The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 6

That was an eventful week of basketball! Lots of great match-ups that included a few NBA Finals preview games (Thunder-Pacers, Spurs-Pacers, Blazers-Pacers) and games between the bottom-feeders (Knicks-Nets, Magic-Knicks, Nets-Bucks). Someone needs to win even the crappy games, right?

The Black Mamba made his debut vs the Raptors but his team lost. Bryant had 8 turnovers as he tried to facilitate and do too much at times.

There was the trade involving Rudy Gay going to the Kings. This will be Gay's third team in less than a year. Will the Raptors be better without Gay or is this a sign that they will tank the season? As for the Kings, can Thomas and DMC share the ball with Rudy and vice versa?

Hero team of the week: Blazers thumped the Thunder and Pacers to continue leading the West.

Sucky team of the week: There's no magic in Orlando with their team losing 6 straight games then having more injuries (Vucevic, Harris).

The standings are current up to December 10, 2013 and the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 5.

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LaMarcus Aldridge has guided Portland to the top spot in the West.
(Image from: USA Today)

1. Portland Trailblazers | 18-4 | Last Week: 4 | +3
The Blazers are firing on all cylinders. They are 2nd in team offense and have won 5 of 6 games including impressive wins over the Thunder and Pacers. They were a buzzer-beater away from having a perfect week. LaMarcus Aldridge has risen as a viable MVP candidate with his stellar play.

2. Indiana Pacers | 18-3 | Last Week: 1 | -1
The Pacers finished a grueling 5-game Western road trip at 3-2 with a blowout win in San Antonio and a blowout loss from OKC on the next night. They are still tops in least points allowed and remain perfect at home (9-0). They face the hated rivals, Miami Heat this week at home.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder | 15-4 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Thunder have won 10 of 11 games and they are the other undefeated team at home (10-0). They blasted the Pacers at home in a possible NBA Finals preview. Durant is doing his thing again in leading the league in scoring. Serge Ibaka is having career-high numbers in points and rebounds.

4. Miami Heat | 16-5 | Last Week: 2 | -2
The Heat only lost 3 games at home last season but has 2 losses after 11 home games. Their rebounding woes (-34 on the glass) continued with 2 losses against sub-500 teams. The injury problems of Dwyane Wade continue to be their main concern: 3-3 without Wade.

5. San Antonio Spurs | 15-4 | Last Week: 4 | -1
Quiet week for the Spurs (1-1) due to the postponed game in Mexico. They got blitzed by Indiana at home but have 4 straight games against sub-500 teams before facing the Clippers and Suns. Tim Duncan produced a rare 23-21 game vs the Hawks and you wonder how many more he has left.

6. Houston Rockets | 15-7 | Last Week: 6 | Same
The Rockets are tops in rebounds and points scored. James Harden is heating up in his last 5 games (29 ppg). Howard punished his ex-team, Orlando with 20 points and 22 boards plus a win. Terrence Jones has quietly transformed into a reliable starter: career-high 6 double-doubles already.

7. Denver Nuggets | 13-8 | Last Week: 7 | Same
The Nuggets finished their 6-game road trip at 4-2 including a win vs the Wizards without Ty Lawson. They have a balanced attach with 6 players scoring in double figures (tied for most in NBA). Wilson Chandler is starting to play better (last 5 games: 11 ppg and 7 rpg).

8. Los Angeles Clippers | 14-8 | Last Week: 8 | Same
Coach Doc Rivers blasted his team after a loss and labeled them "pouting" especially after a lack of defense. They have been a mediocre defensive unit (19th) and that must improve if they want to challenge the elite teams in the West. Willie Green has been subpar as a replacement for Redick (7 ppg).

9. Dallas Mavericks | 13-9 | Last Week: 9 | Same
The Mavs escaped with 2 close wins versus the Pelicans and Blazers (Monta Ellis buzzer-beater) then followed that up with a blowout loss to the Kings. DeJuan Blair is averaging 17.1 rebounds per 48 mins (6th). Surprise stat for the Mavs: Ellis leads them in assists.

10. Phoenix Suns | 11-9 | Last Week: 12 | +2
The Suns continue to surprise with big wins over contenders. They have beaten the Blazers twice and Rockets once. The backcourt combo of Bledsoe and Dragic has been very good. The Morris twins are not bad either (combined: 23 points and 11 rebounds).

11. Golden State Warriors | 12-10 | Last Week: 10 | -1
The Dubs are struggling on the road at 6-8 and are 4-5 without Iguodala. Steph Curry erupted for 43 points at his old stomping grounds in Charlotte but the Warriors gave up 115 in a loss to a poor offensive team (Bobcats). David Lee's numbers are a tad below from what he averaged last season.

12. Atlanta Hawks | 11-10 | Last Week: 13 | +1
Kyle Korver has made a three in 90 straight games which is the new NBA record. That's a nice story for the Hawks who have been average but still 3rd in a weak East. Paul Millsap has picked up his game lately with 3 double-doubles in his last 5 games.

13. Los Angeles Lakers | 10-10 | Last Week: 14 | +1
Kobe Bryant looked old and rusty in his first game back but the important part is that he is back. Kobe has one more game (Suns) to prepare for the Thunder and 2 weeks before his Christmas showdown with LeBron and the Heat. Steve Nash could be back as early as next week too.

14. Memphis Grizzlies | 10-10 | Last Week: 15 | +1
Zach Randolph is back after missing 2 games with a toe injury. In his 3 games since, Z-Bo is only averaging 13 points and 9 boards. More importantly, the Grizzlies are 1-2 in that span. Kosta Koufos has been a suitable filler for Marc Gasol. Koufos has 3 double-doubles in his last 5 games (12 and 12).

