Jan 16, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (left) and teammate Tim Duncan (right) react on the bench during the second half at the AT

NBA Power Rankings: Week 12

We are almost at the end of January and the playoff races are beginning to take form. That, coupled with the recent All-Star selections has the NBA poised for its most exciting time of the first half of the season.

Jan 22, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots over Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With that being said, some teams are in a lot better shape at the midseason point than others.

With that being said, let’s take a look at my latest NBA Power Rankings as we have hit the hallway point of the season.

30. Charlotte Bobcats (10-32): The Bobcats continue to struggle despite Kemba Walker’s stellar play, losing eight of their past 10 games. Last Week’s Ranking-30

29. Cleveland Cavaliers (11-32): Kyrie Irving is an All-Star and has averaged 23.8 points, 6.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game as the Cavs have won two of their past five, but there isn’t much to get excited about other than Irving in Cleveland right now. Last Week’s Ranking-28

28. Orlando Magic (14-28): Arron Afflalo has struggled and so has the Magic, who have dropped 8-of-10. Last Week’s Ranking-26

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-22): No team can complain about injuries until they look at what has happened this season to the ‘Wolves. All of the injuries have finally caught up with them and the playoff dreams appear all but gone in Minnesota. Last Week’s Ranking-21

26. Los Angeles Lakers (17-25): Things have gotten so bad for the Lakers; it is almost hard to put it into words. Clearly nothing is working in Lakerland and changes need to be made as they have lost 8-of-10. Last Week’s Ranking-19

25. Sacramento Kings (16-27): The Kings have won only three of their past 10, with those wins coming against Cleveland, Washington and Charlotte. Not much to get excited about except a potential move to Seattle. Last Week’s Ranking-25

24. Washington Wizards (9-31): Even though he has come off the bench, the Wizards are a different team with John Wall. They have gone 4-3 since his return after going 5-28 without him. Since his return, Wall has averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 assists with a 21.04 PER. Last Week’s Ranking-29

Jan 18, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA;Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday (11) sets up a play during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Raptors 108-101 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

23. Phoenix Suns (15-28): Lindsey Hunter is 2-0 as the Suns interim coach and the latest win came against the Clippers, but this team has a long ways to go. Last Week’s Ranking-27

22. Philadelphia 76ers (17-25): The Sixers get some good news in the fact that they have an All-Star in Jrue Holiday, who has been fantastic. The bad news is that they continue to lose games, dropping 8-of-10. Last Week’s Ranking-20

21. Toronto Raptors (16-27): The Raptors are a better team than their record indicates and despite winning only 4-of-10, they are a team heading in the right direction. DeMar DeRozan’s buzzer beater against the Magic on Thursday could get this team back on a roll. Last Week’s Ranking-22

20. Detroit Pistons (16-26): The Pistons have won 6-of-10 and are playing decent basketball at the moment, led by Greg Monroe, who has averaged 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game the past five. Last Week’s Ranking-24

19. Houston Rockets (22-22): No team has fallen as fast as the Rockets, who were a Top 10 team only two weeks ago. Losing 8-of-9 with the only win coming against the Bobcats will do that to you. Last Week’s Ranking-15

18. Boston Celtics (20-22): The Celtics teased us by winning six straight games, but have followed that performance by dropping five in a row, prompting many to believe that changes are coming in Beantown. Last Week’s Ranking-13

17. New Orleans Hornets (14-28): The Hornets…err I mean Pelicans…are playing very well, winning 7-of-10 with the losses coming to the Knicks, Spurs and Warriors. Greivis Vasquez could me the most underappreciated player in the NBA. The point guard is having a great season, averaging 14.3 points and 9.2 assists per game. Last Week’s Ranking-23

Jan 18, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrates making a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Thunder defeated the Mavericks in overtime 117-114. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

16. Portland Trail Blazers (21-21): After a nice stretch of good basketball for over a month, it was bound that the Blazers lack of depth would catch up to them eventually as the Blazers have lost 6-of-10.However their starting five can matchup with anyone. Last Week’s Ranking-18

