Don't look now, but Derrick Rose, left, and the Chicago Bulls have vaulted into first place in this week's NBA Power Rankings. As for Al Jefferson, right, and the Utah Jazz? They're halfway down at No. 15. ((Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) )

Each week,'s Lance Winn breaks down the balance of power in the National Basketball Association.

1. CHICAGO BULLS [up from 7]
Record : 49-18
Last 10 : 9-1

Derrick Rose declared himself an MVP candidate at the beginning of the season. He’s done that averaging 24 points, and seven assists a game. But it’s been the Bulls’ stingy defence that has stepped front and centre. First overall has been the foundation for a season-high eight-game winning streak, a surge that has the Bulls sitting atop the Eastern Conference. Some of the victims left in wake include Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta. Are they for real? Take some time to smell the roses.
2. LA LAKERS [up from 4]
Record : 48-20
Last 10 : 9-1

The hottest team after the break had their eight-game streak stopped by Miami before doing away with both Dallas and Orlando. They are one win away from their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title. Expect the two-time defending champs to be running on all cylinders just in time for the league’s second season.
3. BOSTON CELTICS [down from 1]
Record : 48-18
Last 10 : 7-3

Losing to the Clippers, Sixers, and Nets isn’t reason to clean house, but at this stage of the game head coach Doc Rivers has to be concerned. But if there’s one constant it’s the Celtics defence that surrenders a mere 91 ppg (second). Seeing themselves as the second best team in the East might be motivation enough ... that and a chance to send the Heat packing could be just what the Doc ordered.
4. MIAMI HEAT [up from 6]
Record : 46-22
Last 10 : 4-6

Dropping five straight before bouncing back with wins over the Lakers and Spurs, the Heat have been anything but impressive. There are still chemistry issues but when they need defensive stops there’s no one better in the league. The East is no longer anyone’s playground.
5. SAN ANTONIO SPURS [down from 3]
Record : 54-13
Last 10 : 7-3

How is this for a roller-coaster ride? The Spurs beat Miami by 30, fall by 16 to the Lakers, win three, and then get blown out by 30 in Miami. Could this veteran team be feeling the effects of the regular-season grind? Maybe. But they still sport the best record in the Association and will be tough to beat in a seven-game series. Keep an eye out as they travel to Dallas for another battle for Lone Star supremacy.

Record : 44-23
Last 10 : 8-2

Apparently this team is for real having won five straight and eight of their last nine, including a 96-85 win in Miami. Newly-acquired Kendrick Perkins leads the team in rebounding (eight per game) and Kevin Durant is still the most dangerous scorer in the league.

7. DALLAS MAVERICKS [down from 2]
Record : 48-20
Last 10 : 6-4

With just six wins in their last 10 contests the Mavs appear on the decline. Peaked to early? I wouldn’t go that far. A veteran team in the regular season stretch has got to get some leeway. Spurs, Warriors, Timberwolves, and Jazz could be the determining factors.
8. ORLANDO MAGIC [down from 5]
Record : 43-26
Last 10 : 6-4

The Magic have quietly gone about their business sitting on the broad shoulders of Dwight Howard and sit second in the Southeast and fourth in the conference. Ball movement has been an issue, but defensively they are rock solid allowing 94.5 ppg (sixth). Beat the Heat but can they win a seven-game series with the big boys?
9. DENVER NUGGETS [unchanged]
Record : 41-27
Last 10 : 8-2

Maybe you don’t need a superstar to win. That’s certainly what the Nuggets believe. Winners of four in a row and getting outstanding performances from the likes of Nene Hilario, J.R. Smith, and newest Nugget Raymond Felton spearhead the most potent offence in the league (107.8 ppg). Go figure.
10. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS [up from 15]
Record : 40-30
Last 10 : 5-5

A big win over the Mavericks has the Hornets in the middle of the Western Conference mix. All-star PG Chris Paul has decided to shoot first and ask questions later and it comes at the right time. They play great defence (fourth) but struggle to score averaging 94.8 ppg, 27th in the league. That usually translates to a hard-fought early exit from the post-season.
Record : 39-29
Last 10 : 6-4

Besides being the most resilient team in the league, the Blazers beat Orlando, Miami and Dallas. LaMarcus Aldridge a legitimate all-star and after a date with the Sixers they’ll see LA (Lakers), San Antonio, and OKC.

