The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 5

The Spurs and Blazers had their 11-game winning streaks snapped which leaves the Heat with the current longest streak at 10 games. The Pacers and and Thunder aren't far behind with 7 straight wins. Meanwhile, the Knicks are going the other way with 9 straight losses including 7 straight at Madison Square Garden.

The East is very awful right now with only Indiana and Miami above 0.500 while the 6-10 Raptors are leading the pathetic Atlantic Division which results in an undeserved playoff spot.

The West is stronger than ever with 12 teams at least 0.500 or better while the 8th spot GSW (10-8) would be the 3rd best team in the East.

Hero team of the week: OKC impressed last week with 3 quality wins over contenders in the West (Spurs, Warriors, T'wolves)

Sucky team of the week: The Knicks are tied for last-place in the Leastern Conference with 9 straight losses.

The standings are current up to December 2, 2013 and the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 4.

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Russell Westbrook made a phenomenal game-winner vs the Warriors.
OKC has won 7 straight since they lost to the Dubs 3 weeks ago.
(Image from: USA Today)
1. Indiana Pacers | 16-1 | Last Week: 3 | +2
Indy has won 7 straight and escaped vs the Clippers with strong games from Paul George and David West. They have 4 games left on a Western road trip that will have them face the elite of the West (Spurs, Blazers & Thunder) before facing the Heat on Dec 10. Lance Stephenson has been playing well of late.

2. Miami Heat | 14-3 | Last Week: 4 | +2
LeBron James leads the league in PER and is shooting 60% (2nd) from the field. Michael Beasley has been a success so far and is 4th in team scoring. Chris Bosh struggled all week long including a 4-point game vs the Raptors before exploding with 22 points vs the Bobcats including 3 straight treys to win the game.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder | 12-3 | Last Week: 5 | +2
Russell Westbrook had 34 points and hit one of the best game-winners of the season vs the Warriors to avenge a 1-point lose 3 weeks ago. OKC then pounded the T'wolves with a come from behind win carried by Kevin Durant's insane triple-double (32 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals).

4. Portland Trailblazers | 14-3 | Last Week: 2 | -2
The Blazers have won 9 of 10 and are tied with the Spurs atop the West. Robin Lopez is playing well and providing good defense (3 double-doubles in last 5 games). Nic Batum flirted with a triple-double vs the Lakers and is playing excellent all-around ball (career-highs in rebounds, assists, steals).

5. San Antonio Spurs | 14-3 | Last Week: 1 | -4
The Spurs have lost 2 of 3 after winning 11 straight. They are still tops in assists and 2nd in team defense and winning margin (Pacers 1st at both). Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have not been able to duplicate their success in last season's NBA Finals. Their numbers are somewhat down compared to the Finals.

6. Houston Rockets | 13-5 | Last Week: 7 | +1
The Rockets won 3 games without Harden and they have won 5 straight. Jeremy Lin will be out for 2 weeks but Aaron Brooks and Patrick Beverley have picked up the slack. Terrence Jones continues to play well as a starter (13 and 9 in his past 5). Dwight Howard is now at 54% from the FT line.

7. Denver Nuggets | 10-6 | Last Week: 15 | +8
The Nuggets have won 6 straight including quality wins vs the Bulls, Mavs (twice) and the T'wolves. Nate Robinson has been hot lately with 16 ppg on 56% shooting. Kenneth Faried has picked up his game with 3 double-doubles in the past 5 games but a quad injury has slowed him down a little bit.\

8. Los Angeles Clippers | 12-6 | Last Week: 6 | -2
JJ Redick has an injured hand/wrist which could sideline him for 2 months. That's a big blow to the Clippers who still won't have Matt Barnes for at least another week. Lucky for them, they have Jamal Crawford who can light it up real quick. Meanwhile, Chris Paul is only missed 1 game from a hamstring injury.

9. Dallas Mavericks | 10-8 | Last Week: 8 | -1
The Mavs had a 17-point lead in the 4th but lost to the Hawks due to a Horford jumper. Overall, they have dropped 4 of 5 but still clinging to a playoff spot. Monta Ellis continues to lead them in scoring while being efficient at the same time. Jose Calderon is day-to-day with an ankle injury.

10. Golden State Warriors | 10-8 | Last Week: 10 | Same
Without Iguodala, the Warriors were unable to beat the Thunder. They are 2-3 in the 5 games that Iggy missed. Harrison Barnes has stepped up scoring but his rebounds and defense needs major improvement. The Splash Brothers are once again ranked 1 and 2 in treys made.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves | 9-10 | Last Week: 11 | Same
Kevin Love leads the NBA in rebounds and double-doubles but the T'wolves have struggled lately going 2-6 in their last 8 games after a 7-4 start. Ricky Rubio is still shooting horribly from the field (37%) while his backup, JJ Barea isn't that much better at 40%.

12. Phoenix Suns | 9-8 | Last Week: 12 | Same
Eric Bledsoe has played the last 2 games off the bench (16 points, 2 assists) after missing 6 games while the Suns went 3-3 without him. Goran Dragic has been amazing (22 and 10 in the last 5 games) while Gerald Green has been solid so coach Jeff Hornacek has decided to stick with them for now.

13. Atlanta Hawks | 9-9 | Last Week: 9 | -4
Lou Williams made his first start this season (12 points, 2 assists) since Kyle Korver missed 3 games due to bruised ribs. Williams missed the 2nd game of a back-to-back to ease his knees in recovering. Meanwhile, Korver still has his 3-point streak intact at 88 games which is one game away from tying the record.

14. Los Angeles Lakers | 9-9 | Last Week: 17 | +3
Kobe Bryant could be back playing as early as Friday and the Lakers have managed to keep in playoff contention without him. Their bench is tops in points due to fine performances by Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar and Robert Sacre. Some bad news: Pau Gasol is bothered by ankle problems.

15. Memphis Grizzlies | 8-8 | Last Week: 13 | -2
The Grizzlies have lost 3 of 4 and are 1-2 without Marc Gasol. The best-case scenario is to have him back after 4 weeks. Kosta Koufos is doing an excellent job as their starting center (8 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks). Zach Randolph has not upped his play yet even without Gasol.

16. New Orleans Pelicans | 8-8 | Last Week: 16 | Same
The Pelicans lost Anthony Davis to a hand injury but still beat the Knicks due to a monster game from Ryan Anderson. The Pellies still don't know how long Davis will be out. He is 2nd in PER and tops in blocks. Davis struggled with various injuries last season and hopefully that won't happen this year.

17. Washington Wizards | 8-9 | Last Week: 22 | +5
The Wizards have won 4 of 5 games and John Wall has been their leader (23 points, 9 assists) especially with Bradley Beal out for 2 weeks due to a leg injury similar to what he had last season. Marcin Gortat is proving to be a great acquisition (17 and 10 in his last 5 games).

18. Charlotte Bobcats | 8-10 | Last Week: 14 | -4
The Bobcats almost beat the Heat and had a 14-point lead in the 4th. They are 3rd in team defense and improved by 11 points less compared to last season which puts them best among those who improved. They are also 8-2 when shooting more FTs than their opponents.

19. Chicago Bulls | 7-8 | Last Week: 18 | -1
The Bulls are 5-0 at home but a dismal 2-8 on the road including a 1-5 circus road trip that also gave them the season-ending injury to Derrick Rose. On the bright side, rookie Tony Snell has been very good as a starter and Taj Gibson has picked up his scoring in his last 2 games.

20. Detroit Pistons | 7-10 | Last Week: 21 | +1
Andre Drummond had a monster game of 31 points, 19 boards and 6 steals on 12-15 shooting in a win vs the Sixers. Guess who leads the Pistons in scoring? Rodney Stuckey leads them at 16 ppg and Stuckey leads the East in points off the bench.

