Apparently nobody wants to keep the top spot in these NBA power rankings. For the fourth straight week, there's a new No. 1 on the board, although the difference between the top two teams is pretty much negligible.
1. San Antonio Spurs (9-1, Last week: 2)
The Spurs found themselves down seven heading into the fourth quarter against the league-worst Utah Jazz on Friday, but then Tony Parker decided he had enough of those shenanigans. Parker scored 14 fourth-quarter points to lead San Antonio to a seventh straight win and the No. 1 spot in the rankings.
More on the Spurs: Pounding The Rock
2. Indiana Pacers (9-1, Last week: 1)
The Pacers seemingly had a stranglehold on the top spot before laying an egg on the road in Chicago on Saturday. Indiana still has the best average point differential in the league despite the ugly 16-point loss, but that slim edge wasn't enough to keep the Pacers on top of these rankings for a second straight week.
More on the Pacers: Indy Cornrows
3. Miami Heat (7-3, Last week: 4)
Oh look, LeBron James is leading the league in PER again at 30.21. And he's shooting 62.2 percent from the field. Ho hum.
More on the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops
4. Los Angeles Clippers (7-3, Last week: 6)
The Clippers racked up some impressive wins last week, knocking off the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul STILL hasn't had a single game without double-digit assists.
More on the Clippers: Clips Nation
5. Golden State Warriors (7-3, Last week: 7)
Thursday night's game between the Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder was basketball heaven. And it couldn't have ended in a more fitting fashion, with Andre Iguodala playing the hero:
More on the Warriors: Golden State Of Mind
6. Portland Trail Blazers (8-2, Last week: 10)
The Blazers capped off a perfect 4-0 week with an overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors. Portland has won six games in a row to move to second in the West, although I need to see a little more before putting the Blazers in the top five.
More on the Blazers: Blazer's Edge
7. Chicago Bulls (5-3, Last week: 13)
After a lackluster start, the Bulls are now looking like the team many expected them to be at the outset of the year. Chicago has won four games in a row, and it won those games by an average of 17.8 points. And did I mention one of those blowout wins came against then-undefeated Indiana?
More on the Bulls: Blog a Bull
8. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4, Last week: 5)
The Wolves were a bit of a roller coast this past week, going 2-2 and alternating blowout wins and close losses. Kevin Love, however, has not been a roller coaster. Love continues to play like an MVP candidate, and Minnesota's performance when he's on the floor versus when he's not bears this out. The Wolves' offense is 28.5 points per 100 possessions better when Love is on the court, per NBA.com's stats page.
More on the Wolves: Canis Hoopus
9. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3, Last week: 3)
The Thunder take a bit of a dive this week after losing twice. It must be noted though that those two losses came against two teams currently ranked above OKC. And in one of those losses, Serge Ibaka missed the second half due to an ejection that Jeff Van Gundy vehemently argued was the wrong call:
More on the Thunder: Welcome to Loud City
10. Houston Rockets (7-4, Last week: 8)
The Omer Asik situation is getting ugly in Houston, but the Rockets insist no trade is coming. On a lighter note, Dwight Howard made 17-of-24 free throws in a game. I wonder what music he was singing in his head this time.
More on the Rockets: The Dream Shake
11. Dallas Mavericks (6-4, Last week: 11)
The Mavs have been a juggernaut at home on the young season, scoring 114.3 points per game in four victories. Monta Ellis has had it all at American Airlines Center, averaging 24.8 points and 6.5 assists while shooting 55.7 percent from the field.
More on the Mavs: Mavs Moneyball
12. Atlanta Hawks (6-4, Last week: 15)
Kyle Korver's consecutive games streak with a made three is now longer than a full season, and Korver is just six games behind Dana Barros for the league record of 89 straight games with a three.
More on the Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
13. Phoenix Suns (5-4, Last week: 9)
The Suns are oh so close to being 7-2 and still holding a top 10 spot in these rankings. Phoenix lost in heartbreaking fashion to both the Blazers and the Nets, getting burned by last-second shots in each game.
More on the Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun
14. Memphis Grizzlies (5-5, Last week: 12)
The Grizzlies continue to be largely mediocre. They lost in blowout fashion twice last week before coming up with two rather uninspiring victories and haven't been over .500 yet this year. Things won't get much easier, with four games coming up against four of the best in the West.
