1 Miami Heat (60-16)
The Heat reached the sixty-win plateau for the second time in franchise history. Miami is two wins away from breaking the franchise record that was accomplished twelve years ago. Dwyane Wade has hinted he could sit out for the final six games of the regular season to rest his sore knee. Expect the Heat to finish the year strong as they prepare for the playoffs.
2 New York Knicks (50-26)
Yes, I have New York this high. And yes, they are a contender. The Knicks extended their winning streak to twelve straight games after a 125-120 win against the Thunder, Sunday afternoon. Carmelo Anthony has lit up opponents recently, averaging 41 points per game over his last four. Perhaps the most impressive stat of the streak: 7-0 against playoff-bound teams.
3 Oklahoma City Thunder (56-21)
Even though the Thunder have the third best record in the NBA, sometimes it looks like this team could fall short of winning the West. Kevin Durant needs to be more assertive if the Thunder want to make it back to the NBA Finals. However, the West is mounting with injuries, which could benefit the Thunder.
4 San Antonio Spurs (57-20)
Head Coach Greg Popovich has expressed his concern regarding Tony Parker’s health. San Antonio has lost three out of five games and is only one game ahead of the Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Manu Ginobli is presumed to at least miss the start of the playoffs. I doubt the Spurs would mind dodging the Lakers —if they make it— in the first round.
5 Denver Nuggets (53-24)
The Nuggets received terrible and expected news last Saturday. Forward Danilo Gallinari will be out for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL against the Dallas Mavericks. Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer will see their minutes extended and will have to fill the absence of Gallinari.
6 Memphis Grizzlies (52-25)
Memphis is focused on grabbing the No.3 seed in the Western Conference and making sure they stay healthy before the Playoffs begin. They have tough remaining games left against the Rockets, Clippers, Mavericks and Jazz. The Grizzlies are currently one game behind the Nuggets for the No. 3 seed in the West.
7 Los Angeles Clippers (51-26)
“Lob City” will finally be able to raise its first championship banner at Staples Center (The franchise’s first ever Pacific Division Championship). The Clippers also swept the regular season series against cross-town rival Lakers, 4-0.
8 Indiana Pacers (48-29)
The Pacers clinched their first division title in nine years. Indiana will have to re-group after two lopsided losses to the Thunder and Wizards.
9 Houston Rockets (43-34)
I would love to see a Rockets-Thunder first round matchup. I’m not so sure Kevin Durant and company would though.
10 Golden State Warriors (44-33)
Mark Jackson has done a great job with this young team in his second season as Head Coach. He is definitely a candidate for Coach of the Year.
11 Brooklyn Nets (44-32)
Deron Williams has finally looked like the All-Star he once was. Brooklyn lost a tough game against the Bulls last Thursday, who they could see soon in the first round of the Playoffs.
12 Utah Jazz (41-37)
The Jazz control their own destiny for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
13 Chicago Bulls (42-34)
Chicago is playing for playoff seeding. They can go as far up as the fourth seed or fall as low to the sixth or even seventh seed. Paging Derrick Rose…
14 Boston Celtics (40-37)
Kevin Garnett returned to the lineup after missing eight games due to inflammation in his left ankle. Boston is ready for possibly the last playoff run for teammates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
15 Los Angeles Lakers (40-37)
Time is running out for Kobe Bryant and his guarantee that the Lakers would make the playoffs. There is a strong possibility Kobe could be a spectator as the playoffs loom.
16 Dallas Mavericks (38-39)
The Mavericks made a strong push to make things interesting for the eighth and final playoff spot. Barring some miracle, Dallas will miss the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
17 Atlanta Hawks (42-36)
Following a dud to the 76ers at home, Atlanta followed that loss with a heartbreaker to the Spurs. The Hawks have lost three in a row.
18 Washington Wizards (29-48)
We can only wonder if this team could of competed for a playoff spot if John Wall played from day one.
19 Milwaukee Bucks (37-39)
Milwaukee is mentally preparing for a first round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat.
20 Philadelphia 76ers (30-43)
It’s been a year to forget for 76ers fans. They literally got nothing from Andrew Bynum at the expense of young studs Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless.
21 Minnesota Timberwolves (29-47)
Head Coach Rick Adelman won his 1,000th career game, which is one of the only bright spots of the season.
22 Portland Trail Blazers (33-44)
Portland has lost eight games in a row and has turned their attention to getting better in the draft.
23 Toronto Raptors (29-48)
Toronto will finish the 2012-2013 campaign with style: all remaining games against playoff-bound teams.
24 New Orleans Hornets (27-50)
Only five games remaining until the Hornets are no more. The Pelicans will take over the city of New Orleans, starting next season.
25 Detroit Pistons (26-52)
Detroit finally snapped their eighteen-game losing streak to the Bulls.
26 Cleveland Cavaliers (24-52)
The Cavaliers jumped two spots after back-to-back wins against the Celtics and Magic.
27 Sacramento Kings (27-50)
Sacramento has lost five games in a row and is in the midst of a battle to see if they stay in Sacramento or relocate to Seattle.
28 Phoenix Suns (23-54)
The Suns are anxiously waiting to see if the Lakers make the playoffs or not. Phoenix will be granted an extra lottery pick if the Lakers fail to do so.
29 Orlando Magic (19-59)
The Magic can’t be this bad, right?
30 Charlotte Bobcats (18-59)
Charlotte is trying to finish with the second worst record in the league, which would be an improvement.