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Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs continue to be the NBA's hottest team. ((D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images))

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

1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Record: 12-1
Last 10 : 10-0

Hard to deny a team top spot in the rankings when they’ve won 11 straight games and sit atop the mighty Western Conference. Quality opponents might have been an issue last week, but convincing wins over Chicago, Utah, Cleveland and Orlando have made a believer out of most, for now.
2. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Record: 11-2
Last 10: 8-2

Problems in Orleans? Apparently winning makes everything better. Despite their impressive record they still shipped guard Jerryd Bayless and veteran shooter Peja Stojakovic to the Raptors for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, and Marcus Banks. Team chemistry is no longer an issue. PG Chris Paul continues to lead the charge, averaging just over 10 assists per game.
3. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Record: 13-2
Last 10 : 8-2

The defending champs continue to do what they do best … win games. They’ve reeled off five straight and are heads and tails above the rest in the Pacific Division. Question is when will this team really be tested? Four of their next five are against teams below .500, so not anytime soon.
4. UTAH JAZZ
Record: 10-5
Last 10: 8-2

Talk about flying under the radar. Jerry Sloan and company are a force in the Northwest because this team plays great defence, and they close out on the perimeter like no other team, holding opponents to just 42 per cent from the floor, and 29% from the land beyond. They’ll be tested this week when the Hornets and Lakers come calling.
5. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Record: 10-4
Last 10: 8-2

Heading to Boston without your best player and the league’s leading scorer? No problem for the Thunder. They won by five then disposed of the Bucks and Timberwolves to extend their winning streak to five.
6. ORLANDO MAGIC
Record: 9-4
Last 10 : 7-3

Having won four of their last five, the Magic continue to beat the teams they should and have claimed sole possession of first in the Southeast Division. Vince Carter went down with a knee sprain and is listed as day-to-day so factor that into the mix.

7. CHICAGO BULLS
Record: 7-5
Last 10: 6-4

All hoops talk in the Windy City begins and ends with Derrick Rose, who’s averaging 25 points a game. The Bulls have had their hands full losing to the Spurs, beating the Mavericks before dropping a close one to the Lakers. It’s not about to get any easier, the Suns and Nuggets are in their immediate future.

8. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Record: 9-4
Last 10: 7-3

Between all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki and aging point guard Jason Kidd, the Mavs do a great job sharing the basketball. They also beat the teams they should on most nights, but consistency is still an issue. Man up Dirk, next up are the Thunder, Spurs, and Heat. Let’s talk next week.
9. BOSTON CELTICS
Record: 10-4
Last 10 : 7-3

When you taste defeat at the hands of a team without their leading scorer, and then get surprised by a resilient Raptors team, you’re headed south in the rankings. The Celts are still without their PG and floor general Rajon Rondo so it’s tough to say exactly when they’ll get back on track, although a win over the Hawks to halt the skid at two says something about the team’s character.
10. PHOENIX SUNS
Record: 7-7
Last 10: 6-4

Simple desert equation: Steve Nash in the lineup = a win. No Nash = no “W.” Captain Canada returned after missing three games (all losses) and had 24 points, nine assists.
11. DENVER NUGGETS
Record: 8-6
Last 10: 6-4

Awfully quiet a mile above sea level. No outbursts or trade demands, just a team ironing out the wrinkles. Carmelo Anthony spearheads the Nuggets offensive attack including 39 against the Warriors.
12. MIAMI HEAT
Record: 8-6
Last 10: 5-5

Still searching for their identity? You bet. Say what you want about the Big 3, but this team will miss their locker-room leader and most consistent forward Udonis Haslem. A foot injury could sideline Haslem for the remainder of the campaign, creating a void Pat Riley and the Heat will have to fill in a hurry.

13. NEW YORK KNICKS
Record: 7-8
Last 10: 4-6

Been awhile since the Knicks could boast about a couple of things: a modest four-game winning streak is the first. Sitting second in the Atlantic Division is the other.

14. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Record: 8-6
Last 10: 5-5

Injuries continue to plague this team. With Brandon Roy and Greg Oden sidelined, LaMarcus Aldridge remains the first option on offence. After a date with the Hornets they get some relief in the form of the Nets and Sixers.
15. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Record: 7-7
Last 10: 4-6

The Warriors 6-2 start may be their best in 16 years, but now it’s a distant memory. They’ve dropped three straight and five of six. The good news is they open a brief road trip in Houston.
16. INDIANA PACERS
Record: 7-6
Last 10: 5-5

With victories over the Heat and the Cavaliers, you would be wise not to take this team lightly.
17. ATLANTA HAWKS
Record: 8-7
Last 10: 3-7

Marred in mediocrity, the Hawks have lost three straight.
18. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Record: 5-8
Last 10 : 4-6

The Cavaliers are still trying to find themselves and need to search outside the box for answers. The roller-coaster ride continues, having dropped their last three but the Bucks are in town so opportunity is about to knock.

19. DETROIT PISTONS
Record: 5-9
Last 10: 5-5

Nowhere to go but up in the standings for the Pistons and that might be easier said than done.

20. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Record: 5-8
Last 10: 4-6

Lost three in a row and counting.

21. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Record: 5-8
Last 10 : 4-6

A big overtime win over the Sixers! Now they have the Hawks, Magic, and Heat to look forward to.
22. TORONTO RAPTORS
Record: 5-9
Last 10: 4-6

Talk about turning some heads. New faces - Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless set to debut - and a three-game winning streak. Things are looking up for the Dinos. Are they destined for the post-season? Probably not, but being competitive every night is what’s really important when you’re rebuilding (again).

23. NEW JERSEY NETS
Record: 5-9
Last 10: 3-7

This team is already better than last year’s product and a win over the Hawks says just that. Still, it will take more than that for the Nets to rise from their collective ashes.

24. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Record: 5-9
Last 10: 4-6

The best rebounding team in the NBA … is that a result of more missed shots? It ain’t much, but it’s something.
25. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Record: 5-9
Last 10 : 3-7

It’s comforting to know you’ve got the Rockets to fall back on.

26. SACRAMENTO KINGS
Record: 4-9
Last 10: 2-8

They play hard but just don’t have many weapons. The struggle continues.

27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Record: 4-11
Last 10: 3-7

They’ve lost two straight and with the Spurs on the horizon there’s no real end in sight.

28. HOUSTON ROCKETS
Record: 3-10
Last 10 : 3-7

Will the real Yao Ming please stand up? Never mind. Would the supporting cast please stand up?

29. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Record: 3-11
Last 10 : 3-7

Not a lot to cheer about in the city of brotherly love. Maybe they should have re-signed Allen Iverson. At least he put people in the stands. It will get worse before it gets better.
30. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Record: 2-13
Last 10: 1-9

Blake Griffin for rookie of the year? Possibly, maybe even likely. Clippers moving up in the rankings? Unlikely.