NBA Rankings (1/19)

The NBA Rankings are on schedule. Due to the MLK Holiday, and the daytime games, we here at TSX decided to wait until Tuesday to release the rankings. It’s a short week, and the Rankings will be back next Monday.

With that said, did the Lakers remain at #1 for the fourth week in a row? Who is rising and making some serious noise right now? Are the New Jersey Nets really on pace for the worst record in NBA history. Let’s go to the Rankings…

1. Los Angeles Lakers (32-9) (previous ranking: 1) The Lake Show has gotten the job done. And they are getting production from everybody in the process. The bench has done a great job picking up the slack when Kobe Bryant struggles, as displayed against the Orlando Magic.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-11) (previous ranking: 2) The Cavs are #2 for the fourth straight week, but the good news is that Boston’s struggles due to injuries have given them a little bit of separation in the East. They need to take advantage of this time.

3. Boston Celtics (27-12) (previous ranking: 3) Boston has been ravaged by injuries. They have done well until now. The lack of depth and the thin bench is showing. These guys need to heal up by April to have any shot of a run for an 18th championship.

4. Dallas Mavericks (27-14) (previous ranking: 4) The Mavericks are still a team to watch out for. As good as they are, can they keep this momentum in the playoffs. It is good to see them keeping pace with the Lakers.

5. Denver Nuggets (26-14) (previous ranking: 9) The Nuggets had a 3-0 week, and that was good enough to boost them up four spots and into the top 5. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are healthy again, and with Ty Lawson complimenting them, the Nuggets are priming to make noise in the West again. The Lakers better watch out.

6. Atlanta Hawks (26-14) (previous ranking: 6) 3-1 week puts Atlanta in first place in the Southeast Division. One thing about them is that once they get into first place, they get too comfortable and struggle. Mike Woodson needs to keep his team focused.

7. Orlando Magic (26-15) (previous ranking: 5) Another 1-3 week for Orlando. The passion that this team had a year ago is not there. And they are much deeper than last year. Is Stan Van Gundy beginning to lose his voice in Orlando?

8. San Antonio Spurs (25-15) (previous ranking: 7) The Spurs climb up the rankings took a tumble despite a 3-1 week. The Nuggets surge and the Hawks decent week knocked them back a spot, but this team is starting to get going again, and eventually they will overtake Dallas in the Southwest Division.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (25-17) (previous ranking: 10) The Trail Blazers found ways to win when Brandon Roy is out, which is good. They did do better this week, with a 2-1 record as opposed to last week.

10. Phoenix Suns (24-18) (previous ranking: 8] The Suns are fading, and losing to red hot Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis on the road are examples of why. They are 9-14 on the road and are showing that the West-to-East trips are not the best kind.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-18) (previous ranking: 12) The Thunder are just going to be better and better in time. Sam Presti has gone young, and this team is thriving. Many are talking Kobe and LeBron for MVP, but can we get a mention for Kevin Durant?

12. Houston Rockets (23-18) (previous ranking: 11) The Rockets had a 2-2 week, but there is no room for mediocrity in the West. They have the Thunder, Jazz, Hornets, and out of nowhere, the Grizzlies to worry about. They need consistency night in and night out.

13. Utah Jazz (23-18) (previous ranking: 14) A 3-1 week puts the Jazz up a spot as they try to keep pace with the Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Hornets out West. The question with them now is: Are they going to trade Carlos Boozer. This team is starting to win more, but they are strapped for cash. We shall see.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (22-18) (previous ranking: 16) The Grizzlies have won nine straight at home, a franchise record, and are in fourth place in the Southwest Division. Had this been mentioned at the start of the season, there probably would’ve been a lot of crazy looks. Zach Randolph has been an impressive leader for this team, and is making everyone look better and keep their focus. Michael Heisley has to be pleased.

15. New Orleans Hornets (21-19) (previous ranking: 13) 2-3 week for the Hornets has them in the cellar in the Southwest Division at 21-19. Go figure. They need to win as much as they can to keep in the hunt, especially with the Grizzlies playing so well.

16. Charlotte Bobcats (20-19) (previous ranking: 19) Five straight wins, eight straight wins at home, and great defense has the surprising Bobcats up three spots in the rankings, and #5 in the Eastern Conference. This is the first time in team history that Charlotte has had a winning record at this point.

17. Miami Heat (20-19) (previous ranking: 15) Miami went 2-2 for the week, and lost two spots due to the surges of the Grizzlies and Bobcats. This team is a lot better than their record is showing. At least on paper.

18. Toronto Raptors (21-20) (previous ranking: 17) Bosh & Bargnani are playing some dynamic ball, and the Raptors finally have a winning record after all these weeks. If there is a rumor that the Raptors will trade Bosh (specifically to the Lakers), keep dreaming. It’s likely he will leave, but Bryan Colangelo will do everything in his power for him to stay.

19. Chicago Bulls (18-21) (previous ranking: 21) The Bulls had a 3-1 week. Again. As soon as Vinny del Negro is written off, he has a good week. Maybe people need to continue to tell him he’s going to be gone as a head coach.

20. Los Angeles Clippers (18-22) (previous ranking: 18) 1-4 week plus the news that Blake Griffin is done for the year. Not a good week at all for the Clippers. They were getting competitive in the West, but could be reverting to old ways.

21. New York Knicks (17-24) (previous ranking: 22) 2-3 week moves the Knicks up a spot. This team is slowly coming around, as they are just two games out the final playoff spot in the East at the halfway point. There is hope in the Big Apple.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (16-23) (previous ranking: 20) The Bucks went 1-4 this week, and received news that Michael Redd was done for the season (again) with a torn ACL (the same one from last year). They are on the verge of signing Jerry Stackhouse, but that won’t have much of an impact.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-25) (previous ranking: 23) The answer to the Kings peaking the previous week is confirmed. They have peaked after an 0-4 week. It was a good run while it lasted. Ever notice this team plays better WITHOUT Kevin Martin?

24. Indiana Pacers (14-26) (previous ranking: 28) How the Pacers missed Danny Granger. The comments about the Pacers improving are taken back. Even though Al Jefferson did have 26 rebounds in a game which would REALLY help Indiana.

25. Detroit Pistons (14-26) (previous ranking: 26) The Pistons losing streak was stopped at 13, and they responded with a 3-1 week. Can this team be on the mend fully and engineer a turnaround? Despite the 14-26 record, they are 4 1/2 games out of 8th in the East.

26. Washington Wizards (14-26) (previous ranking: 24) The Wizards are moving on with out the Gilbert Arenas fiasco. The only problem is that the big contract they gave him. It could get ugly. Still a long process before the “divorce” is finalized.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (13-27) (previous ranking: 27) 2-2 week for the Sixers, and they stay right at the same spot. No change for them and nothing to say really. The team is loaded with talent, and it’s sad to see that talent being wasted.

28. Golden State Warriors (12-27) (previous ranking: 25) The Warriors are an even more of a disaster now than they have ever been all season. They play no defense, and they don’t have another scorer aside from Monta Ellis. Not much for even a good coach like Don Nelson to work with.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-33) (previous ranking: 29) Well it is good to see that Minnesota will avoid the 9 win mark. Unless they lose the next 40 games. That would be very scary.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-37) (previous ranking: 30) So if this was the case after 41 games, if the Nets post the same record over the next 41 games, they’d finish at either 8-74 or 6-76. The team is back, they have given up. Sad to see.

Be back next Monday with a new edition of Rankings.

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