NBA Rankings (1/11)

New week, new edition of the NBA Rankings.

Could the Lakers hold down the top spot for a third week in a row? What team is on-fire the past week and is heading up the charts? Lets go to the rankings….

1. Los Angeles Lakers (29-8) (previous ranking: 1) This team is getting production from EVERYbody. They are showing their depth, and it’s really going to be difficult for any team to stop. However, they did lose two in a row before Sunday’s win over the Bucks, so there are ways to stop them, just not on a consistent basis.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-10) (previous ranking: 2) For the second week in a row, the Cavs are behind the Lakers. Not only are they trying to chase Los Angeles for the top spot in the Association, they have to worry about holding off the Boston Celtics in the East.

3. Boston Celtics (26-9) (previous ranking: 3) Rajon Rondo has really taken over this team. He has stars that can make him look good doing it. However, as great as Rondo been, the pulse of this team is still Kevin Garnett, and he has to get his knees in shape if they want any shot of a championship in June

4. Dallas Mavericks (25-12) (previous ranking: 5) Big win this week over San Antonio, but they got routed by the Utah Jazz at home. Not good, especially considering the Jazz’s road woes. But Orlando has been struggling as of late, so Dallas trades spots with them.

5. Orlando Magic (25-12) (previous ranking: 4) It has been a long stretch in the four spot for the Magic, but after a 1-3 week, that is over. The Magic need to get something, anything to get back to their winning ways. Good thing the Hawks are struggling, otherwise they would lose their Southeast Division lead.

6. Atlanta Hawks (23-13) (previous ranking: 6) No change for the Hawks after another 2-2 week. This team is 4-6 in the past 10, and once again, a very tough team to figure out. The rest of the teams are catching up to them, and catching up fast.

7. San Antonio Spurs (22-13) (previous ranking: 8] The Spurs are still climbing through the standings and in the rankings. Could they be one of the few teams that can challenge the Lakers in the West? Their only problem right now is that they have to get through the Mavericks first.

8. Phoenix Suns (23-14) (previous ranking: 9)- Phoenix is rising, they are curing the problems they are having on the road and are going back to playing solid hoops. But at the rate this season is going, they will have to concetrate on home-court, because the Lakers are running away from them in the Pacific Division.

9. Denver Nuggets (23-14) (previous ranking: 10)- It’s good that Denver is winning again, but to blow a lead and lose to a team like the Kings (who aren’t bad, the Nuggets are just better) is not acceptable for a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals a year ago. When healthy, this team is a problem for a lot of people.

10. Portland Trail Blazers (23-16) (previous ranking: 7) A 1-3 week sends the Blazers tumbling three spots. The good thing about this team is that they are just looking to play and see what happens, and not worry about the rest of the West. They have to turn it around this week however.

11. Houston Rockets (21-16) (previous ranking: 11) For the third week in a row, the Rockets stay at number 11. Not much to say about them, since they are behind the top 10 teams in the NBA. Aaron Brooks has been a pleasant surprise for them though.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16) (previous ranking: 12) A 2-1 week keep the Thunder right at #12, Still playing solid ball right now, and trying to get their first playoff berth in Oklahoma City and in the playoffs for the first time since 2005 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

13. New Orleans Hornets (19-16) (previous ranking: 17) The Hornets are the high-risers for the week. Six straight wins have them back in the hunt and maybe changing minds about the firing of Byron Scott.

14. Utah Jazz (20-17) (previous ranking: 13) The Jazz had another even week, but it is hard to stop a team that has won six in a row from taking your spot. Win games to stay in your position or move up. Especially from 12 on down.

15. Miami Heat (18-17) (previous ranking: 14) The Heat were victims of the red hot Hornets, and the fans have to wonder if Pat Riley will make a move before the trade deadline to get Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley a third scorer or playmaker to improve this team. They are fifth in the East, but teams are coming for that #5 spot.

16. Memphis Grizzlies (18-18) (previous ranking: 15) The Grizz might have kept that #15 spot if not for two things: 1. The Hornets’ win streak, and 2. Gerald Wallace’s tip at the buzzer at Charlotte. Still though, all five teams in the Southwest Division are at .500 or above. Very impressive, and the Grizzlies are the surprise of that.

17. Toronto Raptors (19-19) (previous ranking: 16) Toronto reached the other side of .500 for the first time this season before Sunday’s loss to Boston. They are getting it together, and possibly with a string of wins together, they can get that #5 spot in the East. Just a 1/2 game behind Miami.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (17-18) (previous ranking: 20) The Clippers showed up on live television, and beat the Lakers on their floor in both teams’ arena (Staples Center) They followed that up with a win over the Heat today to put them near .500. If the West wasn’t so tough, they could be talking playoffs.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (16-19) (previous ranking: 19) 2-1 week for the ‘Cats, and the dramatics of Gerald Wallace’s shot over the Grizzlies really shows that this team is serious about making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Stephen Jackson has really been a difference for Charlotte since November.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (15-19) (previous ranking: 23) Maybe it was too early to crown Brandon Jennings as rookie of the year. He has faded, and so has this team. They are the beneficiaries of teams not playing well over the past week.

21. Chicago Bulls (15-20) (previous ranking: 18) As quickly as the Bulls were rising, a 1-3 week has put Vinny del Negro in the seat de caliente. Has John Paxson (Bulls GM) found a replacement, because that was the reason Vinny still had a job to begin with.

22. New York Knicks (15-21) (previous ranking: 23) The Knicks move up a spot with Sacramento struggling as of late. Short week for them at 1-1, so not much to be said here.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-21) (previous ranking: 21) THe question last week was: Have the Kings peaked? After a 1-2 week, you can say yes, but after the surprise win over the Nuggets this past Saturday, you never know with these guys.

24. Washington Wizards (12-23) (previous ranking: 25) The Wizards have removed anything Gilbert Arenas related from the Verizon Center. They are beginning to get the picture, but they have to get rid of this guy all together to have a shot to be respected in the NBA again. Any credibility of this squad was shot by Agent Zero.

25. Golden State Warriors (11-24) (previous ranking: 28) The Warriors? Went 2-1 in the past week? AND they moved up three spots? Don’t get too hopeful, this team is already done.

26. Detroit Pistons (11-24) (previous ranking: 24) 12 straight losses. At least Ben Gordon isn’t regretting leaving Chicago THAT much considering the Bulls are not that great, but the Pistons are so lost on the court, too many scorers there. Time for Joe Dumars to make a deal.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (11-25) (previous ranking: 26) 1-2 week for the Sixers and they are improving. It has been reported however, that Eddie Jordan’s job is in doubt. Will Tony DiLeo return to the bench?

28. Indiana Pacers (11-25) (previous ranking: 27) Good news: Danny Granger will be back. Bad news: it won’t improve the team. Indiana rejected a trade from Minnesota that would’ve landed them Al Jefferson. Larry Bird is loyal to Granger, and is willing to keep him.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-30) (previous ranking: 29) The Jefferson deal fell through, the Wolves saw a dynamic inside/outside game w/ Granger & Love. Apparently Indiana saw differently.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-34) (previous ranking: 30) in four more games, it will be time to play guess how many wins New Jersey can win this season.

Enjoy the rankings! Hope your team is doing well.

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