I hope everyone had a good new year, but in the midst of all of the holiday celebration, the NBA schedule has been filled with great action.
With that being said, I am back with my first power rankings of the new year.
Where does your favorite team rank?
Let’s not waste any time and get right into my weekly NBA Power Rankings.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (8-23): Between last season and this season, the Bobcats were sitting on seven wins for 41 straight games without getting to No. 8, but they finally got there with a win over the Bulls. But one win doesn’t erase 18 consecutive losses, nor is it enough to get Charlotte out of the basement. Last Week’s Ranking-30
29. Washington Wizards (4-26): The Wizards broke an eight-game losing streak with a win over the Magic, but since have lost three in a row. Last Week’s Ranking-29
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-26): The Cavs are hard to watch and have dropped 9-of-11. On a good note, Tristan Thompson has been playing well with double-doubles in five of his last six games. Last Week’s Ranking-26
27. New Orleans Hornets (7-25): The Hornets put an end to an 11-game skid with wins against the Magic and Bobcats, but have since dropped games to Atlanta and Houston. The return of Eric Gordon should help some. Last Week’s Ranking-28
26. Orlando Magic (12-20): The Magic have come back down to earth, losing seven straight after winning 4-of-5 in the middle of December. Last Week’s Ranking-21
25. Phoenix Suns (12-21): Their win vs. Philadelphia put an end to a six-game skid. They have scored over 100 points only three times since the beginning of December and don’t have a single player averaging 15 points per game. Last Week’s Ranking-24
24. Dallas Mavericks (13-20): The Mavs are reeling and have won only two of their past 10. The biggest problem is that they are 28th in the NBA in points allowed, giving up an average of 103.3 per game. Last Week’s Ranking-22
23. Sacramento Kings (12-20): The Kings have split their past 10 games and are playing better basketball of late, despite the DeMarcus Cousins soap opera. They beat Golden State, Portland, New York and Boston during that stretch. Last Week’s Ranking-27
22. Detroit Pistons (12-22): The Pistons have won three straight in a season filled with streaks. Wins against the Heat and Bucks look impressive. Detroit is a good rebounding team and a decent defensive team. Now they need to get consistent production on the offensive end. Last Week’s Ranking-25
21. Boston Celtics (14-17): I keep waiting for the Celtics to turn it on, but it may not happen. On their recent west coast trip they lost games by 29 to the Clippers, 18 to the Warriors and 22 to the Kings. Overall they have lost four in a row, which also includes a double-digit loss to the Grizzlies. Last Week’s Ranking-15
20. Utah Jazz (16-17): The Jazz have been disappointing so far and have lost seven of 10. They can’t win on the road, posting a 6-13 mark, compared to going 10-4 on the season at home. Last Week’s Raking-18
19. Philadelphia 76ers (15-18): The Sixers have also dropped seven of their past 10 and sit a season-low three games under the .500 mark. The defense has been pretty good, but they are another team who has problems scoring the ball, eclipsing the 100 point mark only four times in the past 17 games. Last Week’s Ranking-20
18. Los Angeles Lakers (15-16): Kobe Bryant is calling his team old and they are. But unless they figure out how to play defense and get some production from their bench, which is doubtful, the Lakers will never be nothing more than a mediocre team. Last Week’s Ranking-14
17. Toronto Raptors (12-20): The Raptors make a huge jump this week, because they are as hot as any team in the NBA. They have won three in a row and 8-of-9 overall. A softer schedule has helped, but Jose Calderon’s play has been the difference as the Raptors are 10-6 when he starts and only 2-14 when he doesn’t. Last Week’s Ranking-23
16. Brooklyn Nets (17-15): The Nets struggles really started when Brook Lopez got injured. In the four games since P.J. Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson, the Nets have won three, including a win over the Thunder. In that span, Lopez has averaged 24.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Last Week’s Ranking-19
