The first four weeks of these here NBA power rankings, there had been a new team on top each time. But there's finally some continuity, as the streaking San Antonio Spurs hold onto the top spot for a second straight week. There's also a new team in the top five, while the Chicago Bulls take a big tumble due to some bad losses and the latest Derrick Rose knee injury.
1. San Antonio Spurs (12-1, Last week: 1)
The Spurs are just clowning fools these days, and they lead the league in average point differential at +11.5. In their latest conquest, San Antonio beat the Cavaliers by 30 and led by as many as 43 points. Yowza.
More on the Spurs: Pounding The Rock
2. Indiana Pacers (12-1, Last week: 2)
The Pacers bounced back from their ugly loss to the Bulls last Saturday to post a perfect 3-0 week, which included a rousing overtime victory at Madison Square Garden that featured an insanely clutch Paul George. The budding superstar buried three free throws to send the game to overtime and then buried the Knicks in the extra period.
More on the Pacers: Indy Cornrows
3. Miami Heat (10-3, Last week: 3)
Dwyane Wade returned to the court Saturday after dealing with knee soreness, and after a slow start, he erupted in the second half. Wade scored 19 of his team-high 27 points in the second half, and LeBron James showed off his clutch gene with a game-winning jumper:
The Heat have won six in a row and have the league's most efficient offense.
More on the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops
4. Portland Trail Blazers (12-2, Last week: 6)
I said last week that I wanted to see a bit more from the Blazers in order to put them in the top five. Well, Portland has won 10 straight games and look completely legit. It looked like the Blazers' winning streak was going to come to an end Friday, but they erased a 21-point deficit and pulled out a big win over Chicago.
More on the Blazers: Blazer's Edge
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (9-3, Last week: 9)
Russell Westbrook was given a rest day Sunday, but it was no matter, as the Thunder spanked the Jazz. Westbrook has noticeably been a bit rusty in his return from a torn meniscus, but he's averaging 21.6 points on the year and clearly rounding into form. And oh yeah, Kevin Durant is leading the league in scoring by nearly four points per game. Also, Steven Adams is a funny guy:
More on the Thunder: Welcome to Loud City
6. Los Angeles Clippers (10-5, Last week: 5)
Chris Paul continues his complete mastery of the point guard position, although his streak of double-doubles to start the year did come to an end on Saturday against the Kings. Of course, Paul still managed to put up 22 points and nine assists in a narrow victory. And then he put up 16 and 17 in just 27 minutes in a dominant victory over the Bulls on Sunday. Ho hum.
More on the Clippers: Clips Nation
7. Dallas Mavericks (9-5, Last week: 11)
MONTA ELLIS HAVE IT ALL. Ellis has been incredibly awesome this season, with averages of 23.6 points and 5.4 assists. And most important, he has been efficient! This dude must have been really checked out in Milwaukee.
More on the Mavs: Mavs Moneyball
8. Houston Rockets (9-5, Last week: 10)
Chandler Parsons averaged 17.6 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent overall and 47.4 percent from three in five games this past week. Chandler Parsons is making under a million bucks this season. Saying Parsons is a bargain is almost an understatement.
More on the Rockets: The Dream Shake
9. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-7, Last week: 8)
The Wolves did come back down to earth a bit, going 1-3 last week and losing a real bad one against the Wizards. But if Wolves fans want a silver lining, at least Selena Gomez is a fan! Or maybe Ricky Rubio is a Selena Gomez fan. Whatever:
More on the Wolves: Canis Hoopus
10. Golden State Warriors (8-6, Last week: 5)
The Warriors have been dealt a tough blow with the hamstring injury to Andre Iguodala, although the presence of Harrison Barnes will soften it somewhat. Still, Iguodala's versatility was huge for Golden State, and his excellent defense helped transform the Warriors into one of the league's best on that end. Expect a step back as Iguodala recovers.
More on the Warriors: Golden State Of Mind
11. Atlanta Hawks (8-6, Last week: 12)
Thanks to the awfulness that is the East, the Hawks currently hold the No. 3 seed. Kyle Korver creeps closer and closer to Dana Barros' consecutive games with a three record, and Korver could break the mark of 89 straight games this week.
More on the Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
12. New Orleans Pelicans(6-6, Last week: 15)
Want to take a guess at who's leading the league in PER? Nope, not LeBron James. It's actually Anthony Davis, who has an awesome 29.94 PER. The Brow not only is averaging a double-double, but he's blocking a whopping four shots per game.
More on the Pelicans: The Bird Writes
13. Phoenix Suns (7-6, Last week: 13)
Playing without Eric Bledsoe all week due to a shin injury, the Suns suffered two tough losses to Sacramento. Phoenix did rebound over the weekend with a win over Charlotte, but Bledsoe still hasn't returned to the lineup. Gerald Green is good at dunking, though:
More on the Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun
14. Toronto Raptors (6-7, Last week: 17)
DeMar DeRozan has been killing it of late, averaging 26.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting in his last five games. The Raptors have won two games in a row and currently sit atop the awful Atlantic Division, which means they hold the No. 4 seed in the East with a record under .500. Yep, the East stinks.
