Written by: Jared Hammer – Staff Writing Intern (@jjjhammer)
1: Golden State Warriors ( – ) L10: 9-1 – The Dubs were unbeaten last week, with wins over the Cavs, Thunder, Rockets, and Magic. Over that span they scored 122 points, while only allowing 99. The Warriors now sport the leagues biggest win streak of 7 straight games.
2: San Antonio Spurs ( – ) L10: 7-3 – The NBA’s second best team in Opponent Points Per Game had an off week defensively, but it didn’t stop them from winning all three of their games. Their offense wasn’t as potent as the Warriors averaging 119 a game, but it still was the driving force behind their great week.
3: Houston Rockets ( – ) L10: 6-4 – The Rockets split last weeks’ games, keeping them in the race for 2nd in the Western Conference. They’re in the midst of a 5-game road trip, that will feature 4 trips out East this week.
4: Cleveland Cavaliers ( – ) L10: 5-5 – Even after having two of their players named as starters to this years All-Star Game, it was a tough week for the Cavs. They were spanked by the Warriors, then fell to the Spurs in overtime. The good news is they’ll be playing just one team with a +.500 record.
5: Utah Jazz (↑2) L10: 7-3 – With a 6-game winning streak now under their belt the Jazz have moved up into the 5th spot of this week’s rankings. They now have the same overall record as the Clippers, and have a chance of extending their streak tonight when the host their division rival OKC Thunder. A team they took care of in their last meeting 109-89.
6: Los Angeles Clippers (↓1) L10: 7-3 – The Clippers had their 7-game win streak snapped this week, and now find themselves losers of two straight after losing Chris Paul to a thumb injury. They suffered losses to a pair of struggling teams in the West (Min, Den). Now without CP3 AND Blake Griffin, the Clips are going to need to find a way to tread water for the next few weeks.
7: Toronto Raptor (↓1) L10: 5-5 – A disappointing weeks finds the Raptors of 3 straight games. Unable to capitalize on games against weaker teams like Philly and Phoenix, the Raptors are starting to lose ground in the standings to the likes of Atlanta and Boston. Things don’t get much easier this week. They’ll have to lick their wounds, and get ready to take on the Spurs.
8: Atlanta Hawks (↑3) L10: 8-2 – The Hawks are the hottest team in the East right now. They’re 8 and 2 over their last 10 games, with only one loss last week coming at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. They’re starting to pull away from the rest of the Southeast Division, and are gaining on the Raptors.
9: Boston Celtics (↓1) L10: 7-3 – The C’s couldn’t take advantage of their all be it brief home stand, dropping games against both the Knicks and Blazers. With the Raptors also losing easy games this week, the Celtics blew the chance of taking over the top spot in the Atlantic, but will try again this week.
10: Washington Wizards (↑3) L10: 7-3 – Led by John Wall, the Wizards are starting to take excellent strides becoming more consistent as games get more and more important. This is an important week ahead for the Wiz, who will play the Hornets, Hawks, and Celtics. 3 other teams battling for home court advantage come playoff time.
11: Oklahoma City Thunder (↓2) L10: 4-6 – It was a light week for the Thunder with just two games played. Both happened to be blowout losses. This week they’re much busier, playing 3 of 4 games on the road. Let’s hope for Russel Westbrook’s sake, he remembers to dribble the ball as he brings it up the court.
12: Memphis Grizzlies (↓2) L10: 4-6 – After coming off a big week that saw the Grizz pick up wins against the Warriors and Rockets, Memphis couldn’t keep that momentum going. They’ll play a DeRozan-less Raptors squad Wednesday at the FedEx Arena, before heading out for 6 straight on the road.
13: Charlotte Hornets (↑3) L10: 4-6 – The Hornets defense was the driving force behind their 3-1 week, allowing just 94 points a game. Most notably they locked down the Blazers to 85, and silenced the Raptors to 78. After the hosting the Warriors later this week, they’ll have a few easy games against the Knicks and Kings.
14: Detroit Pistons (↑3) L10: 6-4 – Despite rumors flying around their starting point guard being dealt to Minnesota for Ricky Rubio, the Pistons ignored the noise and won both of their games last week. They’ve now won 3 in a row, and have another quiet two game week ahead of them.
