5. Chicago Bulls (6): While they are in the midst of a seven-game stretch where they only play teams below .500, the Bulls are quietly emerging as a dark horse to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals behind the MVP-quality of budding superstar Derrick Rose.
4. Dallas Mavericks (2): : Missing Dirk has unquestionably affected the Mavs, who have lost three of their last four; however, potentially losing Caron Butler for the season might end any chance this team has of landing a top seed or Carmelo Anthony.
3. Miami Heat (3): Although they are in the midst of a soft section in their schedule, the Heat are doing what champions do: playing amazing defense and knocking off inferior opponents with ease. Consecutive 40-plus point outings from Dwyane Wade is simply icing on the cake.
2. Boston Celtics (4): Rondo’s back, but now KG’s out. Do not worry Celtics fans, Glen Davis and Jermaine O’Neal are both very suitable temporary replacements. With their true MVP back on the court, they shouldn’t have a problem winning games, as five of their next seven contests are slated against sub – .500 teams.
1. San Antonio Spurs (1): Despite a tough three-game stretch (Lakers, Mavericks, Thunder), the Spurs are continuing to play excellent basketball. A 27-point blowout of Kevin Durant and the Thunder in San Antonio’s first game of 2011 is only a sign of things to come for this determined Spurs team.