The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 11

A new week and a lot of movement in our Power Rankings. Is there a new number 1 after the Clippers stayed on top for the past 3 weeks? Are the Wizards still at the bottom of the list or has John Wall elevated their ranking?

The Thunder is back on top with a 4-game winning streak after that humbling loss to the Wizards and they own the best record in the league and best winning margin differential. The Clippers stumbled against the Magic but bounced back with 2 impressive wins without Chris Paul.

The Lakers are starting to win against teams that they should beat (Cavs & Bucks) even without Pau Gasol. Maybe a trade for Gasol is in the air that's why the Lakers wanna make sure that he is ready to play. They are still 3 spots behind the 8th spot and they have admitted that reaching the playoffs is the goal for now.

The Warriors, Grizzlies and Spurs have been up and down while the Nuggets are building up some steam with their 6-game win streak.

Over at the East, the Nets are the hottest team with a 7-game win streak and the Celtics up there with a 6-gamer while the Pacers have not been behind winning 5 of 6. The Heat and Knicks are both sputtering at the moment but they are still atop of the Leastern Conference.

The standings are current up to January 16, 2013. The rankings from last week refer to Week 10.

The Thunder with Kevin Durant leading the way dunked over the competition including
this nasty facial on Marcin Gortat of the Suns. 
KD is not nice.
(Image by: USA Today Sports)

1. Oklahoma City Thunder | 30-8 | Last Week: 2 | +1
Kevin Durant is not nice... on the court. He is averaging 36 points and shooting over 56% over the last 4 games, all wins. The Thunder did this without Serge Ibaka who has missed the last 2 games. Westbrook has been no slouch either: 24 points, 7 rebs and 8 assists in the last 5.

2. Los Angeles Clippers | 30-9 | Last Week: 1 | -1
The Clippers are winning without Chris Paul which shows how deep their bench is. Grant Hill also made his debut over the weekend. Chauncey Billups is still out. When Jamal Crawford leads them in scoring, they are 11-1. An argument can be made that Crawford should be an all-star

3. San Antonio Spurs | 29-11 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Spurs are having injury problems with Manu Ginobili again who will be out 2 weeks. That's okay as long as he's ready when the Spurs go on their annual Rodeo Road Trip which will be 9 games long in early February. Tim Duncan has slowed down in their last 5 games: 12 points and 9 rebounds.

4. Memphis Grizzlies | 24-12 | Last Week: 7 | +3
The Grizzlies went 2-2 last week winning versus the Spurs and Warriors then losing to the Clippers and Mavs. They are shooting around 43% as a team with Rudy Gay so trading him might be a bad idea unless they get an elite shooter in return since Gay is their only perimeter threat along with Conley.

5. Miami Heat | 24-12 | Last Week: 4 | -1
Another rebounding deficit, another road loss. They have lost 6 of 10 with tough games against the Warriors and Lakers who are good rebounding teams. Chris Bosh has been abysmal on the boards. He has managed only 1 game over 10 boards in the last month, a span of 16 games.

6. Golden State Warriors | 23-13 | Last Week: 5 | -1
The Warriors lost to the Grizzlies and Nuggets last week plus another tough stretch coming versus the Heat, Spurs and Clippers. David Lee is the only player to average about 20 and 10 this year. Steph Curry is 2nd with threes made. The Warriors are for real even without Bogut.

7. New York Knicks | 24-13 | Last Week: 6 | -1
The Knicks are sliding too, losing 3 of 4 to Eastern rivals before winning vs the Hornets. Their trip to London  gave them 2 games in a span of 1 week so there's plenty of rest for the old and injured. Felton is expected to be back in 10 days while Rasheed is still out.

8. Indiana Pacers | 24-15 | Last Week: 8 | Same
The Pacers are 1st in defense and rebounds. They are gaining on the Knicks and the Heat which they both beat last week. Danny Granger has yet to play but the emergence of Paul George (21 and 11 in the last 4) has made Granger expendable. George should be an all-star.

9. Denver Nuggets | 24-16 | Last Week: 12 | +3
The Nuggets have won 6 straight, making them the hottest team in the West. Wilson Chandler is back after missing 2 months and he played great in the 2 games since (14 points in 20 minutes). Ty Lawson is heating up with 19 points and 9 assists in the last 5 games.

10. Brooklyn Nets | 23-15 | Last Week: 13 | +4
The Nets are 9-1 under PJ Carlesimo and have won 7 straight. Brook Lopez is the best center in the East and should be an all-star. Joe Johnson has quietly picked up his scoring and is now the team's 2nd leading scorer. Gerald Wallace has not played in the last 2 with an injury.

11. Chicago Bulls | 21-15 | Last Week: 10 | -1
The Bulls held the Hawks to 58 points which was a franchise-record for them. The Bulls have been erratic in the past week going 2-2 with losses to the Bucks and Suns while winning versus the Hawks and Knicks. Joakim Noah has been their best player and should be an all-star.

12. Boston Celtics | 20-17 | Last Week: 17 | +5
The Celtics have won 6 straight and they are 6-1 since Avery Bradley came back from injury. They have not given up more than 100 in 7 games and they have held opponents to 86 a game. Bradley and Jeff Green have been helping the offense too with a combined 20 a game in the last 5 games.

13. Atlanta Hawks | 21-16 | Last Week: 11 | -2
The Hawks are 2-6 in January and scored only 58 vs the Bulls. Josh Smith is having one of his worst offensive seasons in a contract year. Smith made matters worse by getting thrown out of a practice and then getting suspended by the team. Smith could be on his way out via trade.

