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Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, right, found out Wednesday night why the Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs are among the league's top teams this season. The Spurs topped the Bulls 103-94 for their eighth consecutive victory. ((Eric Gay/Associated Press))

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

1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Record: 9-1
Last 10 : 9-1

Shouldn't be a surprise that the Spurs are at the top of the rankings after reeling off eight straight. Mind you the only opponent above .500 during this stretch was the OKC Thunder but you still have to beat the teams below you in the standings. The team is shooting 44 per cent from three-point land, tops in the league.
2. BOSTON CELTICS
Record: 9-2
Last 10 : 8-2

Expect this edition of the Celtics to spend quite a bit of time near the top of the rankings for the majority of the season. They are simply put, damn good. They've won their last three contests after dropping a two-point decision in Dallas, and had Rajon Rondo converted on the final possession, they might be sitting in the No. 1 spot.
3. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Record: 10-2
Last 10 : 8-2

The defending champs struggled falling to the Nuggets and Suns before settling back into their winning ways. Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.3 points per game and the team leads the Association in points and rebounds.
4. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Record: 9-1
Last 10: 9-1

The Hornets suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Mavericks but returned the favour a couple of nights later. Chris Paul continues to steer the ship in the right direction averaging 17 points, 10 assists per game. And I thought he wasn’t happy in New Orleans? For CP3, right now there’s no better place to be than the Bayou.
5. UTAH JAZZ
Record: 8-4
Last 10: 8-2

Give this team credit, they know how to come from behind. Utah has battled back on five occasions including an 18-point deficit in Orlando. Deron Williams remains the constant that drives Jerry Sloan’s offence.
6. ORLANDO MAGIC
Record: 7-3
Last 10 : 7-3

Talk about a scare. Losing to the Jazz wasn't so bad, but following that up with a home loss to the Raptors? How about a nail-bitter with the Nets before taking care of the Grizzlies? They need to shape up soon. Suns, Pacers, Spurs, Heat, and Cavaliers are looming just over the horizon.
7. ATLANTA HAWKS
Record: 8-4
Last 10: 6-4

After losing four straight, the Hawks managed wins over the Timberwolves and the Pacers. They didn't shoot the ball well, played mediocre defence at best, but contenders win the ugly ones. Better get it right, they entertain the Mavericks and then the Celtics.
8. MIAMI HEAT
Record: 7-4
Last 10: 7-3

It appears the search for an identity is coming to an end. Chris Bosh made his first offensive statement in a Miami uniform dropping 35 on the Suns. Problem is defence wins championships. They allowed just 87.9 points in their first five games, but have given up 107.8 in their last five. They're still growing. Give them time.
9. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Record: 7-3
Last 10: 7-3

Not often are "Dallas" and "defence" used in the same sentence, but with their opponents shooting a league-low 44.1 per cent from inside the three-point line, give credit where credit is due. But before the parade route is established, remember at this time last year, they were ranked fifth defensively, but went steadily downhill as the season went on.
10. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Record: 7-4
Last 10: 6-4

Is this team more than just Kevin Durant and his 28 PPG? They have done a better job sharing the ball of late but it appears to be at the expense of the defence. Last year they ranked eighth, right now they are 25th. You see where we’re coming from.
11. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Record: 7-4
Last 10: 6-4

The Warriors' offence was stymied as they shot just 38 per cent and got to the line just 17 times in losses in Chicago and Milwaukee. Monta Ellis has been a standout despite that tough fall in New York.
12. DENVER NUGGETS
Record: 6-5
Last 10: 5-5

How do rumours get started? You get out-rebounded in six straight games. No matter, the real issue is where, and when, will Carmelo leave the Mile High City. He’s likely a Nugget until at least Dec. 15, after that, a Knick, a Net, or a Bull ...

13. CHICAGO BULLS
Record: 6-4
Last 10: 6-4

This team is all about defence and that's what makes this team so tough, especially at home. Problem is they are on the road in the midst of a seven-game West Coast swing that takes them through Dallas, LA, Phoenix, and Denver. Buckle up, could be a bumpy ride.

14. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Record: 7-5
Last 10: 5-5

Take note, this may be the last time this team is in the top 20 as far as rankings go. For the third time in four years Greg Oden will have to spend the remainder of the season in the stands with a knee injury. If that wasn't enough, questions about the severity of PG Brandon Roy's knee issues could also derail this potential contender.
15. PHOENIX SUNS
Record: 6-5
Last 10: 6-4

Coming off a big win over the defending champs, the offence never seems to be a problem with Steve Nash at the helm. The defence needs work, that's nothing new, but offensively they spread the floor and drop threes on the regular.
16. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Record: 5-5
Last 10 : 5-5

Forget the departed, injuries continue to plague this team in the early going. Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao have combined to miss nine games already but this is a team on the rise … after the wrinkles have been ironed out of course.

17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Record: 5-6
Last 10: 5-5

The Bucks may struggle on offence averaging just 93.5 PPG (29th), however their defence is stingy allowing just 92 PPG (third). Brandon Jennings leads the team in scoring but they need more from Andrew Bogut.

18. DETROIT PISTONS
Record: 4-8
Last 10: 4-6

The Pistons have lost two straight after winning four of five. The offence is coming together but that’s the only thing working for the Pistons.

19. INDIANA PACERS
Record: 4-5
Last 10: 4-5

The Pacers surprised the Cavaliers before they came crashing down to reality against Atlanta. Expect this on a regular basis. What separates the good teams from the not so good is cons istency. Good luck with that.

20. NEW JERSEY NETS
Record: 4-7
Last 10: 3-7

Only in New Jersey is success measured by the deficit of the last defeat. They need more from Troy Murphy. He has just 22 points in five games since returning from a back injury.

21. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Record: 3-7
Last 10 : 3-7

Gilbert Arenas finally broke out for 30 points, but top draft pick John Wall's foot injury is obviously a concern.

22. NEW YORK KNICKS
Record: 4-8
Last 10: 3-7

So much for Amare Stoudamire the saviour. It will take more than that to get this team on track. They live and die with the three. As their record indicates there’s plenty more dying than there is living.

23. HOUSTON ROCKETS
Record: 3-8
Last 10 : 3-7

A healthy Aaron Brooks helps, and the team averages 105.5 PPG, not to shabby. Problem is they allow 108 PPG, 28th in the league. Great to have Yao Ming back in the fold but the struggle continues for the flightless Rockets.

24. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Record: 4-7
Last 10: 4-6

Last season, no team had a more lopsided home-away discrepancy than the Bobcats, who won 18 more games at home than they did on the road. This season, it took nine games to finally win their first at home, a 113-110 win over Minnesota. 'Nuff said.
25. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Record: 4-8
Last 10 : 3-7

The defence has improved, but they struggle to compete with the elite teams in the league. Rudy Gay is earning that contract thus far, averaging 25.2 points on 52 per cent shooting.
26. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Record: 4-9
Last 10: 3-7

They're getting the idea but it's a team short of talent. Kevin Love has all-star potential, but the injury bug has hit Jonny Flynn, Michael Beasley, and Luke Ridnour.

27. SACRAMENTO KINGS
Record: 3-7
Last 10: 3-7

Playing nine of their first 12 games against teams that missed the playoffs last season helped early but not lately. Since then, they've lost six in a row and remain the worst defensive team in the league.

28. TORONTO RAPTORS
Record: 3-9
Last 10: 2-8

The Raptors managed a much-needed win over the 76ers but need more than that to strike fear in any opponent. DeMar DeRozan continues to break out and Andrea Bargnani has been a pillar. Reggie Evans is a rebounding demon. Too bad it doesn't translate into very many wins.
29. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Record: 2-10
Last 10 : 2-8

The Sixers have fallen on hard times and it's only going to get harder. They can't score, can't play defence, and turn the ball over in crunch time. You don't have to be an expert to see where this team is headed.
30. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Record: 1-11
Last 10: 1-9

If you happen to reside in Philly or Toronto, the Clippers are the only saving grace in the league. Blake Griffin is making his mark but the more things change, the more they stay the same