The LA Lakers continue to lose and disappointment. The news got much worse when Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have been lost to injuries. Gasol (concussion) wont be out as long as Howard (torn labrum) who could miss weeks during an important stretch. The Lakers are sitting at 11th in the West and need to overtake 3 teams. Missing the playoffs is a reality.
Meanwhile, the LA Clippers have recovered nicely after dropping 2 straight games in the wake of their 17-game winning streak. Their defeat of the Lakers and the beatdown of the Warriors have allowed the Clippers to remain as the top dog in the NBA.
The Miami Heat still lead the East but that rebounding dilemma continues to hurt them. The Bulls beat them in Miami without Derrick Rose by killing them on the glass by 20 boards. The Pacers manhandled them on the boards as well which was another road loss. The Heat cannot rebound and cannot win on the road.
The standings are current up to January 9, 2013. The rankings from last week refer to Week 9.
|Matt Barnes and the second unit of the Clippers have |
been integral in keeping them the top team in the West
(Image by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
1. Los Angeles Clippers | 27-8 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The Clippers are making the battle of LA moot with their dominance of the Lakers this season. The Clippers actually have the Warriors as their main competition in the Pacific division. They beat both of them in a back-to-back without their best bench scorer, Jamal Crawford.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder | 26-8 | Last Week: 2 | Same
The Thunder almost took back the top spot in the rankings and the best record in the NBA but they stumbled against the Wizards. They also lost to the Nets at home last week in a blowout. They are tied with the Clippers with the most wins at home with a record of 17-3.
3. San Antonio Spurs | 27-10 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Spurs have the best win percentage at home at 14-2 and is among 3 teams with a +8 winning margin (Clippers & Thunder). Stephen Jackson is out with a sprained ankle after landing on a vendor at the Knicks' game. They surprisingly lost to Eric Gordon and the Hornets with Duncan shooting poorly.
4. Miami Heat | 23-10 | Last Week: 4 | Same
The rebounding problem continues to hurt them. They are 29th in rebounding and they have given up offensive rebounds and second chance points like crazy. They lost to the Bulls and Pacers (great rebounding teams) due to the Heat's woes on the boards.
5. Golden State Warriors | 22-11 | Last Week: 5 | Same
The Warriors split their home-and-home series with the Clippers. They already have 2 wins versus the Clips. Steph Curry and David Lee continue their push to make the all-star team. Klay Thompson is 3rd in threes made while Curry is 2nd in the league.
6. New York Knicks | 23-11 | Last Week: 6 | Same
The Knicks are 2-2 in the 4 games that Amare has played back from injury. He's only playing 20 minutes and the 10 points are nice but the 2 rebounds are horrible. Melo going after Garnett at their team bus was unwise especially is he gets suspended for that.
7. Memphis Grizzlies | 22-10 | Last Week: 8 | +1
The Grizzlies are rumored to shopping Rudy Gay to avoid the luxury tax. Not sure that's a good idea to let go of their best scorer and shooter when no one shoots over 50%. Tough games coming up against the Warriors, Spurs and Clippers.
8. Indiana Pacers | 21-14 | Last Week: 11 | +3
The Pacers got revenge on the Heat by limiting them to their lowest output of the season at 77. Paul George ended with a double-double and outscored LeBron James. Roy Hibbert had 3 straight games of 10+ rebounds, all wins. His best game was vs the Bucks with 20, 15 and 5 blocks.
9. Houston Rockets | 21-14 | Last Week: 10 | +1
The Rockets have won 5 straight and Jeremy Lin has been great in their last 2 games with 20, 5 and 5. They are still 1st in scoring with guys like Carlos Delfino and Toney Douglas providing boost from their bench. The Rockets torched the Lakers for 125 points. Doesnt matter that they gave up 112 in that process.
10. Chicago Bulls | 19-13 | Last Week: 13 | +3
The Bulls beat up on the Heat on the regular season without Derrick Rose. Carlos Boozer is averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds in his last 3 games. Boozer also has 5 straight double-doubles with the Bulls going 4-1 in that span. D-Rose is still weeks away from playing
11. Atlanta Hawks | 20-13 | Last Week: 8 | -3
The Hawks have lost 3 straight, a couple of them less than 5 points. Al Horford and Josh Smith are providing the double-doubles but the supporting cast have been inconsistent with Jeff Teague scoring below 10 points in the last 5 games and Devin Harris is still injured.
12. Denver Nuggets | 20-16 | Last Week: 9 | -3
The Nuggets defeated the Lakers twice in the last 2 weeks. They have a 4-game stretch at home where they are 11-2 and teams coming in are very beatable. The Nuggets want to solidify their position in the West and put distance between them and the Lakers.
13. Brooklyn Nets | 20-15 | Last Week: 17 | +4
The Nets are 6-1 under new coach PJ Carlesimo including impressive wins over the Thunder and Sixers. Brook Lopez is tops in points scored in the paint. The Nets have won 4 straight and scored over 100 in all of them. Reggie Evans has been a monster on the boards in their last 2 games (35 total boards).
14. Portland Trailblazers | 19-15 | Last Week: 14 | Same
The Blazers have won 4 of their last 5 and is currently on the 8th spot in the West. Big credit goes to Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Alddrigde who have kept the Blazers competitive to the point of being 4 games ahead of the Lakers. They are the only playoff team with a negative winning margin.
