In case you decided to take the night off from anything to do with sports Monday you missed this...
- Miami Heat 16-5: The Heat have won five straight games including an impressive victory Sunday over the Chicago Bulls. Let's just ignore the fact LeBron James and Derrick Rose had a who can brick more free throws contest in the closing moments.
- Chicago Bulls 18-5: The Bulls are trying to keep up with the Heat despite missing Luol Deng. They are in the middle of a massive nine game road trip. Wednesday is an interesting game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Derrick Rose has scored 30 more points in three straight games.
- Oklahoma City Thunder 16-4: Before their loss Monday night to the Clippers they had won four straight games and 12 of their previous 13. A couple red flags about the Thunder currently - they are ranked 12th in defensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive rebound rate (thanks to Mike Prada from SB Nation for pointing that out). Both of those need to improve.
- Los Angeles Clippers 12-6: I previously had been hesitant to put the Clippers too high in the rankings, but when you sweep a back to back with the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder that is a real statement. In the two games they shot an incredible 49% from three point range (27-55). Mo Williams is excelling in his role as sixth man, Chris Paul is doing what Chris Paul does and the "other team in LA" is putting it together.
- Philadelphia 76ers 15-6: They still lead the NBA point differential. The Sixers have won three in a row since a loss to the New Jersey Nets, but against two inferior teams and a faltering Orlando Magic squad. As mentioned above a nut check game for Philly on Wednesday against the Bulls.
- Denver Nuggets 14-6: The Nuggets had won six straight before falling to the Los Angeles Clippers. They get a chance for revenge Thursday night in Los Angeles.
- Dallas Mavericks 14-8: Last year's NBA Champions are quietly picking up steam winning three in a row despite a rash of injuries. Jason Kidd is now out, but Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter just returned. They have won the last two games against the Spurs and Suns with Dirk scoring just 10 points. Lamar Odom still hasn't put it together and yet the Mavericks are in first place.
- Atlanta Hawks 15-6: Kirk Hinrich's return has added some depth to the Hawks bench. With a win Tuesday over the Raptors Atlanta will have pulled off a 4-1 road trip.
- Indiana Pacers 14-6: The Pacers were able to pull of a 2-1 road trip against the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics (one loss), and Orlando Magic. The win over the Bulls was their best in the first 20 games.