2011 NBA Playoffs: Five Contenders for the Title, and Five Teams on the Rise

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2011 NBA Playoffs: Five Contenders for the Title, and Five Teams on the Rise
Marc Serota/Getty Images

As we near the end of March, the NBA regular season is dwindling down to the stretch run. Some teams are locked into playoff spots, while a handful of others in both conferences continue jockeying for position.

This year's championship was already under discussion before the league was even close to beginning the season. When the Miami Heat brought in LeBron James and Chris Bosh, they jumped to the front of the line for title contenders.

The Lakers, who are going for a three-peat, seemed to be placed on the back-burner. That didn't last too long, as the Heat struggled right out of the gate. 

While Miami has been able to regather itself and now sits among the top three in the East, other teams have also put together very solid seasons. 

I'll look at the top five contenders for the NBA championship this season, as well as five teams that are primed to make their own runs in the near future.

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