More on the Raptors: Raptors HQ
15. Denver Nuggets (6-6, Last week: 18)
The Nuggets' offense is beginning to round into form after a poor start. Denver is ninth in scoring offense, and much of the credit can go to Ty Lawson. The diminutive speedster is averaging 20.8 points and 8.5 assists on the year, and he's good at throwing long lobs:
More on the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs
16. Memphis Grizzlies (7-6, Last week: 14)
The knee injury to Marc Gasol is a huge blow to a Grizzlies team that was just starting to find a groove. In the loaded West, Memphis will just try and stay afloat until Gasol returns from a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which didn't require surgery.
More on the Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues
17. Chicago Bulls (6-6, Last week: 7)
After 18 months of waiting for Derrick Rose, the Bulls will once again have to wait through another lengthy rehab process after the star point guard tore the meniscus in his right knee:
While the recovery time for a meniscus is shorter than that of an ACL, there's still a chance Rose misses the rest of the year. And if that happens, a season that began with championship dreams will just be another disappointment
More on the Bulls: Blog a Bull
18. Los Angeles Lakers (7-7, Last week: 23)
The Lakers are surprisingly staying afloat as Kobe Bryant nears a return. The Black Mamba appears on the verge of returning to the court, with a chance that he comes back when Los Angeles hits the road for a three-game road trip this week.
More on the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll
19. Charlotte Bobcats (7-7, Last week: 19)
Steve Clifford has done a pretty tremendous job turning the Bobcats into not just respectable defensive squad, but a pretty darn good one. Who knows if it'll last, but to go from the worst defense in the league to what they are now is impressive. More good news is that Charlotte will be working in the Hornets' old color scheme when the team changes names next season:
More on the Bobcats: Rufus On Fire
20. Detroit Pistons (5-8, Last week: 20)
The Pistons did beat the bumbling Nets on Sunday, but the situation in Detroit isn't pretty. Josh Smith was benched Friday for missing a practice and Brandon Jennings has little confidence in his shot. The defense remains mostly poor, although it has gotten a tad better in recent games.
More on the Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys
21. Washington Wizards (5-8, Last week: 27)
Down, up, down, up. That's the type of season it has been for the Wizards thus far. Washington went 3-1 last week, and John Wall has scored 68 points in the last two games combined while also owning Iman Shumpert:
Now the question is whether the Wizards can actually string two good weeks together.
More on the Wizards: Bullets Forever
22. Orlando Magic (4-9, Last week: 16)
After a surprisingly decent start, the Magic have fallen off. That of course tends to happen when you play Miami twice in one week, but Orlando has lost four in a row overall and seven of their last eight.
More on the Magic: Orlando Pinstriped Post
23. Sacramento Kings (4-9, Last week: 27)
The Kings actually put up back-to-back wins by sweeping and home-and-home against the Suns, but that was then followed by a tough loss to the Clippers and an ugly loss to the Lakers.
More on the Kings: Sactown Royalty
24. Philadelphia 76ers (6-9, Last week: 21)
Just to hammer home how terrible the East is, the Sixers currently hold the No. 7 seed despite having a -5.7 average point differential. That mark would be second-worst in the West.
More on the Sixers: Liberty Ballers
25. Boston Celtics (5-10, Last week: 25)
Gerald Wallace minced no words following a blowout loss to the Rockets last Tuesday, unleashing several expletives and once again lamenting a poor effort. Poor Gerald Wallace might just lose his mind by the time this season's up if he doesn't get traded.
More on the Celtics: CelticsBlog
26. New York Knicks (3-9, Last week: 24)
Knicks owner James Dolan still believes in Carmelo Anthony, Mike Woodson and the team's ability to win a championship. But his words almost seem delusional considering New York is mired in a five-game tailspin. The calls for Woodson's head will grow louder with every loss, and if the Knicks continue to stink, he may be the fall guy. How do you feel about all of this, Iman Shumpert?
More on the Knicks: Posting and Toasting
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-10, Last week: 26)
Suffice to say things aren't going too well for Mike Brown. His new/old team stinks and his No. 1 pick barely has a positive PER. Anthony Bennett did show some signs of breaking out of his funk Saturday against the Spurs, but it was in a 30-point loss. Silver linings, I guess?
More on the Cavs: Fear The Sword
28. Brooklyn Nets (3-10, Last week: 22)
Where to begin here. The more this season drags on, the more it looks like the Nets might just be bad. The injuries have piled up, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett look washed up, and first-year Jason Kidd is lost on the sidelines. Even worse, there are reports that Kidd "doesn't do anything" and that there's friction with assistant Lawrence Frank. Fun times in Brooklyn at the moment.
More on the Nets: NetsDaily
29. Milwaukee Bucks (2-10, Last week: 29)
There's really very little to like about the Bucks. Milwaukee has lost eight games in a row and lost 96-72 at home to Charlotte on Saturday. Yes, the Bucks lost by 24 at home to the Bobcats.
More on the Bucks: Brew Hoop
30. Utah Jazz (1-14, Last week: 30)
The Jazz have the league's worst offense and have only eclipsed 100 points one time in 15 tries this season. Rookie point guard Trey Burke finally made his debut, but he has really struggled out of the gates. And then there's this:
More on the Jazz: SLC Dunk