NBA Rankings (1/4)

New Year, new rankings from the NBA. For this week, the top two teams have emerged in the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is 24 and 23. Kobe and LeBron. These two teams were neck and neck, and it looks like Cleveland would take over the top spot away. Did they? Let’s check out the rankings.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (27-6) (previous ranking: 1) The Lakers blasted the Mavericks, a top 10 team, and second in the Western Conference, so it was pretty clear that this team had to remain at #1 for the second week in a row.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-9) (previous ranking: 3) The Cavs probably would have been the top team, but a loss at home to Charlotte (who is no pushover) moved them up just one spot. Head-to-head, the Cavs did beat the Lakers, so if they can keep up with them, they’ll be #1 in no time.

3. Boston Celtics (24-8) (previous ranking: 2) The injury bug has hit Boston the last couple of weeks. But they have found ways to win at least one game without some key players, and with the struggles of Orlando and Atlanta lately, they’re able to maintain their spot in the top 5.

4. Orlando Magic (24-9) (previous ranking: 4) 2-1 week keeps the Magic at #4. They are among the best, but the Lakers, Cleveland, and Boston are just better. Right now.

5. Dallas Mavericks (23-11) (previous ranking: 6) The Mavericks did not have a good week, capped off by getting blown at Staples by the Lakers, but they can thank the Atlanta Hawks for slumping as of late for a spot in the top 5.

6. Atlanta Hawks (21-11) (previous ranking: 5) The Hawks are hard to figure out. One minute, they are playing among the elite, then the next minute they are pretenders. This team needs some kind of consistency to be more believable. They have the tools, they need to execute.

7. Portland Trail Blazers (22-13) (previous ranking: 8] The Trail Blazers have taken over the lead on first place in the Northwest Divsion, and they have been playing good ball as of late. Brandon Roy has been brought back to earth from the diva-like attitude, and they are looking like the team that can contend in the West again.

8. San Antonio Spurs (20-12) (previous ranking: 10) 3-1 week for the Spurs, and this team is finally getting the flow together and learning each other. If they stay healthy, they will be the perennial problem in the West.

9. Phoenix Suns (21-13) (previous ranking: 9) 2-1 week for Phoenix, they’re still lurking in the West. They could catch fire once again and make noise. They haven’t been on the road lately, so they still need to cure the road woes first.

10. Denver Nuggets (21-13) (previous ranking: 7) Injuries have hampered the Nuggets as of late, and as a result, they drop three spots. Once healthy again, they should be back to where they need to be.

11. Houston Rockets (20-14) (previous ranking: 11) The Rockets are still at 11, kind of jammed up. Somehow, they have played well through the distraction of the Tracy McGrady saga. They can play better ball once the whole thing is behind them. It will be interesting to see if they stay the same or improve.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (18-15) (previous ranking: 14) Kevin Durant went on a tear the past week, and the Thunder kept on winning and winning. This team is so impressive and so talented, and the more they play together, the better they will be in the West.

13. Utah Jazz (18-15) (previous ranking: 13) 12-5 at EnergySoultions Arena, 6-10 away from Salt Lake City. Too much talent on this team to be so inconsistent. They need to find it, especially with Oklahoma City getting so much better.

14. Miami Heat (16-15) (previous ranking: 12) The Heat are cooling off fast. Not good, especially when the Charlotte Bobcats are starting to win on the road now. Which started in South Florida. Adjustments need to be made and made fast.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (16-16) (previous ranking: 17) The Grizzlies are at .500. If someone said that this would happen at the start of the season, it would have been a joke. This team has found a great chemistry, O.J. Mayo & Rudy Gay are playing well, Zach Randolph has behaved, and been a leader for the young team, and Mike Conley is doing a great job facilitating the offense. Very impressive run put together by Memphis, and has fans believing again.

16. Toronto Raptors (17-18) (previous ranking: 15) Hopefully Toronto can finally reach and go above .500. Hedo Turkoglu has been banged up as of late, so once he’s healthy, it would be good to see this team get to its full potential. They are still underachieving.

17. New Orleans Hornets (15-16) (previous ranking: 16) The Hornets are in a tough division as it is. Now with the surprising surge of Memphis, they just might not be as good as they appear. Jeff Bower was supposed to fix this, he has kept them afloat, but not where they can and should be.

18. Chicago Bulls (14-17) (previous ranking: 21) Amazing how after the talk of Vinny Del Negro being fired has lit a fire under the coach and the team. Four straight wins, and the possibility of more. Vinny has been fighting to keep his job, and the team is fighting forward. Tyrus Thomas has been a beast since returning from injury and has had major impact since his return.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (14-18) (previous ranking: 22) The Bobcats for this season, have more victories on the road in 2010 (2) than they had in all of 2009 (1). This team has the potential to be higher in the East if they can just get the road woes cure. Winning in Miami and in Cleveland (a place they were 0-10 before this past Sunday) are major steps in the right direction.

20. Los Angeles Clippers (14-18) (previous ranking: 19) The Clippers only played two games this week, going 1-1. Charlotte leapfrogs them simply for beating Wade and LeBron’s teams on back-to-back nights. Just a victim of circumstance

21. Sacramento Kings (14-19) (previous ranking: 18) The Kings have slumped a bit in the past week, so the question is. Has this team peaked already, or will the respond to the adversity? Time in this year will tell this.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (13-18) (previous ranking: 20) Where have the Bucks at the beginning of the season gone? Since the televised game at Oklahoma City, this team has not been the same. If the ship is not corrected, they could be one of the biggest first half disappointments after showing so much promise to start the year.

23. New York Knicks (14-20) (previous ranking: 23) No change for the Knicks, but another good week at 3-1 has the fans in New York believing once again. Mike D’Antoni has done a good job with this team. And the return of Nate Robinson was huge. 41 pts in his first game back against the Hawks, and a 132-89 thrashing of the Pacers has the people slowly embracing them again.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-21) (previous ranking: 24) Joe Dumars may be on the verge of coaching this team in the future if things do not improve. This is not a patient man, and a team that dominated this decade should not be THIS bad. Although injuries have hampered the team, most of the guys are back, and the improvement needs to show.

25. Washington Wizards (10-21) (previous ranking: 25) After the gun incident and the in-fighting between teams, it’s apparent that Gilbert Arenas is the problem here. Too bad he’s got that hefty contract that nobody wants to take. The Wizards need to make changes. Pronto.

26. Philadelphia 76ers (10-23) (previous ranking: 28) Iverson is back in the line up, and the Sixers went 3-1 this week. These are good things to build upon, and it’s not too late for Philadelphia to turn things around and get back into playoff contention. Let’s see how they take this momentum.

27. Indiana Pacers (10-23) (previous ranking: 26) The Pacers are still lucky to be in a bad division like the Central. The blowout loss to the Knicks really show how bad they are missing Danny Granger.

28. Golden State Warriors (9-23) (previous ranking: 27) What is there to say here? It’s going to be a long winter in the Bay Area.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-28) (previous ranking: 29) The Timberwolves went 0-4 this week, but this team has played hard over the last few months. Of course there are no moral victories in sports, just the victories in the win column, which isn’t much.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-30) (previous ranking: 30) At least the Nets did win a game this week. They won’t get to 9-73, but they will be awfully close to it.

  1. I cannot believe this is true!

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