21. Toronto Raptors | 6-10 | Last Week: 19 | -2
The Raptors have lost 3 straight and still lead the terrible Atlantic Division. DeMar DeRozan has played terrific ball in his last 5 games (23 points, 6 boards) while big man Jonas Valanciunas has been very inconsistent in his past 5 games (2 double-doubles but only 15 points total in the other 3 games).

22. Boston Celtics | 7-12 | Last Week: 23 | +1
Jordan Crawford had a quiet triple-double with 11, 11 and 10 vs the Cavs in a win. Jared Sullinger has been their best two-way player as he leads them in plus/minus. Rajon Rondo was seen winning running drills and even dunking in practice. He could be back very soon to help the Celtics make a push or get traded.

23. Orlando Magic | 6-10 | Last Week: 25 | +2
Jameer Nelson injured his foot and is day-to-day. Victor Oladipo has remained a starter and has been solid in his past 5 games (15, 4, 4). Tobias Harris has only played 1 game this season which was last week. He then followed that up with 3 more missed games. His high ankle sprain is starting to worry the Magic.

24. Philadelphia 76ers | 6-12 | Last Week: 20 | -4
Spencer Hawes is back after missing 2 games but the Sixers still lost 4 straight. They are last in points allowed and gave up an average of 110 points in their past 4 losses. MCW is the only player averaging 3 steals per gae. He still leads the ROY race but Oladipo is gaining steam.

25. Brooklyn Nets | 5-12 | Last Week: 28 | +3
The Nets are 2-2 in their last 4 and that's already a big improvement  in their record. Coach Jason Kidd has dominated the headlines with his dropped drink tactic which resulted in a $50K fine and a loss. Brook Lopez is finally back playing but Deron Williams is still day-to-day.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers | 5-12 | Last Week: 26 | Same
Andrew Bynum had his best game in 2 years with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in a crucial win over the Bulls. The Cavs have been a disappointment so far because people thought they could be a playoff team (me included). Their #1 pick Anthony Bennett has received a couple of DNP-CDs.

27. Sacramento Kings | 4-11 | Last Week: 24 | -3
The Kings have lost 4 straight games with 3 of them being close games including 2 winnable games vs the Clippers. Their recent acquisition, Derrick Williams from the T'wolves has played okay in his first two games with the Kings ( 8 points, 7 rebounds).

28. Milwaukee Bucks | 3-13 | Last Week: 29 | +1
John Henson had a double-double in a win vs the Celtics that snapped 11 straight losses for the Bucks. Their franchise worst is 15 straight losses in 1996. OJ Mayo has been struggling with his shot, just 11 points on 39% shooting in the past 5 games.

29. Utah Jazz | 3-15 | Last Week: 30 | +1
They have won 2 of 3 but their next 3 games will be vs the Rockets, Blazers and Pacers. Gordon Hayward has struggled with his offense: last 10 games, 14 ppg on 31% shooting. Trey Burke is still shooting a bad percentage but he has scored at least 13 points in his last 3 games.

30. New York Knicks | 3-13 | Last Week: 27 | -3
Knicks have lost 9 straight and 7 straight at home. Their best chance of ending their losing streak is coming up with 5 straight games versus sub-500 teams. It starts with a showdown versus the Nets. Amare has been very ineffective in his 20 minutes of action. Those minutes should be given to MWP for a different look.  

Biggest Jump of the Week: Nuggets +8

Biggest Drop of the Week: Three teams tied at -4

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6 Comment

What's up with the Knicks? Carmelo Anthony not doing it for them?


Just not clicking. Melo still has to show how good a leader he can be.


major part of the problem for knicks is tyson chandler. he erases a lot of defensive problems (more minutes for him, less for amare n kmart) plus he is a great defensive anchor


It's still the "old" boys doing it for the Spurs. And as you mentioned, Leonard and Green aren't in their finals form yet. It's a plus for the Spurs then.


This is funny, 1 and 2 both east, then 3 to 16 all west, haha,


If the East continues to suck, the NBA should consider fixng the playoff berths. Why penalize the lakers or grizzlies for playing n a tougher and better West!?