15. Minnesota Timberwolves | 16-15 | Last Week: 15 | Same
The T'wolves have been hit with the injury bug again. Kevin Love could be out several weeks with his hand injury. Brandon Roy has no return date while Ricky Rubio and Nic Pekovic are nursing minor injuries. BTW, Pekovic is averaging 23 and 17 on 63% shooting in his last 2 games.
16. Milwaukee Bucks | 17-16 | Last Week: 12 | -4
Scott Skiles resigned from the Bucks because he "hated his team". The Bucks responded by snapping their 4-game losing streak. Monta Ellis has struggled shooting in their last 5 games, going 38% and almost 4 turnovers per game.
17. Boston Celtics | 17-17 | Last Week: 20 | +3
Another Rajon Rondo suspension yet the Celtics won versus the Knicks. The Celtics cant expect to keep winning without their best player. Rondo has a bad record with the NBA and any incident could quickly lead
to more suspensions. Jeff Green and Courtney Lee have been inconsistent offensively.
18. Utah Jazz | 18-18 | Last Week: 19 | +1
The Jazz are another team ahead of the Lakers who arent in the top 8 in the West. Things got harder for the Jazz with Mo Williams out for several weeks with an injury. Gordon Hayward has come alive in their last few games without Mo. Hayward torched the Mavs for 27 in their win.
19. Los Angeles Lakers | 15-19 | Last Week: 16 | -3
They wont have Howard and Gasol for the next few games and their next 2 games will be versus the Spurs and Thunder. That could be a 6-game losing streak looming. Missing the playoffs is a harsh reality for the Lakers. They need to play better than .600 basketball just to give themselves a shot at the 8th spot.
20. Philadelphia 76ers | 15-21 | Last Week: 19 | -1
The Sixers have lost 4 straight and are 3 games behind the Celtics for the 8th spot in the East. They havent scored more than 89 points in their last 4 and lost 3 of those by blowouts. Evan Turner has regressed after that impressive game versus the Lakers where he got 22 and 13 (9 points, 5 rebounds in last 4).
21. Dallas Mavericks | 13-22 | Last Week: 21 | Same
The Mavs have lost 9 of 10 and have a 3-game losing streak. Dirk is not happy with his team and now doubts the future of the Mavs. The Mavericks wont make the playoffs and that will snap their 9 consecutive seasons of reaching the postseason.
22. Toronto Raptors | 12-22 | Last Week: 23 | +1
The Raptors have lost 2 straight at home and still have 3 more home games in that span, all versus East foes. They need to win all 3 to give themselves a realistic shot of making the playoffs. Ed Davis has been an okay starter with 13 and 7 in their past 5 games
23. Detroit Pistons | 13-23 | Last Week: 24 | +1
The Pistons have been playing well until they lost to the Bobcats in overtime. Will Bynum has cooled down in the last 2 games (5 ppg) while Greg Monroe has been good in getting 3 double-doubles in their last 5 games. Rodney Stuckey has been decent in his 2 games back from injury.
24. Sacramento Kings | 13- 22 | Last Week: 25 | +1
DeMarcus Cousins can be considered the best center in the league when he is focused and motivated. In his last 5 games since he got suspended, Cousins is averaging 22 and 14 and the Kings went 2-3. He had a beastly game of 31 and 20 versus the Raptors.
25. Phoenix Suns | 12-24 | Last Week: 26 | +1
The Suns are in rebuliding mode. The Beasley signing has failed and they miss Grant Hill and Steve Nash. It might be consolation for the Suns if the Lakers miss the playoffs sine the Suns will get their lottery pick. Gortat is having a down year in stats which was expected with Nash out.
26. Orlando Magic | 12-22 | Last Week: 22 | -4
The Magic has lost 9 straight and that has coincided with the injury to Glen Davis. He is expected to be away for 2 more weeks. The Magic will next face the Nuggets and Clippers so a double-digit losing streak is looming before they play the Wizards.
27. New Orleans Hornets | 9-25 | Last Week: 28 | +1
The return of Eric Gordon has resulted in a 3-1 record in the 4 games that he played including wins versus the Mavs and Spurs. Gordon is still shooting poorly at 35% but his leadership and his presence have opened up scoring options for others except Austin Rivers whose minutes have lessened.
28. Charlotte Bobcats | 9-24 | Last Week: 29 | +1
The Bobcats are playing better with 2 wins in the last week. Ben Gordon has been hot off the bench with 17 points on 51% shooting in their last 5 games. Ramon Sessions has been consistent all-season long and could be in the running for the Sixth Man award only if the Bobcats were winning more.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers | 7-25 | Last Week: 27 | -2
Anderson Varejao has missed their last 11 games and his return is indefinite. There's talk that he might be done for the season already. The Cavs are headed to the lottery again for the 3rd year in a row. Kyrie Irving is averaging 23 a game and could be in the top 10 at the end of the season.
30. Washington Wizards | 5-28 | Last Week: 30 | Same
Bradley Beal is making the case that he could be the #2 rookie in draft. The Wizards have had 2 impressive wins over the Thunder and the Heat but that doesnt remove the notion that they are still the worst team in the NBA and they are on pace for less than 11 wins.Biggest Fall: Bucks & Magic -4
Biggest Rise: Nets +4
Biggest Rise: Nets +4
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