NBA Power Rankings Week 3: Have The Hornets Replaced the L.A. Lakers Up Top?
Greetings Hoops fans, and welcome to the third week of the Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings!
We've already had an amazing and surprising season so far with Milsap going off for 46 points, the Jazz becoming the NBA's new comeback kings, and the Heat coming under fire for early losses. Chris Paul is now back in the conversation for best point guard in the league, and his Hornets are buzzing along with a perfect record.
One things is for sure, there have been many teams that made pushes for the top this week. Many teams have made their case for being number one, but as we all know their can be only one team at the top. Check to see where your favorite team falls this week in the rankings, and remember the season is still very young!
The Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings are done by averaging individual feature columnists' tallies. This week's contributors were: Allen Kim (NBA), Tyler Conway (NBA), Ahaviah Bessemer (NBA), James Schmidt (Rockets), Bob Evans (Cavaliers), Brian Chappatta (Bulls), John Friel (Heat), Preston DeGarmo (Blazers), Sachin Arora (Raptors) and Bryan Toporek (NBA Team Leader
30. Los Angeles Clippers
Previous Rank: 28
After a good looking debut for Blake Griffen, things have returned to normal in Clipper land.
Gone are the illusions that this will be the team to turn everything around for the red-headed step child of Los Angeles. Back are the realizations that it will take more than one very promising rookie to make this franchise relevant.
The fact is that this team just has not seemed to click yet. Injuries have prevented Chris Kaman and Barron Davis from making an impact, and the roster is too thin for Griffen to claim victories with by himself. On a bright note the Clips have been impressed with the play of Eric Bledsoe, who could be taking the starting job away from Davis in the near future if Barron continues to prove ineffective.
One thing we can all thank the basketball gods for is Blake Griffen. At least we can count on him to slam home some huge dunks. It sure makes Clipper games easier to watch, even if they don't win.
L(101-82) @ New Orleans Hornets
L(107-95)@ San Antonio Spurs
L(113-107 OT) vs. Detroit Pistons
vs. New Jersey Nets
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Minnestoa Timberwolves
Thurs, Nov. 18th @ Indiana Pacers
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. New York Knicks
29. Philadelphia 76ers
Previous Rank: 23
While Brand is a considerable surprise so far this season, Evan Turners debut has been inconsistent and largely ineffective. It's believed that this is Igoudala's team still, but how long will that last if they continue to lose games?
Many Sixer fans are interested in the franchise dealing Andre Igoudala if things don't improve, but I'm not quite sure yet who would be a better fit. The move would give more minutes to Turner however, and that would probably speed up his transition to the NBA level.
The Sixers don't exactly play the NBA's most elite teams this week, so let's just see if they can salvage the early stretch of the season.
L(109-103) @ OKC Thunder
L(99-80) @ Dallas Mavericks
L(116-93) @ San Antonio Spurs
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Cleveland
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Toronto Raptors
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Milwaukee Bucks
28. Toronto Raptors
Previous Rank: 29
Now two weeks into the post-Bosh era, and the Toronto Raptors are still searching for an identity.
Andrea Bargnani has stepped up and become the teams leading scorer, but where will the rest come from? Reggie Evans is hardly an NBA center, DeRozan has been little more than a high wire act, and the two point guards jostling for minutes are both middle of the road at best.
Looking at their recent games, one positive thing to garner is that the games have been close. There is little more embarrassing to a franchise than being blown out every other night, and it's nice to see that the Rap's are at least putting up a fight.
The win against Orlando is impressive, but less so than it would have been last year. Orlando is still getting themselves going at this juncture, and a win over them shouldn't be met with too much praise.
L(101-96) vs. Charlotte Bobcats
W(110-106) @ Orlando Magic
L(109-100)@ Miami Heat
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Washington Wizards
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Philidelphia 76ers
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Houston
Sun, Nov. 21st vs. Boston
27. Washington Wizards
Previous Rank: 26
Let's just call a spade a spade here and say, the only good thing about the Wizards is John Wall.
