent four-game losing streak with two solid victories, but don’t appear quite as solid as they did earlier in the season.
7. Atlanta Hawks (9-5, Last Week: 6): The Hawks won six straight games before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a close battle. Nonetheless, the Hawks are a team to be reckoned with in the East.
6. New York Knicks (12-4, Last Week: 5): The Knicks remain extremely hot, but an overtime loss in Brooklyn gives their New York counterparts the edge here.
5. Brooklyn Nets (11-5, Last Week: 7): The Nets got beat by the Miami Heat on Saturday, but won five straight prior to that. Notable victories during that stretch were over the Clippers, Knicks, and Celtics. The move to Brooklyn appears to have given the franchise energy, as the team plays extremely hard at home and has gone 7-1 in their new arena thus far.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (12-3, Last Week: 2): The Grizzlies suffered an overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, but remain a powerhouse in the Western Conference. Their mix of a capable transition game, half-court game, and overall team defense gives them a solid chance against anybody.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (14-4, Last Week: 4): The Thunder are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak, and also have the highest points-per-game average at 105.1. In addition to this, the Thunder defeated their former sixth man–James Harden–and his team quite handedly on Wednesday, 120-98.
2. Miami Heat (12-3, Last Week: 3): The Heat are currently on a six-game winning streak, and Dwyane Wade is healthy enough to put up 34 points–as he did on Saturday against the Nets. When Wade is able to produce like that, the Heat are an extremely dangerous team.
1. San Antonio Spurs (12-3, Last Week: 1): The Spurs remain atop the list here. Why? Although they lost a game to the Miami Heat, they did so in a close game without four of their key players: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green. Tim Duncan has turned back the clock is leading this team with 18.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Spurs usually manage to end the regular season at the top of the standings, only to lose in the first or second round of the playoffs. If Duncan can keep up his production, however, the Spurs could finally get back to the promise land this season.