NBA Power Rankings
Each week we keep you in tune with the pulse of the NBA, ranking all 30 teams based on how we see it. Efficiency rankings courtesy of Hoopdata.com
1(1) Dallas Mavericks (24-5) – Have won five straight, sweeping through Florida(Heat,Magic) and defeating the Thunder with Dirk missing most of the game. Jason Terry’s late game closing ability has been the difference. Terry is 21-for-38 from the field, 8-for-13 from the three, and 15-for-15 from the free throw line in clutch situations(last 5 minutes, point difference of six or less).
2(2) Boston Celtics (23-5) – Won 14 games in a row before falling to the Magic 86-78 on Christmas Day. Rondo has missed time because of injury, but the Celtics haven’t missed a beat. Boston is 107-59(over the last four seasons) after Christmas eve, 94-14 before it.
3(3) San Antonio Spurs (26-4) – Won 11 of 12 games, and have the league’s most efficient offense. San Antonio has a tough week ahead, facing the Lakers and Dallas, before finishing out the week at home against the Thunder. Spurs have been rolling, but went through a suspect five game stretch defensively, surrendering 113 points per 100 possessions over that period.
4(4) Miami Heat (23-9) – Beat an old, frustrated, arrogant Lakers squad on Christmas Day, cruising to an easy 16-point victory. A win over the Lakers isn’t what it used to be, but holding two of the NBA’s top offenses(Suns,Lakers) to under 85 points is. LeBron named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
5(11) Orlando Magic (19-12) – After losing four straight and shaking up their roster, the Magic looked to be trending downward. Then they beat the Spurs. And the Celtics. Looks like Otis Smith may have actually known what he was doing, where is my plate of crow?
Teams 6-30 after the jump…
6(5) Los Angeles Lakers (21-9) – Lost to the Heat and Bucks in listless fashion at home, and now Kobe is pissed. Trail the Spurs by five games in the loss column, but as we all know – the regular season means nothing to Laker nation. The Lakers will have to find some meaning in these next 50+ games though, or else risk falling to a fifth or sixth seed come playoff time. Their schedule gets a lot tougher, starting Tuesday against San Antonio.
7(6) Utah Jazz (21-10) – Won three of four, but dropped one to Portland at home Monday night. Can beat the elite teams(Lakers,Heat,Magic) but lose games to weaker squads. Fighting for a fourth seed in the West despite missing a key guy in their rotation, Mehmet Okur.
8(7) Oklahoma City Thunder (21-11) – Dropped three of their last five games, and couldn’t beat the Dirkless Mavs at home on Monday. Beating elite teams has been an issue for them all season, until they do, the Thunder will remain a second tier team in the Western Conference.
9(9) Chicago Bulls (19-10) – Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and remain ranked in the top five of defensive efficiency in the NBA. Boozer finding his game, averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds last week.
10(13) New York Knicks (18-12) – Beat the Thunder and Bulls last week, holding both teams under 100 points. Rank 6th in offensive efficiency, and are fighting for a third or fourth seed in the East.
11(12) Atlanta Hawks (20-13) – Went 3-1 last week, but are trending downward offensively, averaging just 100 points per 100 possessions over their last 14 games. Injury plagued Joe Johnson is itching closer to the “worst contract in the league” category, averaging a paltry 17 ppg on the season.
12(10) New Orleans Hornets (18-13) – Chris Paul leads the league in steals, ranks third in assists, second in free-throw shooting and in the top seven in three-point percentage. MVP numbers, but the Hornets are (4-6) in their last 10 games.
13(8) Denver Nuggets (16-13) – The Nuggets are 3-7 in their last 10 games, but have played the toughest schedule in the NBA thus far. 1-4 without Carmelo Anthony this season, who has missed their last few games mourning the death of his sister.
14(14) Portland Trailblazers (16-15) – 2-1 over their last three games, and have won six straight at home. Nate McMillian deserves Coach of the Year consideration for keeping these Blazers winning, despite their road woes. PDX has lost 11 of 13 away from home.
15(16) Houston Rockets (15-15) – Winners of five straight, the Rockets are now12-5 since starting 3-10. With Aaron Brooks missing 21 games and Yao Ming done for the season, Coach Rick Adelman has done a tremendous job keeping his squad in the hunt for an eighth seed. 8-2 in their last 10.
16(15) Phoenix Suns (13-15) – Losers of three straight for the third time this season, the Suns seem to have gotten the short end on their trade with the Magic. Carter has been nursing a sore knee, Gortat has been so-so, but Mickeal Pietrus has been solid, dropping 25 on the Clippers. Help is on the way, as seven of their next nine are at home, including five against teams with records below .500.
17(19) Memphis Grizzlies (14-17) – Won their last two games and are 6-4 in their last 10. Face Sac, Utah and the Lakers on the road.
18(21) Milwaukee Bucks (12-17) – Held the Lakers and Kings to 79 points apiece, without Brandon Jennings. Won six of 10, including a convincing win at the Staples Center.
19(18) Indiana Pacers (13-15) – Pacers are 4-6 in their last 10 games, but squeaked out a one point victory over the Hornets last week. Roy Hibbert shot 6-for-27 against the Grizz and Hornets last week.
20(17) Philadelphia 76ers (12-19) – 5-5 in their last 10, lost to the Warriors on Monday night. Sixers are still in the hunt for the eigth seed in the East, and Thaddeus Young is having an outstanding season. Jodie Meeks has given them big minutes this season, which could be looked at a number of different ways.
21(24) Los Angeles Clippers (10-22) – Clippers have won six of the last seven games, including a close on Monday night against Sacramento. Blake Griffin has registered 19 consecutive double-doubles(Clippers record) and remains the most exciting player in the NBA. The key for L.A. however, has been the resurgence of Baron Davis, who doesn’t want to be traded.
22(26) Golden State Warriors (12-18) – Won three straight, as Monta Ellis averaged 39.7 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals. Monta who has scored 38 points or more six times this season, should be an All-Star.
23(23) Charlotte Bobcats (10-19) – Larry Brown resigned last week, Paul Silas takes over in the interim. Cats are 3-7 in their last 10 and 3-12 away from home. Jordan is rumored to be making wholesale changes, putting both Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace on the trading block. This team has regressed incredibly since making last year’s playoffs, and boasting the league’s number one defense.
24(22) Toronto Raptors (10-20) – Lost three straight and play 11 of their next 15 on the road. One bright spot was Jose Calderon, who recorded 39 assists in three games. This next stretch won’t end well for the Raptors, who are 3-11 on the road this season.
25(20) Detroit Pistons (10-21) – Lost by 21 to the Clippers, and four of their last five. Rank in the bottom 20 of both offensive and defensive efficiency.
26(25) New Jersey Nets (9-22) – Lost two straight, seven of 10, and have yet to win a game within their division(0-6). However, in four games since being acquired from the Lakers, “The Machine”, Sasha Vujacic is averaging 11 points per game.
27(28) Minnesota Timberwolves (8-24) – Won two straight but are a dismal 2-17 on the road. Kevin Love has been amazing this season, averaging 21 points and 16 rebounds. Beasley’s game-winner over Cleveland on Sunday ended a seven game losing streak.
28(27) Washington Wizards (7-22) – Wizards have lost nine of their last 10, and are 0-15 on the road this season. John Wall continues to nurse injuries, but Nick Young has played well as of late.
29(29) Sacramento Kings (5-23) – Lost eight in a row, and Cousins is imploding. Westphal seems to have lost his players.
30(30) Cleveland Cavaliers (8-22) – 1-9 in their last 10 and losers of three straight.