NBA Power Rankings Week 4: Who's No. 1, Lakers, Spurs, or Hornets?

James SchmidtCorrespondent INovember 23, 2010

NBA Power Rankings Week 4: Who's No. 1, Lakers, Spurs, or Hornets?

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Hey, hoops fans. Welcome to Week 4 of the Bleacher Report Featured Columnist NBA power rankings.

    We've seen the Heat struggle and the Hornets and Spurs keep on rollin'. Is Erik Spoelstra on the hot seat? It's been a very surprising and exciting season so far, and it can only get better. 

    I know that you guys have been anticipating the week that I, James Schmidt, Rockets Featured Columnist, would do these rankings. Well, your grueling wait is over—let's get started.

    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), Mario Gonzalez (NBA), Lance Pauker (NBA), Andrew Bailey (NBA/Mavericks), Brian Chappatta (Bulls), John Friel (Heat), Patrick Harrel (Rockets) and Bryan Toporek (NBA Team Leader).

30. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Record: 1-13

    Previous Ranking: 30

    "Oh me oh my." Unfortunately for the Clippers, those amazing dunks don't translate into wins. The Clippers' record is a dismal 1-13, and they have lost nine in a row.

    With Baron Davis and Chris Kaman being slowed down by injuries, it's been a real rough run for these Clippers, and even when they get those players back it'll still be a tough grind for them. 

    Eric Gordon is off to a hot start, which is a good sign, and they have a lot of young talent that they should be excited about in Eric Bledsoe, Blake Griffin and Randy Foye.

    Griffin has actually made me watch a few Clippers games to see dunks like the ones in the video.

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 1-11


    Thu, Nov 18 1-12


    Sat, Nov 20 1-13


     

    Next three games

    Mon, Nov 22 10:30 PM    
    Thu, Nov 25 10:30 PM TNT
    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM  

29. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Record: 3-10

    Previous Ranking: 29

    Andre Iguodala is dealing with an Achilles tendon injury, and that has definitely been tough for the team, but even when he was playing he wasn't producing like the Iggy we all know and love. Twelve points, five boards and five dimes, and he's only shooting 23 percent from range.

    Iggy is likely on his way out pretty soon. It's best for the Sixers to get some young players and draft picks.

    Iggy being out would also give Evan Turner some more minutes to help him develop.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 2-9


    Wed, Nov 17 2-10


    Fri, Nov 19 3-10

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM

28. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Record: 4-11

    Previous ranking: 26

    Minnesota has Kevin Love; that's something, I guess. I think we all know about his amazing 30-30 performance.

    Michael Beasley has been a beast on the offensive side of the ball lately, but that hasn't translated into the "W."

    Love has been in a couple of trade rumors, as apparently the Houston Rockets contacted the Wolves about him, but the Wolves didn't entertain any offers the Rockets threw at them. I'd look for the Wolves to be trading somebody soon; it's bound to be a very one-sided deal with David Kahn at the helm.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 4-9


    Fri, Nov 19 4-10


    Mon, Nov 22 4-11


    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Sat, Nov 27 8:00 PM  
    DECEMBER OPPONENT


    Wed, Dec 1 8:30 PM

27. Washington Wizards

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 4-8

    Previous Ranking: 27

    John Wall has continued his great play due to his blazing speed, passing ability and ability to finish at the rack.

    Gilbert Arenas has also started producing a bit; he's averaging 15 points per game this season.

    The Wizards are coming off a tough loss to the Detroit Pistons in overtime.

    They will struggle though because of little depth and skill in the frontcourt.

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 3-7


    Fri, Nov 19 4-7


    Sun, Nov 21 4-8

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM    
    Thu, Nov 25 8:00 PM TNT
    Sat, Nov 27 7:00 PM NBA TV

26. New Jersey Nets

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Record: 4-9

    Previous Ranking: 21

    The Nets have cooled off a little bit from last week and have reverted to the ways of last year.

    Brook Lopez isn't playing like the Nets expected him to. You cannot be a star starting center in this league and only average seven rebounds a game. C'mon Brook! Step it up.

    Derrick Favors has played okay in the minutes he gets.

    This is a very young team with a lot to learn about playing together and winning together.

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 4-7


    Fri, Nov 19 4-8


    Sat, Nov 20 4-9

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 7:30 PM  
    Sat, Nov 27 7:30 PM

25. Sacramento Kings

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Record: 4-9

    Previous Ranking: 22

    The Kings are a very talented bunch. But they are oh so young, with so much youth, that it's going to be hard to win. Very soon though, when DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans develop even more, this is going to be a very good basketball team.

