Commentary

East threats to Bulls-Heat matchup

Breaking down the other six East squads to watch (PER Diem: March 28, 2012)

Updated: March 28, 2012, 5:53 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Anthony/HowardJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesBulls-Heat East finals? Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony might have something to say about that.

This is not the Eastern Conference you're used to seeing. I wrote last week that the quality of the playoff pack in the Western Conference had slipped, and the flip side of that is most of those wins have leaked Eastward. While the bottom of the conference remains as brutal as ever -- Cleveland is 17-30 and still outranks five other teams -- the East has five of the top eight teams in the standings and seven of the top 10 in my Power Rankings.

Included in that, obviously, are Chicago and Miami, who have been first and second in the Power Rankings in some order nearly the entire season. But let's not fast-forward to that Bulls-Heat conference finals just yet. For one thing, those two teams aren't exactly cementing their dominance right now -- Chicago is wringing its hands over Derrick Rose's groin injury and was just pounded at home by Denver, while the Heat have been in an offensive funk of late.

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