20. Philadelphia 76ers (14): A grueling eight-game road trip (which concludes tonight in New Orleans) could have really destroyed this team’s chances and morale; but they have been able to eek out a few wins, keeping them in the playoff hunt. When they are finally at full health, watch out.
19. Indiana Pacers (17): They are struggling to win games and a rough month of December for Hibbert is slowly diminishing his chances of winning Most Improved.
18. Phoenix Suns (18): The Suns can’t seem to buy a win, which is evident in their three losses to the Clippers, Sixers and Kings since Christmas Day. The Suns have a lot to look forward to this week, as they see Kobe on Wednesday and Amaré on Friday.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (19): They’ve faced the league’s toughest schedule so far this season, but apparently it only takes winning 41.9 percent of your games to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
16. Memphis Grizzlies (20): A 19-point road win over the defending champs on Sunday night was probably the best way to get over losing on a buzzer beater from half court for the Grizzlies, who just can’t seem to use their immense talent to pick up wins.