Wall is having an amazing rookie season thus far, already accomplishing his first career triple-double, and ranking among the NBA's elite in steals. Other than Wall, there is not too much else worth reporting.
This is a point guard heavy team that is still stuck with Gilbert Arenas, and will not make significant strides in the right direction until both of these situations are dealt with.
W(98-91) vs. Houston Rockets
L(93-85) vs. Charlotte Bobcats
L(103-96) @ Chicago Bulls
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Toronto Raptors
Wed, Nov 17th @ Boston Celtics
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Sun, Nov. 21st @ Detroit Pistons
26. Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous Rank: 30
Boy did Kevin sure show us where the Love was last week!
His 31 and 31 game was one for the record books, as the last time it had been accomplished was in 1982! Love's emergence as more than just a solid rebounder has helped the Wolves take home more wins as of late, and it has me wondering if Kevin will start to get the minutes that he deserves.
With all the excitement of Love's accomplishments, we must still remember that this is a very young team, and they still have a long road to travel. Michael Beasly has also been a force lately on the offensive game. If he were to develop a tenacious defensive side, the Wolves would be an imposing force guarding the paint.
The Wolves games this week should be within reach of victory, and they will get another crack at upsetting the defending champions when the Lakers come to town.
L(99-94) @ Los Angeles Lakers
W(98-89) @ Sacramento Kings
W(112-103) vs. New York Knicks
L(111-105) @ Atlanta Hawks
Mon, Nov. 15th @ Charlotte Bobcats
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Los Angeles Lakers
25. New York Knicks
Previous Rank: 16
New York has certainly proven they can run with anyone in the league. Unfortunately the fast paced D'Antoni system has continued to hurt his teams on the defensive end. This Knicks roster is chalked full of shooters and finishers, but I can't find a decent defender among the lot of them.
The Knicks are also in dire need of another scoring option. Amar'e can only do so much people, the man needs some help. A Carmelo or CP3 would sure ease some of those concerns, but nothing seems to be developing in either scenario.
The one thing we know is that the Knicks will not take a step forward until they commit to a defensive scheme, and someone helps Stoudamire put up some points.
L(107-80) @ Milwaukee Bucks
L(122-117) vs. Golden State Warriors
L(112-103)@ Minnesota Timberwolves
L(104-96) vs. Houston Rockets
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Denver Nuggets
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Sacramento Kings
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Golden State Warriors
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Los Angeles Clippers
24. Detroit Pistons
Previous Rank: 25
The new week finds the Pistons moving up a slot after defeating the Clippers and Kings. While neither team is a playoff contender, a win is still a win.
Things in Detroit have looked bleak in recent years, and it doesn't seem to be changing this season either. Ben Gordon has helped solve some of the scoring issues, but this Detroit team is ripe with solid defenders that couldn't find a bucket in a hardware store.
Detroit will remain a very mediocre team until they do a major overhaul. The days of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are most certainly ending, and the Pistons need to find some suitable replacements to make them relevant again.
L(100-78) @ Portland Trailblazers
W(113-107 OT) @ Los Angeles Clippers
W(100-94) @ Sacramento Kings
Mon, Nov. 15th @ Golden State Warriors
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Nov. 21st vs. Washington Wizards
23. Charlotte Bobcats
Previous Rank: 27
Charlotte posted two victories this last week, which should at least keep Cat fans off suicide watch.
That being said the Bobcats show no real signs of improvement, and still seem to be starving for a real franchise player to follow to victory. Gerald Wallace's stats have fallen from last years spike, and there's really only so much you can expect from Captain Jack on a nightly basis. There is still no one to take charge of the game when it's on the line, and it will continue to separate the Bobcats from teams who can look to their closer to bring them home.
Charlotte's schedule this coming week is full of rest, so hopefully they will bring all they've got for the Miami game on friday night.
