Our NBA power rankings are up a day later than usual, with a new team on top -- nobody's really touching the Spurs right now -- and some additional shuffling in the lower ranks. Away we go.
|Rank||Team||Record||Prev. Rank||Last Week ||SB Nation Blog|
||San Antonio Spurs||36-11
||3||W: @ PHI, NO, @DAL, PHO
||Pounding the Rock|
|They've been totally fine without Tim Duncan in uniform and fine without Gregg Popovich on the bench. The Spurs have now elected to stop wearing sneakers.|
|2||Oklahoma City Thunder||34-11||2||W: @LAC, @SAC; L: @GSW
||Welcome to Loud City|
|The Thunder played defense well below league average for most of their six-game road trip (3-3), which they might've weathered a bit better if Russell Westbrook (and in a couple of those games, Kevin Durant) hadn't shot basketballs so poorly.
||Los Angeles Clippers||33-13
||1||W: POR, L: @GSW, OKC, @PHO, @POR
|The Clippers played another game-dense stretch without Chris Paul and, this time around, really fell off defensively (and, against Phoenix, shot as poorly as they have all year) and took a serious slide. It's been kinda fun, though, watching Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom ease into more creative rolls in Paul's absence.|
||4||W: TOR, DET; L: @BOS
||Hot Hot Hoops|
|The Heat still seem pretty comfortable easing off the accelerator now and again, though I guess I'd also have been distracted in that Celtics game knowing I had a visit to the White House coming up. In other news, this .gif makes me very, very happy.|
||5||W: @HOU, SAC
Danilo Gallinari's been rolling for a while now and Wilson Chandler played perhaps his best two-way game of the season in Houston before hurting himself. Shoutout to the Knicks of '09 or so.
|6||Golden State Warriors||27-17||6||W: LAC, OKC, @TOR; L: @CHI, @MIL||Golden State of Mind|
|For 30 or so wonderful minutes, the Warriors were fully healthy (you know, except for Brandon Rush), and the offense looked SHARP, even with Andrew Bogut taking some time to find his sea legs. Of course, with Bogut settling in nicely and the Warriors rolling, the basketball gods just couldn't resist meddling. Stephen Curry's most recent ankle sprain (Volume Four, Sprain Three) isn't expected to be anything major, and it better not be. The Dubs are too fun to be denied by some faulty ligaments.
|7||New York Knicks||27-15
||7||W: @BOS, ATL; L: BRO, @PHI
||Posting and Toasting|
Raymond Felton's back and Amar'e Stoudemire's really starting to produce for an offense that's still afloat but could use a little support for Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. New York's got a relatively easy bit of schedule coming up, so it's time to figure some things out on defense, too.
||8||W: LAL, BRO, @HOU; L: IND, NOH
||Straight Outta Vancouver|
|A google search confirms that the term "Wrotensanity" has already been coined. Whatever. I didn't need that trademark anyway. Meanwhile, Mike Conley's injury is no fun, but not totally inconvenient given the way Jerryd Bayless has been producing (and continued to produce in Conley's place on Monday).
||11||W: LAL, DET, GSW, CHA; L: @WAS
||Blog a Bull|
|After some initial issues, this Chicago bench has shown some impressive plasticity, growing to fill the void left by the departed members of last year's beloved group. Like, Jimmy Butler's a star.
||10||W: @NYK, @MIN, ORL; L: @MEM, @HOU
|The Nets take care of sub-.500 teams and recently, they've been taking care of visitors. After kind of a shaky start at Barclays Center, the Nets have won eight straight at home.
||9||W: @MEM; L: @POR, @UTA, @DEN
|A road trip that began with an exciting win over the Grizzlies petered out pretty hard thereafter. The upcoming home stand won't be much respite, either, with three of four visiting teams above .500. That includes the Hawks, who are poised to leapfrog Indiana in the standings if the Pacers don't collect themselves.
||12||W: @CHA, @NOH, @BRO, @UTA; L: DEN
||The Dream Shake|
|I probably overrated Houston last week, but the offense has come around just in time, culminating in their most dominant performance of the season on Monday against the Jazz. James Harden hitting more than like a quarter of his shots helped a lot, and so has Carlos Delfino's continued excellence from behind the arc. This also helps.
||13||W: PHI, GSW; L: @CLE
|The Bucks are now 7-3 under Jim Boylan, with Ersan Ilyasova's recent excellence helping to buoy improvements in pretty much every offensive category.
||15||W: MIN, CHA, BOS; L: @NYK
|A pretty ugly collapse (two Josh Smith turnovers and a missed Josh Smith three down the stretch) may or may not have cut the slide-saving momentum generated from a three-game win streak that included that unbelievable, Kyle Korver-fueled double-overtime comeback against Boston.
||14||W: WAS, IND; L: @LAL, HOU
|An important week for the Jazz opened in the most discouraging way possible with a 45-point blowout loss at home to the Rockets. After facing the Hornets, the Jazz meet Portland for a crucial home-and-home. Current seeding and eventual tie-breakers may hang in the balance.