    Until then, though, Jason Thompson has been involved in a couple trade rumors.

    They have been struggling over the past couple weeks. Not a good sign.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 4-7


    Sun, Nov 21 4-8


    Mon, Nov 22 4-9

     

    Next three games

    Thu, Nov 25 10:30 PM TNT l
    Sat, Nov 27 10:00 PM  
    Tue, Nov 30 10:00 PM    

24. Houston Rockets

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 3-10

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Injuries have once again plagued the Rockets. With Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks, out it's been tough for them.

    On the bright side, Kevin Martin is seventh in the league in scoring with almost 24 points per game.

    Luis Scola is averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds per contest.

    But none of this has translated to the win column. It's going to be a tough ride until Yao and Brooks get back for these Rockets.

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 3-8


    Fri, Nov 19 3-9


    Mon, Nov 22 3-10

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:30 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:00 PM ESPN2

    Sun, Nov 28 7:00 PM  

23. Detroit Pistons

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Record: 5-8

    Previous Ranking: 24

    The Pistons are coming off a nice win in overtime over the Wizards. But without a star, this team is going to be a struggling team. Lots of nice pieces but no real star in sight.

    Ben Gordon has been solid lately, providing some scoring, but a bunch of mediocre players are going to get you a—you guessed it—mediocre team.

    I wouldn't expect anything good to happen to Detroit anytime soon except maybe a trade or three.

     

    Last three games

    Mon, Nov 15 4-7


    Wed, Nov 17 4-8


    Sun, Nov 21 5-8

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 8:30 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM  


22. Toronto Raptors

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Record: 5-9

    Previous Ranking: 28

    Ha ha, it almost sounded like you said the Toronto Raptors are on a three-game win streak including wins over the Celtics and Rockets. That's a good one. Oh wait a minute, you're being serious?

    Yes, Andrea Bargnani has stepped in and played absolutely fantastic these past three games. Don't expect this to be a trend though.

    This team is going to struggle all throughout this year. It's going to be tough, Raptor fans, but stick with your team.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 3-9


    Fri, Nov 19 4-9


    Sun, Nov 21 5-9

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 1:00 PM

21. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Record: 5-7

    Previous Ranking: 19

    The queen, I mean king-less Cavs have had a pretty up and down season, losing to most good teams and splitting victories with subpar teams.

    J.J. Hickson has been playing okay, averaging 13 points and eight boards on the season—probably not what Cleveland wanted, but it's a good start for the future.

    They have been playing very well for not having a franchise player, and good for them. As much as I hate LeBron James (I hated him before everyone else), it's nice to see the Cavs play well.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 5-5


    Fri, Nov 19 5-6


    Sat, Nov 20 5-7

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:00 PM  


20. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 5-8

    Previous Ranking: 23

    After absolutely demolishing the Suns at home, the Bobcats grew some confidence. Even the 18-point score differential doesn't say how badly the Suns got beat. A very nice showing by the Bobcats.

    Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace have been playing very well, and that's a good sign. But I wouldn't expect a playoff run for these Cats. They just don't have the point guard play and the play inside to make it happen. But the D.J. Augustin and Wallace combo can be very good in a couple years.

     

    Last three games

    Mon, Nov 15 4-7


    Fri, Nov 19 4-8


    Sat, Nov 20 5-8

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:30 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:00 PM ESPN2



19. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Record: 5-8

    Previous Ranking: 16

    The Bucks are underperforming after having a very nice playoff run last year. Many thought they would have a great season with Brandon Jennings improving and getting Andrew Bogut back off his injury. But John Salmons has been underperforming, and that is a big problem for this club. 

    They will probably make the playoffs if they can get it together. A very solid ball club one star away from being great.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 5-6


    Fri, Nov 19 5-7


    Sat, Nov 20
    5-8

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM  
    Sat, Nov 27 9:00 PM

18. New York Knicks

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 6-8

    Previous Ranking: 25

    The Knicks have had a very up and down season due to Amar'e Stoudemire's very inconsistent play, turnovers and bad defense. Ronny Turiaf is doing his best to defend the paint, but it's hard when you are the only one.

    They are hot of late though; they have won their last three games. Although none of the teams were top 10 teams, they were still quality wins. It could be a turning point in Knicks basketball.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 4-8


    Fri, Nov 19 5-8


    Sat, Nov 20 6-8

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:30 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 7:00 PM  
    Sat, Nov 27 1:00 PM  

17. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Record: 5-9

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Rudy Gay's buzzer-beater over LeBron was like poetry in motion—a beautiful shot to continue to prove the Heat's problems.

