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Turned around: Bulls beaten by rising Philadelphia team

February 01, 2012|RedEye

The Bulls were ahead of their time.

When the team landed Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick in 2008 and turned their fortunes around, it was just the beginning of a huge change in the NBA. Now, the NBA features a plethora of top-tier teams that were scraping the bottom of the barrel in recent years.

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of those teams. The Bulls figured that out Wednesday night when they lost 98-82.

Just two seasons ago, the 76ers were among the Eastern Conference's worst teams. And "it" teams such as the L.A. Clippersand Indiana Pacers weren't even sniffing the playoffs. Meanwhile, perennial powerhouses such as the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are free-falling.

Here's a look at some of the teams on the way up and on the way down in the NBA—as of right now.

EASTERN CONFERNCE

UP Philadelphia 76ers

Led by young stars Jrue Holiday and Louis Williams, Philly is the top defensive team in the NBA, limiting teams to 86 points per game.

THIS SEASON: 1st in the Atlantic Division

LAST SEASON: 41-41, 7th in the East

2009-10 SEASON: 27-55, out of the playoffs

DOWN Boston Celtics

The aging trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, along with the loss of Kendrick Perkins, is starting to show.

THIS SEASON: 7th in playoff standings

LAST SEASON: 56-26, 1st in the Atlantic

2009-10 SEASON: 50-32, 1st in the Atlantic

UP Indiana Pacers

Scrappy, hardworking team has no superstar but does have an All-Star in Danny Granger.

THIS SEASON: 2nd in the Central, behind the Bulls

LAST SEASON: 37-45, 8th in playoff standings

2009-10 SEASON: 32-50, out of the playoffs

DOWN Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando, and the drama is pulling down the team.

THIS SEASON: 3rd in the Southeast, 6th in playoff standings

LAST SEASON: 52-30, 2nd in the Southeast

2009-10 SEASON: 59-23, 1st in the Southeast

WESTERN CONFERNCE

UP L.A. Clippers

With the pickup of Chris Paul via trade, the addition of Caron Butler of the title-winning Dallas Mavericks and the continued maturation of Blake Griffin, the Clippers are not only one of the league's best, but also one of the most exciting.

THIS SEASON: 1st in the Pacific

LAST SEASON: 32-50, Out of the playoffs

2009-10 SEASON: 29-53, Out of the playoffs

DOWN L.A. Lakers

Kobe Bryant is aging, coach Phil Jackson is gone, and the result is lowtime, not showtime.

THIS SEASON: 2nd in Pacific, 6th in playoff standings

LAST SEASON: 57-25, 1st in Pacific, 2ndt in playoff standings

2009-10 SEASON: 57-25, 1st in Pacific, 1st in playoff standings

DOWN Phoenix Suns

They weren't that good last season, missing the postseason, but they are even worse this season.

THIS SEASON: 4th in Pacific, out of the playoffs

LAST SEASON: 40-42, 2nd in Pacific, out of the playoffs

2009-10 SEASON: 54-28, 2nd in Pacific, 3rd in playoffs standings

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