NBA Power Rankings (January 13-26)
(All stats through Saturday’s games)
(Last week’s rank and change are in parentheses)
1. Indiana Pacers (1, NC): Nothing new to see here, folks. The Pacers continue to dominate the league in an orderly fashion, allowing just 87.9 points per game to their opponents. Danny Granger has been a welcome addition, averaging 10.7 points in 24.5 minutes over his last seven games.
2. San Antonio Spurs (4, +2): All the Spurs know how to do is win games. Whether they’re at home (14-5) or on the road (14-3), they usually come out victorious. Tony Parker scored 25 points while dishing out 7 assists in their win over Dallas on Wednesday – hopefully a sign that he is coming out of his season-long slump.
3. Portland Trailblazers (2, -1): The Blazers shocked everyone to start the season, but now it’s just becoming status quo in the Pacific Northwest. All 15 members of the team practiced as a whole for the first time all season this week, and a healthy Portland team makes them even scarier.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (5, +1): The loss of All-Star Russell Westbrook really hurts, but that’s no load Kevin Durant can’t shoulder. In the nine games since Westbrook’s injury, Durant has averaged 34.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Westbrook’s timetable has him returning after the February 16th All-Star Game, but he’s already ditched his crutches and has been seen shooting free throws in practice. The Thunder are just 5-4 since losing their point guard on Dec. 25th.
5. Golden State Warriors (7, +2): The Warriors have won 11 of their last 12 games and are finally hitting their stride offensively, averaging 103.9 points and shooting 46 percent as a team during that span. Stephen Curry (23.0 points, 9.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 3.1 three-pointers) is making his way to the front of the MVP race.
6. Miami Heat (3, -3): There isn’t too much to worry about in Miami from a regular season standpoint, but the Heat need to be a big concerned heading into the playoffs. Between Dwyane Wade’s knee and back issues and Chris Bosh’s inconsistency, the Heat are starting to look a bit mortal.
7. Los Angeles Clippers (8, +1): Darren Collison has done everything right since replacing the injured Chris Paul. The former UCLA Bruin has averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists in the four games since CP3 went down with a separated shoulder. More importantly, the Clips came out victorious in three of those four games. They’re getting just a little help from Blake Griffin, too, who is clearly not from this planet. Griffin is averaging an otherworldly 25.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in the month of January, which has been highlighted by his 73 percent free-throw shooting.
8. Houston Rockets (6, -2): The Rockets have to be a bit concerned with their depth. Although they won two out of three this week without him, playing without Chandler Parsons exposed some weaknesses in their lineup. Their roster is very top heavy, and will have some depth at point guard when Patrick Beverley returns, but glaring holes at the backup small forward, power forward and center positions is something GM Daryl Morey will need to address prior to the NBA trade deadline.
9. Dallas Mavericks (9, NC): Vintage Dirk showed up on Saturday night. He scored 40 points on 15-of-16 free-throw shooting in the Mavs win over the Pelicans. The 35-year-old continues to play at the level of a 27-year-old, averaging 21.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in his 16th NBA season.
10. Denver Nuggets (11, +1): It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster season in Denver. The Nuggets have had a winning streak of seven games, an eight-game losing streak and have now followed up that losing streak with a five-game winning streak. They’ll need to be more consistent to contend for a playoff spot in the West, but Ty Lawson is doing everything in his power to make sure they get there, averaging 17.8 points and 11.8 assists, including four double-doubles during those last five wins.