Roundball Roundup: NBA Power Rankings for Nov. 2
The 2009-10 NBA season is less than a week old, and there already appears to be a team that's a cut above the rest.
The Boston Celtics have had to play four games in five days, winning them all in impressive fashion, the latest being a 97-87 victory in New Orleans Sunday night.
KG and Co. defeated LeBron James and the Cavs in Cleveland in the season opener and then destroyed Charlotte and Chicago.
With the Lakers' loss to Dallas last Friday, the '09 champs are now looking up at the '08 champs.
1. Boston Celtics (4-0, Last Week: 2)
Boston's new $55 million man, Rajon Rondo, is averaging 11.8 assists per game through the first four. Does this team have a single weakness?
2. Los Angeles Lakers (2-1, Last Week: 1)
It'll be tough for the Lakers to keep up with the Celtics as long as Pau Gasol is out of the lineup.
3. Orlando Magic (3-0, Last Week: 3)
A relatively-easy first month's schedule should help the new-look Magic work out all the potential issues that come with having several new key players.
They've shown no signs of struggle thus far, with easy wins over Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Toronto.
4. Denver Nuggets (3-0, Last Week: 6)
Carmelo Anthony's 41-point assault in a 97-94 victory in Portland signifies that he and the Nuggets aren't ready to relinquish their divisional crown to the young Blazers just yet.
5. San Antonio Spurs (2-1, Last Week: 3)
We'll see what the Spurs are made of when they travel Utah and Portland Thursday and Friday, two of the toughest places to play in the league.
6. Dallas Mavericks (2-1, Last Week: 7)
After a disappointing season-opening loss on their home floor to the Wizards Tuesday night, the spiffy-looking Mavs rebounded with a resounding win over the Lakers at Staples Friday night.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2, Last Week: 5)
Cleveland lost just two games all of last season at home.
They're already halfway there less than a week into 2009-10.
8. Atlanta Hawks (2-1, Last Week: 10)
After beating the much-improved Wizards Friday night, Atlanta was impressively able to hang with the Lakers until late in the fourth quarter Sunday.
9. Phoenix Suns (3-0, Last Week: 12)
What better way to start your season than with games against the Clippers, Warriors, and Timberwolves?
10. Portland Trail Blazers (2-2, Last Week: 8)
Greg Oden is averaging 10 rebounds and about three blocks per game so far.
If he can gain more confidence and focus on the offensive end, the Blazers will be a very scary team down the road.
11. Miami Heat (3-0, Last Week: 18)
D-Wade and company are probably the most surprising unbeaten team in the league.
They're about to be tested, however, with their next three games coming against Phoenix, Washington, and Denver.
12. Washington Wizards (2-1, Last Week: 14)
Andray Blatche is finally looking like the player Washington has thought it's had all along, and Gilbert Arenas has shown no signs of rust.
13. Utah Jazz (1-1, Last Week: 9)
Tough road ahead for the Jazz, as they play the Texas trio of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio in their next three games.
14. Houston Rockets (2-1, Last Week: 16)
Trevor Ariza is averaging 23 points per game through three games, and, although it's extremely early, appears to have been well worth the gamble of giving him a full midlevel exception over the summer.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (2-1, Last Week: 15)
Second-year forward Marreese Speights may be making the Sixers wonder if signing Elton Brand last summer was a necessary move.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1, Last Week: 20)
OKC is a long way from their horrendous start to last season.
If they're able to make a push into the playoffs, is Kevin Durant a dark horse MVP candidate?
17. New Orleans Hornets (1-2, Last Week: 11)
New pickup Emeka Okafor is averaging an Emeka Okafor-like 11 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks per game so far.
18. Toronto Raptors (1-2, Last Week: 17)
Though they've struggled through three games, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are looking like the NBA's best young frontcourt.
19. Chicago Bulls (1-2, Last Week: 13)
Chicago has one of the toughest opening-month schedules in the league, including a trip out west that takes them to Portland, Denver, and Los Angeles to play the Lakers.
20. Detroit Pistons (1-2, Last Week: 19)
Ben Wallace, after almost retiring over the summer, has looked rejuvenated through three games, averaging over 10 rebounds per.
21. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1, Last Week: 28)
If his first two NBA games are any indication, the Bucks have themselves a huge steal in point guard Brandon Jennings.
22. Charlotte Bobcats (1-2, Last Week: 23)
The Bobcats are averaging just 80 points per game as a team through the first three, including a paltry 59 in their season-opener against Boston.
23. Indiana Pacers (0-2, Last Week: 22)
Danny Granger is picking up right where he left off last season, going for 26 points per game through the first two against Atlanta and Miami.
24. Memphis Grizzlies (1-2, Last Week: 29)
Marc Gasol has been phenomenal so far for Memphis, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2, Last Week: 27)
Rookie Johnny Flynn isn't playing like one. He's averaging 15 points per game, and even had the gall to attempt the game-winning shot in the season opener.
26. Los Angeles Clippers (0-4, Last Week: 21)
Sure, they're 0-4, but they've had the toughest schedule in the league so far, having played the Lakers, Suns, Jazz, and Mavs.
The Clips might be able to rebound with their next three coming against Minnesota, Golden State, and Memphis.
27. Golden State Warriors (0-2, Last Week: 25)
The first half of the Warriors' November schedule: Grizzlies, Clippers, at Kings, Timberwolves, at Pacers, at Knicks, at Bucks.
The second half of the Warriors' November schedule: at Cavaliers, at Celtics, Trail Blazers, at Mavericks, at Spurs, Lakers, Pacers.
28. New Jersey Nets (0-3, Last Week: 24)
Since his monster 27-point, 15-rebound effort to open the season against Minnesota, Brook Lopez has come down to earth, going for 24 points and eight rebounds combined over the past two.
29. New York Knicks (0-3, Last Week: 26)
New York has played two consecutive overtime games, and is giving up 119 points per game.
30. Sacramento Kings (0-3, Last Week: 30)
Kevin Martin is averaging 25 points per game, but is shooting just 35 percent from the floor (22-62).
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