|Steady production from Vince Carter has landed the first-year Mav in the starting lineup. (Getty Images)|
Updated Jan. 31
It's a big and quiet kind of week.
On the big side, the Miami Heat got the gigantic win over Chicago to lift themselves back into the top spot. That one's going to hold for a while, because the Heat have shown that when locked in, they are pretty much unstoppable.
Also big? The Clippers' win over Denver and then Oklahoma City, which helped put them in the top five.
The Clippers check in on the quiet front too, joining the Mavericks and Jazz, as all have sneaked their way into the top 10. The Clippers have big wins over Denver, Oklahoma City, the Lakers and Portland this season (and losses to all of the above as well). The Clippers aren't close to being favorites, but they're making a push.
The Mavs just keep working. Witness their having held off a Spurs bench run to force overtime. Despite having a lot of issues to fix, Dallas finds itself at the top of the division.
The gap between No. 8 and No.13 is narrower than the gap between No. 1 and No. 4. This is really looking like a three-team league this year, even after Oklahoma City's bad loss in Los Angeles. The qualifier there? This crazy season with all the injuries and a compacted schedule means anything could happen come playoff time. As Rick Carlisle called it this week, "wacky."