Chicago - Suddenly, the games don’t matter as much. Derrick Bulls needs to see a specialist to treat his back problems. Last week: 1.
Miami - The Heat improved to 2-1 on their six-game road trip, which included a 20-point thrashing of Atlanta in the first of three games on three consecutive days. Last week: 2.
Oklahoma City - The toughest stretch of the season is behind them. Playing eight out of nine games on the road, they went 6-3 and will have had three days off before playing the Jazz on Tuesday. Last week: 3.
San Antonio - The 13-1 home record is impressive, but the Spurs aren’t a one-trick pony. They are 3-0 into a nine-game road trip. Last week: 5.
Philadelphia - This is the most balanced team in the league. At 19-9, the Sixers have no starter averaging more than 14.9 points. Last week: 6.
Clippers - The Clippers curse strikes again. Chauncey Billups, who figured to take on a significant role in the playoffs, went down with a season-ending injury. Last week: 4.
Dallas - For whatever reason, the Mavericks are doing things in three’s. A three-game winning streak was followed by a three-game losing streak. Guess what they’re on now – another three-game winning streak. Last week: 13.
Indiana - Time to come back to earth? If not for the Jazz, the Pacers would be on a five-game losing streak. Last week: 7.
Orlando - When a Bucks fan in Milwaukee shouted that Jason Richardson was washed up, the Magic guard scored 31 points in the road win. The Magic should plant a fan in the stands to yell that Dwight Howard should be shipped out of Orlando. Last week: 9.
Lakers - How bad is it in LaLa land? The Lakers are actually considering signing Gilbert Arenas. Last week: 10.
Boston - He’s a modest man. After he posted 32 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the win over Chicago, Rajon Rondo declined to speak to the media. Last week: 12.
Denver - With a 14-5 record, the Nuggets were looking like serious contenders. But then they lost seven out of eight games. The next four of six games are on the road. Last week: 11.
Atlanta - Troubled times down south. The Hawks have lost four of their last five home games, the average margin in those defeats is nearly 15 points. They’ve trailed by at least 20 points in all four losses. Last week: 8.
Houston - Earlier this season the Rockets cut New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin. Last Saturday, a day before his team was playing in Oakland, coach Kevin McHale went to a sports bar to watch the Knicks beat Minnesota. Last week: 15.
Utah - In his last two games before getting injured Josh Howard combined to score 35 points. Since missing four games, Howard has made half of his shots in only one out of the last 10 games. Last week: 14.