Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have a grip on the No. 1 spot this week.
The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA’s top team for this week’s rankings. The Spurs have won 10 straight and are making their annual run at the top spot in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies moved swingman Rudy Gay to Toronto, will it affect their current placing? The Denver Nuggets have righted their ship and are sitting at 31-18 (after last night’s win).
Records are through Monday.
1. San Antonio Spurs (38-11) – The Spurs are peaking despite injuries to Tim Duncan. It may be best to rest Duncan as much as David Stern allows before he causes a stir.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (36-12) – Good to see the team pay no attention to the Russell Westbrook outburst.
3. Miami Heat (31-14) – The Heat host the Rockets, Clippers and Lakers in that order this week.
4. Los Angeles Clippers (34-16) – The Clippers are not the same without Chris Paul. The Warriors are closing in fast.
5. New York Knicks (31-15) – The Knicks have closed the gap on the Miami Heat. Raymond Felton’s return and an improving Amar’e Stoudemire have been the difference.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (30-16) – At the time of the Rudy Gay trade, the Grizzlies were fourth in the Western Conference. Is Zach Randolph next to go?
7. Golden State Warriors (30-17) – Golden State lost Steph Curry for a couple of games and found what kind of player they have in Klay Thompson. The return of Andrew Bogut will only help Mark Jackson’s team in the closing months.
8. Denver Nuggets (30-18) – I would be disappointed if the Nuggets traded any of their main pieces at the deadline. This team is coming together at the right time. They have a great chance of taking the fourth seed from Memphis.
9. Indiana Pacers (29-19) – The good news is Danny Granger could be back before the All-Star break. Will Paul George defer to Granger or stay the course?
10. Chicago Bulls (29-19) – Chicago is 3.5 games behind Miami for the top spot in the East. If Derrick Rose comes back sometime in March, the Bulls could make a run.
11. Brooklyn Nets (28-19) – The Nets have gotten themselves together and are looking to move up into a top four seed in the East.
12. Atlanta Hawks (26-20) – Will the Hawks move Josh Smith? If it’s going to happen neither side of the deal is talking.
13. Utah Jazz (27-22) – Utah has won seven of their last ten games with Mo Lewis and Gordon Hayward injured. I’m beyond impressed with Ty Corbin’s job in Salt Lake City.
14. Milwaukee Bucks (25-21) – The Bucks are in a good spot if they can stay healthy.
15. Houston Rockets (26-23) – When the Rockets are good they can be a problem. It’s some of the beatings they take that bother me.
16. Portland Trailblazers (25-23) – For all the misfortune to befall this team, they’re still in the thick of things.
17. Boston Celtics (24-23) – Kevin Garnett isn’t worried about the trade talks. The Celtics will be forced to make a move if they want to stay in the playoff race.
18. Los Angeles Lakers (22-26) – With injuries to Dwight Howard and now Pau Gasol, the Lakers are thanking their lucky stars for Earl Clark.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (21-26) – Win three in a row and what happens — Thaddeus Young is out for 3-4 weeks (hamstring).
20. Dallas Mavericks (20-28) – It would be a huge accomplishment if the Mavericks could get into the playoffs as an eighth seed.
21. Minnesota T-Wolves (18-27) – Shocked not to hear Kevin Love’s name called as a reserve for the West. Nikola Pekovic has held his own minus his frontcourt mate.
22. Detroit Pistons (18-31) – The new combination of Jose Calderon and Brandon Knight just might work in Motown. Calderon is pass first, which is what this team needs.
23. Toronto Raptors (17-31) – If Toronto improves in the slightest, Philly and Boston could be in trouble.
24. Sacramento Kings (17-33) – Is anyone out there willing to take a shot at DeMarcus Cousins at the trade deadline?
25. Phoenix Suns (16-32) – Can’t tell whether they’re coming or going some nights.
26. New Orleans Hornets (15-33) – Anthony Davis played well in January, but he could use more touches.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-34) – I can see the Cavs coming close to 30 wins.
28. Orlando Magic (14-34) – The Sixers have to be kicking themselves for trading Nikola Vucevic — who is 5th in the NBA in rebounding.
29. Washington Wizards (12-35) – Bradley Beal and John Wall are forming a nice backcourt and the Wizards aren’t too hard on the eyes anymore.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (11-36) – Only four wins since December.