1 (1) Pistons 33-5 In case you've stopped paying attention, Pistons could soon match Tigers' famed 35-5 start in 1984. Which figures to reignite the 70-win talk, like it or not. 2 (3) Mavericks 31-10 The cynic would say Mavs waited too long to sit Dampier. Life was good before the benching, but now look: Dallas is 5-0 since with an average victory margin of 21. 3 (2) Spurs 31-10 With four quality wins after the Detroit debacle, Spurs don't drop because of their play. They drop because their second most important player keeps getting hurt. 4 (4) Suns 26-14 Check that. If you want to beat these guys, taking them to double overtime works, too. Seattle didn't need a third to heap more OT misery on Suns. 5 (14) Nuggets 23-19 On second thought, this month's 9-2 record -- all without Camby -- might indeed be enough to make 'Melo an All-Star. Even in the West, are there five better Fs? 6 (5) Grizzlies 24-15 It'll be interesting to see how Grizz deal with their first crisis of the season. Not that slipping to sixth (and out of the SA-DAL bracket) would be so bad for them. 7 (9) Nets 22-16 Just for fun, let's assume Nets beat Heat out for the No. 2 seed and home-court advantage in Round 2. Would you still pick Miami to win that series? 8 (6) Heat 24-17 It was Riley, not me, who called Miami a ''41-game disappointment.'' But the ''new'' East is so disappointing that Heat probably snare the No. 2 seed no matter what. 9 (10) Lakers 22-19 Even before Kobe's 81, Zenmeister wasn't lowering expectations. Says Phil, regarding Artest: ''We're like a player away from really stepping into another level.'' 10 (11) Cavaliers 21-17 Only downer about those skid-halting 51 points in Utah: LBJ played so well in those compression tights that he'll have to keep wearing them. 11 (16) Hornets 20-20 Folks are actually starting to ask where Hornets would stage playoff games, Which is another way of saying things are going too well to mess with Artest. Aren't they? 12 (8) Jazz 20-21 Uh-oh. After all the fuss over their record with (17-8) and without (2-8) their star, Jazz go on to drop four of five with no Kirilenko injury to blame it on. 13 (13) Clippers 21-16 Clips are a passable 4-2 since dropping within three games of .500. Tough, though, to get noticed in L.A. when Kobe's going for 50-something every other game. 14 (12) Bucks 21-18 How does a team get over its first loss in a tight game? In Bucks' case, games against Hawks and Bobcats couldn't have come at a better time. 15 (7) Pacers 21-18 If it's up to Pacers to lift the city spirits, post-Colts ... uh-oh. They're 9-11 since Artest's trade demand and down to a month left before the deadline to swing a deal. 16 (15) 76ers 20-20 Team of the Week? Try Roller Coaster of the Week, with Webber and Iverson blowups, then the OT win over Memphis and the comeback in Minny.