Jan 28, 2013, 4:29 PM EST
You know the consistently good Spurs are going to climb into the top spot a couple times during the season. The top four remain the same but we see some teams fall farther down the list while teams like the Wizards and Hornets climb.
1. Spurs (36-11, last week ranked No. 2). They have won eight in a row and have a top five offense and defense. They bring a level of execution to the regular season every other coach covets. So why do I still feel like the elite teams can scheme them out of the playoffs with time to prepare?
2. Thunder (34-11, LW 3). As expected, they beat one Los Angeles team this week and lost to the other… wait, they lost to the Lakers? They went 3-3 on a six game road trip, which feels pretty blah for their standards.
4. Clippers (33-13 LW 1). They had lost four in a row before Blake Griffin and the front line took over against the Trail Blazers Sunday night. Chris Paul (bruised knee) keeps missing games and that’s okay, they have Eric Bledsoe. Let CP3 get right.
5. Bulls (26-17, LW 10). Tough road trip that will really test the team starts this week — six games, all against winning teams and the first four against teams from the East (Bucks, Nets, Hawks, Pacers). This is a huge stretch for Chicago.
7. Knicks (27-15, LW 5). Raymond Felton’s back and maybe that can mean some easy buckets for Tyson Chandler off the pick-and-roll. But Sunday against Atlanta shows us again that when the Knicks just knock down threes they are dangerous.
8. Nuggets (27-18, LW 9). They have won 8 out of 10, they are playing at a faster pace and Ty Lawson seems to be thriving in that environment. Amazing what a few games in a row at home can do.
9. Grizzlies (28-14, LW 7). Mike Conley tweaked his ankle Sunday but it doesn’t appear to be serious, which is good for a team that’s offense is already dragging the team down. In their last 10 games the Grizzlies have averaged 96.4 points per 100 possessions, 28th in the league for that stretch.
10. Warriors (26-17, LW 11). They beat both the Clippers and the Thunder last week, how about that for a statement? When they focus on defense and rebounding they still do well, but they’ve had some inconsistent moments on that end recently.
11. Pacers (26-18, LW 6). Their eight-game road trip comes to an end Monday in Denver and they have gone 3-4 on it so far (and Denver with it’s fast pace is about the worst place to end a trip on). Back home look for them to rack up a few wins.
12. Hawks (25-18, LW 15). Atlanta is becoming the Utah Jazz of the East — really good at home and really beatable on the road — they have lost 7-of-8 away from home and the one win was against Charlotte. They have four of the next five at home, then 8 of 10 out on the road again.
13. Bucks (23-19, LW 13). In his last five games, Ersan Ilyasova is shooting 53.3 percent overall and 60 percent from three, and that’s been part of the Bucks success under interim coach Jim Boylan. He looks like the Ilyasova from last year smart fantasy players snapped up.
14. Jazz (24-20, LW 14). They are 4-1 in their last five, mostly because the offense really seems to have found its groove. They have six of their next seven at home, where they are 15-4 on the season. This is a good time to solidify a playoff spot for them.
15. Rockets (24-22, LW 17). James Harden will get a heroes welcome as the lone representative of the host Rockets at the 2013 All-Star Game. He’ll get more than that if he can get this team back up into the eighth playoff spot in the West.
16. Trail Blazers (22-22, LW 16). They are stumbling of late, 3-7 in their last 10, and starting Friday they will have seven of eight games on the road. They are one game out of a playoff spot now and can’t slip way back during this upcoming stretch.
17. Celtics (21-23, LW 12). No Rajon Rondo is going to mean a lot of trade rumors and talk of blowing it up, and as much as Doc Rivers will play it down and there is a veteran core on this team, it will be hard for this not to impact them.
19. Lakers (19-25, LW 23). The Lakers have won two in a row but now comes the real test — starting Wednesday in Phoenix the Lakers are on the road for seven straight. Any dreams of getting the eight seed (and getting thumped by the Thunder in the first round) hinge on having a good road trip, at the very least 4-3.
20. 76ers (18-25, LW 20). It’s really simple — they are 2.5 games back of the Celtics now and now catching them suddenly looks more possible. But Boston still defends and will not make it easy. Jrue Holiday making the All-Star Game is well deserved, not sure I’d give him Rondo’s starting spot over Kyrie Irving, however.
21. Pistons (17-27, LW 24). They are 5-5 in their last 10 and four games back of the Celtics. Eight of the next 11 Pistons games are in Detroit, if they are going to make a run between now and the All-Star Game is when they need to do it.