More on the Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues
15. New Orleans Pelicans (4-6, Last week: 18)
Ryan Anderson returned the lineup after missing the first couple of weeks with a broken toe, and the sharpshooting big man made his presence felt in a beatdown of the Philadelphia 76ers. In just 27 minutes, Anderson tallied 26 points while knocking down 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
More on the Pelicans: The Bird Writes
16. Orlando Magic (4-6, Last week: 17)
The Magic have been scuffling a bit of late, but Arron Afflalo seems to be really coming into his own. The shooting guard scored a career-high 36 points in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks and is averaging 21.7 points on the season.
More on the Magic: Orlando Pinstriped Post
17. Toronto Raptors (4-7, Last week: 21)
Rudy Gay managed to get up 37 shots in an overtime loss to the Rockets last week ... but he only scored 29 points. The only other player in history to do that? Michael Jordan, per Basketball-Reference.com. RUDY GAY IS A LEGEND!
More on the Raptors: Raptors HQ
18. Denver Nuggets (4-5, Last week: 28)
The Nuggets are getting back to their high-scoring ways after a poor start to the season. Denver scored over 100 points in all four games this past week, going 3-1 in the process.
More on the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs
19. Charlotte Bobcats (5-5, Last week: 26)
The last two seasons, the Bobcats have had arguably the worst defense in the NBA. So far this year, they're fourth in points allowed per game and 11th in defensive efficiency. It explains why they remain .500 despite having an offense that can't put the ball in the hoop.
More on the Bobcats: Rufus on Fire
20. Detroit Pistons (3-6, Last week: 16)
The Pistons' most-used lineup has a net rating of -37.9, per NBA.com's stats page. Is that bad? At least Brandon Jennings did something cool:
More on the Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys
21. Philadelphia 76ers (5-6, Last week: 14)
It was fun while it lasted. Michael Carter-Williams is dealing with a foot injury and the Sixers' defense is absolutely woeful. Philadelphia is giving up a league-worst 111.1 points per game on the season. Let the tanking commence?
More on the Sixers: Liberty Ballers
22. Brooklyn Nets (3-6, Last week: 20)
Deron Williams' ankles remain a huge problem. The star point guard dealt with an ankle issue all training camp and sprained his left ankle in a win over the Suns, a game which ended in thrilling fashion:
More on the Nets: NetsDaily
23. Los Angeles Lakers (5-7, Last week: 27)
Steve Blake has apparently morphed into vintage Steve Nash. Blake averaged just under 12 assists for the week as the Lakers went 2-2.
More on the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll
24. New York Knicks (3-6, Last week: 25)
The Knicks are ... in a word ... weird. Iman Shumpert is having secret surgeries and is on the verge of being dealt. J.R. Smith is fighting with Brandon Jennings on Twitter. Amar'e Stoudemire is complaining about his minutes restriction. And Andrea Bargnani actually resembles a decent basketball player at times! Meanwhile, the owner is crazy and the team is still pretty bad.
More on the Knicks: Posting and Toasting
25. Boston Celtics (4-7, Last week: 22)
Things had been pointing up for Brad Stevens and his Celtics, winners of four in a row after destroying the Magic last Monday. Since then? Three losses, with one of them to the Bobcats and the two others of the blowout variety. Back to reality.
More on the Celtics: CelticsBlog
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7, Last week: 23)
Kyrie Irving salvaged what was nearly a disaster of a week with a 41-point performance against the Washington Wizards. The Cavs may be having some trouble in the locker room, as the team held a "contentious" players-only meeting after a humiliating loss to the Timberwolves.
More on the Cavs: Fear The Sword
27. Washington Wizards (2-7, Last week: 19)
The Wizards' roller coaster season continues. The horrible start followed by a solid stretch was then followed by a brutal 0-3 week, a week in which Nene called out some of the team's younger players, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post.
More on the Wizards: Bullets Forever
28. Sacramento Kings (2-7, Last week: 29)
Mired in a five-game losing streak, the Kings offered a brief glimmer of hope with a surprising blowout win over the Nets. Naturally, Sacramento lost its next two games to erase any type of momentum that could have been built. And in a loss to the Grizzlies, Kings coach Mike Malone benched all of his starters.
More on the Kings: Sactown Royalty
29. Milwaukee Bucks (2-7, Last week: 24)
The Bucks are in real bad shape right now, with Larry Sanders out for over a month due to a thumb injury and Caron Butler sidelined with a shoulder injury. Milwaukee has lost five straight games, and the Bucks have the privilege to play the red-hot Blazers on Wednesday.
More on the Bucks: Brew Hoop
30. Utah Jazz (1-10, Last week: 30)
The Jazz finally got on the board! Of course, that was followed up by losses to the Spurs and Warriors. But at least they got one!
More on the Jazz: SLC Dunk