If the Heat are to advance past the Bulls, they'll need more production from NBA MVP LeBron James, David Thorpe writes. Likewise, for the Bulls to pull a major upset, Carlos Boozer must be more assertive inside.
Bradford Doolittle examines whether Carmelo Anthony should get serious consideration as the 2012-13 NBA MVP. While the Knicks' star had a huge season, his team impact and defense doesn't rival the game's other elite players.
Kevin Pelton examines the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose. Can the reigning NBA MVP actually improve? What parts of his game need improvement? Can a new teammate offer that missing piece? Can he make his teammates better?
The Spurs handed Tony Parker more than a contract extension before the season -- they placed the fate of the franchise in his hands. And now, with Parker fueling a run-and-gun attack, the Spurs are 12-1 and Parker is a sleeper MVP candidate.