NBA Power Rankings: Injuries Pile Up, But Bulls, Heat Still Excel

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 21: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against Boris Diaw #32 of the Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center on January 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bobcats 95-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bulls didn't have Derrick Rose this week, but still reeled off a 3-1 record to top SB Nation's NBA Power Rankings. The Miami Heat, missing Dwyane Wade, also went 3-1 and follow in the No. 2 spot.

Injuries are taking their toll on the league, and that has some ramifications for SBNation.com's NBA Power Rankings this week. Miami would have landed on top if not for a Sunday loss to the Bucks minus Dwyane Wade; that the Bulls have been able to keep it all together without the team's MVP Derrick Rose is commendable, and worth the top spot.

Meanwhile, the Lakers fell against tough competition, the Nuggets and Jazz continue to thrive, the Celtics perk up and the Knicks and Nets are putting their rivalry together in the worst way possible.

Rank Team Record Last Week SB Nation Blog
1. Chicago Bulls 15-3 W: PHX, CLE, CHA; L: MEM Blog-A-Bull
Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls are blowing out most opponents. Luol Deng has been a monster, and deserve serious All-Star consideration in the forward-heavy East.
2. Miami Heat 11-5 W: SA, LAL, PHI; L: MIL Peninsula Is Mightier
Sunday's loss to the Bucks was ugly, but you can't ignore the three blow-out wins over good teams that preceded it. That it was all done without Dwyane Wade amplifies the power.
3. Denver Nuggets 12-5 W: MIL, PHI, WAS, NY Denver Stiffs
The Nuggets were supposed to be a dominant home team that won enough on the road to remain competitive. Instead, they have begun a five-game road trip with four straight wins and have a few days off before visiting Sacramento.
4. Philadelphia 76ers 11-5 W: MIL, ATL; L: DEN, MIA Liberty Ballers
The Sixers went 2-2 last week, but the losses -- a squeaker to the Nuggets, a road blowout to the Heat -- are forgivable. This remains a wildly good team with an easy-to-watch offense.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder 13-3 W: BOS, NJ; L: WAS Welcome To Loud City
How dare you lose to the Wizards?
6. Utah Jazz 10-5 W: LAC, MIN; L: DAL SLC Dunk
If you're wondering as to why I haven't written about the Jazz at any length, it's because I have no idea what to make of them, and I'm secretly hoping they fall off the map so I don't have to look deep within myself for answers.
7. San Antonio Spurs 10-7 W: ORL; L: MIA, SAC, HOU Pounding The Rock
The Spurs had tough, tight losses to the Kings and Rockets this weekend, but we knew coming into the season that San Antonio would be exposed to exhaustion. With rest, this is a much better team.
8. Atlanta Hawks 12-5 W: TOR, POR, CLE; L: PHI Peachtree Hoops
The Hawks aren't just treading water without Al Horford: they are bobbing above the water and possibly playing with a beach ball, as well.
9. Memphis Grizzlies 9-6 W: CHI, NO, DET, SAC Straight Outta Vancouver
Ditto the Grizz, who have found their way without Zach Randolph. Too bad they can't play the Kings every night: they have beaten them by a combined 50 points in two games.
10. Orlando Magic 11-4 W: NY, CHA, LAL; L: SA Orlando Pinstriped Post
Orlando is quietly putting together the second best record in the East, but the Magic have had a weaker schedule than anyone in that realm but the Pacers, and the team's biggest tests -- including a pair with Indiana and a game against the Sixers -- loom.
11. Indiana Pacers 11-4 W: GS, LAL; L: SAC Indy Cornrows
While a win over the Lakers in L.A. is mighty impressive, concerns about Indiana's record's inner truth remain because of its weak schedule to date. The Pacers have Orlando and Chicago back-to-back this week. We should know more then.
12. Portland Trail Blazers 9-7 W: NO, TOR; L: ATL, DET Blazer's Edge
To call the Blazers "mortal" on the road is an understatement. Portland is 6-1 at home and 3-6 on the road. Thankfully, they'll be back in the Rose Garden for the first time in nearly two weeks on Monday.
13. Dallas Mavericks 10-7 W: UTA, NO; L: LAL, LAC Mavs Moneyball
The Mavericks remain completely weird. Benching the reigning Finals MVP to work out while locked in a battle for playoff seeds in which every game matters? OK.
14. Houston Rockets 9-7 W: WAS, DET, NO, SA The Dream Shake
