NBA power rankings

By Sam Amico

The Clippers remain worthy of top spot, with the Thunder and Heat closing in. Others, such as the Pacers and Bulls, seem to suddenly be getting things sorted out as well.

1 Clippers 25-7

Who cares that their winning streak was finally snapped at 17? The Clips are still most athletic and cohesive unit in league right now.

2 Thunder 24-6

All that talent, and they make their free throws. When Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both clicking in same game, the Thunder continue to prove they’re championship material.

3 Heat 21-8

Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade aren’t quite as great this season but are still very, very good. LeBron James is better than ever. Read: Will be top two or three all season.

4 Spurs 25-8 +1

Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and teamwork. You’ve probably heard this story before. What choice do you have but to believe they could win it all again?

5 Grizzlies 19-9 +1

Not dominating like they were early in the season, mostly because of an inconsistent bench. But starters such as Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph still give the Griz reason to believe.

6 Knicks 21-10 -2

Amar’e Stoudemire is back following October knee surgery. The pressure’s on, as the Knicks were one of league’s best without him.

7 Warriors 21-10

The Warriors can just bury you via 3-pointers, but are so much more than that. Basically, no reason to doubt these Warriors are for real.

8 Hawks 20-10

The Hawks won 20 of first 30 games. Most suspected it’d be the other way around. Most obviously forgot how good Al Horford and Josh Smith can be.

9 Pacers 18-13 +2

Slowly returning to the contending team we expected them to be. Most impressively, the Pacers are doing it without the still-injured Danny Granger. Time to give ’em some credit.

10 Nuggets 18-15 +3

Danilo Gallinari could be most worthy All-Star who doesn’t play in the game. Either way, the Nuggets should be dangerous with loads of home dates approaching.

11 Rockets 17-14 +6

Playing so well it’s easy to think GM Daryl Morey will make another deal for a playoff push. If not, the Rockets might get there, anyway.

12 Bulls 16-13 -3

Bending their knees, shuffling their feet, hustling and sharing the ball. Should be no surprise for a Tom Thibodeau-coached team. And most nights, it works.

13 Trail Blazers 16-14 +6

Put together a winning record after 30 games in the West. Best of all, the Blazers should be better toward end of season. Who woulda thunk?

14 Lakers 15-16 -4

The Lakers are a lot better than they were earlier this season (thank you, Steve Nash). But still make too many mistakes in deciding moments for such a star-studded, veteran team.

15 Bucks 16-13 +3

Monta Ellis is quietly having perhaps his best season. Quietly because few teams are more ignored than the Bucks. That could change by season’s end.

16 Timberwolves 14-13 -2

Ricky Rubio is being preserved for a possible late-season run. Question is, will Kevin Love be around to join him, or are occasional trade suggestions completely unfounded?

17 Nets 16-15 -5

The Nets’ coaching change was a dubious decision with questionable timing. Doesn’t seem likely that Avery Johnson was the only problem.

18 Celtics 14-16 -3

Eventually, they’ll need a center. Or at the very least, for Jason Terry to be the player the Celtics figured he was.

19 76ers 15-17 +1

Jrue Holiday is having a career season and Spencer Hawes is not far behind. Wherefore art thou, Andrew Bynum?

20 Jazz 15-17 -4

Not really going anywhere, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to shake things up. Lots of teams would give the Jazz something for Paul Millsap, too.

21 Mavericks 13-19 +1

O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and now Dirk Nowitzki. Easy to start wondering if all the newness will ever come together.

22 Magic 12-19 -1

The Magic continue to battle even without Glen Davis. J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson and forever-underrated Arron Afflalo are three big reasons why.

23 Pistons 12-22 +3

How long before Andre Drummond starts alongside Greg Monroe in frontcourt — giving Pistons a set of Twin Towers that makes good sense?

24 Raptors 11-20

The Raptors are playing much better with Jose Calderon as starting point guard. Time to start the Kyle Lowry trade rumors?

25 Kings 11-20

DeMarcus Cousins trade talk won’t go away. Lots of teams would love to have him. Probably time for the Kings to make it happen.

26 Suns 11-21 -3

The Suns are just kind of floating in basketball nowhere land, waiting for next season and another reason to get excited. There just aren’t any right now.

27 Hornets 7-24 +2

Eric Gordon is finally in uniform and immediately makes the Hornets better. But is he totally happy? If not, trade rumors may become a distraction.

28 Cavaliers 7-25

The Cavs will take the right deal for Anderson Varejao, but don’t mind keeping him, either. Before and after they figure it out, Kyrie Irving will keep them worth watching.

29 Bobcats 8-23 -2

Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may be the only two ’Cats still here in three years. Until then, they’ll probably have to just keep playing the lottery and changing coaches.

30 Wizards 4-25

Well, at least Bradley Beal has been playing better lately. But if that’s all you have to get excited about, you might want to consider starting over — again.