NBA Power Rankings: The Midway Point

Keith Schlosser@KnicksJournal Analyst IJanuary 26, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 21:  Shaquille O'Neal #33 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers wait downcourt during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 109-91.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


      1.Cleveland (Last Week: 2):

The Cavs climbed to the top spot after a week filled with decisive wins against three serious playoff contenders.

2. LA Lakers (Last Week: 1)

The Lakers won two out of three this week, but gave up the top spot after losing to the Cavs. The team hopes its recent visit with President Obama can help the team refocus on returning to that top spot. 

3. Denver (Last Week: 3)

The Nuggets have been on fire in January, winning 10 of 12. The team will look to continue its winning ways as it rides the momentum of Chauncey Billups' "Player of the Week" selection.

4. Boston (Last Week: 4)

Although still in the Top 5, The Celtics seem to lack that killer instinct that made them a championship team. Hopefully, the return of KG will inject some intensity back into the squad.

     5. Dallas (Last Week: 6)

The Mavs finished out the week by ripping the Knicks apart in the team's worst home court loss in its history.

     6. Atlanta (Last Week: 5)

The Hawks have been trying to keep up the pace with the rest of the league, winning 6 of their last 7. Jamal Crawford continues to be that "X-Factor."

    7. Orlando (Last Week: 7)

The Magic have powered through this season thanks to Dwight Howard, as Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson are still struggling to find their comfort zones.

   8. Portland (Last Week: 8)

Early on, Portland looked like it could roll with the big dogs. Championship hopes are fading quickly, though.

  9. San Antonio (Last Week: 9)

The Spurs have struggled to prove themselves as legitimate contenders, and three losses this week did not help its cause.

  10. Utah
(Last Week: 12)

The Jazz had a good week, but a loss to Denver also makes me question their championship hopes.

  11. Phoenix (Last Week: 10)

The Suns are still struggling to find just the right lineup, which may very well be without Amare Stoudemire, pending a future trade.

  12. Memphis (Last Week: 14)

The Grizzlies continue to be the surprise team of the season. So much for needing some extra star power...thanks but no thanks, A.I.

  13. Oklahoma City (Last Week: 11)

Scott Brooks has done wonders with this team. If the Thunder could pair Kevin Durant with another star in the offseason, this team could be making some real threatening noise very soon.

  14. Houston (Last Week: 13)

Continuing to defy the odds, Chuck Hayes and the Rockets continue to steadily stay in the top 15 despite a two game losing streak. The waters will really be tested in tonight's match up against the Nuggets.

  15. Miami (Last Week: 17)

In the first power rankings of the season, I called Dwyane Wade the Heat's everything. Although I did catch some heavy heat for the remark (no pun intended), nothing has changed for me.

  16. New Orleans (Last Week: 15)

The Hornets have been proving that Western teams just cannot catch a break against each other. The team is now a steady contender for a playoff spot.

  17. Toronto (Last Week: 16)

A couple weeks back, you could've said the Raptors were in jeopardy of losing its grip on a playoff spot. Although the clock on Bosh's stay is probably ticking, he has been leading the Raptors past the pack of weaker teams in the East.

  18. Charlotte (Last Week: 18)

The acquisition of Stephen Jackson has the Bobcats smelling its first-ever playoff berth. Slam Dunk Contest contender Gerald Wallace could also see his first All-Star selection this week. Things are looking up in Charlotte.

  19. Chicago (Last Week: 18)

Vinny Del Negro survived the Christmas curse, and has steadied the ship towards the playoffs. The team is riding a three-game winning streak.

  20. LA Clippers (Last Week: 20)

The Clippers just cannot catch a break. No Blake Griffin and an even tighter Western Conference means the Clippers will probably be watching the ping pong balls once again.

  21. Milwaukee (Last Week: 22)

The Bucks were an early playoff contender, but fell off quickly. A late pick me up however could pave the way to scoop up one of the bottom playoff spots in the weak Eastern Conference.

  22. New York (Last Week: 21)

The Knicks have been struggling to prove their worth as a playoff contender. After the worst home loss in its history against the Mavs, the team will look for redemption this week against the Timberwolves and the division-contending Raptors.

  23. Philadelphia (Last Week: 26)

Philly made a little jump this week. The team must still be stoked about the older A.I.'s surprise All-Star selection.

  24. Sacramento (Last Week: 22)

Tyreke Evans has made basketball relevant again in Sacramento, but the team's current seven-game losing streak is something everyone wants to forget.

  25. Indiana (Last Week: 24)

With Danny Granger back, the Pacers have won two out of three and are trying to make themselves look somewhat respectable to round out the first half of the season.

  26. Detroit (Last Week: 25)

While the play and leadership of Ben Wallace has been a welcome surprise, the mix of veteran leadership and young talent has struggled to click this season in Detroit.

Blame it on injuries if you want, but it will be interesting to see what Joe Dumars does next to remedy the situation.

  27. Golden State (Last Week: 28)

The surging Corey Maggette has the Warriors keeping up in games, but they are ultimately still no match in the West.

  28. Washington (Last Week: 27)

The most interesting news in Washington is still the Gilbert Arenas gun incident, as the team's play certainly isn't getting too much attention right now.

  29. Minnesota (Last Week: 29)

The Timberwolves have been comfortable in those spots all season long, and nothing appears to be changing.

  30. New Jersey (Last Week: 30)

New Jersey's awful record this season will deny Brook Lopez his first deserved All-Star selection this season.

The Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings are done by averaging individual feature columnist's tallies. Weekly contributors are: Alex McVeigh (Dallas), Rich Kurtzman (Denver), Denton Ramsey (Houston Rockets), Jose Salviati (LA Clippers), Keith Schlosser (NY Knicks), Curtis Finchum (Oklahoma City), Bryan Toporek (Philadelphia 76ers), Shaun Ahmad (Washington Wizards) and DeMarco Williams (NBA Lead).


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