cords are through Monday. 1. San Antonio Spurs (45-13, previous ranking: first): Tony Parker’s absence is expected to last just one game, with a likely return from a right arm injury Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns. And yes, Parker is an MVP candidate. 2. Miami Heat (40-14, previous ranking: fourth): Assuming both win their next game, the Heat will put their 12-game winning streak on the line Friday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies’ eight-game streak. 3. Oklahoma City Thunder (41-15, previous ranking: second): The Thunder brought a needed veteran presence back by re-signing free agent Derek Fisher. Fisher could be a strong mentor for guard Reggie Jackson, who is still trying to prove himself. 4. Los Angeles Clippers (40-18, previous ranking: third): An NBA source said a possible trade sending Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles from the Boston Celtics for guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan was “closer to happening than people think.” 5. Memphis Grizzlies (37-18, previous ranking: fifth): Guard Michael Conley is now the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in steals with 642 in 411 career games. So whose record did Conley break? That of Rudy Gay, who recently was traded to the Toronto Raptors. 6. Indiana Pacers (35-21, previous ranking: eighth): Did you know the Pacers have the NBA’s best defense, allowing just 89.4 points per game, and the Grizzlies are second at 89.6? The Pacers host the high-scoring Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. 7. Denver Nuggets (36-22, previous ranking: seventh): Denver appeared poised to challenge for the fourth seed in the West about 10 days ago, but Memphis now has a 2½-game lead over the Nuggets. A Memphis-Denver first-round matchup is intriguing. 8. New York Knicks (33-20, previous ranking: sixth): New Knicks forward Kenyon Martin could make his season debut Wednesday against Golden State. New York, 19th in the NBA in defense, is in need of Martin’s defense and intensity. 9. Golden State Warriors (33-23, previous ranking: 11th): Center Andrew Bogut is expected to miss his third straight game Tuesday at Indiana because of a disc protrusion that is causing back spasms. The Warriors are 27-17 without Bogut this season. 10. Brooklyn Nets (33-24, previous ranking: ninth): Quietly, the Knicks and the Nets are in a battle for the Atlantic Division title with the former owning a two-game lead. Unfortunately, the Knicks-Nets four-game season series is already over. C’mon, NBA. 11. Atlanta Hawks (32-23, previous ranking: 12th): Hawks forward Al Horford had the third 20-20 game of his career with 23 points and a career-high-tying 22 rebounds in a win at Detroit on Monday night. The Hawks have won three straight. 12. Chicago Bulls (32-24, previous ranking: 10th): Yahoo! Sports NBA analyst Greg Anthony said injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose (knee) could make his season debut as early as Thursday against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers. 13. Houston Rockets (31-27, previous ranking: 14th): Coach Kevin McHale, arguably the greatest post player in NBA history, worked with new forward Thomas Robinson on his post game after Monday’s practice. Robinson could debut Wednesday versus Milwaukee. 14. Boston Celtics (30-27, previous ranking: 15th): Kudos to the road-weary Celtics for playing their fifth road game in seven days, an overtime win over the Utah Jazz on Monday. Boston will not play again until Friday against the visiting Warriors. 15. Utah Jazz (31-26, previous ranking: 13th): The trade deadline passed with big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap staying put despite their pending free agency this summer. Both are expected to generate strong interest. 16. Los Angeles Lakers (28-30, previous ranking: 17th): If the Lakers defeat the visiting Timberwolves on Thursday and take care of business at home against Atlanta on Sunday, Los Angeles would finally bring its record to .500.