10. Los Angeles Lakers (5): The Andrew Bynum drama is putting a real damper on their late-season push for playoff positioning. If they hope to make a legitimate postseason run, Mike Brown needs to put his foot down and take control of this team. A healthy Kobe would help, too.
9. Indiana Pacers (10): Just when it looked like the Pacers had finally hit their stride, they put up a futile effort against the Celtics and raised questions about how they’ll fair in a seven-game series against the NBA’s best. Still, winning seven of their last ten has to count for something.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (11): The Grizzlies have battled through some tough times this season and continue to win against top-notch teams. The real test, however, lies ahead as the finish line comes within sight.
7. Los Angeles Clippers (6): I had almost forgotten all about Caron Butler before he began putting on nightly firework shows for the Clippers. There’s plenty of star power on this team, but whether or not they can succeed in a hostile playoff environment is a completely different question.
6. Atlanta Hawks (11): The Hawks are coming down the final straight-away at full speed, even without Al Horford. Zaza Pachulia has stepped in and played well and the team is feeding off of his energy.
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