15. Dallas Mavericks (18-24): The Mavs have won 4-of-5, with their only loss coming against the Thunder in overtime. With Dirk Nowitzki starting to play better, Dallas could contend for a playoff spot. Last Week’s Ranking-17

14. Atlanta Hawks (24-18): The Hawks have won 3-of-5, but the loss of Lou Williams really hurts. Last Week’s Ranking-14

13. Milwaukee Bucks (22-18): The Bucks have won 4-of-5 and Ersan Ilyasova is starting to resemble the player from last season, averaging 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals during that stretch. Last Week’s Ranking-16

12. Utah Jazz (23-19): The Jazz have been great as of late, winning 8-of-10 overall. In addition, they keep taking care of business at home, with a 14-4 record on the season. Last Week’s Ranking-12

11. Chicago Bulls (25-16): Lookout for Jimmy Butler. The second-year player has averaged 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game while playing great defense as the Bulls have gone 4-1 during their past five games. Last Week’s Ranking-10

10. Indiana Pacers (26-17): The Pacers have the 29th worst offense in the NBA, but they keep winning because they have the best defense in the league. Last Week’s Ranking-8

9. Brooklyn Nets (26-16): The Nets have gone 12-2 during their past 14 games and keep moving up in the rankings. They would be higher, but only six of their 26 wins on the season have come against teams currently over .500. Last Week’s Ranking-11

8. Memphis Grizzlies (27-14): The Grizzlies have won 6-of-10 and the recent trade of Marreese Speights doesn’t necessarily help them now, but should allow Memphis to hold onto Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. Last Week’s Ranking-9

7. New York Knicks (26-14): Despite a big win in Beantown on Thursday, it has been a rough go for the Knicks as of late. New York has gone only 8-9 during their past 17, but they should get point guard Raymond Felton back this weekend and they enter an easier part of their schedule with only five of their next 15 games against teams currently over .500. Last Week’s Ranking-5

6. Golden State Warriors (26-15): The Warriors keep showing us they are for real, this time by beating the Thunder and Clippers in back-to-back games. Yet somehow Stephen Curry isn’t an All-Star? Last Week’s Ranking-7

Jan. 23, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (left) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade (right) react during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 123-116. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

5.  Denver Nuggets (26-18): This is more like what we thought we would see from the Nuggets this season. They are the fourth highest scoring team in the league and have gone 15-6 during their past 21 games. Their best players have been starting to play much better, most notably point guard Ty Lawson, who has averaged 17.4 points, 7.4 assists and 1.0 steals during the past five games. In addition, the Nuggets are an impressive 16-3 at home this year. Denver is for real and will be a threat in the west the rest of the season. Last Week’s Ranking-6

4. Miami Heat (27-12): LeBron James is showing why he is the best player in the world. During the last five games, the three-time MVP has averaged 29.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 1.0 blocks and 2.4 steals while shooting 61.9 percent from the field. The Heat still have some holes to fill but they will be tough to stop if LeBron keeps playing at this level. Last Week’s Ranking-4

3. Los Angeles Clippers (32-12): The Clippers four week run at No. 1 comes to an end and most of that is due to Chris Paul missing five of the Clippers’ past seven games. The Clippers have lost three straight as a result, but there is no reason to panic at the moment. Last Week’s Ranking-1

2.  San Antonio Spurs (34-11): It’s hard not to put the Spurs at No. 1, especially after winning six in a row and 15 of their past 18 overall. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are heading to the All-Star Game, but the Spurs have been getting contributions from everyone, most notably Tiago Splitter, who has a PER over 20. They are a Top 5 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency and a real threat to win another title. Last Week’s Ranking-3

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-10): The Thunder are back up to the top spot where they belongs the NBA’s best tem. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been outstanding, but Durant is the likely MVP of the league at this point. KD has averaged 34.5 points per game during the month of January and in the past four games has dropped 52, 37, 32 and 33. Last Week’s Ranking-2

Biggest Climber: Hornets (+6)

Biggest Faller: Lakers (-7)

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