15: Indiana Pacers (↓1) L10: 7-3 – The Pacers returned from London (after allowing the Nuggets to score 140 points on them) and continued their up and down play. They squeaked out wins against the Pelicans and Kings, but dropped their back to backs against the Lakers and Jazz. They’ve battled back to a plus .500 record, and have the opportunity to expand on that this week with games against the Knicks, Wolves, and Kings ahead of them.
16: Chicago Bulls (↓1) L10: 5-5 – Fred Hoiberg’s offense continues to struggle. They scored just 99 and 93 points in losses to the Mavs and Hawks, then barely reached 100 in a win over the Kings. The Bulls are reported to be looking to move Rondo and Mirotic now in an attempt to salvage and turn around their season.
17: Denver Nuggets (↑3) L10: 4-6 – Even though they don’t have a superstar on their roster, the Nuggets offense has been on a tear lately. Going 2-2 last week, Denver averaged 115.5 points over that span. Aside from the Jazz, the Nuggets will play a young Suns team twice this week, and the Nuggets have a legitimate chance of getting close to the 140 mark again.
18: Portland Trail Blazers ( – ) L10: 4-6 – It may have taken overtime, but the Blazers snapped their 4 game Eastern Conference losing streak with a win over the Celtics on Saturday. They continue to be one of the biggest enigma’s in the NBA.
19: Philadelphia 76ers (↑6) L10: 7-3 – Trust. The. Process. The 76ers are 7 and 3 over their last 10 and are giving Philly fans a reason to cheer again. They’re competing hard each and every night, and for a young team they’re showing a lot of poise.
20: Milwaukee Bucks (↓7) L10: 3-7 – Losers of 5 straight, the Bucks keep countering any steps they make forward with an extra one in the opposite direction. It’s time for the Buck’s role players to step up and help Giannis Antetokounmpo.
21: New York Knicks (↑2) L10: 3-7 – The Knicks woes, problems, and slide continues. Granted it must be hard to play when your star player and team president are fighting like that annoying couple that keeps posting Facebook updates that are clearly directed at each other. Who on earth gave Carmelo a no trade option??? Oh ya, that was Phil.
22: Minnesota Timberwolves (↑2) L10: 5-5 – Karl-Anthony Towns said it best “We’re starting to play with the consistency you need to win.” The Timberwolves certainly are, and it’s starting to show.
23: New Orleans Pelicans (↓4) L10: 4-6 – Right as you start to think the Pelicans are playing better, and you put your neck out to believe in them, they allow the Brooklyn Nets to drop 143 on them. 8 Nets players were in double digits, and in case you were wondering Anthony Davis was actually in the lineup.
24: Phoenix Suns (↑3) L10: 5-5 – You couldn’t have asked for a better trip out East if you are the Suns. Their only loss on the trip came at the hands of the East’s top team. Much like the 76ers, this young team is starting to play harder. Which is exactly what you have to do when your skill levels don’t match.
25: Dallas Mavericks (↑1) L10: 5-5 – The Mavericks snapped their 2-game losing streak in excellent fashion, crushing the Lakers by 49. They haven’t had much to cheer about this season, but that beat down has certainly been the highlight so far.
26: Orlando Magic (↓5) L10: 2-8 – The Orlando Magic are tied for our biggest movers of the week, dropping 5 spots after recording just one win last week. The good news for the Magic though is that they’ll be playing 4 teams who are really struggling, in their 4 games this week.
27: Sacramento Kings (↓5) L10: 2-8 – The Kings are the other aforementioned biggest mover. Having lost 5 straight, the Kings who were talking playoff basketball about a week ago, have fallen to 11 games below .500. What should worry the Kings most is that the other teams close to them in the standings are all on an upward trend.
28: Miami Heat ( – ) L10: 4-6 – 4 straight losses. Followed up by 3 straight wins. This level of inconsistency shouldn’t be too shocking though considering the amount of injuries to key players they’ve had to deal with. Regardless, it’s nice to see a struggling team pick up a few wins.
29: Los Angeles Lakers ( – ) L10: 3-7 – The Lakers may have snapped a 5-game losing skid last week, but they couldn’t build off that win, being blown up by nearly 50. The Lakers may have a young core, but that defensive performance just isn’t acceptable. How does a team with more talent in 4 of the 5 starting positions? They get badly outworked.
30: Brooklyn Nets ( – ) L10: 1-9 – Can a team with the worst record in Basketball, and no first round picks until 2019 actually find a positive in their season? Well they snapped an 11-game slide last week AND scored 143 points in the win. It might not be much, but you’ve got to take it