1. Golden State Warriors (43-8, 1st in Western Conference)
The Warriors continue to hit a ridiculous number of 3-pointers and appear to be unstoppable on both ends of the floor. With a league-leading offense and the second-best defense only behind the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors are without a doubt the best team in the league. The 2016 Finals runners-up have a tough week coming up with the Bulls, Grizzlies and Thunder on the schedule. All three of those teams place in the top nine in defensive ratings this year.
2. San Antonio Spurs (39-12, 2nd in Western Conference)
The Spurs had an impressive three-game winning streak before losing to the Grizzlies on Monday night. During the short winning streak, San Antonio dominated its opponents and won by an average of 21 points. This winning streak was much needed after two ugly losses against the Mavericks and Pelicans last week. Dewayne Dedmon and veteran David Lee have filled the void nicely in the wake of Pau Gasol’s injury, and Tony Parker seems to be back on track after a rocky start to the season. With three games against the Sixers, Pistons and Knicks this week, the Spurs are expected to have another winning streak by the end of this week despite all three games being on the road.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-15, 1st in Eastern Conference)
The Cavaliers are still surrounded by a whirlwind of trade rumors involving Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony and the need for another playmaker. LeBron James continues to play at a high level despite being under scrutiny for the way he spoke out to the media about his disapproval with the team. The three-time Finals MVP hit an incredible 3-pointer in the final seconds against the red-hot Wizards to send the game to overtime Monday night. The Cavs won the game in overtime and put the Wizards’ seven-game winning streak and 17-game home winning streak to a halt. With two tough road games against the Pacers and Thunder this week, the Cavs will need to play at their best, especially with the Celtics and Wizards breathing down their necks in the Eastern Conference.
4. Boston Celtics (33-18, 2nd in Eastern Conference)
The Celtics are on a seven-game winning streak, and coach Brad Stevens and his staff will be coaching the Eastern Conference in New Orleans during All-Star weekend. The Celtics have improved on the defensive end of the floor after placing near the bottom of the league for much of the season. Isaiah Thomas is playing out of his mind this season and should be in the MVP race along with Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The Celtics will be on a Western Conference road trip this week with games against the Kings, Trailblazers and Jazz. With the third best defense in the league, the Jazz appear to be the toughest matchup for the Celtics. Shout out to “The Truth” for having a storybook ending in Boston on Sunday night.
5. Washington Wizards (30-21, 4th in Eastern Conference)
The Wizards saw their seven-game winning streak end after losing to the Cavaliers in overtime Monday night. Washington is playing its best basketball of the season and it all starts with its dynamic backcourt duo. All-Star John Wall and two-guard Bradley Beal have been tearing up the league offensively and defensively despite reports that the tandem didn’t get along. With only four games left leading up to the All-Star break, the Wizards will get a chance to rest up and prepare for a tough schedule after the vacation.