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NBA Power Rankings: Grizzlies, Blazers, Raptors climb

Andre Iguodala and the Warriors sit atop this week's NBA power rankings.Getty Images

1. Golden State Warriors (22-3, Previous: 1) - Had their 16-game winning streak snapped by the Grizzlies last week, but responded with a win over the Thunder (though Kevin Durant couldn't play in the second half due to injury). Still, this is the team to beat.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (21-6, Previous: 4) - Two straight losses for the Griz after a triple-overtime thriller over the Spurs. Zach Randolph is dealing with a sore knee, but it doesn't appear serious. He's the heart and soul of their team.

3. Portland Trail Blazers (22-6, Previous: 5) - The Blazers are 3-0 since losing Robin Lopez to a broken hand. But with the starting center sidelined for close to six weeks, a team that relies heavily on its starters takes a big hit.

4. Toronto Raptors (22-6, Previous: 6) - The Raptors unveiled a new team logo last week, and the basketball-dribbling dinosaur will be no more. Whatever. Just keep winning games.

5. Houston Rockets (19-7, Previous: 3) - Four double-doubles in four games since Dwight Howard returned, but the Rockets are just 2-2 in those games. They went 8-3 in his absence. Now he's got a sore shoulder, but it looks like he's going to play through it.

6. Dallas Mavericks (20-8, Previous: 7) - The addition of Rajon Rondo makes this Mavericks team an absolute title contender. But it probably won't happen overnight. Adding a player like Rondo will take some getting used to on the court.

7. Los Angeles Clippers (19-8, Previous: 8) - It's rare that a team as talented as the Clippers, and in a major market, goes under the radar like this. Wins on the road at San Antonio and at Atlanta - and then at home vs. the Warriors on Christmas - could change that.

8. San Antonio Spurs (17-11, Previous: 2) - Four losses in a row for the Spurs, including two - two! - triple OT losses in a row to the Grizzlies and Blazers. That had Pop sitting his guys against the Mavs, their fourth straight loss. Rough week.

9. Atlanta Hawks (19-7, Previous: 13) - One of the pleasant surprises this season, the Hawks have won 12 of their last 13 games, with a buzzer-beating, one-point loss to the Magic - the only thing breaking up the winning streak. Their last three wins have been on the road in Houston, on the road in Cleveland (by 29 points!) and at home against Chicago.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-10, Previous: 9) - Good win for the Cavs against the Grizzlies on Sunday, though Zach Randolph didn't suit up. A key note in that win: Dion Waiters scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. They've been waiting for Waiters to heat up.

11. Phoenix Suns (15-14, Previous: 11) - After losing six games in a row, the Suns appear to have righted the ship with three straight wins. They'll have a big test on Tuesday when the Mavericks come to town. They beat Dallas pretty good back on Dec. 5, but this is now a different Dallas team.

12. Washington Wizards (19-7, Previous: 10) - Had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Suns on Sunday, and Paul Pierce is looking for his team to "build on great habits." They're capable of playing even better.

13. Chicago Bulls (17-9, Previous: 12) - Big win for the Bulls over the Grizzlies last Friday, but they've got a tough back-to-back starting Monday at home against the Raptors and then on the road in Washington. These would be huge wins for them.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (13-15, Previous: 16) - Have been rolling since Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook returned, but Durant is now dealing with a sprained ankle. They should continue to win once he returns.

15. Miami Heat (13-15, Previous: 14) - Sunday's Celtics-Heat game was sad. It seems like just yesterday it was one of the bigger rivalries in the NBA. Now? Tyler Zeller and Luol Deng led their respective teams in scoring.

16. New Orleans Pelicans (14-13, Previous: 15) - If they put every player back in the NBA Draft, I'm fairly confident in saying that Anthony Davis would be the No. 1 overall pick, no matter which NBA team it was. He's that good.

17. Denver Nuggets (12-15, Previous: 19) - Ty Lawson is tied for the league lead in assists per game with 10.7. He continues to be one of the more underrated point guards in the NBA. He's not enough to get Denver a playoff spot in a stacked West.

18. Sacramento Kings (12-15, Previous: 18) - Nobody really understands or can justify why they fired their coach, Mike Malone, after a fairly decent start to the season. At least they have DeMarcus Cousins back.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (14-14, Previous: 17) - Doomsday scenario for the Bucks as their first-round pick and the future of their team Jabari Parker will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. These ACLs just aren't made the way they used to be.

20. Brooklyn Nets (11-15, Previous: 20) - The Nets are in sell mode now. Expect to see them part with their big names over the next month or so, which means they're probably not making the playoffs (and perhaps wouldn't have anyways).

21. Indiana Pacers (9-19, Previous: 21) - Jabari Parker is out for the year, the Nets are in sell mode, the Celtics traded their star. The East is making it easier for the Pacers to sneak into the playoffs. But will they get it together?

22. Boston Celtics (10-15, Previous: 22) - Well, the Celtics traded their best player last week in Rajon Rondo, so expect them to slide down the power rankings as the season goes on. Oh, and the standings too.

23. Orlando Magic (10-20, Previous: 23) - The Magic just lost to the Celtics, Jazz, and 76ers all in a row. I'm sorry, but that's actually hard to do. I'm not mad at them - I'm impressed.

24. Charlotte Hornets (8-19, Previous: 24) - It was nice to see the Hornets active in free agency, but if they go and trade their biggest acquisition (Lance Stephenson) after two months, it kind of ruins the whole point.

25. Los Angeles Lakers (8-19, Previous: 28) - Jeremy Lin said that he likes taking buzzer-beaters too. Bro, just stay outta Kobe's way, ya dig?

26. Utah Jazz (8-20, Previous: 25) - The Jazz had a season-high two-game wining streak going until an 18-point loss to the Bobcats. On Saturday, they'll host the Philadelphia 76ers in what experts are saying could set the NBA back decades.

27. New York Knicks (5-25, Previous: 27) - The Knicks play the Wizards in New York on Christmas Day at noon. It's going to take a Christmas miracle for New York to win that game.

28. Detroit Pistons (5-23, Previous: 26) - Josh Smith was having arguably the worst season of his career with the Pistons. Apparently things were SO bad that they straight up cut him. Embarrassing. Which team is going to bite?

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-21, Previous: 29) - Couldn't beat a Celtics team that had just traded away Rajon Rondo and didn't yet have the three players they got back in the deal. C'monnnn…

30. Philadelphia 76ers (3-23, Previous: 30) - Any time the 76ers win a game, it's news. They took down the Magic on Sunday to kick off a seven-game road trip. But we don't see good things in their future (Miami, Portland, Golden State, Phoenix, Clippers).

 
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