Portland Trail Blazers
||17||W: IND, LAC; L: WAS, @LAC
|They kinda looked sunk after losing to some inferior opponents, but Portland turned around and opened a tough stretch with a couple impressive wins. Still, they really can't afford some of these losses -- a home game against the Wizards this week -- while scrapping for a bottom playoff spot in the West.
||16||W: MIA; L: @CLE, NYK, @ATL
|Man, losing Rajon Rondo sucks, and I say this as someone who loathes the Celtics and roots for a team Rondo habitually torches. Injuries are the absolute worst. I actually wouldn't be surprised to see the Celtics pull together a little run post-injury. Not because Rondo hurts them or anything, just because they strike me as the kind of team prone to rallying around a fallen friend.
|18||Los Angeles Lakers||19-25
||19||W: UTA, OKC; L: @CHI, @MEM
||Silver Screen and Roll|
|I don't know, the Kobe passing thing is cool and the win over Oklahoma City meant something, but it seems like the defense LA played against the Jazz really holds the key to them turning things around for good. Right? Haven't we all been saying, "iIt's not the offense that's the problem, it's the defense?" I definitely heard that one from my local grocer.
||18||W: PHO; L: SAS
|Dallas has been playing decently, but they're still behind the rest of the league in terms of establishing a steady rotation. Rick Carlisle stays experimenting, particularly up front, where it seems like Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Brandan Wright, and Bernard James (who started on Sunday) have reached pretty equal footing.
|20||Philadelphia 76ers||18-26||22||W: NYK; L: SAS, @MIL, MEM
|It's always nice when a player gets selected to his first All-Star team, then makes it abundantly clear why he's worthy in the games following his selection. If anyone had any doubt about the season Jrue Holiday is having, the dominant night he had against the Knicks (join the club) and the surprising offensive explosion he led in in the Sixers' near-upset of the Grizzlies snuffed it.
||21||W: ORL, @ORL; L: CHI, @MIA
||Detroit Bad Boys|
|Detroit seems a likely candidate to snatch that last playoff spot from the seemingly doomed (though, again, I'm not so sure) Celtics, but they still feel a little uneasy rotation-wise. The #FreeDrummond thing has been beaten to death in these parts (but still, Andre Drummond needs minutes), but now there's something going on with Rodney Stuckey, who was a DNP-CD for not-totally-explained reasons the other night.
|22||New Orleans Hornets||15-29
||24||W: SAC, @MEM; L: @SAS, HOU
||At the Hive|
|1. Even with Greivis Vasquez playing one of his worst games of the season, New Orleans followed their frontcourt (Jason Smith!) to a pretty impressive win over the Grizzlies. 2. I love the Pelicans name, loathe the Pelicans logo. Somebody showed me this the other day and I think it's way, way better. We don't need our mascots to be intimidating. It's meaningless. No opponent is going to be like "OH YO THE PELICAN HAS RED EYES WE'RE SCREWED."
||23||W: @ORL; L: @MIA, CLE, GSW
|I promised our own Ricky O'Donnell that a career-high for Aaron Gray would earn a link to perhaps the greatest blog post of all time, so here it is. Meanwhile, one of the Pistons, Sixers and Raptors needs to stop messing around and just reel off a win streak to make a run at the eighth seed. Enough dilly-dallying. You don't even need to get above .500, guys.
||27||W: @POR, MIN, CHI; L: @UTA, SAC
|Since being reborn in John Wall's return, the Wizards have shown the abilities to both topple trees and trip over twigs. They'll obviously need to do more of the former and pretty much none of the latter for this to even be a possibility.
||20||L: @ATL, BRO, WAS, CHA
|Making the Wolves play basketball right now just isn't fair. Is there a rule against cryogenically freezing the healthy players until the unhealthy players have recovered? At least they've got Rick Adelman back now.
|26||Cleveland Cavaliers||13-32||29||W: BOS, MIL, @TOR
||Fear the Sword|
|Hey now, Cavs! Kyrie Irving's undisputed Player of the Week week piloted Cleveland to some of the best offense they've played all season. Irving's game-winning three in Toronto -- a near replica of Jeremy Lin's shot in the same building last season -- gave Cleveland its first three-game win streak of the season.
||25||W: @WAS; L: @NOH, PHO, OKC, @DEN
Thank you, Isaiah, for ending a pretty dreary losing streak. The main event remains off the court, but it's nice when the Kings win occasionally, too.
||28||W: @SAC, LAC; L: @SAS, DDAL
||Bright Side of the Sun|
|I said last week that I expected a little post-coaching-change spurt from the Suns and, well, they did win two straight, including one against the Clippers. They've lost twice since, so perhaps it was a quick honeymoon. Meanwhile, Steve Nash and the Lakers come to town Wednesday night. This is interesting because the Suns drafted Nash and employed him for two years in the late '90s, I guess.
||26||L: @DET, TOR, DET, @BRO
||Orlando Pinstriped Post|
|A gem amid the muck: Moe Harkless came alive Monday night starting in place of the injured Arron Afflalo. The kid's sheer activity level -- he just goes and takes the ball no matter where it is or who thinks they "possess" it -- is otherworldly. Some people have a nose for the ball, Moe Harkless has a whole face for the ball.
||30||W: MIN; L: HOU, ATL
||Rufus on Fire|
|Is "Bobcatsian" a word yet? If not, we now have a definition for it. I guess anything ending in a win isn't exactly Bobcatsian, but still...
|112||Juneau FrostDonkeys||0-0||98||--||None yet|
|The Donks held open free agent tryouts to fill the roster spots vacated by intra-squad cannibalism. Their new starting lineup features two ice road truckers and a stoat.