Christmas week was tough on the Warriors, with losses to the Lakers and the Clippers.
Wesley Matthews is on pace to match his 16.4 points per game last season, which was a career high.
Rockets add Josh Smith as they try to win the West.
▪ 4. Washington Wizards: (20-8, LW 6):
After the first round of voting, John Wall is on course to be a starter in the All-Star Game.
▪ 5 . Toronto Raptors (22-7, LW 7):
Kyle Lowry’s scoring (20 ppg) and assists (7.7 apg) are at career-high levels for the second consecutive season.
▪ 6. Memphis Grizzlies (21-8, LW 2):
A four-game losing streak includes and overtime loss to the Rockets on Friday night.
▪ 7. Atlanta Hawks (21-8, LW 8):
Having Al Horford healthy this season makes a big difference.
▪ 8 . Dallas Mavericks (21-10, LW 5):
The first major in-season upgrade is by the Mavs, who traded for point guard Rajon Rondo.
▪ 9 . Chicago Bulls (20-9, LW 10):
Health is improving, aiding their five-game winning streak.
▪ 10 . Los Angeles Clippers (20-10 LW 9):
Had struggled, but found enough to beat the Warriors, who have become a chief rival.
▪ 11. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-11, LW 13):
Losing Anderson Varejao for the season (torn Achilles’) leaves a major hole to fill if the Cavs want to contend for a title.
▪ 12. Phoenix Suns (17-14, LW 16):
5-0 since moving second-year center Alex Len into the starting lineup.
▪ 13. San Antonio Spurs (18-13, LW 11):
Could the last two postseason runs have the Spurs a little tired?
▪ 14. New Orleans Pelicans (15-14, LW 14):
Pelicans are learning even as they improve; cracking the Top 8 in the West is not easy.
▪ 15 . Oklahoma City Thunder (15-16, LW 12):
While Kevin Durant recovers from a sprained ankle, Russell Westbrook has continued to dominate.
▪ 16 . Milwaukee Bucks (15-15, LW 15):
Milwaukee won 15 games all of last season.
▪ 17 . Miami Heat (14-16, LW 19):
Still waiting on Chris Bosh (calf) to return to the lineup with hopes of rising up the standings in the East.
▪ 18. Brooklyn Nets (13-15, LW 21):
Three-game winning streak moves the Nets into eighth in the East.
▪ 19. Denver Nuggets (13-17 LW 17):
Guard Ty Lawson is having a good season, but the West is loaded with great point guards.
▪ 20 . Kings (12-17, LW 18):
Losers of seven of their past eight as defense has become a problem lately.
▪ 21. Boston Celtics (10-17, LW 20):
Will Jeff Green still be a Celtic by the end of the season, or will he be dealt to a contender?
▪ 22. Orlando Magic (11-21, LW 22):
Scoring is a struggle, even with some talented young players.
▪ 23. Charlotte Hornets (10-20, LW 26):
Finally showing signs that last season was not a fluke?
▪ 24. Utah Jazz (9-20, LW 24):
Will Rudy Gobert’s play cause the Jazz to consider not re-signing Enes Kanter?
▪ 25. Los Angeles Lakers (9-21, LW 23):
Kobe Bryant has rested the past three games and the Lakers have dropped two in a row since upsetting the Warriors.
▪ 26. Indiana Pacers (10-20, LW 25):
George Hill is back, but the Pacers still have no way of replacing Paul George’s production.
▪ 27. Detroit Pistons (6-23, LW 27):
With Josh Smith gone the Pistons might be able to entice Greg Monroe not to leave as a free agent in the offseason.
▪ 28. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-23 LW 28):
If Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic had been healthy most of the season, the Wolves would not be this bad.
▪ 29. New York Knicks (5-26, LW 29):
Could first-year coach Derek Fisher have picked a tougher way to start his post-playing career?
▪ 30. Philadelphia 76ers (4-24, LW 30):
Philly doubled its win total for the season with back-to-back wins before a lopsided loss at Portland.