Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/1/12
By Sam Amico FOXSports.com With a leaping LeBron James, and hard-fought win over the Bulls, the Heat regain the top spot. But watch out, because the Mavs, Nuggets and Sixers are on the rise, too. Check out the top performers of the week and find out where your team ranks. 1 Heat 16-5 (2) Most explosive team in the league has Dwyane Wade back and LeBron James jumping over people for dunks. Look out below. 2. Bulls 18-5 (-1) Barely lost in Miami, but most coaches feel they are deeper -- and may be better in the long run. 3 Thunder 16-4 (-1) Kendrick Perkins shouldnt be laughed at too much for Blake Griffin facial. That happens when you protect the rim. Plus, Thunder still best in West. 4 Mavericks 14-8 (2) Survived without Dirk Nowitzki and his bum knee, proving that the new faces are starting to figure out Rick Carlisles system. 5 Nuggets 14-7 Most fans couldnt name their starting five. That includes the ones who live in Denver. But Nuggets play hard, smart and together, and its paying off. 6 76ers 15-6 (3) Lou Williams may not make the All-Star team, but hes having an All-Star year. And someone from this squad certainly deserves to go. 7 Hawks 16-6 (-3) Playing steady and finding ways to win without Al Horford. Are these really the normally unpredictable Hawks? 8 Clippers 12-6 (3) Tons of weapons that are meshing more by the week, with Mo Williams suddenly turning into Clips version of Jason Terry. 9 Pacers 14-6 (-1) Roy Hibbert is the second-best center in the East, and David West and Danny Granger may be the best forward duo. Its no wonder theyre getting it done. 10 Jazz 12-7 (2) So tough at home and getting better on the road. Very determined and if this keeps up, higher playoff seeds will be terrified in every round. 11 Spurs 13-9 (-1) Not as good as last years regular season but staying afloat -- and with Manu Ginobili returning, postseason could go better. 12 Lakers 12-9 (3) Theyve been there before, so they have that going for them. But its easy to start wondering if even Kobe Bryant can save them now. 13 Magic 12-9 (-6) Losing badly, losing ugly, about to lose Dwight Howard for good? But with the way things have been going, that may not be such a big loss. 14 Rockets 12-9 (2) If Kevin McHale can get these guys into the playoffs, he deserves Coach of the Year. Cohesive unit that hustles, a la the Nuggets and Sixers. 15 Trail Blazers 12-9 (-1) Everyone struggles on the road, but Blazers have to do better. Otherwise, no one is gonna take them seriously. 16 Celtics 10-10 (1) Not gonna get very far without Rajon Rondo. Even with him, their prospects are open to question, with age and a lack of depth taking a toll. 17 Timberwolves 10-11 (3) Didnt anyone envision a day when they could crack the Top 20? OK, maybe you did. But that day is more likely to be sometime next season. 18 Grizzlies 11-10 (-5) Not having Zach Randolph didnt seem to bother them much at first. But it sure has lately. 19 Bucks 9-11 (-1) If Brandon Jennings learns how to bring it every game, these guys could actually go places. 20 Cavaliers 8-12 (1) Too bad Kyrie Irving only played 11 college games. Maybe then scouts and fans wouldnt have been so nave about how good this kid really is. 21 Knicks 8-13 (-2) Maybe taking a bunch of random big-name stars and slapping them together isnt always the best solution, after all. 22 Suns 7-13 Just sort of hanging on by the longish hair of Steve Nash. Can they go anywhere without a trade? 23 Nets 7-15 (2) Deron Williams seems completely healthy and less focused on the future and where he is today. Results have been better because of it. 24 Warriors 6-12 (-1) Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, David Lee. So why isnt this team better? 25 Raptors 7-15 (1) Finally stopped the nasty skid and got Andrea Bargnani back. But probably wont do more than pull the occasional upset. 26 Kings 6-14 (-2) Up and down, round and round, nobody knows where this young team goes. It wont be the playoffs this year, and thats about all we can say for certain. 27 Wizards 4-17 (3) Out of last place for the first time this season. Randy Wittman for interim coach of the year. Or something. 28 Pistons 4-19 (-1) No hard evidence they are better than the bottom two teams. But at least Pistons have Brandon Knight. 29 Hornets 4-17 (-1) Whats it say about the league when this is the team it owns? Actually, Hornets have some moveable pieces, and could be better toward end. 30 Bobcats 3-18 (-1) Kemba Walker lost more games this month than he did in his entire playing career combined. Not really, but it has to feel that way.
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