Our weekly NBA Power Rankings, every team seemed to have a nice win and an ugly loss, balancing the karmic scales.
1. Spurs (45-9, Last Week #1). They are 5-2 on the rodeo road trip so far (still to come the Nets and Bulls). Their one loss this week was just one of those game where nothing falls (sorry Sixers, wasn’t all your defense).
2. Celtics (39-14, LW #2). Losses to the Bobcats and Lakers, a rash of injuries piled up, and then they go out Sunday and remind the Heat they are still the team to beat in the East. Injuries or no, don’t expect the Celtics to rush guys back, they are thinking about June not February.
3. Mavericks (38-16, LW #4). One loss in the last 13 and that by one point. Peja Stojakovic has shot 40 percent overall and 29 percent from three since joining the Mavs, but did drop 22 on Houston so maybe he is figuring it out. The real question, how much better does this team become when Roddy Beaubois returns soon?
4. Lakers (38-17, LW #6). What was more telling, the win over Boston, or the loss to Orlando? Still, they are 4-1 so far on the Grammy road trip with the Nets and Cavaliers left on the tour.
5. Heat (39-15, LW #3). After Sunday’s loss you would think Pat Riley would be looking for some help along the front line to combat the Celtics, but does he really have any trade options?
6. Bulls (36-16, LW #5). If he wasn’t already in your “best point guard in the game” conversation, Derrick Rose outplayed Deron Williams and Chris Paul last week. They have the Spurs this Thursday and the Heat the following Thursday, which will start to give us a real grasp of how good this team really is.
7. Magic (35-21, LW #8). They have not wowed in recent weeks with losses to elite teams, but the win Sunday over the Lakers gives some hope. Still, we need to see this over a stretch of ground to be convinced.
8. Thunder (34-19, LW #7). Some sloppy losses to the Grizzlies and Warriors this week, which would have dropped them if every team below them didn’t have some sloppy losses, too. The defense isn’t good enough for the offense to have an off night.
9. Hawks (33-20, LW #9). Two ugly losses for the Hawks last week. Not likely any late trade activity, not a lot of parts they can move, but if this is the team that goes to the playoffs it’s a repeat of last season. At best.
10. Hornets (33-23, LW #10). They are not right without Emeka Okafor in the paint (2-5 without him). Got a nice win over Orlando this week, though.
11. Blazers (30-24, LW #13). Nice wins this week, including over the Bulls, in part because LaMarcus Aldridge is on a tear. And please, rest Brandon Roy longer, for the sake of his knees. For the sake of basketball fans everywhere who want to see him right.
12. Grizzlies (30-26, LW #14). They are 8-2 in their last 10 and that includes wins over Orlando, Oklahoma City and Denver. They are currently the 9 seed in the West, one game back of the Blazers and one-and-a-half behind the Jazz and Nuggets. One of those teams is going stumble and Memphis will catch them.
13. Nuggets (31-24, LW #11). At least we know in the next 10 days the ‘Melodrama will end. One way or another.
14. Jazz (31-24, LW #12). Teams often get a little boost from a mid-season coaching change. And we’re rooting for Tyrone Corbin, but he can’t make Al Jefferson into Carlos Boozer, or make Mehmet Okur healthy. Which is what the Jazz really need.
15. Sixers (26-28, LW #16). Big wins over the Spurs and Hawks this week. Remember this team started this season 3-13, they are 20-14 since.
16. Pacers (24-28, LW #19). They are playing faster since Frank Vogel took over, but they are rebounding better two. And they re 7-1 for Vogel.
17. Knicks (27-26, LW #15). They really are a Mike D’Antoni team — if they can’t outscore you in spite of their defense they can’t beat you.
18. Suns (26-26, LW #17). Unlike the Knicks they are trying to play some defense. But they are three games out of the last playoff spot in the West and it’s going to be tough to make that ground up unless they become more consistent fast.
19. Warriors (24-29, LW #18). There was a David Lee sighting Sunday. While Monta Ellis is carrying the load the Warriors need Lee for balance.
20. Bobcats (23-31, LW #20). Few things make us smile like seeing Shaun Livingston doing well. With D.J. Augustin nursing a sore wrist he may get more run (and against the Lakers he could destroy Derek Fisher).
21. Rockets (25-30, LW #22). They want to move Aaron Brooks, and to pick up the scoring slack there is… Chuck Hayes? He’s been a scoring machine lately.
22. Bucks (20-33, LW #21). Brandon Jennings’ return has pumped no life into the moribund Bucks offense, mostly because he is shooting 33 percent since coming back.
23. Pistons (20-35, LW #23). Rodney Stuckey is back to starting, but that has not made Jon Kuester happy. Although, is there anything that makes him happy?
24. Nets (17-38, LW #25). Two wins this week, and we’ll even count the one against Cleveland.
25. Wizards (15-38, LW #27). They got a road win (over Cleveland), which prompted John Wall to say, “We’re a great team. We just got a lot to learn.” John, I think you and I have different definitions of “great.”
26. Clippers (20-34, LW #24). Losses to the Cavaliers and the Raptors in one week — that is impressively bad. Who said this team would make the playoffs again?
27. Timberwolves (13-41, LW #29). Kevin Love has 40 consecutive double-doubles, just four shy of the NBA record.
28. Raptors (15-40, LW #28). Rookie Ed Davis seems to be figuring some things out, like how to rebound at the NBA level.
29. Kings (13-38, LW #26). Long term this franchise needs to figure out how to get DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans to coexist as one unit, or make a drastic move.
30. Cavaliers (9-46, LW #30). They broke the streak. Then they came out the next game with no effort whatsoever and lost to the Wizards. Model of the inconsistent effort: J.J. Hickson.