Records through Jan. 8
1. Los Angeles Clippers (27-8, previous No. 1) – The two-game slide is a thing of the past as the Clippers beat the “other” team from L.A. and then get revenge on the Warriors over the weekend. California is theirs – as is the rest of the NBA.
2. Miami Heat (23-9, previous No. 4) – Thunder take notice (see below): Miami closed out Washington with a 21-0 run in the 4th quarter on Sunday. It’s looking more and more like the Heat-stern Conference and not the Eastern Conference every week. OK, that was bad, but you get the idea.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (26-8, previous No. 2) – The Thunder lost in stunning fashion to the Wizards Monday night. Luckily for OKC though, they won’t have to face Washington in the NBA Finals. Like, ever. Consider it a glitch in the matrix.
4. San Antonio Spurs (27-10, previous No. 3) – According to Elias, Tim Duncan has the highest personal winning percentage (.715) among 105 players in NBA history who have played in at least 1,000 games. But a loss to Eric Gordon and the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans?) Monday night won’t help it.
5. Golden State Warriors (22-11, previous No. 5) – Warriors ownership says that Andrew Bogut (ankle) is “coming along really well”, but we’ll see sooner or later. Either way, it looks like shipping Monta Ellis out of town was the right idea.
6. New York Knicks (23-11, previous No. 6) – I’m going to watch what I say here simply because Carmelo Anthony could be reading this and I don’t want him showing up at my bus stop tomorrow. Circle Jan. 24 on your calendars – Celtics/Knicks in Boston.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (22-10 previous No. 7) – There are reports out there saying the Griz are looking to shop scorer Rudy Gay. That would be a bold move by Griz GM Chris Wallace, as the team appears very close to title contention.
8. Atlanta Hawks (20-12, previous No. 8) – Danny Ferry, the current GM of the Hawks, sent tape of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo’s “bump” of an official to the officiating crew after that game. Yep, Ferry was THAT guy in school. Nobody liked THAT guy. Then again, nobody seems to like Rondo much either.
9. Indiana Pacers (20-14, previous No. 9) – Like the Bulls, the Pacers are playing well enough without their star (Danny Granger) to pose issues for lots of teams down the stretch and into the postseason. Head Coach Frank Vogel was just given an extension for his good work in Indy.
10. Houston Rockets (20-14, previous No. 10) – Count the Rockets as one of the biggest surprise teams this season. With a GM in Daryl Morey committed to bringing in a super star over the next offseason, the Rockets could quickly become a force in the West.
11. Chicago Bulls (19-13, previous No. 13) – The good news: Chicago is winners of three in a row, including a good win over Miami. The better news: Derrick Rose has started to take come contact in his workouts. Eastern Conference, be afraid.
12. Denver Nuggets (20-16, previous No. 11) – As it stands today, Denver is the No. 8 seed in the West. I don’t know about you, but if I’m the Clippers I’m not too thrilled about that matchup. Denver has only played 13 home games (11-2) this season though so look for that record to climb.
13. Portland Trailblazers (19-15, previous No. 14) – The Trailbazers are 4-1 to start the new year, but just how real are they? We’re about to find out as Portland is set to play the Heat, Warriors, and Thunder. Going 1-2 there is a realistic goal for them.
14. Brooklyn Nets (19-15, last week – ) – Maybe it really was all Avery Johnson’s fault. The Nets were 5-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Sixers. Kris Humphries was expected back for that game, to the delight of his couple-dozen fans.
15. Boston Celtics (17-17, last week – ) – Are the Celtics the team we saw through the first 31 games, or the team we’ve seen through the last three? We’re leaning more towards the last three, but they’ve got much more to prove.