15. Portland Trail Blazers (16-15): The Blazers have won seven of 10 and J.J. Hickson has been a big part of that. He is averaging 12.3 points and 10.8 rebounds on the season and LaMarcus Aldridge is playing at an All-Star level once again, giving the Blazers a formidable frontcourt. Last Week’s Ranking-16
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-15): The Wolves are still hanging in there, but Kevin Love’s recent finger injury could be a cause of concern. Last Week’s Ranking-17
13. Chicago Bulls (17-13): You just can’t excuse losing to the Bobcats-at home nonetheless. Overall they have lost 3-of-5 with the wins coming against Washington and Orlando. Last Week’s Ranking-12
12. Milwaukee Bucks (16-14): They lost to the Cavs and Pistons, but managed to beat Brooklyn and Miami. The Bucks need to find more consistency, but are an impressive 9-4 against the current top eight teams in the Eastern Conference. Last Week’s Ranking-13
11. Denver Nuggets (18-16): Fifteen of the Nuggets first 18 games in 2013 are at home, where they are 10-2 on the season. We will know a lot more about George Karl’s team by the end of the month as they could be poised to make a serious run. Last Week’s Ranking-11
10. Indiana Pacers (19-13): The Pacers are a great defensive team, but their inconsistencies offensively will continue to hold this team back until they figure it out. Roy Hibbert has been a big part of the offensive woes, finally getting his field goal percentage up to 40 percent on the season. But he responded with a 0 point, 1 rebound effort in Saturday’s loss to the Hawks. Hibbert must be better for the Pacers to be a legitimate threat. Last Week’s Ranking-10
9. Atlanta Hawks (20-10): The Hawks won’t go away partially because they can win on the road, putting together the best road mark in the Eastern Conference at 9-5. Last Week’s Ranking-9
8. Houston Rockets (18-14): The Rockets keep on winning, having won 7-of-10. A lot of that has to do with James Harden, who has averaged 29.3 points during the past 10 games. Houston is the top scoring team (105.8 PPG) in the NBA and rank seventh in both assists (22.8 APG) and rebounds (43.6 RPG). Not bad for the youngest team in the league. Last Week’s Ranking-7
7. Memphis Grizzlies (20-9): The Grizzlies are only 8-7 since the beginning of December. My only concern with them is that they play their starters more minutes than any team in the NBA, almost 35 per night. It could affect their legs in the long run. Last Week’s Ranking-8
6. New York Knicks (22-10): The Kicks big win against the Spurs aside, they still have won only four of their past nine games. Injuries played a big role in that as now Raymond Felton is down for 4-6 weeks, but the return of Amar’e Stoudemire could help. If the Knicks get back to playing defense the way they did against the Spurs, then they are as dangerous as anyone in the NBA. Last Week’s Ranking-5
5. Miami Heat (22-8): You have to worry about the defending champs on the defensive end of the floor as they have given up the 19th most points in the NBA (98.6). That defense did not look good in back-to-back losses at Detroit and Milwaukee. In addition, the Heat are only 7-6 away from home on the season. Last Week’s Ranking-2
4. San Antonio Spurs (26-9): The Spurs have been swept by the Knicks this season, but stay ahead of New York as they had won seven in a row before Thursday night’s beatdown. They have won 7-of-10 overall and are third in the NBA in scoring (105.2 PPG) and first in assists (25.3 APG). Last Week’s Ranking-4
3. Golden State Warriors (22-10): Mark Jackson’s Warriors could be in it for the long haul. They are doing it with an improved defense and have won 17 of their past 22 games, reaching the 20 win mark before January 1 for the first time since the 1980-81 season. Last Week’s Ranking-6
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-7): The Thunder just keep on winning, large in part to having the NBA’s most efficient offense, scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions. Serge Ibaka is playing the best basketball of his career and the Thunder keep rolling. Last Week’s Ranking-3
1. Los Angeles Clippers (25-8): Sure the Clippers have lost back-to-back games, but after reeling off 17 wins in a row it is hard not to keep them in the top spot. During that streak they won by an average of 15.2 points per game. That’s impressive enough. Last Week’s Ranking-1
Biggest Climber- Raptors (+6)
Biggest Faller- Celtics (-6)
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