There's no change at the top of this week's NBA power rankings, with the Indiana Pacers holding onto the No. 1 spot despite a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. While the Pacers remain on top, there was some shuffling in the top five.
1. Indiana Pacers (18-3, Last week: 1)
It was a weekend of opposites for Indiana. On Saturday, the Pacers went into San Antonio and destroyed the Spurs, but then that was followed up with a blowout loss in Oklahoma City. However, it's hard to blame Indiana for its no-show on Sunday, as the team was on the second of a back-to-back and was also wrapping up a grueling five-game road trip against the Clippers, Blazers, Jazz and Spurs.
More on the Pacers: Indy Cornrows
2. Portland Trail Blazers (17-4, Last week: 5)
The Blazers beat the Pacers last Monday and could have taken over the top slot if not for a heartbreaking loss to the Mavericks on Saturday. In addition to beating Indiana last week, Portland also took care of business against Oklahoma City, with LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 38 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the win.
More on the Blazers: Blazer's Edge
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4, Last week: 4)
The Thunder dropped 118 points and shot 61.0 percent against the Pacers, who are the best defensive team in the NBA. That's kinda impressive. Oklahoma City hasn't lost a game on its home court all season. How do you feel about that, Russell Westbrook? (via @JDonSports):
More on the Thunder: Welcome to Loud City
4. San Antonio Spurs (15-4, Last week: 2)
The Spurs were very un-Spurs like in their 111-100 loss to the Pacers, with the final score not really reflecting the beatdown that occurred. Tiago Splitter left the game early with a calf injury, and San Antonio is hoping it's something that won't keep the big man out long.
More on the Spurs: Pounding The Rock
5. Miami Heat (16-5, Last week: 3)
The Heat have won two in a row in blowout fashion, but two losses earlier in the week take them down a few notches. Miami looked especially bad on Thursday night in Chicago, when an undermanned Bulls team took it to the Heat in the paint. In the two games since, LeBron James went 19-of-27 from the field.
More on the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops
6. Houston Rockets (15-7, Last week: 6)
Dwight Howard dominated his former team on Sunday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 22 rebounds in an easy win over Orlando. The Rockets somehow lost to the Jazz earlier in the week despite 37 points from James Harden, but that's not enough to drop them in the rankings.
More on the Rockets: The Dream Shake
7. Los Angeles Clippers (13-8, Last week: 7)
The Clippers have hit a rough patch since J.J. Redick went down with a wrist injury. Los Angeles went just 1-3 last week, with a truly ugly loss to Cleveland over the weekend. The Clippers managed just 33 points in the second half of the defeat.
More on the Clippers: Clips Nation
8. Dallas Mavericks (13-8, Last week: 9)
Dirk Nowitzki is ageless. At 35 years old, he's averaging 21.2 points and nearly posting a shooting line of 50/40/90. Nowitzki had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the thrilling victory over the Blazers on Saturday, a game which was won by Monta Ellis at the buzzer:
More on the Mavs: Mavs Moneyball
9. Denver Nuggets (12-8, Last week: 8)
Yes, the Nuggets beat the Mavs twice in a row earlier in the season. But Denver falls behind Dallas for the moment thanks to a couple losses to mediocre/bad Eastern Conference squads and the Mavs' win over Portland. The Nuggets bounced back from losses to the Cavs and Celtics to beat the 76ers, and they will wrap up a six-game East road trip on Monday against Washington.
More on the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs
10. Golden State Warriors (12-9, Last week: 10)
Andre Iguodala is nearing a return from a hamstring injury, and his presence will help boost a Warriors team that's having depth issues. With Iguodala out, Stephen Curry has been forced into heavy duty, as he has played at least 40 minutes in four of the last five games. That includes 45 minutes in a blowout win over the Grizzlies on Saturday.
More on the Warriors: Golden State Of Mind
11. Phoenix Suns (11-9, Last week: 12)
The Suns have racked up some impressive wins this season, with the latest being a road win over the Rockets last Wednesday. Phoenix's 11-9 record is a major surprise given the expectations for this season, although missing the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference and getting into the lottery is probably more ideal.
More on the Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun
12. Atlanta Hawks (11-10, Last week: 15)
The Hawks' two-game winning streak coincided with the return of sharpshooter Kyle Korver from a rib injury. In the last two victories, Korver went 8-of-12 from three and set a new record for consecutive games played with a made three-pointer. Here are highlights from Korver's streak:
More on the Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
13. Los Angeles Lakers (10-10, Last week: 14)
The Black Mamba has returned, but the Lakers may take a small step back as he tries to find his rhythm after Achilles surgery. Kobe was noticeably rusty in his return to the lineup, scoring nine points and turning the ball over eight times in a loss to Toronto. However, it was great just to have him back out on the court:
More on the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11, Last week: 11)
The Wolves have fallen under .500 thanks to an absolutely brutal stretch of games. In the last two-plus weeks, the opponents for Minnesota have been as follows: Houston, Indiana, Denver, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Miami. There was also supposed to be a game against San Antonio in Mexico, but that was postponed.
More on the Wolves: Canis Hoopus
15. Detroit Pistons (10-11, Last week: 19)
Despite an ugly loss to the Heat on Sunday, the Pistons are starting to show some signs of life. Detroit beat Miami earlier in the week and also won in Chicago for the first time since 2006 behind 33 points from Brandon Jennings.
