After a “well rested” Spurs team outlasted the Grizzlies in overtime, they reclaim the top spot this week, with the hot hot Heat right on their trail. The Warriors make the biggest jump of the week, up 7 spots and crack the Top 10 with a sweet little 3-game winning streak and hosting the Magic on Monday night before heading out for a 7-game road test. Some awesome things this week (in no particular order): Magic get #Dwightmare revenge on Lakers, Batum’s corner three, the Wizards first win, Larry Sanders! Enjoy the analysis.
Welcome to The Skyook’s NBA Power Rankings, where any given week, things can change faster than a James Harden trade.
Week 5 – December 3, 2012
Biggest jump: Warriors (+7) | Biggest drop: Nuggets (-6)
Forget the hot water that Popovich and the Spurs got into for their “resting with the stars” espisode against the Heat this week (which they did only lose by 5). More importantly, they outlasted the Grizz in an OT battle, giving me no choice but to crown them Power Ranking Kings again.
So much for those tests against the Spurs and Nets, as they captured wins in both games. Currently riding a 6-game win streak, the Heat are starting to make it look easy. Could Wade’s 34-point effort against the Nets be an awakening of sorts?
The Grizz didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, but the other two are just hotter right now. They turned up the defensive pressure last week by beating the Cavs, Raps and Pistons (as they should) by an average of 13 points while allowing an average of only 79 points in those games.
One could make a very solid case for the Thunder to be on top of the Rankings after a 4-0 week where they destroyed opponents by an average of 25 points per game. Russell Westbrook’s 23 pts, 13 rebs, 8 asts, 7 stls, 8 turnover stat line against the Jazz was certainly one of a kind.
They did lose to their new Brooklyn rival, but the Knicks defense bounced back this week, going 3-1 and allowing an average of only 92.5 points per game. With the Suns win, they improved to 7-0 at the Garden. Rasheed’s ejection after playing only 1:25 is probably a record, even for him.
Welcome back Chauncey Billups! Now let’s see how the sharing of minutes with this team will work. The Hornets loss at home (without Davis) was inexplicable, but they finished the week strong with two wins. Watching Lamar Odom jog around out there is now at embarrassing levels.
During their 3-1 week, the Nets were involved in a couple of division “battles.” First, they beat the Knicks in the new battle of New York, then they literally, physically battle with the Celtics that results in a win and a 2-game suspension of Rondo. Win win.
Josh Smith’s lesson for the week will be: box out. His lapse cost the Hawks a 7-game winning streak in dropping that brutal game to the Cavs. Other than that incident, he’s picked up his play slightly, averaging 18.8 pts, 7.8 rebs, 4.2 asts, 3.2 blks and 1.8 stls over his past five games.
The Warriors make the biggest jump of the week, up 7 spots into the Top 10 and currently riding a 3-game win streak with impressive wins over the Wolves, Nuggets and Pacers. Klay Thompson’s last 5 games: 21.2 pts on .467 shooting. Festus Ezeli is becoming a fan favorite.
The Lakers were on their way to breaking further into the Top 10 until that travesty against the Magic happened last night. 40 points in the 4th quarter to Orlando, seriously!? Now under .500 again, the Lakers play 7 out of their next 8 on away from Staples Center.
The Celts have been a model of inconsistency this season. They’ll welcome Rondo back from suspension with open arms, but what this team really needs is a shot blocker (no one averages even close to 1 per game – Garnett/Bass 0.76). What Joe Johnson did to Pierce was elder abuse.
The Sixers will have a chance to make a statement in a very important home and home series against the Celtics this week for division position. Don’t look now but we’re seeing some solid progression from Evan Turner, now averaging 14.1 pts, 7.1 rebs and 4.1 asts on the season.
The Richard Hamilton injury will hurt the Bulls, but thankfully they play in the Central Division, where they are currently duking it out with the Bucks for the top spot at 8-7. Speaking of which, they’ll play the Pacers, Cavs and Pistons in their next three.
