NBA Power Rankings: Lakers and Nets Bookend NBA Entering December
Bleacher Report's award winning NBA Power Rankings are back for another week of action.
Last week we had debate from the top to the bottom of the list, here is how the NBA shakes up at the end of November.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (1) - Had a real scare when the Nets came to town Sunday Night. Okay, so it wasn't close at all and neither have the five others since L.A.'s Nov. 15 loss.
2. Phoenix Suns (6) - The most offensive starting five in basketball didn't have a tough week but they dominated as expected. If they can beat the Cavs and Lakers this week they will be the undisputed kings of the NBA--my money says they're luck to win one of those.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (2) - Losing a defensive battle against Charlotte hurts but a strong bounce-back against Dallas where they out-scored the Mavs 24-16 in the fourth keeps them in the top three.
4. Orlando Magic (3) - Caught at home by the Heat in a controversial finish but quickly regained composure for wins in Atlanta and Milwaukee. Howard averaged 17.25 rebounds in four games this week, wow.
5. Boston Celtics (8) - The C's got back on track with three quality wins, this lineup is clearly good but will they have two All-Stars? I vote Rondo but 11 and 9 isn't exactly killing it.
6. Denver Nuggets (7) - There is no way to explain how this team lost to the T-Wolves after beating them by 13 in Minnesota earlier in the week. Had they not blown it the Western Conference would be 1, 2, 3 in the Power Rankings.
7. Dallas Mavericks (4) - This was Dallas' first two loss week of the season as Don Nelson continues to school the Mavs. On the horizon is Philly, Jersey, and Memphis--does it get much better?
8. Atlanta Hawks (5) - The recent cold spell may be exposing the Hawks true colors, on Saturday they travel into the big D, Josh Smith may be able to give Dirk all sorts of trouble on both ends of the court.
9. Portland Trail Blazers (10) - Greg Oden is emerging as the most dominant center without a Superman tattoo but his propensity for fouls makes him useless half the time.
10. San Antonio Spurs (17) - Don't look now but the Spurs are knee-deep in a nice five game streak. They get three days off before battling Boston on Thursday and Denver on Saturday, they don't need to win 'em all this season but they need to win those two.
11. Houston Rockets (11) - Each of their eight losses have came against teams who are at .500 or above right now. They have had the toughest schedule in the NBA so far this season but they need to get it done against tough teams, especially in-state where they are 0-3.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (13) - Kevin Durant is amazing but the Thunder's wins start with Russell Westbrook pressuring the opposing teams point on both ends of the floor.
13. Utah Jazz (12) - The Jazz are in a great position to get five games above .500 this week, loss against OKC was the only one in the last six games.
14. Milwaukee Bucks (9) - Crashing back down to reality, the Bucks dropped all four games last week, the common theme was that Brandon Jennings failed to score 20 points in any of those games. Scott Skiles needs to get his young star going early.
15. Miami Heat (15) - The one point win in Orlando was uplifting for the season but dropping the next two before a Western Conference trip doesn't help anything.
16. Charlotte Bobcats (23) - Charlotte just needed a little bit of offense to get the ball moving in the right direction. For the past few years Charlotte has been one of the absolute toughest places to play, and nobody expects it.
17. Sacramento Kings (19) - Many thought the Kings would be the Nets first victim but the most diverse roster in the NBA is melting together quite nicely, Sacramento should look into trading Kevin Martin for some draft picks.
18. New Orleans Hornets (18) - Every night they get a new player to step-up without Chris Paul in the lineup. Drafting guards Marcus Thronton and Darren Collison is looking like a genius move now.
19. Los Angeles Clippers (22) - The talent on this roster is good enough to beat the bad teams in the NBA as displayed by the three win week. Blake Griffin looks like he is a few weeks away but L.A. shouldn't rush him because they aren't going anywhere.
20. Washington Wizards (24) - Starting to get in rhythm now, everyone wants to talk about Gilbert Arenas but it's clear to me that Antawn Jamison is the MVP for this team.
21. Chicago Bulls (16) - Sure, Western Conference road trips are rough but dropping four straight by double-digits shows a total lack of heart.
22. Toronto Raptors (14) - Sure Chris Bosh might be one-foot out the door, but you can't blame him for the Raptor's poor play, this roster is just too soft as a whole.
23. Indiana Pacers (20) - It seemed like the Pacers would be the surprise team in the East well before the Bucks, sure Danny Granger can score but this team hasn't played D since Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest were on the roster.
24. Golden State Warriors (25) - Beating Dallas in Dallas with six guys was very impressive, maybe Don Nelson should hire a hit man to keep his roster thin.
25. Detroit Pistons (21) - Seven game skid snapped by an impressive win over Atlanta without Ben Gordon. It doesn't make them a good team though.
26. Memphis Grizzlies (26) - Two win week feels good especially when one comes in Portland, if Zach Randolph could play in front of boos every night the Grizz might be in the playoffs.
27. Philadelphia 76ers (27) - The loss of Lou Williams hurts as the Sixers battle a six game losing streak. The fact that Andre Iguodala leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists is impressive and depressing at the same time.
28. New York Knicks (28) - In a four game week that includes Phoenix, Orlando, and Atlanta, there is light at the end of the tunnel when the Nets come to town but the Knicks are the top candidate for the Nets first win and all of basketball hopes it happens.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (29) - Huge win in Denver breaks 15 game losing streak, putting even more distance between the T-Wolves and the Nets, this team could have five wins by 2010!
30. New Jersey Nets (30) - Firing Lawrence Frank won't make things any better, NJ is dead last in FG pecentage and 3PT percentage, the talent just isn't there.
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