(Through Friday's games)
1. Miami Heat (28-8): When the Heat is on, it is clearly the class of the league. LeBron James is having a sensational season, but will he shoot or pass on the final shot?
2. Chicago Bulls (30-8): Key is Derrick Rose's health. If his back holds up, he is good enough to carry his underappreciated supporting cast to the NBA Finals.
3. OKC Thunder (29-7): Thunder holds a slight edge as the top team in the Western Conference, but OKC still must prove itself against San Antonio head-to-head.
4. San Antonio Spurs (25-11): No Manu Ginobili for 27 games and counting, yet somehow the Spurs are still making a solid bid as the best team in the West.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (21-13): Despite losing Chauncey Billups, the Clippers remain a serious contender for the Pacific title and have acquired solid role players.
6. Los Angeles Lakers (22-14): They're not what they've been in the past, but the Lakers still start three players who have been All-Stars, including two 7-footers.
7. Orlando Magic (23-14): While Dwight Howard rules underneath, the Magic attempts (26.4) and makes (10.2) more 3-pointers than any team in the league.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (21-15): The Grizzlies are on solid ground despite injuries to Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur while playing NBA's toughest schedule.
9. Dallas Mavericks (21-16): The Mavs miss Tyson Chandler far more than they're willing to admit. Lamar Odom has been MIA, even when he's with the team.
10. Denver Nuggets (20-17): Treading water while anxiously awaiting the hopeful Monday return of Danilo Gallinari, plus the day-to-day saga of Nene's calf.
11. Portland Trail Blazers (18-18): Essentially six players average double-digits in scoring (Raymond Felton is at 9.9). Blazers are better than their record.
12. Philadelphia 76ers (22-15): Easy schedule is starting to catch up with Philly. Sixers are an unselfish team that plays great defense, but struggles to score.
13. Indiana Pacers (22-12): Quietly going about its business in an efficient manner while flying under the radar, but has benefitted from the third-easiest schedule.
14. New York Knicks (18-18): Carmelo, Amar'e and Tyson were all cheering for teammates from the bench the other night. Keep an eye on the Kumbaya Knicks.
15. Boston Celtics (18-17): Aging Celtics can still scare you if they remain healthy. Remember, they start four players off the 2008 world championship team.
16. Houston Rockets (21-16): The Rockets have stabilized after a slow start, but they're about to play seven of eight on the road, including a March 13 stop in OKC.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-19): Last year's most underachieving team is hovering around .500 and is no joy for anyone to face. Could surge into the playoffs.
18. Atlanta Hawks (21-15): Lost center Al Horford for the entire regular season, but he could be back for the playoffs — if the injury plagued Hawks are still alive.
19. Phoenix Suns (16-20): This is no way for Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash to live his life after such a stellar career, but the Suns could sneak into the playoffs.
20. Utah Jazz (17-18): Big win over Miami on Friday, but this franchise is a shadow of its former self and still suffering from the fallout of Jerry Sloan's departure.
21. Golden State Warriors (14-19): This is a scary team to play because you never know when Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, David Lee — or all three — could go off.
22. Sacramento Kings (12-24): Took over Minnesota's role as the most underachieving team in the West. Better under Keith Smart, but not as good as it should be.
23. New Jersey Nets (11-26): Should be much more competitive with Brook Lopez back from injury and with Deron Williams constantly auditioning for a trade.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (14-22): With Andrew Bogut likely lost for the regular season due to bum ankle, the once hopeful Bucks are simply riding out the storm.
25. New Orleans Hornets (9-27): This disheveled team has won five of its last nine and beat the Mavericks on Friday, but a four-game road trip in six days awaits.
26. Toronto Raptors (11-25): Oh, Canada. Remember when the Raptors actually were good? Me neither. This team has the talent to win far more than it does.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-21): Luckily, the Cavs have rookie of the year pick Kyrie Irving or they would really stink. Anxiously awaiting LeBron's return.
28. Detroit Pistons (12-25): A once proud franchise has a plight similar to the city it represents. The Pistons are not void of talent, but turnaround will take some time.
29. Washington Wizards (7-28): Five wins have come against Charlotte (twice), Toronto (twice) and Detroit. Other two have come against Portland and — ugh — OKC.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (4-30): The worst season winning percentage in NBA history is .110. Bobcats are second-worst at .118. Amazingly, they began the season 1-0.
Projected playoff pairings, according to our latest power rankings:
1-OKC vs. 8-Portland
2-San Antonio vs. 7-Denver
3-LA Clippers vs. 6-Dallas
4-LA Lakers vs. 5-Memphis
1-Miami vs. 8-Atlanta
2-Chicago vs. 7-Boston
3-Orlando vs. 6-New York
4-Philadelphia vs. 5-Indiana
BY THE NUMBERS
Friday marked the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game against the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pa.
Some other NBA record numbers for Chamberlain:
55 — Most rebounds in a game (against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics on Nov. 24, 1960)
50.4 — Season scoring average (1961-62)
37.6 — Rookie scoring average (1959-60)
23,924 — Career rebounds (1959-73)
27.2 — Season rebound average (1960-61)
22.9 — Career rebound average (1958-73)
48.5 — Average minutes per game (games were 48 minutes and Philadelphia played 10 overtime periods in 1961-62)
45.8 — Career average minutes (1959-73)
79 — Complete games in one season (1961-62)
118 — Career 50-point games (1959-73)
45 — Season 50-point games (1961-62)
59 — Most points in one half (March 2, 1962)
0 — Career foul disqualifications (1959-73)
Note: Chamberlain is said to have blocked 26 shots in one game against Detroit, but blocks were not officially recognized as a stat by the NBA until 1973-74, the year after Chamberlain retired.
Charles Barkley on a radio show evaluating Michael Jordan's performance as an NBA executive: "I love Michael, but he just has not done a great job. Even though he's one of my great friends, I can't get on here and tell you he's done a great job. He has not done a great job, plain and simple."
Rob Lowe (@RobLowe): “If the #Lakers don't become champs this year, then let it be the amazing, fun #Thunder. Great time at Chesapeake arena. #NBA”