More on the Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys
16. Washington Wizards (9-10, Last week: 13)
The Wizards had a chance to get over .500 for the first time since their opener ... and they promptly lost in overtime to Milwaukee. John Wall did have 30 points in the loss, his fourth 30-point game of the year. Another fun fact about Wall: Washington is 30.3 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the court, per NBA.com's stats page.
More on the Wizards: Bullets Forever
17. New Orleans Pelicans (9-10, Last week: 17)
The Pelicans are just trying to stay afloat without Anthony Davis, who will miss at least a month with a broken hand. Ryan Anderson has tried to do his part, scoring over 30 points in back-to-back wins earlier last week, including 36 in a marathon triple-overtime victory over Chicago. But since playing 57 minutes in that game, Anderson has shot just 11-of-36 in consecutive losses.
More on the Pelicans: The Bird Writes
18. Chicago Bulls (8-10, Last week: 18)
The injuries just keep piling up in Chicago. After an emotional victory over the Heat, Luol Deng sat out a horrific loss to the Pistons at the United Center on Saturday. With Deng joining fellow starters Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler on the sideline, the Bulls' offense was even uglier than usual. Speaking of Derrick Rose ...
More on the Bulls: Blog a Bull
19. Boston Celtics (10-12, Last week: 23)
The Celtics did unspeakable things to the Knicks on Sunday, notching the biggest win of the NBA season. Jordan Crawford has been en fuego during Boston's three-game winning streak, and he also had some words after the game for Grantland's Bill Simmons, a noted Celtics fan:
@BillSimmons you mad? Lol— Jordan Crawford (@jcraw55) December 8, 2013
More on the Celtics: CelticsBlog
20. Charlotte Bobcats (9-11, Last week: 20)
In this week's edition of Bobcats Defensive Improvement Watch, we note that Charlotte currently has the third-best defensive rating in the NBA. And if you needed the reminder, the Bobcats were last in that department in each of the last two seasons.
More on the Bobcats: Rufus On Fire
21. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10, Last week: 16)
The Grizzlies are kind of sad right now as they plod along without Marc Gasol. Memphis was destroyed two games in a row by the Clippers and Warriors, with Jerryd Bayless' 0-of-11 night on Saturday epitomizing the team's offensive situation. Get well soon, Marc.
More on the Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues
22. Toronto Raptors (7-12, Last week: 21)
All hail Masai Ujiri! After finding a taker for Andrea Bargnani in the offseason, Ujiri has now dumped the way overpaid Rudy Gay. The new Raptors general manager likely isn't done making moves, as point guard Kyle Lowry may be the next out the door.
More on the Raptors: Raptors HQ
23. Sacramento Kings (5-13, Last week: 25)
So yeah, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins could be quite the thing. Who knows if it'll be any good, but it'll be ... something. Gay has been maddeningly inconsistent this season and throughout much of his career, but perhaps he can inject some excitement into a team that needs some.
More on the Kings: Sactown Royalty
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-13, Last week: 26)
The Cavs have won three of four and sandwiched two solid wins over one blowout loss last week. Keeping with a trend on the season, those two victories were at home and the loss was on the road. Cleveland is a stellar 6-3 on its home court this season, but a woeful 1-10 on the road.
More on the Cavs: Fear The Sword
25. New York Knicks (5-14, Last week: 28)
It looked like the Knicks had maybe figured things out. New York blasted Brooklyn and Orlando in consecutive games last week, knocking down 33 threes combined and looking like the team that won 54 games last season. But then there was the debacle against the Celtics and panic mode ensued once again.
More on the Knicks: Posting and Toasting
26. Brooklyn Nets (6-14, Last week: 24)
The Nets hit rock bottom during their embarrassing loss to the Knicks at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. The injury-riddled and woefully underachieving Nets were booed repeatedly throughout the second half as first-year head coach Jason Kidd sat helplessly on the sideline. At least Deron Williams will be back soon!
More on the Nets: NetsDaily
27. Philadelphia 76ers (7-14, Last week: 27)
Michael Carter-Williams had his first career triple-double in a double-overtime win over the Magic, outdueling fellow rookie Victor Oladipo, who also notched a triple-double. It marked the first time in NBA history two rookies posted triple-doubles in the same game. Unfortunately, Carter-Williams has missed the last two games with a knee injury.
More on the Sixers: Liberty Ballers
28. Orlando Magic (6-14, Last week: 22)
The Magic continue to fade after their promising start to the season. Orlando has lost five in a row, and things haven't been pretty in those five losses. Take your pick of bad moments, whether it be the double-overtime loss to the Sixers, an embarrassing defeat to the Knicks or a Dwight Howard 20/20 game.
More on the Magic: Orlando Pinstriped Post
29. Milwaukee Bucks (4-16, Last week: 29)
The Bucks have been unwatchable most of the season, but there's some reason for optimism thanks to the encouraging play of youngsters Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek phenom even has his own signature celebration these days:
"The Deers" pic.twitter.com/RWfvZdWAgz— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 7, 2013
More on the Bucks: Brew Hoop
30. Utah Jazz (4-18, Last week: 30)
Last Wednesday, the Jazz were riding a two-game winning streak and held a slim halftime lead over Indiana. Fast forward to Monday, and Utah has lost three in a row, including an overtime loss to Sacramento.
More on the Jazz: SLC Dunk