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NBA power rankings, Week 11: Clippers make some statements

The Clippers maintain the top spot in this week's power rankings after winning a statement game against Golden State on Saturday.


We're back for another edition of NBA power rankings after a week off. As usual, if you disagree with any of these rankings, you're probably right.

Rank Team Record Prev. Rank Last Week
SB Nation Blog
1 Los Angeles Clippers 27-8 1 W: LAL, GSW; L: @DEN, @GSW
Clips Nation
There are "statement" games, and then there are "savage, merciless retribution for having our win streak interrupted by some solid competition thus making people momentarily doubt us" games. L.A. affirmed divisional dominance by recalibrating its offense against the Lakers (at least through three quarters), then absolutely mangling the Golden State D that had handled them several days prior. A team guided by Chris Paul can produce some borderline inhumane basketball when he's feeling vengeful.
2 San Antonio Spurs 27-9 5 W: BRO, @MIL, PHI; L: @NYK Pounding the Rock
San Antonio's win streak kinda petered out -- not unexpectedly, really -- in an impotent fourth-in-five-nights performance in New York. Then Manu Ginobili awakened from a mini-slump to pilot their blowout win over the Sixers back in San Antonio. In the two weeks since we last spoke, the Spurs have joined the Clippers with top-five rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That weary loss to the Knicks was the only time in the last two weeks the Spurs' offense produced anything short of sparkling results, and even then, they were kinda just missing good, open looks.
3 Oklahoma City Thunder 26-7 2 W: PHO, PHI, @TOR; L: BRO Welcome to Loud City
OKC's got a whale of a January schedule ahead. The strength of schedule doesn't look too terrible, but 10 of the next 12 games are on the road, where the Thunder are 9-4 thus far. This is a good time for Russell Westbrook to relocate his scoring touch after a mid-December slump.
4 Miami Heat 23-9 3 W: @ORL, DAL, WAS; L: CHI Hot Hot Hoops
One tends not to take too much encouragement from wins over the Wizards, but the Heat had been getting dominated on the glass before that game. Washington's a decent team for Miami to have out-rebounded.
5 New York Knicks 23-10 4 W: SAS, @ORL; L: POR Posting and Toasting
Early returns on Amar'e Stoudemire's debut haven't really been one way or the other. His play has been rusty but improving gradually, and the Knicks have seen fits and starts of offensive success with him in the lineup. Though they strung together a couple consecutive wins -- including one over a sleepy bunch of Spurs -- the perimeter defense still isn't anywhere near where it needs to be. Marcus Camby's ability to thwart penetrators in increasing minutes has helped, and so should Iman Shumpert's eventual return.
6 Golden State Warriors 22-11 7 W: LAC; L: LAC Golden State of Mind
Golden State played two games this week. The first was a sort of "you should be taking us seriously, guys" win over the Clippers, the second was a "wow, being taken seriously is kinda rough" loss to the Clippers.
7 Memphis Grizzlies 21-10 6 W: @BOS, @PHO; L: @IND, POR Straight Outta Vancouver
Things feel shaky right now with continued offensive struggles and burgeoning Rudy Gay trade rumors. This is when it helps to have played dominant basketball throughout November. Memphis has a decent built-in safety net from its early-season excellence, but it has got to get back to taking care of inferior teams on a regular basis. The West is unforgiving.
8 Denver Nuggets 20-16 12 W: LAC, UTA, @LAL; L: MIN Denver Stiffs
Denver's offense still runs into periods of impotence, but it helps to have Andre Iguodala feeling his perimeter game a little more, Ty Lawson playing aggressively through injury and Danilo Gallinari just hitting shots at important moments.
9 Houston Rockets 20-14 11 W: ATL, NOH, @MIL, @CLE The Dream Shake
The Rockets continue to demonstrate that they can get away with allowing above-average offensive showing from opposing teams if they just run and run and run and get easy inside shots and heaps of open threes.
10 Indiana Pacers 20-14 10 W: MEM, WAS MIL; L: @BOS Indy Cornrows

Indianapolis is developing a reputation as a difficult venue to put basketballs in baskethoops. The Pacers' league-topping defense has been absolutely devouring teams in its own lair. It'll be interesting to see how the East's best offenses -- Miami and New York -- fare when they pay visits to The Bear Trap (a very chill new nickname I just invented as an alternative to "Bankers Life Fieldhouse", because I don't like that name) this week.