22. Raptors (16-28, LW 21). Toronto is playing better of late and that is sparking playoff dreams north of the boarder — but making up five games and leapfrogging two teams (Detroit and Philly) is going to take more than the 4-6 they are in their last 10.
23. Hornets (15-29, LW 25). Something to watch as the Hornets keep picking up wins (like Sunday against Memphis): Anthony Davis to start closing the Rookie of the Year gap on Damian Lillard. Davis is playing smart, efficient basketball and people are starting to notice.
24. Wizards (11-31, LW 26). They are 7-3 in their last 10 and the losses they made the other team work for it — finally healthy they look like a playoff team. Unfortunately injuries dug them too deep a hole to start the season.
26. Timberwolves (17-24, LW 19). Four game losing streak and they have lost 9 of their last 10. The good news is Rick Adelman is back at the helm as coach, but the Timberwolves woes go well beyond interim coach Terry Porter and straight to the rash of injuries.
27. Kings (16-29, LW 22). They have lost four games in a row and it seems like nobody is noticing because the focus is off the court. On the court Tyreke Evans has played better of late.
28. Suns (15-30, LW 29). Lindsay Hunter is 2-2 as a coach but you can see why he was hired on Sunday — it was an ugly loss but Kendall Marshall played nearly 15 minutes, the most he has in months. It’s about playing the rookies.
29. Bobcats (11-32, LW 30). They have won two of their last five (including one over the one team below them) but have six of their next seven on the road and the only teams below .500 in that stretch are the hot Cavaliers and the Lakers.
30. Magic (14-29, LW 28). J.J. Redick is playing well (31 on Sunday), so expect a whole lot of trade rumors to start flying around him as we move closer and closer to the deadline.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:42 AM EST
The Spurs will face the Timberwolves in Mexico City on Wednesday as part of the NBA’s 2013-14 Global Games schedule, which included eight preseason games played internationally and one more to be played in London on between the Hawks and the Nets on Jan. 16. San Antonio’s players celebrated the occasion by taking on some…
Dec 4, 2013, 11:01 AM EST
Imagine being in a management position at your job, and supervising one of your better employees for a somewhat extended period of time. Then flash forward years later, when for a variety of reasons, you accept a position working for your former employee, who now has your old job. And while your former employee knows…
Dec 4, 2013, 10:22 AM EST
When the Golden State Warriors start raining threes there is no show like them in the NBA. The Warriors were down 27 points in the third quarter night at home to the Raptors. The Raptors were ahead 18 entering the fourth quarter and every Toronto fan still awake and watching the game back home was…
Dec 4, 2013, 10:08 AM EST
We told you yesterday Mike Woodson’s seat is getting hot in New York — The Knicks are 3-13 and have lost nine in a row, owner James Dolan has a Nets obsession, the Knicks play the Nets on Thursday and if the Knicks streak reaches 10… let’s just say Dolan is unpredictable. The fact Woodson…
Dec 4, 2013, 8:43 AM EST
The night before Paul George did the same thing for the Pacers, this time it was Arron Afflalo — scoring 43 points in a losing effort. Afflalo was overshadowed by the two rookies notching triple-doubles (Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo) but this was a career high for the former UCLA star. He had 14 in the…
The Extra Pass: Chemistry clicking in Denver as Nuggets beat Nets to win seventh straight, and Tuesday’s recaps
Dec 4, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
NEW YORK – If it was a fight, they would have stopped it. To say the Nuggets beat the Nets on Tuesday to earn their seventh straight win wouldn’t at all be an accurate description of how Denver came out and destroyed Brooklyn in the third quarter, and then continued the assault against a depleted and…
Tuesday night NBA Grades: Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo with dueling rookie triple doubles
Dec 4, 2013, 2:13 AM EST
If you were busy exploring our galaxy online and not watching hoops Monday then you missed the first time in NBA history that two rookies recorded triple-doubles in the same game. We’re here to help you out with our nightly grades from around the league. Michael Carter Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. The early leader in the…
Dec 4, 2013, 12:25 AM EST
Bobcats forward Michael Kidd Gilchrist suffered a left hand fracture against the Mavericks on Tuesday, the team announced. Kidd-Gilchrist left the game in the third quarter and did not return. X-rays revealed the fracture, and he will be re-evaluated on Wednesday when the club returns to Charlotte. Paul Pierce and Anthony Davis both suffered similar…
Dec 3, 2013, 9:42 PM EST