14. Houston Rockets | 21-18 | Last Week: 12 | -2
The Rockets have lost 4 straight after winning 5 straight. They are still 1st in scoring but also last in team defense and that has hurt them by giving up over 100 in 3 straight games to teams that dont score a lot like the Celtics and Sixers. Lin has cooled off in the last 4 games with 10 ppg.

15. Portland Trailblazers | 20-18 | Last Week: 14 | -1
The Blazers had a good win vs the Heat last week when they came back from a double-digit deficit. They need more of those wins to hold on to the 8th spot in the West. They dropped 3 straight after that win. LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 20 & 8 which places him with LBJ as the only 2 guys getting those stats.

16. Utah Jazz | 21-19 | Last Week: 18 | +2
The Jazz pounded the Heat on the glass and escaped with a quality win. The next 2 games are easy (Cavs & Wizards) so the Jazz can gain on the slumping Blazers. Big Al Jefferson has 4 double-doubles in the last 5 games while Millsap has been getting 17 & 9.

17. Milwaukee Bucks | 19-18 | Last Week: 16 | -1
The Bucks are 3-2 under new Coach Jim Boylan. They played well in their comeback win against the Raptors after being down 20 but they had a stinker vs the Pistons. Larry Sanders still leads the league in blocks (3.2) with only 25 minutes of action. Per 48 mins, that average goes to 6.2 blocks a game.

18. Los Angeles Lakers | 17-21 | Last Week: 19 | -1
Lakers finally won for 2013 but they are still 3 games behind the 8th spot and they need to jump over 3 teams which is the harder part. Dwight Howard has been amazing offensively in the last 2 games and he now leads the league in rebounds. Steve Nash is still deferring his shots too much though.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves | 16-19 | Last Week: 15 | -4
The T'wolves have lost 4 straight and are losing steam to make the playoffs. Kevin Love will be out until March and that was a big blow. Nik Pekovic (19 & 10 in the last 5) has been amazing without Love. They need Barea and Kirilenko to provide more if they want to make the 8th spot competitive.

20. Dallas Mavericks | 16-23 | Last Week: 21 | +1
The Mavs are making a quiet push for the 8th spot as well. They have won 3 straight and are 4.5 games behind the 8th spot. Dirk is not yet at peak condition (13 ppg) and OJ Mayo has yet to fully recover from his shooting slump. Darren Collison has played well in the last week.

21. Philadelphia 76ers | 16-23 | Last Week: 20 | -1
The Sixers are 2-6 in January and are losing ground to the 8th spot in the East. Jrue Holiday seems to be the only consistent player and would deserve a shot at the all-star team. Andrew Bynum has been rumored to be targeting a return by mid-February. The Sixers hope they still have a chance for the playoffs when that happens.

22. Toronto Raptors | 14-24 | Last Week: 22 | Same
If thehe Raptors want to realistically make the playoffs, they need to win games now (Bulls & Sixers) before facing the Lakers and Heat. They need to also see if Bargnani can be traded for something useful. Terrence Ross has been electrifying with his dunks.

23. Detroit Pistons | 14-24 | Last Week: 23 | Same
The Pistons are showing signs of life with a 5-2 record in their last 7. Monroe and Andre Drummond have been a powerful presence in the low post. Monroe had 4 double-doubles in the last 5 games while Drummond is getting 8 & 8 with 2.6 blocks in 21 minutes.

24. Sacramento Kings | 14- 24 | Last Week: 24 | Same
The Kings might move to Seattle next season while DeMarcus Cousins might get traded this season. Tyreke Evans has been rumored to be on the move as well due to his minor ailments and continual regression since winning ROY 3 years ago. Someone they should keep is Isaiah Thomas who can shoot all day long.

25. New Orleans Hornets | 12-26 | Last Week: 27 | +2
Eric Gordon is just averaging 17 points and 4 assists on 38% shooting but his presence has vaulted the Hornets to a 6-2 record in the 8 games that he has played. Greivis Vasquez has been very good too in the last 5 games: 17 points and 10 assists including 3 straight double-doubles.

26. Orlando Magic | 13-24 | Last Week: 26 | Same
The Magic snapped their losing streak with a comeback win against the Clippers on the road. They followed that up by getting mauled by the Wizards. Nikola Vucevic has had 7 straight games with double-doubles and is 4th in rebounding. He is the front-runner for Most Improved Player.

27. Phoenix Suns | 13-27 | Last Week: 25 | -2
The Suns won a game vs the Bulls on the road that snapped a 5-game losing streak. Jared Dudley  missed the last 2 games which gave Mike Beasley some extra minutes and he performed good enough with 17 points and 8.5 rebound in 23 minutes of action. Maybe they can find him more minutes if he performs that way.

28. Charlotte Bobcats | 9-29 | Last Week: 28 | Same
The Bobcats have lost 5 straight, 4 of which were double-digit beat downs. Byron Mullens has missed the last 3 weeks with an ankle injury and his return is uncertain. The Bobcats have a decent  backcourt with Gordon, Walker, Sessions and Anderson but upfront, they are clearly lacking on offense.

29. Cleveland Cavaliers | 9-31 | Last Week: 29 | Same
Anderson Varejao will be out for another 6 weeks. The Cavs dont know if they should trade him or not. Kyrie Irving is scoring 23 a game and might be an all-star if only the Cavs were winning more games. Dion Waiters has been shooting well of late including a 33-point explosion vs the Kings.

30. Washington Wizards | 7-28 | Last Week: 30 | Same
The Wizards have won 3 straight and 2 of those coincided with the return of John Wall. The only good news though is that they appear to be headed out of the basement and the Wizards will surely eclipse the futility mark of 11-71. The Beal and Wall backcourt seems fun to watch too.

Biggest Rise: Celtics +5
Biggest Fall: Timberwolves -4

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