11 Atlanta Hawks 20-12 8 W: @NOH; L: @HOU, @DET, BOS Peachtree Hoops
After a terrific stretch, Atlanta's offense totally floundered in a failed comeback against the Pistons and a miserable collapse in Boston. One commonality between those games: A whole lot of missed long twos.
12 Chicago Bulls 18-13 9 W: @ORL, @MIA; L: CHA Blog a Bull
Chicago had been rebounding well below its usual rate for a few games. Nothing like a match-up with the Heat to even out all those low-number games in one fell swoop. The Bulls -- led by a suddenly hot Carlos Boozer -- actually shot pretty well in their last two wins over the Magic and Heat, too. And uhhh before that they lost to the Bobcats?
13 Brooklyn Nets 19-15 14 W: @OKC, @WAS, @SAC; L: @SAS Nets Daily
The Wizards game got too scary, but the P.J. Carlesimo era's been fine so far. The playbook, replete with even more pickin' and rollin', has been among the best in the league since Carlesimo took over. Some bench resources left relatively untapped by Avery Johnson -- MarShon Brooks, Mirza Teletovic -- are starting to percolate as well.
14 Portland Trail Blazers 18-15 19 W: @NYK, @MEM, @MIN; L: @TOR Blazer's Edge
Collapse against the Raptors aside (man, would it have been lovely to take that one, too), Portland just had themselves a terrific road trip, taking three close wins (two against top teams in New York and Memphis) in four stops. The Blazers are in pretty good shape heading into a home-heavy rest of January.
15 Minnesota Timberwolves 15-15 13 W: @DEN; L: @UTA, POR Canis Hoopus
Wouldn't it be so much better if the human body was made out of one seamless, durable piece and if it broke you could just replace the whole thing with an exact copy?
16 Boston Celtics 16-17 18 W: IND, @ATL; L: MEM Celtics Blog
Boston looked headed for yet another double-digit loss before its defense lurched to life for a dominant third quarter against the Hawks. It remains to be seen whether that's a genuine harbinger of momentum amid all these trade rumors.
17 Milwaukee Bucks 16-16 15 L: SAS, HOU, @IND Brew Hoop
In skipping a week, we missed Milwaukee's encouraging win over the Heat. It's been downhill since, culminating in an ugly loss in The Bear Trap (See? Pretty great! No?) on Saturday. I feel like I spent all of November waiting for Scott Skiles to finally settle on a rotation ... and then December ... and now it's January and things still feel in flux, even before you get to the looming trade possibilities.
18 Utah Jazz 17-18 17 W: MIN, @PHO; L: DEN SLC Dunk
It'll be interesting to see whether the Jazz try to make a trade. They're super average, and in the West, that's probably not enough for a playoff berth. Do they make some moves geared toward immediate improvement, especially on defense? Do they empty out? Do they just trade their own players for each other and see if anyone's fooled?
19 Los Angeles Lakers 15-18 16 L: PHI, @LAC, DEN Silver Screen and Roll
The Lakers are shooting the ball fine (though, in some recent games, not so well from downtown), but by nature of their increased turnovers and inability to turn other teams over, L.A.'s earning way fewer attempts than its recent opponents. (And, of course, the one time they controlled the possession battle against Philly, they couldn't hit a thing.)
20 Detroit Pistons 13-23 26 W: SAC, ATL; L: CHA Detroit Bad Boys
I know the main source of excitement in Detroit is every minute Andre Drummond spends on the floor -- and justifiably so -- but I enjoyed watching Austin Daye come alive in a couple games. The Pistons are, in general, kinda fun.
21 Sacramento Kings 13-21 25 W: @CLE, @TOR; L: @DET, @BRO Sactown Royalty
Hey, not a bad road trip, especially considering that the Kings have been battered into playing some weird-ass lineups. Sacramento happily discovered the exact number of semi-suspensions it takes to get DeMarcus Cousins back on track. That number is ... I have no idea. I had trouble keeping track of when he was and was not suspended. He may very well have been suspended during those consecutive scoring outbursts against the Raptors and Nets, for all I know.
22 Philadelphia 76ers 15-20 21 W: @LAL; L: @PHO, @OKC, @SAS Liberty Ballers
2-6 on an eight-game road trip. The Sixers have had better vacations. Like the time Spencer Hawes spent three days just sitting in his basement, squirting sunblock in his hair, drinking Capri Suns and gossiping with a taxidermied goose. That was a better vacation.
23 Toronto Raptors 12-22 24 W: POR; L: SAC, OKC Raptors HQ
It is evidently possible to play flaccid, uninspired games even without Andrea Bargnani in the lineup.
24 Dallas Mavericks 13-21 22 W: @WAS; L: @MIA, NOH Mavs Moneyball
Woof. Consecutive overtime losses, including one that could otherwise have been a rousing win over the Heat, is not what Mavs fans needed after the last few weeks. And now they've got this stuff going on and ... it's just not a happy time in Dallas right now.
25 Phoenix Suns 12-23 23 W: PHI; L: @OKC, UTA, MEM Bright Side of the Sun
Phoenix stays competing in games, then losing them. Lately, the starters have been putting together some splendid, productive stretches, only to sit and watch the reserves spill all their progress with ineffective one-on-one nonsense.
26 Orlando Magic 12-21 20 L: CHI, MIA, NYK Orlando Pinstriped Post
Orlando's ill-equipped and undermanned defense is finding novel ways to get shredded each night, the most recent being single-covering Carmelo Anthony with Josh McRoberts in the fourth quarter of a close game. As our friend Evan demonstrated, the Magic miss Glen Davis on that end of the floor, too.
27 New Orleans Hornets 8-25 27 W: @DAL; L: ATL, @HOU At the Hive
Eric Gordon's return is getting the attention (he's been productive but a little rusty and still not ready to play every night), but Greivis Vasquez has put up some outstanding numbers. Vasquez hasn't pulled together a triple-double yet, but he's on his way. He's been right there pretty much every night.
28 Charlotte Bobcats 9-24 29 W: @CHI, @DET; L: CLE Rufus On Fire
When it rains it pours! The Bobcats broke their mile-long slide by clawing their way to two wins in three games, including one over the woefully unprepared Bulls.
29 Cleveland Cavaliers 8-27 28 W: @CHA; L: SAC, HOU Fear the Sword
Injuries are always bad, but in an otherwise lost season, Anderson Varejao's absence has meant a lot for the development of Tristan Thompson. Thompson's met an increase in minutes and touches with significant improvements in scoring efficiency, and he's actually been rebounding at near-Varejaoian rates. Varejaoesque? Varejaowly?
30 Washington Wizards 4-28 30 L: DAL, @IND, BRO, @MIA Bullets Forever
Among plenty of other losses, Washington's double overtime, buzzer-beater loss to the Nets was truly something special. The Wizards had that thing totally wrapped up, but their ability to let clean, well-organized basketball unravel into outright bedlam in a matter of seconds is truly unparalleled.
73 Juneau FrostDonkeys 0-0 107 -- None yet
The Donks spent New Year's krumping in an igloo, so you can be damn sure they're moving up the rankings.