12. ATLANTA HAWKS [down from 10]
Record : 39-29
Last 10 : 4-6

Hot and cold best describes this team, but what else is new? Lose four straight to contenders, win two, and then drop a 15-point decision to Denver. Better get it together soon, no shortage of contenders in the East let alone the West.

13. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES [down from 12]
Record : 37-32
Last 10 : 5-5

Clinging desperately to that final playoff spot in the West, the Grizzlies just can’t seem to find their groove. Beat OKC and Dallas, lose to the Knicks by two before getting blown out by Miami ... they put it on the Clippers and then get another 20-point beating from the Knicks. You see where I’m coming from.
14. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS [up from 16]
Record : 35-33
Last 10 : 6-4

Monumental win over Boston but couldn’t follow that up losing to the Bucks and Jazz. Talk about location, location, they sit seventh in the East but would be 10th in the West. Not that it matters.
15. UTAH JAZZ [up from 17]
Record : 36-33
Last 10 : 4-6

Former Jazz PG Deron Williams may reside elsewhere but C.J. Miles got a recent start and dropped 40 on the Timberwolves. Let’s talk when he does that against a real team. Still within striking distance of that final spot in the West.
16. NY KNICKS [down from 14]
Record : 35-32
Last 10 : 5-5

Look great with a two-headed monster in the lineup, but they still haven’t found any sort of rhythm. Sure both Amar'e and 'Melo get theirs (second in offence), but they can’t get stops allowing 105.9 ppg, 29th in the league.
17. HOUSTON ROCKETS [up from 19]
Record : 35-34
Last 10 : 7-3

Down but not out best describes this team, or did I say that already? Tough schedule ahead with Boston, Utah, Golden State and Miami on tap but only two games out of that last Western Conference playoff invite.
18. INDIANA PACERS [unchanged]
Record : 29-39
Last 10 : 3-7

Give them credit, they’re holding on, but barely. Charlotte is breathing down their neck (1/2 game) for that final spot. Should be a race to the finish.
19. NEW JERSEY NETS [up from 26]
Record : 22-44
Last 10 : 5-5

Newly-acquired Deron Williams is making a difference leading the Nets in scoring (like that’s hard to do) and spearheading wins over Toronto, Golden State, the Clippers, and Celtics. Nice to see, but too little way too late.
20. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS [unchanged]
Record : 28-39
Last 10 : 3-7

They keep lurking and waiting for the Pacers to stumble. Sitting in ninth and a half game back is reason to be optimistic.
21. PHOENIX SUNS [down from 13]
Record : 33-33
Last 10 : 4-6

Not even Captain Canada can save this sinking ship.
22. MILWAUKEE BUCKS [unchanged]
Record : 26-41
Last 10 : 4-6

Heading in the wrong direction, south in the standings. Going to need a serious run to contend for a spot in the post-season. After all, they are in the East so anything can happen.
23. GOLDEN STATE WARRRIORS [down from 21]
Record : 30-38
Last 10 : 4-6

Reality has set in. And if hasn’t, it will very shortly.
24. DETROIT PISTONS [down from 23]
Record : 24-44
Last 10 : 3-7

Time to make a change or two. Or three, four ...
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS [down from 24]
Record : 26-43
Last 10 : 5-5

Remain LA’s other team for a reason.
26. TORONTO RAPTORS [down from 25]
Record : 18-49
Last 10 : 3-7

London, England was a long way to go to lose twice. They could have done that on this continent. Time to look ahead to next season. Or the season after that.
Record : 17-52
Last 10 : 4-6

It’s all about Kevin Love and his nightly double-doubles.
28. SACRAMENTO KINGS [down from 27]
Record : 16-50
Last 10 : 2-8

Playing out the schedule.
29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS [up from 30]
Record : 13-54
Last 10 : 3-7

They might need to rebuild. You think?
30. WASHINGTON WIZARDS [down from 29]
Record : 16-50
Last 10 : 1-9

Buy your NBA lottery ticket yet? Odds are in Washington’s favour.