    The Grizz stopped a five-game slide beating the Heat last Saturday, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's pretty motivating. The Grizz should continue to play pretty good basketball through the next couple of games.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 4-8


    Fri, Nov 19 4-9


    Sat, Nov 20 5-9

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 9:30 PM ESPN2

    Sat, Nov 27 7:30 PM  


16. Indiana Pacers

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 6-6

    Previous Ranking: 17

    A blowout performance against the Heat in Miami proves the Pacers are hot. The whole team can barely miss a shot since their near perfect quarter against the Nuggets.

    Darren Collison is still getting used to the system, and when he is fully in sync with everybody, this is going to be a very dangerous team that probably will end up making a postseason run.

    Finally Danny Granger gets some help from his teammates!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Thu, Nov 18 5-5


    Sat, Nov 20 5-6


    Mon, Nov 22 6-6

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 8:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 9:30 PM


15. Phoenix Suns

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 7-7

    Previous Ranking: 15

    The Suns have been shooting lights out from three the past couple games. Do NOT expect it to keep up much longer. The Suns are a seventh seed at very best this season, and I wouldn't even expect that.

    Jason Richardson was hot in the second half of the season last year, and I'd expect a major cool-off the second half of the season.

    They also lack a dominant low block scorer, which is really going to cause them to struggle.

     

    Last three games

    Thu, Nov 18 6-6


    Sat, Nov 20 6-7


    Mon, Nov 22

    7-7

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 9:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 8:00 PM


14. Golden State Warriors

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 7-7

    Previous Ranking: 14

    David Lee had his elbow cleaned out a couple times and will be out another week or two. Until then Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are going to have to put up huge numbers, and they are.

    Monta has been phenomenal this season, and so has Curry. These two create the most explosive backcourt in the league. This is a very deadly combination.

    The problem with the Warriors is their defense, and it still is. It needs to improve if they are to make a deep playoff run because "offense wins games, defense wins championships."

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 7-5


    Sun, Nov 21 7-6


    Mon, Nov 22 7-7

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:30 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 9:30 PM ESPN2

    Sat, Nov 27 8:00 PM


13. Denver Nuggets

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 8-6

    Previous Ranking: 11

    The Nuggets have been playing very well without big men Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen. Nene has also done a very good job of playing injured.

    Carmelo Anthony isn't letting trade rumors bother him and is still doing work.

    Chauncey Billups is still making threes.

    Al Harrington has been a pleasant surprise for the Nugs.

    They are good but not title-worthy right now, especially with Melo wanting out.

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Thu, Nov 18 6-6


    Sat, Nov 20 7-6


    Mon, Nov 22 8-6

     

    Next three games

    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 8:00 PM  





    Wed, Dec 1 9:00 PM


12. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Record: 8-6

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Greg Oden is out for the season? What else is new? I would love to see one season with the Blazers completely healthy; they are the one team that could compete with the Lakers if they are all healthy.

    But that won't be happening anytime soon, so for now I'd expect them to keep up their success and build on it. Unless Brandon Roy goes out with a major injury too...

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 7-5


    Thu, Nov 18 8-5


    Sat, Nov 20 8-6

     

    Next three games

    Fri, Nov 26 10:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 7:00 PM  
    Tue, Nov 30 7:00 PM


11. Atlanta Hawks

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 8-6

    Previous Ranking: 9

    The Hawks have been struggling lately after starting the season off on a six-game win streak. They are going to need to pick up the slack if they want to be considered a title contender.

    Joe Johnson needs to show why they are paying him that max contract.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 8-4


    Sat, Nov 20 8-5


    Mon, Nov 22 8-6

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 7:00 PM  
    Thu, Nov 25 8:00 PM TNT
    Sat, Nov 27 1:00 PM

10. Chicago Bulls

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Record: 7-4

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Derrick Rose has put up MVP-like numbers so far this season with no signs of stopping in sight. I don't expect him to put up numbers like this all season, but he can definitely do it another week or two.

    The Bulls are going to be a very scary team once they get Carlos Boozer back. I almost consider them elite without Boozer—imagine them with Boozer.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Tue, Nov 16 6-3


    Wed, Nov 17 6-4


    Fri, Nov 19 7-4

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 10:30 PM NBA TV
    Wed, Nov 24 9:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM


9. Utah Jazz

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 10-5

    Previous Ranking: 5

    The comeback kids have been playing some good ball lately. I didn't expect them to be doing this well after losing so many key players in the offseason, but they are proving differently.

