HOT: THE WINDY CITY WAY
Miami gets the attention, but Chicago is quietly killing it. The Bulls are an NBA-topping 15--3 for the first time since '97; they've found insurance for the injured Derrick Rose in C.J. Watson (below); and they bring 21,856 fans per home game, most in the league.
Buyer's remorse in New York? The Knicks fell to Carmelo Anthony's old Nuggets last Saturday for their fourth home loss in six days, after which Melo, who shot 35 of 105 during the skid, said, "Maybe I need to not take so many shots." Well, duh.
HOT: LIGHTNING STRIKES
Tampa charged out of a seven-game losing streak with three wins in a row, including one over the Cup-holding Bruins. There's ground to make up in the East, but having Steven Stamkos and his NHL-best 32 goals makes it seem doable.
NOT: TORONTO RAPTURE
The Raptors started off well enough (3--3!) but have since resumed their losing ways, dropping 10 of 11. Only Andrea Bargnani scores more than 15 ppg, the team ranks 29th in total offense (85.4 ppg), and it hasn't topped 100 points since its opener.
HOT: 'NOLES ROLL
Leonard Hamilton's team (13--6) made that 90--57 dismantling of No. 3 UNC two weeks ago seem small time with a buzzer-beating 76--73 victory over No. 4 Duke—FSU's fourth win in a row—snapping the Blue Devils' 45-game home undefeated streak.
AMY SANCETTA/AP (WATSON)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (ANTHONY)
KEITH CHARLES/SOUTHCREEK/ZUMAPRESS.COM (STAMKOS)
RON TURENNE/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (BARGNANI)
BILL FRAKES (FLORIDA STATE)