Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NBA Power Rankings: Week 5

New teams have made their way into the top 10 and are looking to give their fans another reason to feel happy during the holiday season.

Rankings (Last week's rankings) - NR = Not ranked

1. (1) San Antonio Spurs (15-2) - The Spurs are continuing to beat teams convincingly on a night in, night out basis. At one point, they had a 12 game winning streak. What we are seeing from them is pure teamwork. They no longer have that one guy in Duncan, Manu or Tony Parker who can break you down offensively. As they have each aged, their chemistry has only improved. As of right now, this is the best team in the NBA.

2. (6) Utah Jazz (14-5) - Jazz fans couldn't ask for more right now as their team is playing some great basketball. The Jazz are on a 6 game win streak- 2 of those wins coming against the Blazers and the Lakers. Paul Millsap is having a career year and Deron Williams could be considered an MVP candidate.

3. (4) Boston Celtics (13-4) - The Celtics are on a 4 game win streak and don't look to be slowing down. They have excellent team chemistry and are protecting home court, which is crucial.

4. (7) Dallas Mavericks (13-4) - Okay the Mavericks are on a 6 game win streak and 4 of those wins came against Atlanta, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami. That's pretty impressive. Dallas is quietly proving themselves to be one of the best teams out West. Defense has been a huge improvement for this team- they're third in the league in points allowed per game.

5. (5) Orlando Magic (13-4) - Orlando is a team that should end up with a top seed in the East once again. They are playing very consistently and Dwight Howard is having a monster year. Jameer Nelson is proving to all that when healthy, he can lead this team to victory. One player on the Magic that gives me concerns is Vince Carter. VC is averaging the lowest amount of points in his career this season and his health is a huge question mark. He can still be relied on on any given night to score but with his injury issues, one cannot be sure what this season has in store for Vinsanity. But, the Magic will definitely need him to go deep in the playoffs this year.

6. (2) Los Angeles Lakers (13-5) - The Lakers have dropped 3 straight (including one at home to Indiana) and people are starting to worry. The champs aren't playing poorly, but they haven't been able to close out games. Kobe has been playing well of late making it strange that they haven't been winning. Don't expect this to last for long, as the Lakers are a resilient bunch. Ron Artest definitely needs to step up his scoring though in order to help the team get over this slump.

7. (8) Oklahoma City Thunder (12-6) - The Thunder have won 7 of their last 9 and are being led not only by Kevin Durant, but by Russell Westbroook. The point guard continues to play like one of the top point guards in the league and is proving to be a real scoring threat. Jeff Green is another guy on this squad playing very well. The Thunder are developing their own "Big Three" in a way with Durant, Westbrook and Green...

8. (NR) New York Knicks (10-9) - The record might not show that they deserve even this high of a spot but the Knicks have won 7 of their last 8 and are maturing before our eyes. Led by Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks are excelling in all aspects. Most importantly, they have been able to close out games. This had been a HUGE problem for the Knicks in the past (believe me, I know). With an excitement returning to MSG, the Knicks have a lot to look forward to.

9. (9) Chicago Bulls (9-6) - The Bulls have been very consistent thus far. With Carlos Boozer's debut in Chicago coming closer everyday, Bulls fans are ecstatic to see what type of damage the team can do with him. This is a somewhat young team that already has experience which is extremely important for success. It will be interesting to see what they can do with Boozer in the mix.

10. (3) New Orleans Hornets (12-5) - New Orleans has lost 4 out of it's last 5 which is the sole purpose for their drop in the rankings. Chris Paul's scoring hasn't been as prolific as it was earlier this season and he needs to step it up for the team to continue it's success. If this can happen, the Hornets will move way back up these rankings.

Outside looking in: The Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers (10) and Miami Heat.

Dropped from the rankings: Indiana Pacers

(Look, the purpose of these rankings is to rank the play of each team at the time. Do I think the Hornets are a better team than the Knicks right now? Yes. But are the Knicks playing better over the passed week? Absolutely.)

MUST WATCH: Thursday December 2, 2010. LeBron James returns to Cleveland. This should be fun.

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