Have to drop the Nuggets down again after another 0-3 week. For those keeping track, Denver’s first 17 games: 3L, 4W, 3L, 4W, 3L. Don’t look for another four straight wins though, as the Nugs are about to embark on a 5-game road trip after a home date with the Raps.
What a week for Larry Sanders! First a triple double on Friday against the Wolves (10 blocks), followed up with a 18 point, 16 rebound, 5 block effort in a big win against the Celtics. Are we sure the Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combo is working out?
Like water is wet, the Jazz improve to 6-0 at home and play 4 of their next 5 there. Although the Derrick Favors injury will force an already small team to adjust, the Gordon Hayward bench experiment has been good, as his 16.3 point average over the past three games suggests.
What a Christmas present that would be in Minnesota if Ricky Rubio (who was at practice last week) were to return in a few short weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang will be fighting to keep the ship at .500 until the full squad has returned to good health.
Forget the hyped backcourt as there are lots of things to love about the way this Asik-Parsons-Patterson frontcourt is coming together. Let’s see if the Rockets can continue to put up major points against the Thunder, Lakers and Spurs in their next three games.
Coming into the season, with the major focus on Hibbert, George and Granger, who’d have thought that it would be David West and George Hill leading the way for the Pacers. While 8-9 isn’t ideal, leading the league in rebounding and being 3rd in points against is certainly respectable.
Like this team wasn’t old enough, they ink Derek Fisher last week, who was 1 for 8 shooting in his debut. With 6 of their next 7 on the road and against better opponents, I expect this team to keep fading. Let’s hope that when Dirk does come back, it’s not too late.
Blazers just barely snapped a 4-game losing streak in Cleveland with a desperate Batum corner three-ball to beat the lowly Cavs in double overtime. What the heck is up with this completely inept bench unit for Portland? Nothing has been easy for this squad so far.
Nothing screams “reality check” like a 45-point loss. Yes, it was the Thunder, but scoring 24 points in a half is unacceptable. It will be interesting to see how this new, exciting Bobcats team responds. The Walker-Sessions combo has been really fun to watch.
What an extreme high for the Orlando Magic last night in Los Angeles in taking down the Lakers and avenging the #Dwightmare. If nothing else, they have at least that this season. Although sweeping theminOrlando might be their NBA Championship once the playoffs are out of sight.
Defensively, this team is the epitome of “horrible,” as losing to the Pistons by 40 and giving up 117 points in the process, will attest. Michael Beasley seems to be getting worse as the season goes on. I have to admit, Goran Dragic is holding up better than I expected.
Even with a 2-2 week, the Pistons are showing some signs of life and have battled back to go 5-5 after starting the season 0-8. Putting that kind of hurting on the Suns overrides losing in Memphis and Dallas. Brandon Knight’s development continues on an upward trend.
Just me, or does it feel like the Raptors play ALL their games on the road? At least they got a close one against the Suns on Friday, one they’ve regularly blown this season. If nothing else, the Mickael Pietrus signing should slightly help in getting Casey’s defensive mojo back.
Losers of 8 of their last 9 games, the Hornets one (ironic) win came against Chris Paul and the Clips. How long is this Anthony Davis injury going to linger? He’ll soon be approaching Eric Gordon territory. Not really, but get back soon AD.
Of course, the one guy that has stepped up his game recently (Tyreke Evans), goes down with an injury. Among the many flaws of this team, they are just too small at the point guard spot with Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette.
What a weekend for the Cavs. First a tip-in victory over a good Atlanta team on the road, then a ridiculous Batum buzzer-beater from the corner in double overtime at home. At what point do we just start feeling bad for Varejao? Until he gets traded, that’s when.
Wanted to move the Wiz up, even just one spot, after their ugly first win against Portland at home Wednesday. Couldn’t do it. Even the force that is Nene is being brought down by the Wizards curse: In 4 games played, only 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes.