’s NBA power rankings

1. Trail Blazers  16-3  +3

Facebook just offered $1 billion to buy the Blazers. Kidding, of

course, but Portland’s stock is sky-high right now and there’s no

indication the bubble will burst. Yes, they look to be “for real.” An

early-season statement win against the Pacers has lifted Portland to the

top spot.

2. Pacers  17-2  -1

After Indiana lost to Portland, Roy Hibbert hopped on the Twitter

machine with LaMarcus Aldridge to proclaim a Pacers-Blazers Finals.

There’s no news yet as to whether or not David Stern has fined Hibbert

for his anti-NBA remarks.

3. Thunder  13-4  +3

Russell Westbrook is quickly regaining his reputation as one of

the elite players in the league. Don’t overlook just how fast Westbrook

has recovered to full speed from his playoff injury. Oklahoma City has

now won seven in a row, and that motor of Westbrook’s is responsible —

oh, and Kevin Durant of course.

4. Heat  14-4  -1

It feels like Dwyane Wade is eternally questionable, yet he has

played in 14 of Miami’s 18 games. When he plays, Wade is an efficient

53.8 percent shooter for 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game. His

absence does hurt though, as it did when Detroit snapped Miami’s 10-game

win streak.

5. Spurs  15-3  -3

You didn’t think Tim Duncan was going away, did you? Duncan, who

has never shot below 49 percent in his career, shot just 43.5 percent

for 13.1 points per game in November. He’s bounced back in his last

three games though, shooting 63 percent and averaging 20.6 points,

including a game-winner against the Hawks.

6. Rockets  13-7  +1

What a buzzkill. The Rockets were riding a five-game win streak,

including a road win in San Antonio, before Houston fell in Utah. The

Rockets’ offense leads the league in scoring, and don’t be misled by

their defense. Though they allow the second-most points per game

(103.1), opponents are shooting just 42.7 percent against them, fourth

best in the league. 

7. Nuggets 11-7  +2

So much for that Nuggets’ collapse without George Karl. Brian Shaw

is learning what this team is capable of accomplishing. The Nuggets are

on one of those streaks again, having won seven consecutive and 10 of

their last 12.

8. Clippers 12-7  -3

Losing J.J. Redick for up to two months will hurt the Clippers’

offense in the short term, but its long-term effect will be more

damaging. The loss hurts LA’s ability to come together after an

offseason tinkering of the perimeter. Willie Green, who’s averaged just

11.2 minutes in six games, will be asked to carry the load.

9. Warriors  11-8  -1

Growth comes from learning to win in a variety of ways. But then

again, there’s always just launching three-pointers. The Warriors came

back from down 27 points in the third quarter to beat Toronto, and shot

8-of-11 from three-point range in the fourth quarter to do it. That’s so


10. Mavericks  12-8  +1

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was in the Mavs locker room

following their recent win against the Bobcats. There’s no report yet on

how much Mark Cuban offered him to bring some athleticism to his team.

11. Grizzlies  9-8  -1

Add “ingrown toenail surgery” to the list of injuries you didn’t

expect to read about this season. Zach Randolph has missed a pair of

games with the bad nail situation, joining Marc Gasol on the injured

list. Memphis will need Randolph this week, however, for two tough ones

against the Clippers and Warriors. 

12. Pelicans  9-9  +5

The Anthony Davis injury is frustrating for New Orleans and not

just because of wins and losses. It’s hard for the Pelicans to gain

momentum and gauge where they are without their young centerpiece,

Anthony Davis. Even without him though, a string of wins moves the

Pelicans up.

13. Lakers 9-9  +2

A Kobe Bryant scrimmage!? It’s time to start following those

Lakers again now that the league’s always-intriguing storyline is set to

return. The Lakers have held serve so far without him, but what will

Los Angeles look like in his return? Don’t expect Pau Gasol to be the

leading shot taker much longer.

14. Wizards  9-9  +5

Generally you don’t throw a party for your child when he or she

gets a C on his progress report. But when you’re grading on a curve, the

.500 Wizards look mighty good as the third-best record in the East.

15. Timberwolves  9-10  -3

And just like that, Minnesota has the third-worst record in the

West. Things can turn quickly in the competitive West standings, and the

Wolves proved vulnerable against top teams in a five-game stretch that

included losses to Houston, Indiana, Denver and Oklahoma City. 

16. Suns  10-9  —

Phoenix was a surprise team for the first couple weeks of the

season because of its defense. In their first 10 games, the Suns allowed

opponents to shoot just 43.3 percent and score 95.9 points per game. In

their last five games, however, Phoenix has allowed 49.8 percent

shooting and 107.2 points per game, losing three of the five.Collapse Description

17. Hawks  10-10  -3

Some guys just have to be part of that in-crowd. Atlanta, losers

of five of six, is doing its best to fit in within the disappointing

Eastern Conference. There are now just two teams remaining in the East

with a winning record.

18. Pistons  9-10  —

Paying Josh Smith added to Detroit’s already-potent front court

of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. But it left one big question mark:

where’s the perimeter threat? There’s nothing to help stretch opposing

defenses, as no Piston is shooting higher than 33 percent from

three-point range other than Rodney Stuckey at 38 percent.

19. Bulls  7-9  -6

Luol Deng is trending right now. No one has been more highly

publicized for a five-game stretch since Jeremy Lin in New York. Since

Derrick Rose went out, Deng is averaging 27.4 points, 6.2 assists and

6.0 rebounds. The Bulls, meanwhile, are trending downward. 

20. 76ers  7-12  +2

The Rookie of the Year battle raged against Orlando, as both

Michael Carter-Williams (27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) and Victor

Oladipo (26 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) each tallied a

triple-double. MCW still holds a sizeable lead.

21. Celtics  8-12  +3

Prepare for this. There’s soon going to be a stretch, following

the return of Rajon Rondo, when the Celtics will be considered one of

the best teams in the East. Sadly, that’s not going out on too much of a


22. Bobcats  8-1  -1

Since starting 7-7 (making them studs in the East), the Bobcats

have gone back to being the Bobcats. Worse news came that Michael

Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a fractured hand on Tuesday.

23. Magic  6-12  —

Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis put up a combined 76 points in the

double-OT loss to Philadelphia. So, who wants to trade some draft picks?

24. Cavaliers  6-12  +1

The Cavaliers have been awful, but they remain a solid pick for a

second-half surprise in the East. With developing young talent, and a

historically weak conference, the Cavaliers are the right fit to grab a

lower seed. Only two players in the East average 20 points and five

assists: LeBron is one, Kyrie Irving is the other.

25. Raptors  6-11  -5

The Raptors allowed the largest comeback by an opponent in

franchise history when they blew their 27-point lead in Golden State to

drop their fourth in a row. The real shock for Raptors fans, however,

was witnessing that teams are allowed to pass that much on offense.

26. Nets  5-13  —

It’s getting even uglier in Brooklyn. Paul Pierce’s broken hand

is a small issue when compared to the atrocity that is the coaching

staff. Jason Kidd is failing in his first steps as a head coach

(purposely spilling water, really?). Now, he’s removed his experienced

guide, Lawrence Frank.

27. Kings  4-12  —

The Kings’ 0-3 week began with an overtime loss to the Clippers

followed by back-to-back, two-point losses to the Warriors and then

Thunder. Learning how to win isn’t just some cliche; the Kings’

youngsters truly must learn how to overcome adversity in the final


28. Knicks  4-12  —

The Knicks have yet to beat a team with a winning record — and

it’s December. Remember when this team was still considered a legitimate

contender? But hey, they’re still just 3.5 games out of the playoffs.

29. Jazz  4-16  +1

Check out the Jazz. Utah has won consecutive games for the first

time and Trey Burke is proving a fantastic pick. It’s enough to climb

from out of the abyss. Their reward? A matchup in Indiana.

30. Bucks  3-15  -1

There’s always a basement, and the Bucks are the not-so-proud new

owners. Milwaukee did snap an 11-game losing skid with a win against

Boston this past week before losing in the rematch in Boston on Tuesday.