Hey, check out the Rockets, winners of six straight! Samuel Dalembert might end up as one of the offseason's best pick-ups, which is really something, considering that he was one of the offseason's final pick-ups.
15. L.A. Clippers 9-5 W: NJ, DAL, TOR; L: UTA, MIN Clips Nation
Going 3-2 without Chris Paul is fine. But, uh ... Chris Paul is going to come back, right? He didn't go out for cigarettes last Monday or something, did he?
16. L.A. Lakers 10-8 W: DAL; L: MIA, ORL, IND Silver Screen And Roll
Here's a change of pace: Pau Gasol isn't grousing about not getting the ball, he's grousing about where he's been stationed on offense. Instead of crimping on Kobe Bryant's steez, Andrew Bynum is pushing Pau to the perimeter/periphery. (Can I also note that the Lakers are a Derek Fisher prayer from potentially being just .500?)
17. Boston Celtics 6-9 W: TOR, WAS; L: OKC, PHX CelticsBlog
The Celtics would take .500. Watching Ray Allen, by far the best Celtic this season, leave Boston's Sunday game against the Wiz must have been terrifying, but it turns out he'll be OK. Boston desperately needs Rajon Rondo healthy as well, and a playoff bid should be easily within reach ... so long as Danny Ainge doesn't trade Paul Pierce.
18. Milwaukee Bucks 6-9 W: NY, MIA; L: PHI, DEN BrewHoop
Is Milwaukee finally getting its defense back? If so, credit may be due to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who just returned to action as the Bucks beat up the Knicks and Heat.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves 7-9 W: SAC, DET, LAC; L: UTA Canis Hoopus
Even if Rick Adelman doesn't win Coach of the Year -- Ty Corbin, Doug Collins and Nate McMillan are right up there -- he deserves some sort of honor for getting this club to nearly .500.
20. Phoenix Suns 6-9 W: NY, BOS; L: CHI Bright Side Of The Sun
Hey, the Suns aren't bad! Unfortunately, in the deep West where at least one above-.500 team will be left in the cold, that doesn't matter.
21. Golden State Warriors 5-10 W: CLE; L: NJ, IND Golden State Of Mind
The Warriors have the second-worst record in the West right now (ahead of New Orleans), but their offense isn't bad and they have an identity. In the end, they should end up being not completely impossible to enjoy.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers 6-9 W: CHA; L: GS, ATL, CHI Fear The Sword
Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, basically, are the difference between "worst in the league" and "kinda bad."
23. New York Knicks 6-10 L: ORL, PHX, MIL, DEN Posting And Toasting
This is just sad. I mean, they are actually excited about Baron Davis! Poor rims.
24. New Jersey Nets 5-12 W: GS; L: LA, OKC NetsDaily
I, for one, am loving this epic power struggle for the hearts and minds of New York between the Knicks and Nets. Oh, wait ...
25. New Orleans Hornets 3-13 L: POR, MEM, HOU, DAL At The Hive
The Hornets have the worst record in the West, and have lost seven straight and 13 of their last 14. But they are competitive most nights -- the average margin of defeat during the streak is six points -- and for a bad team, that's a nice boost. But still, fire Stern! Worst owner ever!
26. Detroit Pistons 4-13 W: POR; L: HOU, MIN, MEM Detroit Bad Boys
The Pistons are one of five serious contenders for the league's worst record; stunning home wins over the Blazers are not going to get the job done, Rodney Stuckey.
27. Sacramento Kings 6-11 W: IND, SAS; L: MIN, MEM Sactown Royalty
The Kings are off to a much better start than last season and has more wins than the other teams this low in the rankings. But good God, it is really not fun to watch 20-point road losses. And guess what? In 10 road games, the Kings have lost eight and five of those have been by at least 20, and two of those have been by at least 30! Yeesh!
28. Washington Wizards 2-14 W: OKC (!); L: Who cares?! Bullets Forever
Not only did the Wizards pick up a second win on the season, but they are playing much more competitively of late, nearly knocking off the Nuggets and Celtics. Progress!
29. Charlotte Bobcats 3-14 L: CLE, ORL, CHI, NJ Rufus On Fire
At least Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo are loads of fun.
30. Toronto Raptors 4-13 L: ATL, BOS, POR, LAC Raptors HQ
Toronto could be the only team at season's end to have lost to the Kings and Wizards. Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion!
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