NBA Power Rankings: Surging Teams That Will Continue to Roll

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives downcourt against the Toronto Raptors during the NBA basketball game on November 6, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo By Shane Bevel/Getty Images)
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The NBA is all about winning streaks and getting hot, and that's exactly what a handful of teams have been doing as of late.

With the Los Angeles Lakers continuing to sink and the New York Knicks consistently rising, this is one of the most intriguing starts to an NBA season in recent memory.

Let's see where your favorite team ranks up to this point in the season.


1. San Antonio Spurs (19-6)

The older, the better?

The Spurs rank second in the league in points per game and sit atop the Southwest Division, outscoring opponents by nearly eight PPG.



2. Oklahoma City Thunder (19-4)

No team has been hotter as of late than the Thunder.

OKC has won 10 in a row, including victories over the Nets, Pacers, Jazz and Rockets as they sit atop the Western Conference at 19-4.

The Thunder have shown no problem winning on the road, sporting a 6-2 record away from Chesapeake Energy Arena, and are scoring the most points in the NBA as a whole, boasting 105.7 PPG.

With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scoring at least 20 PPG, the Thunder are again a favorite to make it to the NBA Finals.



3. New York Knicks (18-5)

The Knicks are one of the best surprises of the season, as New York owns the best record in the East, at 18-5.

Carmelo Anthony is hands down the MVP thus far and the Knicks are outscoring their opponents by more than seven points per game.

New York is 9-1 over its past 10 games, including a signature win over its city counterpart, the Brooklyn Nets.

Sporting a perfect record at Madison Square Garden and only two losses in the East, the Knicks just might be the best of the East.



4. Los Angeles Clippers (17-6)

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are great and everything, but Jamal Crawford has been the biggest star in Los Angeles this season.

The Clippers are the third-best squad in the West and have won nine games in a row to lead the Pacific Division.



5. Memphis Grizzlies (15-6)

The Griz are 6-4 in their last 10 games and have seen a resurgent Zach Randolph average a double-double (17.6 PPG and 12.6 RPG).

Memphis is outscoring its opponents by more than six PPG and is only three games out of first in the West.


6. Miami Heat (15-6)

LeBron James is again playing MVP-caliber basketball and has his Miami Heat holding a slim one-game lead in the Southeast Division.

As the second-best team in the East, Miami is likely to make another deep run in the postseason.


7. Golden State Warriors (16-8)

Led by Stephen Curry and David Lee, the Warriors have been a pleasant surprise this season, winning eight of their past 10 games and trailing the Clippers by just 1.5 games in the division.


8. Atlanta Hawks (14-7)

Atlanta is 7-3 in its last 10 games and has five players averaging double-digit scoring.

The Hawks trail the Heat by just one game in the division and are just three games out of the conference.


9. Chicago Bulls (13-9)

Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls are treading water in the East, having gone 7-3 in their past 10 games and leading the Central Division by one game over the Bucks and Pacers.


10. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-9)

The Timberwolves hung tough without Kevin Love but have certainly welcomed his return.

Minnesota is 7-3 in its past 10 games and is currently the sixth-best squad in the West.

Love is back to his old ways, averaging a double-double (19.4 PPG and 13.7 RPG) and has received help from Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko, who are each averaging at least 13 PPG and seven rebounds.

Having won four in a row, the Timberwolves now have 12 wins and are almost halfway to their season total from last season.



11. Brooklyn Nets (13-10)

The Nets are no longer the joke of the East, as they rank fifth in points allowed and already have a signature win over the Knicks.

Sitting at No. 5 in the conference, Brooklyn looks bound for a playoff appearance.


12. Indiana Pacers (13-11)

Indiana has picked up just where it left off from last season, ranking first in the NBA in points allowed to opponents.

The Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including winning their last three, and find themselves in the middle of a tight Central Division race.

David West and Roy Hibbert lead an Indiana squad that ranks No. 1 in rebounding, as they're both averaging better than eight boards per game.

The Pacers could stand to score a few more points per game, but for now they're on a roll and haven't shown any signs of slowing down.



13. Milwaukee Bucks (12-10)

The Bucks have been surging of late, winning four of its last five, including four in a row over the Bobcats, Nets, Kings and Cavs.

Milwaukee is just one game out of the division and has a lethal backcourt combination of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.


14. Utah Jazz (13-12)

The only reason the Jazz are seven games out of the Northwest Division is because the Thunder have been playing out of their minds.

Utah is 9-2 at home and has played .500 ball over its past 10 games.



15. Denver Nuggets (12-12)

Led by Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson, the Nuggets are scoring more than 100 PPG and currently find themselves in the top eight in the West.


16. Boston Celtics (12-11)

Boston still holds a record above .500 despite allowing more points than it scores and not being able to win games away from TD Garden.


17. Philadelphia 76ers (12-11)

The Sixers could use Andrew Bynum right about now, as Philly ranks No. 20 in rebounds per game and sports a -2.3 point differential.


18. Houston Rockets (11-12)

The Rockets are just 5-5 over their past 10 games, but the acquisition of James Harden has proven to be the right move in Houston.

Despite finding themselves seven games out of the Southwest Division, the Rockets rank in the top eight in points per game, assists per game and rebounds per game.

If Jeremy Lin can find his stroke and bring some sort of excitement to Houston like he did to New York last season, the Rockets could be one of the best stories from this season after it's all said and done.



19. Dallas Mavericks (11-13)

The Mavericks desperately need a healthy Dirk Nowitzki on the court.

If it weren't for O.J. Mayo, the Mavs wouldn't be the tenth-best scoring team in the NBA, especially having lost three in a row.


20. Orlando Magic (10-13)

The Magic have been surprisingly decent without Dwight Howard, but they still own a -2.2 point differential and trail the Heat by six games in the division.



21. Portland Trail Blazers (10-12)

Damian Lillard has undoubtedly been the best rookie so far this season, but that's about all Portland has going for itself.

The Trail Blazers are last in the Northwest Division and have dropped six of their last 10.



22. Los Angeles Lakers (10-14)

There are way too many jokes to be made about the Lakers right now.

In all honesty, when Steve Nash finally heals I think they're going to get hot, but for now, they're seven-and-a-half out in the division.



23. Phoenix Suns (9-15)

They're on a two-game win steak, but the Suns have lost seven out of their last 10 and are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

And Mike D'Antoni isn't even coaching in Phoenix anymore.


24. Sacramento Kings (7-15)

The Kings are allowing an even 100 PPG, have dropped three in a row and are dead last in the Pacific Division.


25. Charlotte Bobcats (7-16)

Well, they're already near their win total from last season, but the Bobcats are still nine games out of first place and are allowing nearly 104 PPG.

Oh yeah, and they've lost 11 in a row.


26. Detroit Pistons (7-19)

Detroit has lost four in a row and eight of its last 10, and are just 2-12 on the road.

Need I say more?


27. Toronto Raptors (6-19)

The Raptors are on a two-game win streak, but are 3-7 in their past 10 games and have won just one game away from the Air Canada Centre.


28. New Orleans Hornets (5-17)

Anthony Davis' injury has really plagued the Hornets (soon to be the Pelicans), as New Orleans has lost six in a row and is 0-3 in the division.


29. Cleveland Cavaliers (5-20)

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters have been one of the most exciting backcourts in the NBA, but the Cavs have lost eight of their last 10 and are winless in the division.


30. Washington Wizards (3-18)

Even if John Wall was playing, the Wizards would still be the NBA's worst team.

I'm just going to throw a number out there: .143. That's Washington's win percentage this season.


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