Dwyane Wade and Miami are turning up the heat by playing their best basketball of season. But so is fast-rising (and ultra-experienced) San Antonio. Chicago and Oklahoma City haven’t been too shabby, either. Check out thetop performers of the week and find out where your team ranks.
1 Heat 25-7
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Downright scary when it all comes together. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are clicking just like they did when they were at their best for a long stretch last season.
2 Bulls 26-8
Play hard, play smart, play together and value defense. So much more to this team than just Derrick Rose.
3 Thunder 25-7
Great wing player in Kevin Durant, exceptional point guard in Russell Westbrook, very good pieces around them. Read: A model for all struggling teams to follow.
4 Spurs 23-9 +1
Tim Duncan playing at least as well as last season, Tony Parker even better. A lot to be said for familiarity.
5 Mavericks 21-12 +1
Jason Kidd-Vince Carter backcourt not nearly as dynamic as it used to be, but Dirk Nowitzki and the gang seem to be improving with time.
6 Clippers 19-11 +1
Not a stellar defensive unit and can get rattled too easily without the injured Chauncey Billups. No matter, athletic and talented enough to make a serious run.
7 76ers 20-12 -3
Finally hit a little rough patch, but still have to believe Andre Iguodala and his young, balanced teammates can get it back together.
8 Lakers 19-13 +3
Kobe Bryant wants to keep Pau Gasol in L.A., and that seems likely. Still, have to think a move of some sort is coming before the March 15 trading deadline.
9 Magic 21-12
The closer we get to the trading deadline, the better Dwight Howard and his teammates seem to jell. Will it be enough to convince Dwight to stay?
10 Hawks 19-13 -2
Marvin Williams supposedly wants to go someplace where he can play a larger role in the offense. But don’t be surprised if the guy who gets shipped out is backup PG Kirk Hinrich.
11 Pacers 19-12 -1
Still don’t get enough credit for physical play, which comes in particularly handy in postseason. But have to improve their field-goal percentage before wheels come off.
12 Rockets 19-14 +2
Kyle Lowry was good before, but making a case for league’s Most Improved award. And Kevin McHale for Coach of the Year.
13 Grizzlies 18-15 +5
Last year’s playoff experience hasn’t done much for their consistency. Still, makes you believe they can beat just about anyone, anywhere — even without injured Zach Randolph.
14 Nuggets 18-15 -2
Falling fast and hard without Danilo Gallinari. Especially since no one else is stepping up to replace his scoring.
15 Knicks 16-17 +1
If Knicks had known about Jeremy Lin, they likely wouldn’t have traded what seemed like half the team to Denver last season for Carmelo Anthony. Question now is, will Lin-to-Melo work?
16 Trail Blazers 17-16 -1
Raymond Felton having perhaps the worst season of his career. Still time, but had better get it together by late April.
17 Celtics 15-16 -4
No truth to rumor Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will start holding “Help Wanted” signs while resting on the bench. But it might not hurt.
18 Timberwolves 16-17 +2
A playoff team in the East and not that far off in the West. Coach Rick Adelman has to (Kevin) love his young group already.
19 Jazz 15-16 -2
Not getting much from their two lottery picks (Enes Kanter and Alec Burks), which makes you think they could be in line for at least one more this summer.
20 Suns 14-19 +2
Quietly becoming somewhat relevant again. A big reason? Old standby Steve Nash convincing everyone around him to keep the faith.
21 Cavaliers 12-17 +2
Staying afloat despite loss of Anderson Varejao for at least a month. Thank you, Kyrie Irving, as well as athletic and active fellow rookie Tristan Thompson.
22 Warriors 12-17 -3
Haven’t gotten production from the center position in 22 years. OK, maybe not that long. But it sure seems like it.
23 Bucks 13-19 -2
How much longer can Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut be considered legit centerpieces before Bucks move on? The answer: Not much.
24 Pistons 11-22 +2
Coach Lawrence Frank finally convincing Pistons that, while they likely don’t have enough to make playoffs, defense will at least win some games.
25 Nets 10-24 +2
Won’t be long before Brook Lopez returns from injury and Nets are intriguing again. Until then, Deron Williams should be able to win them a few all by himself.
26 Kings 10-21 -2
Rookie PG Isaiah Thomas may not be The Next Jeremy Lin, but Thomas suddenly doing well for himself considering he was final pick in draft. Now if he could just get his teammates to give similar consistent effort.
27 Raptors 9-23 -2
Jose Calderon is on the trading block. Just don’t expect Andre Bargnani to go with him. Raptors fans, after all, need at least one player for whom to cheer. Right?
28 Hornets 7-24 +1
Hard to tell if injured guard Eric Gordon is disappointed he’s not playing or feeling extremely thankful.
29 Wizards 7-25 -1
So much young talent, so much to learn. But a good place to start would be sharing the ball.
30 Bobcats 4-27
Kemba Walker reportedly advising college all-Americans not to win national championship, for fear they too might end up here.