15. Charlotte Bobcats | 10-11 | Last Week: 18 | +3
The Bobcats scored a season-high 115 in beating the Warriors. Al Jefferson narrowly missed getting his 5th straight double-double by just 1 rebound. The Bobcats are way ahead of their win total from last season (21-61). MKG is expected to miss 4-6 weeks from a broken hand.

16. Boston Celtics | 10-12 | Last Week: 22 | +6
The Celtics have won 3 straight and they look to stretch that streak to 4 maybe 5 games when they play the Nets and Clippers this week. The Celtics will be energized to face former teammates (Pierce, KG, Terry) and old coach Doc Rivers. The Celtics have a 1.5 games lead over the Raptors for the Atlantic division.

17. Detroit Pistons | 10-11 | Last Week: 20 | +3
The Pistons have won 4 of 5 with wins over Miami and Chicago. Andre Drummond is a beast, averaging 15 points and 14 rebounds on 62% shooting over his past 10 games. Dre is currently 10th in PER, better than Dirk, LaMarcus and Melo. Pistons have injury issues with Billups, Stuckey and Will Bynum.

18. New Orleans Pelicans | 9-10 | Last Week: 16 | -2
Ryan Anderson has filled in nicely as a starter since Anthony Davis got injured. Anderson is averaging 24 points and 8 rebounds in the 3 games as a starter. The Pelicans will need more from their trio of guards (Evans, Holiday, Gordon) to compensate for the move of Anderson from the bench to a starter.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves | 9-11 | Last Week: 11 | -8
The T'wolves have lost 5 of 6 including one vs the Heat without Kevin Love. They're struggling shooting as a team even with shooters like Love (44%) and Martin (42%). As a team, they are ranked 27th in FG% while 26th in 3PT% shooting. Only Nik Pekovic is shooting over 50%.

20. Washington Wizards | 9-11 | Last Week: 17 | -3
The Wizards lost 2 close games to fall below .500 again. Luckily, they play in the East so they are still in the thick of things when it comes to a playoff berth. John Wall is on a hot streak with career-highs in points (19.6) and assists (9.2). Rookie Otto Porter is still scoreless in 2 games played.

21. Chicago Bulls | 8-10 | Last Week: 19 | -2
The Bulls pounded the Heat for a convincing win without Rose or Butler. They are now 2-5 without D-Rose who talked to the media last week and did NOT rule out a chance to play in the playoffs, granted that the Bulls make it there. Luol Deng is averaging over 27 points since D-Rose got injured.

22. Toronto Raptors | 7-12 | Last Week: 21 | -1
The Raptors managed to trade Rudy Gay's ridiculous contract which translated into a salary dump but not necessarily an obvious sign of tanking the season. The Raps welcomed back Kobe Bryant with an impressive win at Staples Center. Amir Johnson torched the Lakers with a career-high 32 points.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers | 7-13 | Last Week: 26 | +3
Kyrie Irving is having a disappointing season with just below 20 per game and below 40% shooting. Kyrie went scoreless for the first time in his career versus the Hawks in a loss. On the other hand, his buddy Tristan Thompson is ballin' with 3 double-doubles in his last 5 games.

24. Philadelphia 76ers | 7-15 | Last Week: 24 | Same
Only injuries will prevent MCW from winning the ROY award. So far, he has missed 7 games due to various injuries. Tony Wroten has provided sufficient production including back-to-back 20 point games. Spencer Hawes is having career-highs in rebounds, points and threes.

25. Sacramento Kings | 6-13 | Last Week: 27 | +2
The Kings traded for Rudy Gay and gave up Grievis Vasquez which means Isaiah Thomas will now start. Thomas debuted as a starter with 24 points and 12 assists in a win. New acquisition, Derrick Williams rewarded the Kings with a career-high 31 points on 12-16 shooting.

26. Brooklyn Nets | 6-14 | Last Week: 25 | -1
Rookie coach Jason Kidd demoted his lead assistant Lawrence Frank because they were clashing. The Nets are a mess and multiple injuries are not helping them as well. The blowout loss to the Knicks in Brooklyn might have been the lowest point of the season. Who here predicted that the Celtics would be better than Nets?

27. New York Knicks | 5-14 | Last Week: 30 | +3
The Knicks won 2 straight blowout games vs the Nets (+30) and Magic (+38) then lost by 41 to the Celtics at MSG! They are 2-8 at home which is tied for last with the Bucks. Everyone is struggling right now except Carmelo and Bargnani. Tyson Chandler is practicing again so he could be back very soon.

28. Orlando Magic | 6-15 | Last Week: 23 | -5
The Magic has the longest losing streak at 6 straight defeats and Nic Vucevic continues to miss games with a sprain. Even Tobias Harris does not have a return date from his high ankle sprain. Oladipo cooled down after having a triple-double vs the Sixers. His last 3 games: 11 points, 6 boards, 2 assists.

29. Milwaukee Bucks | 4-16 | Last Week: 28 | -1
Khris Middleton had a career-high 29 points while John Henson had 19 and 17 in a win vs the Wizards. John Henson has been their most consistent player with OJ Mayo and Brandon Knight providing erratic play over the past 10 games. Caron Butler will be out for another week or two.

30. Utah Jazz | 4-19 | Last Week: 29 | -1
Utah promptly dropped 4 straight after winning 2 straight games ten days ago. They have 6 guys averaging more than 10 a game but they are 28th in team scoring while giving 10 more points on defense (25th). Rookie Trey Burke is playing well (13 ppg, 4 apg).  

Biggest Jump of the Week: Celtics +6

Biggest Drop of the Week: T'wolves -8

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