5. Los Angeles Lakers (4): It’s really a stretch to keep them in the top-five after an embarrassing home loss to Sacramento and a 13-point falter to their rival Celtics. However, they’ve shown in recent wins over OKC, Utah and Denver that they are a solid team and with everyone else on the team playing invisible lately (cough, Pau Gasol, cough), a run at the MVP award by Kobe Bryant might not be out of the question.
4. Miami Heat (3): They picked up a big win over the Thunder on Sunday morning, and Wade, LeBron and Bosh are really starting to gel in a way that’s going to result in a lot of wins for this team. The team really lacks toughness inside, and according to Kevin Durant, Bosh – who stands at 6’10”, 235 pounds – doesn’t help them in that category.
3. Chicago Bulls (6): People continue to overlook the Bulls. They may not possess the “Hollywoodness” of Miami, the pedigree of Boston or have someone with the moniker of “Superman” on their team, but they do have a budding superster of their own in Derrick Rose – who right now, is the favorite to take home the MVP award. When Noah returns, this team is going to be even tougher than they are now. Don’t be surprised to see them in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998.
2. Boston Celtics (2): While watching the Celtics match up with the Lakers, my friend texted me: “No question this is an NBA Finals preview right here.” When stacking the two teams up against everyone else, it’s hard to disagree with that statement. Boston may be old, but there defense is as strong as ever, and when they are at 100% health, they are nightmare scary.
1. San Antonio Spurs (1): They were the NBA’s first to 40 wins and will probably be its first to 50 and 60 as well. However, their first 12 games in February are going to come on the road, and no matter how good they are this year, playing 12 games in 17 days away from your own arena is a difficult task for even the best teams.