W(101-96) @ Toronto Raptors
W(93-85) @ Washington Wizards
L(96-95) vs. Utah Jazz
Mon, Nov. 15th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Miami Heat
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Phoenix Suns
22. Sacramento Kings
Previous Rank: 19
This last week was not kind to the Kings record, as they failed to get a win out of three contests.
Sacramento has a lot to be happy about in terms of the talent that has been gathered on the King's roster, but now the talent must mature and learn to work together. The Kings are going to have to commit to their system in an effort to use their possessions more responsibly, and put points on the board on a consistent basis.
While a 3-6 record could not be what Kings fans were hoping for after this early stretch, there is still plenty of time to turn things around and possibly steal a playoff spot.
L(98-89) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
L(103-89) @ Phoenix Suns
L(100-94) vs. Detroit Pistons
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. New York Knicks
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. New Jersey Nets
Sun, Nov. 21st vs. New Orleans Hornets
21. New Jersey Nets
Previous Rank: 22
New week for the nets, but the shooting slump for Brook Lopez continues.
The New Jersey Nets may have to change their name to the Same-old Nets if things don't start to change soon. Wasn't Prokhorov supposed to be completely revamping this team into a championship contender?
What happened to that?
He failed to woo Lebron to the team this last off-season, and the biggest name he added to the roster was Jordan Farmar?
Call it a severe lack of offensive weapons, call it a slump for their star Lopez, and you may also have to call it a season for the Nets.
L(93-91) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
W(95-87) @ Cleveland Cavaliers
L(91-90) vs. Orlando Magic
Mon, Nov. 15th @ Los Angeles Clippers
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Utah Jazz
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Sacramento
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Denver
20. Houston Rockets
Previous Rank: 24
Yao Ming is down again, and it's becoming clear that he will never be fully healthy again.
Even in his limited minutes, the Rockets depended on him to fill up the stat sheet as best he could, and be a presence in the defensive paint. Now he's dealing with nagging injuries again, just nine games into the season. Luis Scola is having a great statistical season thus far, and will be depended on even more now that Yao is becoming more questionable by the day.
That being said this Rocket team is a very scrappy one, and they will not go down without a fight. They faced a similar Yao-less situation last year also, and they still put together a very respectable season. They could very well surprise us again this time around, but they'll most likely be doing it without Yao.
L(98-91) @ Washington Wizards
W(102-99) @ Indiana Pacers
W(104-96)@ New York Knicks
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Chicago
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Toronto Raptors
19. Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous Rank: 18
Cleveland is carrying with them the attitude like they didn't even notice that Lebron James was no longer on their roster, and to be honest, good for them.
This is not a team that will seriously threaten anyone come the post season, but Cleveland should be proud at what they have done so far this season. JJ Hickson is taking the Cav's leading role by force, and his supporting cast looks eager to prove they can get along without a certain 6'8 small forward.
The Cavaliers may be lacking a franchise level leading man, but never discount the value of a team with something to prove. Their schedule this week looks a bit tough on paper, but the Cav's certainly have a shot at squeaking out a few W's.
W(93-91) @ New Jersey Nets
L(95-87) vs. New Jersey Nets
L(99-85 ) vs. Indiana Pacers
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Fri, Nov. 19th @ New Orleans Hornets
Sat, Nov. 20th @ San Antonio Spurs
18. Memphis Grizzlies
Previous Rank: 17
After a great showing in Dallas just days ago, the Grizzlies fell in a close contest to the Boston Celtics.
Their record may not be shiny and clean as some may hope, but they have to be doing something right if they're taking the Celtics (an obviously superior team) to overtime. Rudy Gay is off to a blistering start this season, but this has been negated by the inconsistent at best performances of O.J. Mayo.
My fantasy basketball gripes aside, the Grizzlies need much more from Mayo than he has delivered thus far. Mike Conley also has more than his share to prove after robbing Memphis with his 45 million dollar contract.
