Jan 24, 2011, 2:05 PM EDT
Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, not many changes at the top this week… or on the bottom.
1. Spurs (37-7). You’ve been wondering when you’ll see a kink in the Spurs armor. Well, they have just one home game between now and Feb. 23. That might be the time. Or, they might grow tighter and better.
2. Celtics (33-10). We’re just going to pretend we didn’t see that Wizards game, every good team is allowed a few of those. Already a buzz around the Lakers game this Sunday.
3. Lakers (32-13). How are the Lakers going to do in the playoffs when they struggle during the season? Well, the Lakers play their best when the game slows down and they get more rest. What happens during the playoffs? Exactly.
4. Magic (29-15). They are 7-3 in their last 10 and clearly are still struggling with fit and rotations some now. This is a team still finding its footing with this lineup. I also could have sworn I saw Hedo Turkoglu dunk this week… nah, must have been the Jack talking.
5. Heat (31-13). Lots of time off (one game over seven days) but they get back at it Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Mike Miller had a big breakout game but we want to see more than one game before we say he’s all the way back.
6. Bulls (30-14). In their last 10 games, opponents are shooting just 39.6 percent against the Bulls overall and 32 percent from three. Tom Thibodeau can coach.
7. Hornets (29-16). Just like they were hot at the start of the season, they are hot again with eight straight wins now and just two losses since the start of the year.
8. Thunder (28-15). Two losses last week and it could have been three save for Kevin Durant’s dramatic game winner (which was well defended by Gallinari). The Laker one was the most painful because it exposed old, unsolved problems.
10. Mavericks (28-15). In his five games since returning, Dirk Nowitzki is shooting just 38 percent overall, 33 percent from three.
11. Blazers (25-20). More injuries — Marcus Camby, come on down! — and this team just keeps on winning and even when they lose you have to fight them for it.
12. Nuggets (25-18). They have the best offense in the NBA (on points per possession), but until they learn to defend it’s still hard to really see them as a serious playoff threat.
13. Jazz (27-17). Four straight losses and with it the associated grumbling out of Utah. They have to look at what Carmelo Anthony is doing to Denver this year and just fear their future with Deron Williams.
14. Clippers (17-26). It’s not just Blake Griffin dunking on everything that moves (although we do enjoy that). This is a good team right now with Eric Gordon playing well (though an injured thumb) and D’Andre Jordan. But the Clippers are about to head out on a Grammy road trip and the road has not been kind to the Clips this season.
15. Suns (20-22). Over the next month you are going to hear countless Steve Nash trade scenarios. That’s great. Right now, the Suns still say they are not moving him.
16. Grizzlies (21-23). I keep waiting for this run of good play that pushes them into playoff contention, I keep seeing blown leads and spotty play.
17. Knicks (22-21). Six straight losses as the offense has not been able to carry them past the fact their defense sucks. They really need a steady big man in the paint, and as much as we are fans of Ronny Turiaf he is not that guy as a starter.
19. Bobcats (17-25). Don’t look now, but Boris Diaw has been playing pretty well lately: he’s averaged 12.4 points and 7 boards a game shooting 49 percent overall and 34.4 percent from three in his last 10.
20. Warriors (19-24). Three tough home games this week — San Antonio, New Orleans and Utah — but you know Golden State will have dramatic win in one of those.
21. Bucks (16-25). I kept thinking the Bucks offense was going to turn around at some point. That dream is now dead for me.
22. Rockets (20-25). Kevin Martin is filling it up but not efficiently — he’s shooting 43 percent overall and just 30.4 percent from three in his last 10. He’s just not a number one offensive guy, he needs a playmaker or post player to balance things out.
23. Pistons (16-28). Free Rip Hamilton! And Tayshaun while you’re at it!
24. Wizards (13-29). Nice win over the Celtics, but being winless on the road remains the anchor on this team.
25. Pacers (16-25). An 0-4 road trip raises a lot of questions about this team. It just feels like a franchise that needs to be shaken up somehow.
26. Kings (9-32). They keep getting leads then blowing said leads (they were ahead in the fourth quarter of all their losses this week). The Kings are learning but the lessons are starting to hurt.
27. Timberwolves (10-33). Kevin Love is averaging 23 points and 15.9 boards on 51.6 percent shooting (45.7 percent from three) in his last 10. Spare me the “somebody has to get the stats on a bad team” junk, this guy is flat out balling. Not that it’s enough to make him an All-Star.
28. Nets (12-32). They have played better since owner Mikhail Prokhorov ended the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. Wonder how the team will respond when they start up again in about a week.
29. Raptors (13-31). Losers of seven in a row because they aren’t playing any defense.
30. Cavaliers (8-35). Up to 13 losses in a row. They play New Jersey Monday, might be the best chance to break it this week.
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