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The Hottest Division In Basketball... the Northwest.

That would be the division in which the coldest of the three contending teams has won 7 of its last 11 games.

The third-place team has won 6 of 7 and sits at 22-17 on the season.

And the upstart bunch that just moved atop the chart (for today, at least) is only the hottest team in basketball, having won 18 of its last 20 games.

Nearly halfway through the season, three teams sit separated by a total of two games atop the Northwest Division, with the worst of the three winning at a .579 clip.

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To make matters even more intriguing, each team has its own distinct identity.

The run-and-gun Nuggets play the league's fastest pace and rely on their two big guns on offense and an improved defense spearheaded by reigning DPoY Marcus Camby.

As athletic as the young Blazers are, they play one of the league's slowest games and simply do everything in their power to make the right plays in the half-court when push comes to shove, thanks largely to the efforts put in by budding young stars Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Meanwhile, the Jazz will always be known by their coach, Jerry Sloan, one of the best the game has to offer.  Though Sloan has adjusted in some regards to mesh with a more athletic Jazz team than has been seen in years past -- led by Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer -- the Jazz still play the blue-collar brand of basketball that reflects the image of their coach as strongly as ever.

Three teams.  Three styles.  Two games apart.

It's going to be a fun race to watch, folks. 

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