2016 has been kind to Carmelo and the Knicks so far.Getty Images

1. Golden State Warriors (35-2) Last week: 1 - Another perfect week for the Warriors, who went 4-0 and beat each of those teams by double digits, three on the road. Stephen Curry had eight three-pointers and 38 points in Sacramento. In other words, par for course.

2. San Antonio Spurs (32-6) Last week: 2 - The Spurs are still hot on the Warriors' trail, which is pretty amazing. In fact, San Antonio's point differential is actually better than Golden States, +13.9 to +12.2. The Spurs will host the Cavs on Thursday, where they'll look to improve on their 22-0 home record.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (26-9) Last week: 4 - The cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference, this team is slowly distancing itself from the pack, having won seven games in a row including five on the road. They've got the Texas Triangle (Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston) this week.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (26-12) Last week: 3 - The Thunder probably wish they had a couple games back over the last two weeks, falling at home to the Kings and then allowing the Blazers to come back and win in the fourth quarter. Dion Waiters hasn't done a whole lot this season, and has reached double-digits in scoring in just two of the last 11 games.


5. Atlanta Hawks (23-15) Last week: 6 - The Hawks didn't have an answer for the Knicks last week, but a 15-point win over the hot Bulls is one way to make up for it. That was their best win since beating Oklahoma City on Nov. 30 or perhaps Dallas on Dec. 9.

6. Chicago Bulls (22-13) Last week: 7 - The Bulls had their six-game winning streak snapped in Atlanta, but that shouldn't take away how good they've been as of late. And they're about to get Joakim Noah back from a shoulder injury that's kept him out of nine games.

7. Toronto Raptors (24-15) Last week: 8 - The Raptors took care of business against the doormat teams in the Eastern Conference last week. They'll get some rest this week, too, with just one game all week, Thursday in Orlando.

8. Miami Heat (22-15) Last week: 5 - Dwyane Wade and the Heat don't have much time to lick their wounds after a loss in Utah. It's on to Golden State Monday and then a date in L.A. with the Clippers on Wednesday. The Thunder await them on Sunday, too. Needless to say, we may learn a lot about these guys this week.

9. Los Angeles Clippers (25-13) Last week: 10 - And the Clippers keep on rolling. They own the longest winning streak in the NBA, nine games, and it's happening all without Blake Griffin. The glass half-empty people would tell you that just one of those wins (at Utah) came against a playoff team. Hmm...

10. Indiana Pacers (21-16) Last week: 9 - What ended up being a 2-2 road trip could have easily been an impressive 4-0 trip. The Pacers lost two overtime games, one to the Heat, and most recently one to the Rockets.

11. Dallas Mavericks (22-16) Last week: 11 - The Mavs are about to go through a bit of a gauntlet over the next seven days. First off is Cleveland, then they hit the road through Oklahoma City, Chicago, and San Antonio before returning home for a game against the Celtics. Yeesh.

12. Detroit Pistons (21-16) Last week: 14 - Huge week for the Pistons, who have won three in a row. They host the Spurs on Tuesday, travel to Memphis for Thursday, host Golden State Saturday, and then Chicago on Monday. If they can go 2-2, that's a success - but 3-1 would be huge.

13. Memphis Grizzlies (21-18) Last week: 15 - The Grizzlies team that came back from 21 points down to beat the Celtics in the third quarter is the one we're accustomed to seeing. This team has the toughness of past seasons, they just need to tap into it more consistently.

14. Boston Celtics (19-18) Last week: 12 - Three straight losses and five in their last six games, the Celtics are starting to look like the young team that they are. Blowing a 21-point, second-half lead to the Grizzlies is a sign of immaturity, culminating with Marcus Smart's frustration foul at a key point in that game.

15. Orlando Magic (20-18) Last week: 13 - Like the Celtics, the Magic are a young team struggling to win games right now, also having lost five of six. In fact, the Magic haven't beaten a team other than the Nets or Pelicans since the Rockets on Dec. 23.

16. Houston Rockets (19-19) Last week: 16 - So we got "good" Rockets last week, as they beat the Jazz twice and held on to beat the Pacers in overtime. Still not ready to take them too seriously just yet, but a win in Memphis on Tuesday would be a great start.

17. New York Knicks (19-20) Last week: 21 - Three wins in their last four games, with only a one-point loss to the Spurs keeping them from a five-game winning streak. Kristaps Porzingis has the Knicks seriously thinking they can sneak into the playoffs. Good times.

18. Utah Jazz (17-20) Last week: 19 - After dropping three in a row to the Rockets (twice) and Spurs, the Jazz have responded with wins over the Heat and Lakers. Gordon Hayward dropped 34 points on the Heat, which is no easy task against a defensively-sound Heat team.

19. Washington Wizards (16-19) Last week: 18 - John Wall is doing everything he can to keep his team from completely falling out of the playoff picture, but man, he doesn't have much help. The hope is that when Bradley Beal returns, they can make a run.

20. Charlotte Hornets (17-20) Last week: 17 - Oh boy. The Hornets have now lost seven straight, and are beginning to fall further and further out of the playoff picture. Something is wrong when two of those losses comes to the Suns and Nuggets.

21. Portland Trail Blazers(16-24) Last week: 20 - Damian Lillard is back on the court, which is good news. After a tough stretch of games (Grizzlies, Clippers, Warriors) the Blazers broke through with a 115-110 win over the Thunder. Lillard had 31 points, including five three-pointers in the final few minutes of that game.

22. Sacramento Kings (15-22) Last week: 22 - The Kings came oh-so-close to beating the Thunder and Mavericks on back-to-back nights on the road, but lost by a point to the Mavs. They're a sometimes-fun team that should fight for a final playoff spot.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (15-24) Last week: 23 - Double-digit losses to the Spurs, Bulls, and Knicks last week and it's pretty clear this Bucks team just isn't as good as everybody thought they were heading into the season.

24. New Orleans Pelicans (11-25) Last week: 24 - The Pelicans took the Clippers to overtime, but they didn't have enough to finish the job. Instead, it was their 25th loss of the season. Coming up on the midway point of the season, it's a disappointing season.

25. Denver Nuggets (14-24) Last week: 27 - Denver went 2-1 last week, which is really about as good as you can hope. They also got Emmanuel Mudiay back after a 14-game absence, and he finished with 11 points and six assists in a win over the Hornets.

26. Los Angeles Lakers (8-31) Last week: 25 - So much for that three-game losing streak. The Lakers have dropped four straight, but came up just short against the Thunder. That's almost like a win, right?

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-24) Last week: 26 - Tough times for the T-Wolves. You never want to be the team that loses to the 76ers, but Minnesota was just that last week. Six straight losses and 10 of their last 11.

28. Brooklyn Nets (10-27) Last week: 28 - Nets head coach Lionel Hollins is out as is GM Billy King. You can't really blame this mess on Hollins. King? Oh, you can definitely blame him.

29. Phoenix Suns (13-26) Last week: 29 - They snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win over the Hornets. But every team is beating the Hornets right now.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (4-36) Last week: 30 - Crazy stat: The 76ers are 3-6 over their last nine games. Seriously, nobody thought that was possible.

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