With Orlando and Portland looming in this coming week, the Grizzlies are going to need to come together a bit if they want to make some noise. At least Z-bo is back, right?
L(106-91) vs. Dallas Mavericks
L(116-110 OT ) vs. Boston Celtics
Mon, Nov. 15th @ Orlando Magic
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Washington Wizards
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Miami Heat
17. Indiana Pacers
Previous Rank: 20
Indiana had a favorable week by most teams standards, although I'm sure they would have loved to snag that close game in Houston.
The Pacers are in that strange niche reserved for teams that you can't call good, but would look foolish calling bad. Roy Hibbert is making as strong of a third season push as I have ever seen, and Granger is looking like his same old scoring self. The problem is that Darren Collison has yet to get comfortable in his new surroundings.
While I doubt this squad will make any real push for the post-season, they are still a team that can beat anyone on a given night.
Strange isn't it?
W(144-113) vs. Denver Nuggets
L(102-99) vs. Houston Rockets
W(99-85) @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Atlanta
Thurs, Nov. 18th vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Orlando
16. Milwaukee Bucks
Previous Rank: 21
The Bucks are the first team we encounter this week that have made a considerable jump in the standings, and therefore the rankings as well.
This is thanks mostly to their prohibitive defense, which is ranked second in the league. Andrew Bogut had a seven block outing just the other night, and Jennings has been picking peoples pockets right, left, front, and center.
While John Salmons has seen better days productivity wise, everyone knows he waits until the second half of the season to come alive. If Brandon Jennings can continue to cut down on the turnovers, and Bogut stays healthy, Salmons could be just the piece to make this team threatening come playoffs.
Fear the Deer?
Not just yet, but probably by the end of the season.
W(107-80) vs. New York Knicks
W(108-91) @ Atlanta Hawks
W(79-72) vs. Golden State Warriors
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Philadelphia 76ers
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. OKC Thunder
15. Phoenix Suns
Previous Rank: 14
Coming off a big revenge win against the Los Angeles Lakers the Suns must be feeling good about themselves, and why not?
After taking California teams to the cleaners this past week, the Suns look to continue their surge against quite a few playoff bound squads. I predict the road trip will have more losses than wins however, as they will not shoot like they did in LA every night.
The Suns still have many glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed, and will not be consistent until they are.
1. They still rely far too much on outside shooting. They lived by the three in LA, but they die by it frequently as well.
2. Turkoglu has not been fitting in as some hoped he would.
3. The lack of Amare shows in the inconsistent play of Robin Lopez.
W(103-89) vs. Sacramento Kings
W(121-116) @ Los Angeles Lakers
Mon, Nov. 15th vs. Denver Nuggets
Wed, Nov. 17th @ Miami Heat
Thur, Nov. 18th @ Orlando Magic
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Charlotte Bobcats
14. Golden State Warriors
Previous Rank: 13
Golden State seemed to be cruising along until two separate defeats made many of us question them once again. First, the blowout loss to Chicago was nothing short of embarrassing. Second, the fact that a Golden State team could only muster 72 points in a loss to Milwaukee is flat out alarming.
Stephen Curry has returned to the lineup after an injury scare just a week ago, but now David Lee is down, and so must the mood be in San Fransisco. Lee had just started to get used to what was expected out of him on his new team, and now it's looking like he won't see the floor for a matter of weeks.
Still this squad has many things going for it, and if they can manage to take down the defending champions later in the week they should feel better about their current predicament.
W(122-117) @ New York Knicks
L(120-90) @ Chicago Bulls
L(79-72) @ Milwaukee Bucks
Mon, Nov. 15th vs. Detroit Pistons
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. New York Knicks
Sun, Nov. 21st @ Los Angeles Lakers
13. Portland Trail Blazers
Previous Rank: 8
The Blazers suffered two losses this past week, but at least they were to solid playoff bound teams.
