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February 25, 2012
Power Rankings: Heat on top at the break

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With three All-Stars here, it shouldn't be a surprise the Miami Heat have been the NBA's best team and look to be the favorites to win the NBA Championship.

LeBron James is playing at an MVP level, and the same could be said for Dwyane Wade. The Heat are aggressive on defense and James appears to have taken his game to another level -- scary for a two-time MVP.

What the second half holds is anyone's guess, but for now, I expect James to bring a championship along to South Beach.

1. Miami Heat (27-7, Last week, 1) - Entered the All-Star break on an eight-game winning streak, all by double digits.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (27-7 LW, 3) - Five-game winning streak led by dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Wetbrook.
3. Chicago Bulls (28-7 LW 2) - Derrick Rose returned to thelineup, but the Bul ls stayed on course without him.
4. San Antonio Spurs (24-10, LW 4) - Gregg Popovich is showing why he is the best coach in the NBA.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (20-11 LW 5) - Two Clippers starting in the All-Star game shows times have changed in L.A.
6. Dallas Mavericks (21-13, LW 6) - Dirk Nowitzki is finally looking like himself again.
7. Indiana Pacers (21-12, LW 11) - After a rough patch the Pacers have won four in a row.
8. Orlando Magic (22-13, LW 7) - The host city for All-Star weekend showcases their best player, who might be traded soon, Dwight Howard.
9. Los Angeles Lakers (20-14, LW 9) - The Lakers still haven't run off a long winning streak like they have in past seasons.
10. Houston Rockets (17-14, LW 13) - Entered the break on a three-game winning streak and a playoff contender.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (20-14, LW 8) - A five-game losing streak isn't how the Sixers wanted to end a first-half that was good.
12. Memphis Grizzles (19-15 LW 12) - Who would have thought Mike Conley would have a more productive career than college teammate Greg Oden?
13. Atlanta Hawks (20-14, LW 10) - Joe Johnson misses the All-Star Game with an injury but Josh Smith still does not get an invite.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (18-16, LW 14) - Inconsistency in preventing the Blazers from joining the Wests' elite teams.
15. Denver Nuggets (18-17, LW 15) - Once healthy, the Nuggets will be a team that is hard to beat in the playoffs.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-17, LW 19) - The two point guard lineup is producing wins
17. New York Knicks (17-18, LW 17) - Carmelo Anthony is back. Now it's time to see if the Knicks can catch Philly in the standings.
18. Boston Celtics (15-17, LW 16) - At this rate making the playoffs will be a tough task for the veterans to pull off.
19. Utah Jazz (15-17, LW 18) - Have lost their last three and 8-of-10.
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-18, LW 22) - Hope Kyrie Irving saved some of that three-point shooting from Rising Stars Challenge for rest of season.
21. Golden State Warriors (13-17, LW 21) - Perhaps Mark Jackson is on the verge of getting the Warriors back to .500.
22. Phoenix Suns (14-20, LW 24) - Rookie Markieff Morris is proving to be one of the better finds in last year's draft.
23. Milwaukee Bucks (13-20, LW 23) - No way Bucks are this bad if Andrew Bogut was healthy.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-24, LW 20) - Is there a big man in the East with more upside than Greg Monroe?
25. Sacramento Kings (11-22, LW 25) - Ended season-worst six-game losing streak by deciding to try to play some defense.
26. Toronto Raptors (10-23, L 26) - I miss the days of Vinsanity north of the border.
27. New Jersey Nets (10-25, LW 29) - Is Brook Lopez getting healthy in time to be traded to Orlando?
28. New Orleans Hornets (8-25, LW 28) - In spite of injuries and bad record, Hornets have played better of late.
29. Washington Wizards (7-26, LW 27) - Could someone get JaVale McGee a reality show to track is ups-and-downs.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (4-28, LW 30) - After ending their 16-game losing streak the Bobcats have lost two in a row, so things are back to normal.



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