10. Indiana Pacers (16-12, Last Week: 12): The Pacers continue to climb without Danny Granger; winning six of seven games recently.
9. Houston Rockets (14-12, Last Week: 21): The Rockets made a huge jump this week, largely due to victories over the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies recently. Jeremy Lin is playing well, and James Harden is averaging 30.0 points over his last eight games.
8. Atlanta Hawks (16-9, Last Week: 8): The Hawks lost to Oklahoma City and Philadelphia last week, but finished off the week with a victory over the Chicago Bulls.
7. Golden State Warriors (18-10, Last Week: 5): The Warriors have slid a little bit; losing to the Kings and Lakers last week. However, they remain an excellent road team with a 10-6 record.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (18-7, Last Week: 7): The Grizzlies won four games in a row before losing to the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
5. New York Knicks (20-7, Last Week: 3): The Knicks went 2-2 last week. With Amar’e Stoudemire set to return soon, it will be interesting to see how the Knicks utilize him and how well they play with him in the lineup.
4. San Antonio Spurs (21-8, Last Week: 4): Losses against the Thunder and Nuggets last week could be seen as a sign the Spurs are slowing down. Or, it could simply be that the Spurs are taking it easy at this point in the season. While the starters did play big minutes in Denver, no player played more than 28 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It appears as though Greg Popovich is simply focused on the “big picture,” and has no interest in putting any emphasis on “marquee” matchups–much like when he benched his starters against the Miami Heat.
3. Miami Heat (18-6, Last Week: 6): Speaking of the Miami Heat, the Heat are currently on a four-game winning streak.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-5, Last Week: 1): The Thunder capped off a 12-game winning streak by losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Make no mistake about it, the Thunder are still one of the best teams and look poised to remain that way for the remainder of the season.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (21-6, Last Week: 2): Who would’ve thunk it? I knew the Clippers were going to be extremely solid this season when they seriously upgraded their bench over the summer, but I didn’t know they would be this good! The Clippers currently boast a 13-game winning streak and are absolutely steamrolling over teams. If Clippers are the Lakers’ younger brother, they’re the younger brother that grew up and is now in his prime while the Lakers are the older brother who is now past his prime. However, with age comes wisdom, so anything could happen in a matchup between the two.