You got to be the programmers for the latest edition of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk Podcast with myself and Eyton Shander of NBC Sports Radio — I asked you to send me twitter questions (@basketballtalk) and we tried to answer a bunch of them. We start off talking Trail Blazers and their hot start, then move on…
Dec 3, 2013, 9:16 PM EST
We’ve seen shots launched over the backboard from behind it made before, but none of them were quite like this. Midway through the first quarter following an airball from Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley chased down the rebound as the ball was seemingly headed out of bounds. Not only did he corral it, but he had…
Dec 3, 2013, 7:51 PM EST
Luol Deng and the Bulls were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, and as a result the two-time All-Star will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season. Deng is finishing out a high-priced deal that will pay him $14.2 million this year, and…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:54 PM EST
Dwyane Wade is inactive for the Heat’s home contest on Tuesday against the Pistons. “He was a little bit sore after last game,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said, “so we’ve been working with him and decided that tonight probably would be good to rest.” Miami is obviously taking the cautious approach in regard to Wade, keeping…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:17 PM EST
At NBA Summer League through games in Brooklyn at the start of this season, the coach voice you heard yelling out defenses and instructions was often assistant coach Lawrence Frank, not head coach Jason Kidd. When the Nets decided to go with the untested Kidd as coach they hired Frank (and paid him well) to…
Dec 3, 2013, 5:54 PM EST
Metta said the reported argument between he and Kenyon was over pasta. He said Kenyon likes shell pasta and he likes elbow pasta.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) December 03, 2013 That’s Al Iannazzone of Newsday quoting Metta World Peace discussing his reported locker room dust up with Kenyon Martin. James Harden would agree that World Peace…
Dec 3, 2013, 5:11 PM EST
The real test comes Wednesday — it’s not how Kobe Bryant looked in practice Tuesday that will determine if he returns to the Lakers lineup Friday night, it’s how he feels 24 hours later. Still, he looked good. That according to everyone who saw him. Here are some tweets from Lakers reporters out of the…
Dec 3, 2013, 3:54 PM EST
Royce White got a fresh chance with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Or at least that’s what he hoped; it also looked a lot like a salary move by Philadelphia at the time. Still he played for the Sixers in the preseason, even took a plane flight road trip, then he was one of the…
Dec 3, 2013, 2:48 PM EST
If the Miami Heat’s big three of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all decided not to opt out and came back to the Heat under their current contracts, they would make a combined $61.3 million next season. Next year’s salary cap is currently projected to be $62.9 million. However, all three of them…
Dec 3, 2013, 1:52 PM EST
LL Cool J has made the difficult transition from rapper to actor on a show your grandma watches. Not every guy can do that. He’s also a Knicks fan who had a lot of hoops connections from back in the day – he talked trash with a rookie Kobe Bryant, he was friends with Charles…
Dec 3, 2013, 1:32 PM EST
When measured at Adidas EuroCamp last year, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo measured 6’9” with a reported 7’3” wingspan. Plus he has freakishly large hands. But he’s going to end up bigger than that — he’s still growing. That according to a story about Antetokounmpo in the Journal Times (hat tip to the still growing Zach Harper…
Dec 3, 2013, 12:53 PM EST
As frightening as it must have been Roger Mason Jr. can feel fortunate it didn’t turn out worse. The Miami Heat reserve and his sister were having dinner last Sunday after a Heat win at home when they and others in a Miami restaurant were robbed at gunpoint and his Rolex was stolen. NBCMiami.com has…
- Joe Johnson says players noticed friction between Jason Kidd and Lawrence Frank 7
- ‘Melo says Knicks players “worried” Woodson could lose job if losing continues 4
- The Extra Pass: Chemistry clicking in Denver as Nuggets beat Nets to win seventh straight, and Tuesday’s recaps 2
- Tuesday night NBA Grades: Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo with dueling rookie triple doubles 5
- PBT Podcast for Dec. 3: We answer twitter questions on Blazers, Pacers vs. Monstars 0
- Kobe Bryant takes to Twitter to defend his contract extension (100)
- Report: Dion Waiters accused Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson of playing “buddy ball.” (53)
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (47)
- John Wall: ‘I’m the best point guard in the league’ (45)
- With game in balance, Jason Kidd tells player to “hit me,” spills drink, gets psuedo timeout to draw up play (39)