Basketball fans, it’s time for another edition of power rankings here on STS, and after a great week of action in the NBA (which concluded with a possible game of the year candidate in Portland last night), it’s time to see where the teams stand heading into this week.
So without any further ado, here’s a look at the rankings:
1. San Antonio Spurs (31-6) – The Spurs will be on the road a lot in the coming weeks, so that’s a concern considering that they lost back-to-back road games in New York and Boston this past week.
2. Miami Heat (30-9) – If you missed the game last night against the Blazers, you missed an absolute show by LeBron James. The Heat have won nine straight, and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
3. Boston Celtics (28-8) – Boston has struggled a little, going 6-4 in their last ten games, but it’s still hard to see anyone but the Heat better than them in the East.
4. Los Angeles Lakers (27-11) – All is well again in Laker-land, as they’ve seemed to figure out some of their problems, and it was evident in a blowout of the Knicks last night at Staples Center.
5. Orlando Magic (25-12) – The Magic went 4-0 this past week, and they have won nine straight. Since the trades, it’s clear that this is a completely different team, and one that could be a true contender come playoff time.
6. Dallas Mavericks (26-10) – I’m a little hesitant to put them this high, as I just think the loss of Caron Butler is going to be a huge factor in this team’s long-term success.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-13) – The Thunder move up a few spots this week, as even though they still have some defensive struggles, I think they are starting to find a groove offensively.
8. Atlanta Hawks (25-14) – I’ll be the first to admit that I was completely caught off-guard by Atlanta’s blowout win in Salt Lake City, and if they continue to hit shots, they will be a hard team to beat.
9. Utah Jazz (25-13) – Utah has been a little up and down here lately, but with the way Deron Williams has been playing, they are still one of the better teams in the West.
10. Chicago Bulls (24-12) – The Bulls had a few bad road losses this week (at NJ, and at PHI) which is why they’ve dropped a few spots. However, they did get a big win at home against the Celtics.
11. New Orleans Hornets (22-16) – It seems like this Hornets team is starting to make a few strides, but they’ve gotta start finding balance on the road if they want to be considered one of the top teams in their conference.
12. New York Knicks (21-15) – The Knicks started the week off well with an offensive explosion against the Spurs, but weren’t even on the same level as the Lakers last night.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (20-18) – I hate to bring this up again, but the game against the Heat was just fantastic. And even though Portland lost, they showed that they can still be an excellent team when LaMarcus Aldridge is playing at a high level.
14. Denver Nuggets (20-16) – We might not see the Nuggets this high in the power rankings again this season, as it looks like the Carmelo Anthony trade to New Jersey is going to go down very soon.
15. Memphis Grizzlies (17-20) – The more and more I watch this team play, the more likely I think it is that they could give someone a run for their money in the first round of the playoffs. But they gotta get there first.
16. Houston Rockets (16-21) – The Rockets should probably slide down farther in this week’s rankings after losing five straight, but honestly, they are still better than the teams below them here.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (14-21) – We’ll make the Bucks this week’s “much better than their record shows” team, as they’ve been playing some great defense as of late.
18. Philadelphia 76ers (15-22) – Philly got a nice win against the Bulls this week, and Doug Collins has got this team playing well on both ends of the floor. A loss at Detroit wasn’t all that great though.
19. Phoenix Suns (15-20) – Man, the Suns are just so bad on defense right now. The Knicks and Lakers basically did anything they wanted to do against them offensively this past week, and it looks like this team may statistically go down as one of the worst defensive teams in league history.
20. Golden State Warriors (15-22) – The Warriors are similar to the Suns in their style of play, and while they can score with anyone at times, they still don’t have the defensive presence to be an above average team.
21. Los Angeles Clippers (12-24) – Blake Griffin and company are now 7-3 in their last ten, and after a 1-13 start to the season, this team has clearly got it going now.
22. Indiana Pacers (14-21) – I was really high on the Pacers after they went and beat the Lakers in Los Angeles earlier in the season, but they clearly are not the same team these days as they were then.
23. Charlotte Bobcats (13-21) – Even though it’s extremely hard to watch this team at times, they’ve actually played well here recently, and you still have to wonder what they plan on doing before the trade deadline.
24. Toronto Raptors (13-24) – The Raptors got a win over the Kings yesterday, which doesn’t exactly scream “move up 15 spots in the power rankings” or anything like that.
25. Detroit Pistons (12-24) – Remember what I said about the Nuggets? The same will probably go for the Pistons if the Carmelo deal goes down, as if they deal Richard Hamilton, they might become a staple in the bottom five of the rankings for the rest of the season.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-29) – The T’Wolves lost four games this past week, yet they move up in the rankings. It might not make much sense, but if you’ve seen the way they’ve been playing recently, this team isn’t that bad.
27. New Jersey Nets (10-27) – And contrary to the Nuggets and Pistons’ situation, the Nets won’t be this low again in the rankings if the Carmelo deal happens this week.
28. Sacramento Kings (8-26) – Congrats to the Kings for no longer occupying the bottom spot in the rankings, as they got a nice win over Denver at home.
29. Washington Wizards (9-26) – Well, the Wizards have moved to 0-18 on the road this season, and to state the obvious, that’s just awful.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-29) – The Cavs have lost ten in a row, and then they got the news yesterday that Anderson Varejao is out for the season. This team may be here for a while.