Brooklyn Nets (27-19)
It's official: The Nets have had their "Icarus" moment of the 2012-13 season. They flew too close to the proverbial sun when Reggie Evans dissed Miami's lockout-shortened title and likened LeBron to Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche.
Which probably didn't come off so well with Johnson and Blatche, Evans' Brooklyn teammates. It's unlikely that they appreciated being invoked to call James' legitimacy as a superstar into question.
In any case, the Heat proved too much for the Nets to handle (as expected) in a 105-85 defeat. Think they might want Reggie to hold his tongue next time?
Playoff Chances: 98.9 Percent
Indiana Pacers (27-19)
Help is on the way for the Pacers, who'd dropped three in a row out West before righting the ship against the punching-bag Pistons. According to Chris Widlic of WISHTV 8 in Indianapolis, Danny Granger is back at practice with the Pacers after missing the first three months of the season with knee tendinosis.
Chances are Granger won't be back in time for Indy's next game against the Heat. Whenever he returns, you can bet the Pacers' 29th-ranked offense will be better for it.
Playoff Chances: 99.4 Percent
Denver Nuggets (29-18)
You know all that fun the Nuggets had been having at home all through the month of January?
Unfortunately, that'll have to go on hold for a bit in February. Denver will spend the first week of the next month at home before playing seven of nine games on the road.
Where, it should be noted, the Nuggets are a less-than-sterling 10-15 so far.
Playoff Chances: 98.9 Percent
Golden State Warriors (28-17)
Get well soon, Stephen Curry! According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, the sweet-shooting scoring guard is a game-time decision for the Warriors with yet another injury to his right ankle against the Mavericks to end the month.
Even if Curry doesn't play, Golden State will gladly welcome back Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry, all of whom sat out a recent win in Cleveland. The Dubs should be able to survive fairly well without Curry for now, so long as Klay Thompson and backup point guard Jarrett Jack continue to set the NBA ablaze from the backcourt.
Playoff Chances: 94.9 Percent
Chicago Bulls (28-17)
A 28-17 record and the third seed in the Eastern Conference are all well and good, but only one thing matters for the Bulls right about now: Derrick Rose is taking full contact in practice and is due back shortly after the All-Star break (per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com).
With the way Chicago has played this season sans D-Rose and the weakness in the East (particularly beneath Miami), a run to the conference finals is hardly out of the question for these Bulls in 2013.
Playoff Chances: 99.5 Percent
New York Knicks (28-15)
Kudos to Carmelo Anthony for recording his 30th straight game of 20 points or more—a new Knicks franchise record—against the Orlando Magic.
Of greater concern is the game of Whack-a-Mole in which New York seems to be stuck with regard to the training table. The Knicks can't seem to bring back key players (Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton) without seeing another (Jason Kidd) picking up a "DNP." Such is the price to be paid when employing the oldest roster in NBA history.
Playoff Chances: 99.9 Percent
Memphis Grizzlies (29-15)
Whether you like what Memphis did, hate it or find your opinion of it somewhere in between, I think we can all agree that the Grizzlies will be a markedly different team without Rudy Gay. Perhaps the Grizz needed to move on from Gay's onerous contract at some point and did well to bring back Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and, to a lesser extent, Austin Daye. Or, perhaps Memphis should've hung onto Rudy until the summer and seen what this team can accomplish with its now-defunct nucleus.
In either case, it's tough to imagine a shooting-deprived team with a bottom-10 offense truly contending for the title in this or any season, even with one of the stingiest defenses in basketball on the other end.
Playoff Chances: 99.2 Percent