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Old 02-09-2013, 11:41 PM   #4

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1San Antonio

Last Week: 1
The Spurs launch their annual Rodeo Road Trip without Tim Duncan. No one in the Alamo City can moan too loudly, though, after TD survived that nasty fall with no structural damage ... and coming off a virtual bye week with only those cushy home games against the Bobcats and Wiz.
2Oklahoma City

Last Week: 2
OKC has always insisted outsiders make a bigger deal about Russell Westbrook's blowups than his teammates and coaches do. Not quite sure how RW can be mad at anyone but himself given how poorly he's shot the ball lately, nor are we sure we can dismiss this outburst so readily.

Last Week: 3
This really only matters if these teams hook up in the playoffs again, but it was fairly eye-catching (at least to us) to read that the Heat have managed a mere eight points in transition in their two losses to the Pacers this season. The champs average just over 17 transition points nightly.
Last Week: 5
No team has ever won it all in a season it didn't have at least one All-Star. But shouldn't we at least hat-tip Denver for being the best team on this season's list ahead of the Bobcats, Bucks, Hawks, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Magic, Mavericks, Nets, Pistons, Raptors, Suns, Wolves and Wiz?
5Golden State
Last Week: 8
Relief for grieving 49ers fans: Andrew Bogut is back and just sparked a 4-0 week for a team that made it through January with a .600-plus winning percentage for only the second time in (whoa) 35 seasons. Just in time, too, with the Dubs' better-than-expected rebounding starting to slip.
6Los Angeles
Last Week: 4
It was all going so well in Clipperland. Remember when they reeled off 24 wins in a span of 27 outings? Now it's all road games, trade rumors and fretting about the knee bruise that has prevented CP3 from playing in nine of the Clips' past 11 games. Or halting their 2-6 skid.
Last Week: 6
Thirteen straight wins at the Pacers' famed fieldhouse is the streak on the line when Chicago shows up Monday night. Better yet: Indy ranks No. 2 in the East in terms of plus/minus -- adding the total of road wins to home losses -- at a robust plus-7. Miami is tops at plus-9.
Last Week: 7
As mentioned in various corners of the Weekend Dime, I really don't think this team's ceiling has changed as drastically as many suggested in the wake of the Rudy Gay deal. Yet we'll have to see how long it takes Gay's ex-teammates and coaches to get over their initial disappointment.
Last Week: 11
As banged up as the Bulls are, they continue to sport the NBA's highest road winning percentage, vaulting Tom Thibodeau past Mike Woodson when it comes to the East's most worthy COY contenders. The Bulls also move back into the top 10 and, to be honest, never should have left.
10New York
Last Week: 9
Let's not completely discount a four-game win streak, all at home, that includes W's over two of the most poundable foes you can find these days: Orlando and Sacramento. The Knicks deserve a little better when they sport one of the East's two winning records against .500-or-better teams.

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