1. Boston Celtics (20-2) (1) In what was supposed to be a big West showdown, the Celtics made the Blazers look like a second-tier squad by smothering them defensively.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-3) (3) The starters are getting much-needed rest during this win streak, as the Cavs are usually in control by the end of quarter three.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (18-3) (2) The Lakers' suspect D is still a concern, but more so down the road if they should meet up with Boston again.
4. Orlando Magic (17-5) (5) Turkoglu's miracle three against Portland proves to be key in helping Magic start their West swing 2-0.
5. Denver Nuggets (15-7) (6) For the Nuggets to remain contenders, they must improve on a 4-6 record against teams with winning records.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (15-8) (4) From a "guaranteed bust" a month ago to leading all rookies in double doubles with seven in just fourteen games? Not a bad stretch for Mr. Oden.
7. New Orleans Hornets (12-6) (8) The Hornets landed a decent backup for Paul in Antonio Daniels as part of a 3-team trade.
8. Houston Rockets (14-8) (7) Artest is now going down with an ankle injury, putting more emphasis on the Rockets backups to step up.
9. San Antonio Spurs (13-8) (13) The Spurs' offense has suddenly opened up with three straight 100+ point games, including 133 in a double-OT thriller win over Dallas.
10. Dallas Mavericks (11-9) (14) Barea is taking advantage of increased minutes and has had a huge week, averaging 18.3 ppg and 4.7 apg as the Mavs creep back into the division race.
11. Utah Jazz (14-9) (10) With Williams and Boozer still healing, the Jazz are right in position to take over first at just a game and a half out.
12. Miami Heat (12-9) (15) Emeka Okafor, congratulations, you've just been added to Dwayne Wade's poster collection.
13. New Jersey Nets (11-9) (16) Lopez will see a starting job in his immediate future if he keeps performing at a high level.
14. Atlanta Hawks (12-9) (11) For the Hawks to build off their strong start, they must get better production out of their bench.
15. Phoenix Suns (13-10) (12) Trading Bell and Diaw, who are excellent defenders, for another defenseless scorer in Jason Richardson seems like a suspect trade.
16. Detroit Pistons (11-9) (9) With three straight losses to sub-.500 teams, the Pistons are making it tougher on themselves to pick up ground after a slow first quarter of the season.
17. Chicago Bulls (10-11) (22) Hughes is starting to hit his shot, which will be huge for his confidence as the young Bulls continue to push for playoff contention as the season progresses.
18. New York Knicks (10-12) (18) The short-handed Knicks continue to overachieve, as they won in New Jersey for the third consecutive time.
19. Toronto Raptors (9-12) (19) With a pair of flat efforts against the Cavs and Jazz, Triano knows he has his work cut out whipping this soft Raptors team into shape.
20. Philadelphia 76ers (9-13) (20) Cheeks's job will be in jeopardy, fair or not, if he can't find a way to get results out of the considerable talent the team's inherited.
21. Milwaukee Bucks (9-15) (21) The Bucks D was invisible on their three-game Western road trip, as they were handled by the Lakers, Suns and Warriors.
22. Indiana Pacers (7-14) (17) The schedule is doing Indiana no favors, but the team will not improve until they learn to close out games.
23. Memphis Grizzlies (7-15) (27) Mayo has scored in double figures in the first 20 games of his NBA career, the longest such streak since...wait for it...LARRY BIRD!
24. Golden State Warriors (7-15) (24) Getting Ellis back will help, but it'll only improve the team offensively. They'll theoretically lose less since they'll be able to score more.
25. Charlotte Bobcats (7-15) (23) As little sense as the trade made for the Suns, how does Charlotte expect to replace Richardson's scoring with two guys who haven't been effective on offense since D'Antoni left?
26. Sacramento Kings (6-16) (26) The Kings have to be surprised themselves over beating the Lakers, but they won't have much luck winning back-to-back when they travel to Staples.
27. Washington Wizards (4-15) (28) 31 percent?? Wow, is that even possible? Stevenson might be the worst starter in the NBA.
28. Los Angeles Clippers (4-17) (29) Camby and Randolph should pad their stats as much as possible, when Kaman gets back, they won't score nearly as much.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-17) (25) Wow, McHale did run Wittman out, and it happened about a week faster than I thought.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-21) (30) After blowing a 20-point lead against Memphis and losing, the Thunder are on pace to set the NBA's All-Time worst record. We'll keep you posted as the season progresses.
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