The largest concern for Portland right now is Brandon Roy. While his shooting has not suffered much, he has lost quite a bit of bounce in his game lately. He is not getting to the rim like he's capable of, and is lacking his normal lift on his jump shot.
On the bright side, Nicholas Batum continues to improve and find the range from down town. If that youngster can continue to develop into an overall presence for Portland, they will have yet another match up nightmare to present to the competition.
W(100-78) vs Detroit Pistons
L(110-108) @ Oklahoma City Thunder
L(107-87) @ New Orleans Hornets
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Memphis Grizzlies
Thurs, Nov. 18th vs. Denver Nuggets
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Utah Jazz
12. OKC Thunder
Previous Rank: 10
The Oklahoma Thunder are struggling so far under the high expectations set by the basketball world. Durant can't seem to locate his jumper, Jeff Green is injured, and the team as a whole is failing to get enough stops.
On the bright side Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook continue to thrive, and are the main reasons so far that the Thunder are winning games. I'm not worried about Durant, and you shouldn't be either. He will find his stroke in good time, he just better hope the rest of the team stays in rhythm until he does.
With a brutal schedule coming up this next week, we'll know a whole lot more about what the Thunder can really do.
W (109-103) vs. Philadelphia 76ers
W(110-108) vs. Portland Trailblazers
L(117-104) vs. San Antonio Spurs
Wed, Nov. 16th @ Utah Jazz
Fri, Nov. 18th vs. Houston Rockets
Sat, Nov. 19th @ Boston Celtics
11. Denver Nuggets
Previous Rank: 9
The Nuggets are currently leaving me how Melo appears in this picture, scratching his head.
How they can look so powerful one night, and defenseless the next worries me. I'm not talking about the Pacers blowout, because sometimes teams just can't miss. You can't blame the Nuggets for that one. The largest thing holding them back is not knowing what's going to happen with Carmelo Anthony.
Will he stay? Or go?
It sure puts Denver in one heck of a pickle either way. Playing well takes great team chemistry, and not knowing where your star player will be on Tuesday sure puts a damper on trust. I'm impressed they were able to hold off the Lakers just a few nights ago, as it shows that not all hope is lost for them.
L(144-113) @ Indiana Pacers
W(118-112) vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Mon, Nov. 15th @ Phoenix Suns
Tues, Nov. 16th vs. New York Knicks
Thurs, Nov. 18th @ Portland Trail Blazers
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. New Jersey Nets
10. Chicago Bulls
Previous Rank: 15
While Chicago has suffered a few early season defeats, this team is really starting to impress me. Rose is firing on all cylinders, Noah is leading the league in rebounding, Taj Gibson is one of the hardest workers on the court in the entire NBA, and Carlos Boozer hasn't played a single game yet!
Once Boozer is able to return there will be a period of adjustment for both Boozer and Chicago as a team, but once it comes together it has a chance to be stunning. Chicago had two solid wins last week, and now rolls south for the Texas Triangle.
As I said with the Thunder, we're about to find out how good this team really is!
W(120-90) vs. Golden State Warriors
W(103-96) vs. Washington Wizards
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Houston Rockets
Wed, Nov. 17th @ San Antonio Spurs
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Dallas Mavericks
9. Atlanta Hawks
Previous Rank: 6
The Hawks seemed to be on a blistering pace until they hit speed bumps against the Bucks and Jazz, now they appear a bit more "human".
Al Horford has been doing more than his share so far this season, and it's helped limit opponents scoring in the paint. Joe Johnson continues to be his "here today, gone tomorrow" self, but when he shows up, man does he show up.
Josh Smith appears to be the question mark in Atlanta, as some rumblings have been heard of Atlanta possibly thinking about shopping their star forward. I'm a member of the camp that believes that should not be done until after this current season. If the Hawks fail again to go deep in the playoffs, then explore other options.
The good news for the Hawks is they will have plenty of rest this week, and it could very well help them return to their earlier elite status.
