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I know its Super Bowl week, but how ’bout a little NBA Power Rankings to hold you over?
1) Oklahoma City Thunder (18-4) – Oklahoma City stays at number one, and it isn’t even that close at this point. What I find particularly incredible is that they’re the best team in the league while being 29th in total assists.
2) Miami Heat (17-6) – The Heat get a slight edge over the Chicago Bulls after defeating them earlier this week. It was actually a pretty bad finish to what was a really good game, but Miami squeaked it out.
3) Chicago Bulls (19-6) – Not a great week for the Bulls, with losses to both the Heat and the 76ers, but it would be foolish to think they aren’t the first- or second-best team in the eastern conference right now.
4) Indiana Pacers (16-6) – After the top three, it kind of comes down to who is playing the best basketball at the moment. No team in the NBA had a better week than Indiana. Right when I was starting to back off on my love for them too.
5) Philadelphia 76ers (16-7) – The lockout has certainly produced some unbalanced schedules this season, and the 76ers are taking advantage. They have currently played about twice as many games at home then on the road, which would be fine if they weren’t a .500 road team. I’m giving them a pass because you can’t help who you play, but it’s something to keep an eye on as their schedule starts to balance out.
6) Los Angeles Clippers (13-7) – I like what I’m seeing. Their record isn’t spectacular, but they are beating good teams (back-to-back wins over the Nuggets and Thunder earlier in the week). Baby steps.
7) Denver Nuggets (15-8) – I still consider the Denver Nuggets as the hardest team to figure out, but I do know that 105 PPG is pretty good.
8) Atlanta Hawks (16-7) – Consistently above average, incredibly boring.
9) Los Angeles Lakers (14-9) – The last time I thought the Lakers had figured it out, they immediately started playing poorly and made me look dumb. Here’s to hoping the same thing happens.
10) San Antonio Spurs (15-9) – Look, I know I shouldn’t be surprised with how well the Spurs are playing, but I am. I can’t help it.
11) Boston Celtics (12-10) – You know what? I’ve really enjoyed watching this team battle the past two weeks. As frustrating as the first month of the season was, and as ‘done and old’ as the Celtics looked … this recent surge has almost made up for it. I’m not crazy. I still don’t think they can beat either Miami or Chicago in the playoffs, but I have to take my imaginary hat off to the oldies. I’m still not totally clear on what Kevin Garnett said to Craig Sager after their comeback win over Orlando last week (“bar fight,” “ball fight,” or both) but I must say, I really like watching (bar fights, ball fights, or both). Good stuff.
12) Houston Rockets (13-10) – Kyle Lowry is better than I ever could have expected. I can’t put my finger on why I like them, but I like them.
13) Orlando Magic (14-9) – If you watched the first episode of ‘The Association: Denver Nuggets” then you saw a conversation between George Karl and Doc Rivers right after Denver traded Carmelo Anthony. Karl wouldn’t admit it while he was still on the team, but he told Doc Rivers flat out that the Melo Drama was just killing the team and the trade had to be made. I can’t help but feel like the same thing is happening in Orlando with Dwight Howard.
14) Portland Trailblazers (13-10) – The Trailblazers 10-1 home record is just as impressive as their 3-9 road record is alarming. I still believe in them.
15) Dallas Mavericks (14-10) – The best thing I can say about the Dallas Mavericks is that I’m really enjoying the TV show ‘Shark Tank’ with Mark Cuban. The Mavs are decent, though, and that’s about it right now.
16) Utah Jazz (12-9) – The Jazz haven’t been great lately, but their still holding down a playoff spot in the West … until either Portland or Memphis take it.
17) Memphis Grizzlies (12-11) – The Memphis Grizzlies are good … until they’re not good. And then they are good again. So the question is, will they be good enough to be good enough to make the playoffs?
18) Milwaukee Bucks (10-12) – I’ve got to hand it to the Milwaukee Bucks! Sure, the bottom of the East is pretty bad, but they handed out losses to both the Heat and the Lakers this week. Impressive.
19) Minnesota Timberwolves (11-12) – I was hoping to see the Timberwolves get over .500 this week, but that didn’t happen. I still think they are playing good basketball though, and have an outside shot at making the playoffs. Also, Nikola Pekovic is a bad dude.
20) New York Knicks (8-15) – On a team with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, I find it simply fantastic that the Knicks went to Steve Novak for the last shot Friday night against the Celtics. That was fun. How much longer will the Knicks stand by Mike D’Antoni?
21) Cleveland Cavaliers (8-13) – The Cavs aren’t very good, but I’m happy for them. Kyrie Irving is the real deal.
22) Golden State Warriors (8-12) – Golden State is actually playing pretty decent, but they have a super tough February schedule. Good luck.
23) New Jersey Nets (8-16) – Guys, Anthony Morrow totally scored 42 points Friday night against the Timberwolves. I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either.
24) Phoenix Suns (8-14) – Now back to our regularly scheduled Phoenix Suns comment: Trade Steve Nash.
25) Sacramento Kings (7-15) –Jimmer Fredette earned his first DNP-CD during the Kings impressive win over the Trailblazers Thursday night. Everyone at BYU panic!
26) Toronto Raptors (8-16) – I have to admit my disappointment in Ed Davis so far this season. I thought he showed flashes towards the end of last season, but it just hasn’t translated into success this year like I thought it might.
27) Detroit Pistons (5-20) – The Pistons may be last in my heart, but I can’t put them behind the following teams…
28) New Orleans Hornets (4-19) – How many different ways can I say not having Eric Gordon is killing them?
29) Washington Wizards (4-19) – Shouldn’t this team be better? I mean, not MUCH better, but they should have more than four wins. If Kyrie Irving can get the Cavaliers to 8 wins, John Wall should be able to get the Wizards to five.
30) Charlotte Bobcats (3-20) – The Bobcats’ current 10-game losing streak is truly impressive.