1. San Antonio Spurs (40-12, previous No. 1) – Tim Duncan is banged up, as is Manu Ginobili, but Tony Parker is carrying the load and having the best season of his career — and that’s saying something.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (39-12, previous No. 2) – Leave Phoenix alone! Leave Phoenix alone! The Thunder beat up on the Suns, 127-96, on Friday, party on Saturday, and then beat them up again on Sunday, 97-69. [Insert terrible global warming joke here.]
3. Miami Heat (34-14, previous No. 3) – Miami took down both L.A. teams over the weekend, creating a bit of breathing room at the top of the Eastern Conference. Not that they really need breathing room …
4. Los Angeles Clippers (36-17, previous No. 4) – Everybody on the Clippers who couldn’t step up in the absence of Chris Paul can relax now… he’s back. Everything is going to be OK.
5. Denver Nuggets (33-19, previous No. 5) – The winning streak ended at nine, but not before a hard-fought triple-OT loss on the road in the second night of a back-to-back in Boston. Give it up for this team. And give it up for Danilo Gallinari’s hair product.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (32-18 previous No. 6) – Ten of the next 12 games for the Grizzlies are against teams currently with losing records. In other words, they should enjoy the next month of basketball.
7. Chicago Bulls (30-20, previous No. 10) – Michael Jordan will turn 50-years-old over the weekend. We still think he could take half the players in the NBA… at the same time…
8. Indiana Pacers (31-20, previous No. 11) – Gerald Green will have to top his “birthday cake” dunk in this year’s Dunk Contest. I propose drop-kicking Tyler Hansbrough on his way to the hoop. “No he didn’t! No he didn’t! 10!”
9. Golden State Warriors (30-21, previous No. 7) – There’s no place like home… there’s no place like home. The Warriors gave up an average of 118.5 points per game over their last four games — all road losses.
10. New York Knicks (32-17, previous No. 8) – Just when we start to give the Knicks some love they go and be the Knicks again, losing to the Wizards and Clippers. Serious question: Can Carmelo lead this team to the NBA Finals? Ehh…
11. Brooklyn Nets (29-22, last week 9) – Reports are that the Nets are interested in Atlanta’s Josh Smith. Why not? They already have Joe Johnson – and those Hawks teams were so successful.
12. Boston Celtics (27-23, last week 14) – The Celtics are not better without Rajon Rondo. Wait, yes they are. No they aren’t! Yes they are! Regardless, they’re playing like a team with something to prove, led by two gritty vets in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
13. Atlanta Hawks (27-22, previous No. 12) – You’d think that after coming back from 27 points down to beat the Celtics, the Hawks could gather some momentum. More like no-mentum. Ouch! They’re just 2-4 since that win heading into Monday. The C’s? 7-0.
14. Houston Rockets (28-25, previous No. 15) – The Warriors felt disrespected by the Rockets last week after Houston went off for 140 points and kept shooting 3-pointers late. The two teams play tonight. Let’s get it on!
15. Milwaukee Bucks (25-24, last week No. 13) – The Bucks have lost five of six heading into Monday night against the Wizards. The unofficial name for Wednesday’s game against the 76ers is “The battle for which team the Heat will sweep in the first round!”
16. Utah Jazz (28-24, last week 16) – There are about five different trade rumors surrounding the Jazz right now. With depth in the front court, someone is going somewhere by the trade deadline.
17. Portland Trail Blazers (25-26, previous No. 17) – Three straight losses on the road for this team. Odds are they’ll leave South Beach with a loss tonight, but hopefully a tan too.
18. Dallas Mavericks (22-28, last week 20) – Shawn Marion said if traded, he wouldn’t report to a team in a “[poopy] situation”. Yet he keeps reporting to the Mavericks…
19. Los Angeles Lakers (24-28, last week 18) – So Mike D’Antoni, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant all walk into a bar… Wait, no they don’t because they all hate each other. Zing!
20. Philadelphia 76ers (22-27, last week 19) – Reports are that Andrew Bynum DID NOT – we repeat, DID NOT – see his shadow last week… and he will go back to sleep for six more weeks.