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Standings Upside Down

I'll preface this with the obligatory "It's really early in the season, but..."

A snapshot of the NBA Standings on this day of Nov. 8 reveals that 4 of the 6 division leaders (Philly, Atlanta, Utah, and the Hornets) missed the playoffs last year, while the other two (Indiana and the Lakers) made first round playoff exits after securing the 6th and 7th seeds in their respective conferences.  

Atlanta may be the most surprising.  Winners of 26 games last year (3rd fewest in the NBA), they are currently on a 3 game winning streak which equals their longest in over 3 years.  And that's after 4 games!  They lost their first 9 games last season and their season was essentially over before Thanksgiving.  They haven't had a 4 game winning streak since April, 2003, but they could do it with a winnable game in Toronto on Friday.

Oh, and by the way, the Clippers face 4 of these current division leaders in a row starting Sunday with the Hornets.  

On the other end of the spectrum is tonight's opponent.  Dallas is currently one of only 3 winless teams in the NBA, and they're not the only power team that has started slowly.  With Miami and Detroit sitting at 2-2, and the Suns at 1-3 not a single team from last season's 'Final Four' is currently above .500.