NBA Power Rankings: Pacers, Clippers, Rockets race out in front

Paul George Pacers
Paul George and the Pacers are the only undefeated team in the NBA a week into the season. Credit: Getty Images

1. Pacers (4-0) – The only undefeated team heading into last night’s showdown with the Bulls, the Pacers have the type of balance that could, maybe, possibly, with luck, knock off the Heat down the road. Paul George just continues to get better and is averaging 27.0 points per game. Roy Hibbert and David West continue to dominate up front and Lance Stephenson is coming into his own. The Pacers are at Brooklyn this Saturday, which should be an intriguing early-season matchup.

2. Clippers (3-1) – It didn’t take long for Chris Paul and crew to rebound from their opening night loss to the Lakers. Paul looks like a legit MVP candidate under former point guard Doc Rivers as he is averaging 26.5 points and 13.3 assists per game. J.J. Redick looks like a fine addition, as he’s pumpin in 17.3 points per game.

3. Rockets (4-1) – Dwight Howard’s demeanor has changed (for now), as he looks determined to re-invent his image. But body language always takes a backseat to talent and in Monday night’s blowout loss to the Clippers, Howard scored just 13 points and had just nine rebounds.

4.Warriors (3-1) – Philly’s Evan Turner texted “You’re Next” to Andre Iguodala before the Warriors plowed through the Sixers, 110-90, at the Wells Fargo Center Monday. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are both averaging 20-plus points per game and David Lee is right behind at 19.8.

5. Timberwolves (3-1) – It’s easy to fall in love with Minnesota given Ricky Rubio’s flash on offense. But it’s what the T’Wolves did on defense last week against the Thunder which turned heads. They held Kevin Durant to just 4-of-11 shooting in a 100-81 win.

6. Thunder (2-1) – Oklahoma City had played just three games heading into last night’s home game against the Mavericks. This is a good time to mention that the West is already superior to the East, record-wise, as there were eight teams above .500 as of Wednesday in the West and just three teams above .500 in the East.

7. Mavericks (3-1) – The Mavs have dumped the Hawks, Grizzlies and Lakers so far this season. The early returns on Monta Ellis have been impressive as the guard is averaging a team-high 25.0 points per game. Dirk Nowitzki looks rejuvenated, scoring at a 20.3 clip.


8. Spurs (3-1) – The Spurs have no interest in November basketball, but nonetheless, they’re off to a 3-1 start with wins over the Grizzlies, Lakers and Nuggets. Tony Parker is picking up where he left off from last season, scoring 20.3 points per game.

9. 76ers (3-1) – That loss to the Warriors was a bit of a buzz-kill but it shouldn’t make Michael Carter-Williams any less fun to watch the rest of this season. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week was averaging 20.0 points and 7.8 assists heading into last night’s game against the Wizards.

10. Suns (3-1) – The early surprise out West, Phoenix is placing a ton of responsibility on guard Eric Bledsoe night-in and night-out. Bledsoe has responded well thus far, averaging 22.8 points per game and 7.8 assists. He sunk a game-winning 3-pointer against the Jazz last week.

11. Heat (3-2) – Is there a game this season where the champs aren’t on national TV? They’re at home against the Clippers tonight on TNT. This could prove to be a nightmare matchup for Miami, with Chris Paul vs. the Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole tag-team as an obvious vulnerability.

12. Nets (2-2) – As was seen last year in Boston, there are going to be ugly regular season losses for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They beat LeBron and the defending champs by one point at home last Friday but were blown out by Orlando 48 hours later.

13. Grizzlies (2-2) – They’ve lost a pair of roadies so far to the Spurs and Mavericks but beat the Pistons and Celtics at home. In other words, we know absolutely nothing so far about new head coach David Joerger and Memphis’ potential.

14. Cavaliers (2-2) – The Cavs made plenty of headlines on opening night when they upset the Nets. But then they turned around and lost to the Bobcats. Andrew Bynum is progressing as he gave the Cavs 10 points off the bench in a win over Minnesota.

15. Blazers (2-2) – Portland opened with a tough four-game schedule and made it through at .500. Now they can kick back and enjoy a back-to-back against the Kings and a visit to the Celtics next week.

16. Hawks (2-2) – The Hawks are no longer an average team with Josh Smith. They’re an average team without Josh Smith. Paul Millsap has been solid thus far, averaging 18. 5 points per game, but they still have the stench of a one-and-done playoff team.

17. Bobcats (2-2) – What do we have here? The playoffs could actually be a reality for Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, basically because the rest of the bottom half of the league is already in all-out tank mode.

18. Pistons (2-2) – On Pistons.com right now, the web site’s background is Chauncey Billups. Tradition rules in Detroit, and yes, Billups is actually giving Detroit minutes, but Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond are the true reasons why Detroit could put a scare into a few of the big players in the East.

19. Magic (2-2) – Jameer Nelson is the only notable holdover from the Dwight Howard era, but Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson and Victor Oladipo give the Magic an exciting mix.

20. Raptors (2-2) – Quick, who is the Raptors’ leading scorer? If you guessed Rudy Gay, you’d be wrong. DeMar DeRozan is off to a fine start for Toronto, averaging 20.5 points per game.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.