For NBA fans, it’s been a rather eventful week. For starters, LeBron James has gone an absolute rampage while the Spurs’ have managed to stay ahead despite losing their entire big three at one point. After the Raptors’ blockbuster trade for Rudy Gay the Grizzlies, Pistons and Raps are coming to terms with their new reality. Meanwhile, Boston has from mediocre to dominant in Rondo’s absence.
1. San Antonio Spurs
The race to NBA superiority has mostly been a three-way race between the Spurs, Heat and Thunder. Despite Oklahoma’s godly margin of victory over the past few games and LeBron James’ even more godly performance, San Antonio takes the cake. They’ve gone 13-1 over the past month and easily handled the Chicago Bulls on the road yesterday night despite the absence of their big three. Time will tell if this team can eventually stay healthy but regardless of injury issues, Pop has added yet another great season under his belt.
2. Miami Heat
LeBron James has done nothing but solidify his case for MVP. With the Miami Heat sitting at the number one spot in the Eastern Conference, James has been nothing if not dominant. He’s put together a +30 point streak over the past five games, supplemented by his 71% shooting from the field and 60% from beyond the arc. Not to mention, Miami hasn’t lost a game since the beginning of the month. Oh, and albeit a small sample size, the Heat are 7-1 when Chris Anderson plays.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
In the most classic of classic bounce-back weeks, the Oklahoma City Thunder won four
straight. They obliterated the Suns by 100 points, took their revenge against the Golden State Warriors and all the while they steered clear of Russell Westbrook related issues. With both teams rolling, Thursday’s match-up between the Thunder and the Heat is bound to be electric.
4. Denver Nuggets
With the Celtics and Nuggets facing off this Sunday, both dawning the NBA’s largest winning streaks, one of these unlikely group of hero’s was bound to go down. It took the Boston 3 OT’s on their home floor, but they did manage to snap Denver’s nine game winning streak. The Nuggets are faster than pretty much every team in the NBA, and the chemistry that George Karl has intertwined between these guys seems to hold a shade of ‘ubuntu’. By the way, they’re the third best home team in the league.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers haven’t exactly been at the top of their game lately, but lucky for them, Chris Paul is back and he’s looking healthy. Save for his return, a blowout loss against Miami, in which CP3 was rusty to say the least, he’s been back to his dominant self. The Clips have won their past two games and with Blake Griffin back, they seem to rounding out at exactly the right time of the year. They’ll play their next five games at home, if you’re willing to call an away game against the Lakers what it really is (cue to a “There can only be one” promo featuring Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant).
6. New York Knicks
Not even Carmelo Anthony could save the Knicks from the embarrassing effort they put forth against the Clippers this Sunday, which solidified their place as just outside of this week’s top five. Which is not a bad place to be for a team that plays lacklustre defense and relies on unsustainable three-point shooting to win games. Lucky for them, they’ll be heading into the All-Star Weekend following a home match-up against the new-look Toronto Raptors.
7. Memphis Grizzlies
Since Ed Davis and Tayshaun Prince have made their debuts, the Grizzlies’ have been 3-2. While this isn’t exactly a dominating 5 game stretch, the important part is that they’ve gained more and more continuity as each game has passed. With Denver right at their heels though, they’d better keep on keepin’ on with that stifling defense.
8. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers’ had their five game winning streak snapped by a Rudy Gay game-winner last Friday, and since then they’ve taken another loss to the Nets, surrendering the first spot in the Central Division back to the rival Chicago Bulls. Paul George is headed towards Houston this weekend while Danny Granger seems to be on his way back, so it isn’t all bad in Indiana.
9. Houston Rockets
The divide between the Rockets and the Warriors would be a lot easier to gauge if we could get a preview into tonight’s match-up between them, but for now the Beard has kept his team on top. If the Warriors can get revenge for the way the Rockets insulted their defense last week, things may change. Houston has both allowed and scored over 100 points for their past five games. Luckily, they’re an offensive juggernaut and have come out victorious all but once.
10. Golden State Warriors
Ah, the Golden State Warriors. After winning four straight games and warming the hearts of NBA junkies everywhere while simultaneously causing fury for Stephen Curry’s All-Star snub, they’ve managed to do a complete 180 and drop four games in a row. Over that stretch, their defense has dropped to 16th in the league. Mama, there goes that first-round homecourt advantage!
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