Note: These rankings consider both momentum and record. A hot team may get the nod over a squad with a better winning percentage.
Last Week's Hottest: Dallas, Houston, Toronto, Utah, and Los Angeles Lakers
Last Week's Stinkers: Miami, Seattle, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week's Most Notable: Houston Rockets, winners of five of their last six without Tracy McGrady; Miami Heat, losers of 10 straight
1. Boston Celtics (30-5)
There are still some Celtics doubters out there.
Their strength of schedule, or lack thereof, is no longer a knock. It's not like they've been playing high school JV teams.
A 30-5 record gives plenty of reason to label these guys legit.
The C's are the first team to 30 wins, and are on pace to win 70 games.
Memo to the '95-96 Chicago Bulls: You shouldn't worry too much. In the last three seasons, Phoenix, Dallas, and Detroit were all on pace to win 70...but failed to do so.
Boston goes up against Portland Wednesday, in a matchup of two of the league's hottest teams.
2. Dallas Mavericks (26-11)
After the beatdown they handed Detroit Wednesday, it's hard not to give the Mavs the No. 2 spot.
Dallas has won seven straight, and on paper, has an easy schedule coming up.
The Mavs face Sacramento, Seattle, Washington, and Charlotte before a meeting with the Lakers.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (24-11)
The Lakers have won six straight for the first time since 2004.
If Andrew Bynum isn't the Most Improved Player, then I don't know who is. But as soon as I give this guy his props, he's goes and gets injured. It will be at least eight weeks until he returns. Kobe might start averaging 35 again.
L.A. goes up against Phoenix Thursday night, and that's always a pretty good show.
4. Detroit Pistons (28-10)
I was set to rank these guys No. 3...then I saw them get routed by the New York Knicks on my NBA League Pass.
But hey, at least they were solid on their Texas road trip last week.
The Pistons were outplayed by Dallas, but defeated the defending champs the following night.
Rasheed Wallace was awesome in the game against the Spurs. He scored 23 points and pulled 15 boards.
Come on Sheed—we need performances like that from you more often. It was Wallace's first 20-10 game since November of 2006.
To cite Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley mentioned, Rasheed could be the best big man in the league if he had the same killer instinct a certain player in L.A. has.
Tayshaun Prince looks like he's breaking out of his slump.
5. San Antonio Spurs (24-11)
What's all the talk that the Spurs are out of sync, gas, and ammunition?
Before last week, the Big Three—Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli—went a little over a month without finishing a game together. And the Spurs still managed to hold a 17-3 record at home, tied with Portland and Dallas in the West.
Their record's not all that impressive on the road, but in due time that will turn around.
We'll see if they're "out of sync" when they face the Cavs, Lakers, Hornets, Jazz, Rockets, and Suns this month.
6. Portland Trailblazers (22-14)
Having won 17 of their last 19, the Blazer now sit a half-game back of first place in the Northwest Division.
They're 17-3 at home, but are currently on a seven-game road trip. They're 5-11 on the road, and are 0-1 on the trip so far.
Portland's most notable game this week comes Wednesday in Beantown, when they face the Celtics.
7. New Orleans Hornets (25-12)
The Hornets weren't all that impressive last week, as they were smashed by the Lakers—but they did manage to give the Miami Heat their 10th consecutive loss.
Still a great team away from the Big Easy, with a 15-5 record on the road.
8. Phoenix Suns (26-11)
The Suns showed how weak they were without Steve Nash last week.
It didn't help that Shawn Marion and Grant Hill were also missing in action—but they were still crushed by the Jazz.
The Lakers, by the way, are only half a game out of first place in the Pacific Division.
9. Denver Nuggets (22-13)
Anytime you have two of the top league's five leading scores on the same team, it's a good thing.
But guys like J.R.Smith and Marcus Camby have been missing in action lately.
10. Golden State Warriors (22-16)
Don't be surprised if Golden State goes on some kind of hot streak this month.
Their upcoming schedule looks favorable —but you never know.
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