The streak has ended, but the their domination has not. If the Bulls taught us anything, it’s that you have to get physical with Miami to have a chance.
2 Thunder 54-20 +1
It almost seems as Kevin Durant and the gang are coasting to playoffs. But the Thunder are good enough to beat most anyone, anyway.
3 Spurs 55-19 -1
Losing Manu Ginobili for three to four weeks because of a hamstring injury stings. Are the Spurs starting to break down and slip up when it means most? 4 Nuggets 50-24
The Nuggets move the ball with the greatest of ease, particularly on the break. Is it conducive to the postseason? We’re about to find out.
5 Grizzlies 50-24 +1
Mike Conley is having a career year, and Tony Allen is better than ever as a defensive stopper. Read: Grizzlies might be most playoff-ready team in West.
6 Pacers 48-27 +1
Losing Danny Granger for the season would normally be a big deal. But not when Paul George and several others are having seasons of a lifetime.
7 Clippers 49-26 -2
Jamal Crawford is perhaps the league’s most dangerous weapon off the bench. But the Clippers need to start closing games again.
8 Knicks 46-26
The Knicks are playing as well as they did early in the season, using defense and ball movement to become a real Eastern threat. Proof that everyone contributing is better than All Carmelo Anthony, All The Time.
9 Warriors 42-32 +1
They took a few lumps right after the All-Star break, but Stephen Curry and David Lee have put the Warriors back on pace. They are well-rounded enough that they just might surprise their way to conference finals.
10 Nets 42-31 -1
Brooklyn seems to have everything in place but an ability to beat the best of the best. Deron Williams might have to defer less when playoff time gets here for the Nets to get out of the first round.
11 Hawks 42-33 +1
Larry Drew’s contract expires at season’s end, as is the one belonging to Josh Smith. The fact the Hawks are still fighting for a top-four seed in the East says a lot about both men.
12 Bulls 40-32 +1
Their only hope at making something of the postseason is to play a rough-and-tumble brand of basketball. On the bright side, the Bulls have been doing that a lot more lately.
13 Rockets 41-33 -2
Omer Asik is starting to add some offense to all those nasty picks he sets and rebounds he grabs. Couldn’t happen at a better time, either. 14 Jazz 39-36 +2
The Jazz have spent an entire season getting contributions from Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and a different face every night. It just might result in a desired playoff berth.
15 Lakers 38-36
Dwight Howard thinks they can win out and nab the final playoff spot. With just about every game at home, he might be right. 16 Mavericks 36-37 +1
Dirk Nowitzki and his supporters seem to have it all figured out. It’s just too bad for the Mavericks that the season didn’t start in February.
17 Celtics 38-36 -3
Life without Kevin Garnett has made life without Rajon Rondo stink even more. But Celtics have the playoff know-how to make it hard to believe they’ll just be another first-round pushover.
18 Bucks 36-37
Brandon Jennings has been spectacular at times and fairly ordinary on others. Either way, questioning his coach on Twitter doesn’t make you think the Bucks are exactly unified.
19 Trail Blazers 33-41
Without LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) and a bench that can manufacture points, the Blazers are starting to finish with a whimper. But, man, they’re getting close to being really relevant again.
20 Wizards 27-46 +1
Clearly, John Wall had no plans to tank for a higher draft pick, as he and the Wizards haven’t been better all year. The East had better keep an eye out for this gang next year.
21 76ers 30-43 -1
The Sixers surrendered Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic for a guy (Andrew Bynum) who never took the floor. Could we expect anything different?
22 Timberwolves 27-46 +1
Still playing hard through another lost season. That said, some changes (again) will be on the way. Hopefully for the Wolves, that means a healthy Kevin Love. 23 Raptors 27-47 -1
Another lottery pick and a trade or two might be all the Raptors need this summer. And that time of year can’t get here fast enough. 24 Kings 27-47 +2
This is the month we find out where they’ll actually be playing home games next year. In about two months, we’ll find out who the coach will be.
25 Pistons 25-50 +2
No one suspected a rookie like Andre Drummond to make such a big impact on how the Pistons fare. But it’s pretty clear they’re better when he’s healthy.
26 Hornets 26-48 -2
Anthony Davis had a very nice second half of season. The Hornets have something besides a name change to get excited about moving forward.
27 Suns 23-51 -2
Can’t help but wonder who will actually be on this team next season. Or who will be coaching it.
28 Cavaliers 22-51
With a third straight last-place finish in the division, the Cavs’ plan of gradual progress is hard to see. Some major steps need to be made next season — key injuries or not.
29 Magic 19-56
They spent most of the first season after Dwight Howard looking like a really good D-League team. The promise is there. The results are not. 30 Bobcats 17-57
Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are keepers. Other than that, though, the Bobcats can feel free to gut the team.