20. Dallas Mavericks (15-23, Last Week: 24): The Mavs managed to blow out the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, 104-83. Dirk Nowitzki is getting himself into shape and into rhythm.
19. Los Angeles Lakers (16-21, Last Week: 19): The Lakers lost six games in a row before finally defeating the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night. Pau Gasol remains sidelined with lingering effects from a concussion, and the Lakers only consistent player off the bench–Jordan Hill–received news that he will need surgery to repair a hip injury, which will sideline him for the remainder of the season. However, Dwight Howard returned to the lineup after missing three games, and Earl Clark emerged as a solid role player, and will likely have a spot in the rotation going forward.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-18, Last Week: 17): Just when the T-Wolves were starting to get into rhythm, Kevin love re-fractured his injured hand and will be sidelined for approximately two months; the Wolves have subsequently lost three games in a row.
17. Utah Jazz (20-19, Last Week: 16): The Jazz went 3-1 last week, with Al Jefferson averaging 21.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists during that span.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (19-17, Last Week: 15): The Bucks face a desperate Lakers team in Los Angeles on Tuesday, but are a solid road team with a record of 9-8 away from home.
15. Portland Trail Blazers (20-17, Last Week: 14): The Blazers had won four games straight, but followed that with consecutive losses against powerful West Coast teams: The Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors.
14. Houston Rockets (21-17, Last Week: 8): After winning five games straight, the Rockets dropped three games in a row; which drops the Rockets quite a bit in the rankings this week.
13. Boston Celtics (19-17, Last Week: 18): As much as it pains me to say this, the Celtics are actually playing well–having won five games in a row.
12. Atlanta Hawks (21-15, Last Week: 9): The Hawks have slid as of late, losing five of their last six games–the most recent one coming against the league-worst Washington Wizards.
11. Chicago Bulls (20-15, Last Week: 11): The Bulls have won four of their last six games, including victories over the Miami Heat and New York Knicks. Despite losing key role players over the summer, the Bulls’ other stars–Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng–have stepped up their respective games and managed to put together a winning season. With Derrick Rose seeing a return in sight, the Bulls may be right there alongside the Miami Heat and New York Knicks come playoff time.
Next Page: A Tie At The Top?