L(108-91) vs. Milwaukee Bucks
L(90-86) vs. Utah Jazz
W(111-105) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Tues, Nov. 16th @ Indiana Pacers
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Dallas Mavericks
8. Dallas Mavericks
Previous Rank: 10
The offense hasn't been the story for the Dallas Mavericks?!
I'm shocked, really I am.
The Mav's have many things to be happy about this week;
1. They went 2-0 last week.
2. Dirk Missed zero time after spraining his ankle.
3. The DEFENSE is what's winning them games.
4. They wait with baited breathe for the return of Beaubois.
W(106-91) @ Memphis Grizzlies
W(99-90) vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Mon, Nov. 15th vs. New Orleans Hornets
Wed, Nov. 17th @ New Orleans Hornets
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Chicago Bulls
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Atlanta Hawks
7. Miami Heat
Previous Rank: 4
I'm sure if your a hoops fan, you already know this was not a great week for the Miami Heat.
They let the Jazz come back from a near insurmountable deficit, and followed that up by losing to Boston on their home floor.
Now the question we need to address is, why?
This can't be explained by only one factor, but I believe the fault resides mostly with Chris Bosh. Bosh has been the odd man out since this adventure with the Heat started, and he's still yet to prove as effective as he was touted to be. Ready for the real bad news?
He's not going to get much better.
While some of his numbers may rebound (haha) a bit, he will never be the man they saw in Toronto. That man touched the ball on every possession, that man made shots because no one else had a prayer in doing so, and that man was the star of that team.
In Miami Chris does not touch the ball on every possession, or even most of them. He also has two of the most gifted scorers in the NBA on his team. He also, is not the focal point on offense or defense.
Add all of this up and it means a watered down Chris Bosh. One who has failed to rebound the ball well, and on the whole has not shot well either.
If the Miami Heat want to be as dominant as they claim they are, they need to work on getting Bosh much, much more involved than he currently is.
L(116-114) vs. Utah Jazz
L(112-107) vs. Boston Celtics
W(109-100) vs. Toronto Raptors
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Phoenix Suns
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Charlotte Bobcats
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Memphis Grizzlies
6. Orlando Magic
Previous Rank: 5
They lost to the Raptors?
Okay, I'll let that one go. The Magic are an extremely talented team, but it's been a little rocky for them starting out this season. I was shocked (as I assume you were) that they were man-handled by the Heat. I admit that I was wrong about that match up.... for now.
A good sign for the Magic however, is that Vince Carter has been showing up. Orlando desperately needs someone to fill the scoring hole, and will win most games when Vince Carter goes off. Dwight Howard also looks as if he took some post lessons this off-season, which will be invaluable come crucial games later in the season.
The Magic have a light schedule this week in both number of games, and level of competition, so they should pad their win total a bit.
L(110-106) vs. Toronto Raptors
W(91-90) @ New Jersey Nets
W(89-72) vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Thurs, Nov. 18th vs. Phoenix Suns
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Indiana Pacers
5. Utah Jazz
MAMA there goes that man! Bravo Paul Millsap!
Is it about time to crown the Utah Jazz as the new NBA comeback kids?
I think not.
While it's cause for concern that all of these recent victories were once double digit deficits, it says something that you can keep coming back from them. Heart is an invaluable thing in this league, and this Jazz team has no quit in their game.
Since the arrival of Al Jefferson, everything seems to be clicking in Utah. Millsap erupts for 46, Kirilenko is shooting a great percentage, Deron Williams is being, well Deron Williams, and Al Jefferson is finding his place on the glass.
If the Jazz can stay healthy and keep that hungry mind state, they will present real problems for whoever meets them in the post season.
W(116-114) @ Miami Heat
W(104-94 )@ Orlando Magic
W(90-86) @ Atlanta Hawks
W(96-95) @ Charlotte Bobcats
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. New Jersey Nets
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. San Antonio Spurs
Sat, Nov. 20th @ Portland Trail Blazers
4. San Antonio Spurs
Previous Rank: 7
Okay I'll be the one who says it... What is going on with the Spurs this season?