    Deron Williams is playing like the best point guard in the NBA, and he very well could be. Expect great things from this Jazz team.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 8-5


    Sat, Nov 20 9-5


    Mon, Nov 22

    10-5

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 24 9:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 3:30 PM


8. Dallas Mavericks

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Record: 8-4

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Nice cut Dirk.

    Dirk Nowitzki has his club playing some pretty good ball. Coming off a nice win against a tough Hawks team is always a confidence builder. Also being one of the teams to beat New Orleans is nice to be able to say.

    Dallas is a veteran team but skilled. Expect great regular season numbers, and we'll see when the postseason comes around. Dallas has a reputation for choking.

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 7-3


    Fri, Nov 19 7-4


    Sat, Nov 20 8-4

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 8:30 PM  
    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 8:30 PM


7. Miami Heat

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 8-6

    Previous Ranking: 7

    The Heat just got blown out on their home court by the Pacers. Never good.

    They are going to need to solve their problems and get down to business. Sure it's early, but the earlier the better.

    Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is on the hot seat with Pat Riley watching closely over his shoulder.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 8-4


    Sat, Nov 20 8-5


    Mon, Nov 22

    8-6

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 7:30 PM ESPN

    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM  
    Sat, Nov 27 8:30 PM


6. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Record: 10-4

    Previous Ranking: 12

    The Thunder have been hot lately, winning five in a row. A few of those they won without Kevin Durant. Durant is back from his injury, and the Thunder are ready to keep on chugging along and continuing their winning ways.

    It's just a question of health; last year they were healthy all year. This year it could be different.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 8-4


    Sat, Nov 20 9-4


    Mon, Nov 22 10-4

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 8:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 7:00 PM

5. Boston Celtics

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 10-4

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Rajon Rondo's injury has certainly hampered the Celtics in the win column. But Nate Robinson has done a solid job of covering for him.

    When Rondo comes back, expect the Celtics to be back in the top three. They have a real shot at the title with all of their depth. Just wait till Kendrick Perkins gets back.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 9-3


    Sun, Nov 21 9-4


    Mon, Nov 22 10-4

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 7:30 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 7:30 PM  
    Tue, Nov 30 7:00 PM


4. Orlando Magic

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Record: 9-4

    Previous Ranking: 6

    The Magic have really been playing good basketball lately. Even though they lost to San Antonio, it was a close game, and they were really close to winning it.

    Vince Carter got hurt near the end of that game, and that could definitely hurt the Magic's cause. Carter will be tough to replace; is J.J. Redick up to the challenge? We'll soon find out.

     

     

    Last three games

    Thu, Nov 18 8-3


    Sat, Nov 20 9-3


    Mon, Nov 22 9-4

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 247:30 PMESPN

    Fri, Nov 267:00 PM 
    Sat, Nov 277:00 PMNBA TV


3. San Antonio Spurs

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Record: 12-1

    Previous Ranking: 4

    The Spurs have won 11 games in a row and are the hottest team in the NBA. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are playing great basketball, and Richard Jefferson is solid.

    Their true test approaches though. They play New Orleans two games from now.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 10-1


    Sat, Nov 20 11-1


    Mon, Nov 22 12-1

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 8:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 8:30 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 3:00 PM


2. New Orleans Hornets

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Record: 11-2

    Previous Ranking: 2

    The New Orleans Hornets are the buzz (ha ha, buzz, get it?) of the NBA. Chris Paul and David West are clicking, and Trevor Ariza is fitting right in with his defensive role.

    The Hornets are primed for a big season and are making a firm start to that big season. Continue to look for big things from New Orleans.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Fri, Nov 19 10-1


    Sun, Nov 21 11-1


    Mon, Nov 22 11-2

     

    Next three games

    Wed, Nov 24 9:00 PM  
    Fri, Nov 26 10:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 3:00 PM


1. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Record: 12-2

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Lakers are doing what everyone thought they would: win.

    They are the defending champs, and until beaten by one of the teams close to them in the power rankings, they will probably remain at the top. Just an outstanding ball club. It's hard to realize how Pau is playing better ball than Kobe.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last three games

    Wed, Nov 17 10-2


    Fri, Nov 19 11-2


    Sun, Nov 21 12-2

     

    Next three games

    Tue, Nov 23 10:30 PM NBA TV
    Fri, Nov 26 9:00 PM  
    Sun, Nov 28 9:30 PM