By Danny Dragin
1. Golden State Warriors (Last week’s ranking: 2*): 37-9
The Warriors played the Cavs at full strength for the first time this season, but it didn’t seem to be a problem for the defending champs who beat them 118-108. Kevin Durant and LeBron James both had 32 points in the game.
2. Boston Celtics (1*): 34-12
The Celtics drop to the No. 2 spot with losses to both the Pelicans and the 76ers. Kyrie Irving didn’t play against the 76ers, which definitely contributed to the lack of scoring.
3. Houston Rockets (3*): 31-12
The Rockets beat the Timberwolves, but had an extremely emotional loss to the Clippers on Monday night. Apparently Gerald Green, Trevor Ariza and James Harden barged into the Clippers locker room after the game and Austin Rivers just so happened to walk into his press conference with a black eye. For the record, the Rockets are 16-0 when James Harden, Eric Gordon and Chris Paul, are all active.
4. Toronto Raptors (4*): 30-13
The Raptors were able to improve their record with two big wins over the 76ers and the Pistons.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (7*): 24-20
The Thunder remain dominant in the West with wins over the Kings and the Lakers. Carmelo Anthony was able to run the clock back a little bit with a 27-point game against the Lakers.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (5*): 29-17
The Timberwolves continue to have problems on their bench with losses to both Houston and Orlando this week, dropping them out of the top 5.
7. San Antonio Spurs (6*): 29-16
The Spurs suffered a tough loss to the Hawks, but were able to just get by the Nets in a 100-95 win. You can see the morale in the Spurs locker room is at an all-time low with the news that Kawhi Leonard will be out indefinitely.
8. Miami Heat (10*): 25-18
The Heat remain stagnant with a loss to the Bulls and a win against Eastern Conference foe in the Bucks. The loss of Dion Waiters has not proven to be a killing blow but their scoring has clearly been lacking.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (15*): 22-21
The Clippers found themselves in the headlines this week after beating the Rockets and then proceeding to get in a fight with them in the locker room after the game. They also beat the Nuggets 109-104.
10. Portland Trail Blazers (14*): 23-21
Portland finally find themselves in the top 10 after beating the Suns and the Pacers. Damian Lillard continues his All Star season despite C.J. McCollum’s lack of efficiency.
11. Milwaukee Bucks (12*): 23-20
The Bucks go 1-1 this week with a big win over the Wizards and a loss to the Heat. They patiently sit just above the playoff line eagerly awaiting Jabari Parker’s return.
12. New Orleans Pelicans (16*): 23-21
The Pelicans had a huge 3 point win over the Celtics but then lost to the Hawks by one point to essentially keep them at their steady plateau.
13. Indiana Pacers (8*): 24-21
Indiana drops out of the top 10 due to their losses to both the Trail Blazers and the Jazz. Victor Oladipo still had an impressive two games netting close to 30 points each time.
14. Philadelphia 76ers (17*): 21-20
The 76ers beat the top two teams in the East in the Celtics and the Raptors. Joel Embiid also got named a starter on the Eastern Conference All Star team.
15. Cleveland Cavaliers (9*): 27-17
The Cavs are still having trouble clicking although Isaiah Thomas looks like he’s almost back to his old ways. They lost to the Warriors by 10 points and just barely beat the Magic 104 to 103.
16. Detroit Pistons (13*): 22-21
The Pistons lost two of their games to both the Hornets and the Raptors this week. Andre Drummond has continued his potential All Star season but Avery Bradley has not been able to grow very much on the offensive side of the ball.
17. Washington Wizards (11*): 25-19
The Wizards lost to both the the Bucks and the Hornets this week, keeping them out of the top 10. With big performances from both Bradley Beal and John Wall in both games, the Wizards prove once again that they need another piece to become a truly dominant team.
18. Charlotte Hornets (21*): 18-25
With big wins over the Pistons and the Wizards the Hornets move up into the top 20. They continue to get solid contribution from Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
19. Phoenix Suns (18*): 16-29
The Suns lost to the Trail Blazers despite Devin Bookers 43-point performance. They also lost to the Pacers, who held Booker to just 15 points.
20. Denver Nuggets (24*): 23-21
Nikola Jokic had 29 points, and Gary Harris netted 25 points in the Nuggets win over Dallas, but they could not do the same against the Clippers who were coming off their emotional game against the Rockets.
21. New York Knicks (23*): 20-25
The Knicks continue their struggles with a loss against the Grizzlies, but they were able to beat the Nets on the backs of Kristaps Porzingis and Michael Beasley.
22. Utah Jazz (22*): 18-26
The Jazz lost to the Pacers, but managed to just barely etch out a win against the Kings.
23. Brooklyn Nets (20*): 16-29
Brooklyn lost to both the Knicks and the Spurs this week. They are eagerly waiting for the return of D’Angelo Russell.
24. Los Angeles Lakers (19*): 15-29
The Lakers are definitely feeling the brunt of Lonzo Ball’s absence. He and Brandon Ingram both didn’t play in the teams loss to the Thunder, but Ingram was active in their loss to Oklahoma City.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (28*): 15-28
The Grizzlies managed to beat both the Lakers and the Knicks despite the problems going on within the front office and the locker room.
26. Orlando Magic (27*): 13-32
The Magic beat the Timberwolves earlier in the week on the back of Evan Fournier who had a huge 32 point game, but they couldn’t find a way to beat the Cavs who beat them 104-103.
27. Dallas Mavericks (26*): 15-30
Dennis Smith Jr. continues to look like he’s starting to take the reins away from Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki as the Mavs lose their last two games to Denver and the Lakers.
28. Atlanta Hawks (30*): 13-31
The Hawks finally move out of that last place spot with big wins over the Spurs and the Pelicans.
29. Chicago Bulls (29*): 17-28
The Bulls lost to both the Warriors and the Heat as they continue their dismal attempt to claw out of the depths of the Eastern Conference.
30. Sacramento Kings (25*): 13-31
The Kings are still one of the most interesting teams in the league with huge age gaps within the locker room. They lost to both the Thunder and the Jazz to give them the 30 spot this week
Full article @ NBA power rankings: Celtics fall out of top spot
Source: GreenStreet Blog