I never figured they would be doing this well, and believe me I respect that team. The truth is that the Spurs finally got what they wanted last year, Richard Jefferson is producing. With RJ taking on part of the scoring load, it takes pressure off of the rest of the team.
It also says something when the Spurs only loss was to New Orleans, the only remaining un-beaten team. The Spurs will surely be tested against the Bulls and Jazz this coming week, and we'll se how real this Spurs squad actually is.
W(107-95) vs. Los Angeles Clippers
W(116-93) vs. Philadelphia 76ers
W(117-104) @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Chicago Bulls
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Utah Jazz
Sat, Nov. 20th vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Boston Celtics
Previous Rank: 2
I know we just turned back the clocks, but did we go all the way back to 2008?
This Boston Celtic squad is looking anything but old right now, as each member is finding great ways to contribute to the teams victories. Rajon Rondo is in top form breaking assist records, Ray Allen is lighting people up from long range, Kevin Garnett is rebounding well and trash talking, and Pierce is connecting well on his late game jumpers.
While the C's have had difficulty keeping their new big men on the court, it hasn't seemed to effect them yet. Their still finding a way to limit their opponents makes, and score in the paint themselves. After beating the Miami Heat twice now in the early going, there is no debate as to who the East currently runs through.
W(112-107) @ Miami Heat
W(116-110 OT) @ Memphis Grizzlies
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. Washington Wizards
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. OKC Thunder
Sun, Nov. 21st @ Toronto Raptors
2. New Orleans Hornets
Previous Rank: 4
Chris Paul is back ladies and gentlemen, and it has all of New Orleans buzzing at the moment.
Magnificently returning from injury, CP3 has this Hornets team looking like a contender early on by doing a little bit of everything for them. The Hornets may have suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Mavericks, but it's amazing that if Trevor Ariza could hit the ocean that night they would still remain un-beaten.
This squad doesn't feature a "big three", or even a big two for that matter, but it seems to suit them just fine. What they have in Chris Paul is something more valuable, they have something to prove to these other teams. I can't really speculate how long this hot streak of theirs will last to start this season, but I can say that with Chris Paul playing like his MVP consideration seasons they have a great shot at making some noise in the western conference this year!
W(101-82) vs. Los Angeles Clippers
W(107-87) vs. Portland Trailblazers
L(98-95) @ Dallas Mavericks
Wed, Nov. 17th vs. vs. Dallas Mavericks
Fri, Nov. 19th vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Sun, Nov. 21st @ Sacramento Kings
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Previous Rank: 1
The Lakers are still at No.1?
How can this be?
After losing twice for the first two of the season, Los Angeles remains atop the Power rankings mostly due to the fact that the Hornets also suffered their first defeat. The Lake Show may have been unable to close Denver out a few nights ago, but when does LA lose to them when it matters?
Los Angeles also got sun burnt when Nash's team abused them for twenty some odd three's from down town. Does that mean you panic about LA?
It means the Suns couldn't miss. Those who live by the three one night, die by it another. Ask Ray Allen about that from last years finals.
Add all of this to the cushy road trip the Lakers embark on against non-playoff bound teams, and you still get them as the number one team next week also. They may have slid a bit from their previously perfect mark, but make no mistake that this is still the best team in basketball.
W(99-94) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
L(118-112) @ Denver Nuggets
L(121-116) vs. Phoenix Suns
Tue, Nov. 16th @ Milwaukee Bucks
Wed, Nov. 17th @Detroit Pistons
Fri, Nov. 19th @ Minnesota TimberWolves
Sun, Nov. 21st vs. Golden State Warriors
For anyone who may have missed Paul Millsap's amazing performance against the Heat, or anyone who wants to re-live the magic of it, here it is!
Thank you all for the read, and get ready for another exciting week of hoops action!!