NBA Power Rankings: Cavs slip, Warriors anchor No. 1
From 30 to 1...
Welcome to this week’s version of the Power Rankings, where it is apparent there are two ways for a team to cope with the dog days of the season. Some are growling and baring their teeth, while others whimper timidly into the night...
30) Pelicans (17-27)
You don’t deserve this, but you earned this trip to the basement by giving up 143 points to the Nets. That’s like missing 143 consecutive layups. How? Hurry back AD, we’re watching you.
29) Nets (9-34)
We have no earthly idea how you put up 143 points on the Pelicans, but it ended a 12-game loss streak. Hoo Ray. It also made you 1-for-January.
28) Lakers (16-32)
You may be better than this spot, but you asked for it. Begged for it. We all noticed that Jupiter-sized egg you laid Sunday. Embarrassing indeed.
27) Heat (14-30)
Even while plotting for the draft, you beat the Bucks, Mavs and Rockets in succession. Coach Spo, you’re reminding us that you are among the elite.
26) Magic (18-28)
No J in Magic, no J in Kingdom. Mickey, Minnie and Donald all weep when watching you boys try to shoot.
25) Kings (16-27)
Remember when you won four in a row and dreamed of that No. 8 seed? We do. You’ve since lost 10 of 12. Um, we’ll let you know when you’re ready.
24) Suns (15-29)
Despite all the talk surrounding Young D-Book, Eric B. has been your best player. Latest evidence: Mr. Muscle dropping a 40-bomb on the Raps.
23) Knicks (19-26)
What a mess. Team Drama or Team Trauma? Both? We can’t decide. Melo shrugs and Patrick Ewing sheds a tear.
22) Mavericks (15-29)
With Big Bogues already down, add J.J., and Wesley. The names change, but the list goes on. Your injury book is a perpetual encyclopedia.
21) 76ers (15-27)
No more jokes. Nearly four weeks since you lost to a team that isn’t at least sniffing a top-four playoff seed. The Process is doing in Philly what Boogie has not done in Sac.
20) Trail Blazers (19-27)
You’ve had three losing streaks of at least four games, including one you just snapped. Makes it hard to fight for Dame or CJ as All-Stars.
19) Timberwolves (16-28)
You’ve won five of seven. KAT Daddy is coming. We’ve seen your schedule. Now is your chance to make a move. Show us what you’ve got.
18) Bucks (20-23)
WTH? You’re a scary playoff team one week, and Duh City the next. Of course, there’s a team meeting. Bet Jabari keeps it in the family next time.
17) Nuggets (18-25)
Candidate for worst nickname in the NBA: “Joker,” for Nikola Jokic. Nik, you’re serious. You’re 21 and a top-five center. The joke is on opponents.
16) Pistons (21-24)
We’d want to trade Reggie, too. Rick Rubes is an upgrade only if you’re hiding a knockdown shooter. Come back, KCP. You are needed more than you know.
15) Bulls (22-23)
Oh, so now you want to shop Stubborn Raj. Why grab him in the first place? Oh, you didn’t see his cap, the one that said, “Buyer’s Remorse Special.”
14) Grizzlies (26-20)
Hello, Grindhouse Gang. This is Planet Earth. We wondered when you’d be coming back.
13) Pacers (22-21)
Every time we think you’re onto something, you spit up on yourselves. And even when you wash off, you smell like a first-round appetizer.
12) Hornets (23-21)
Kemba Walker belongs in the All-Star Game. He’s earned it by pulling the rest of you, who without him would be a big bag of forgettables.
11) Wizards (23-20)
Staring too long at J-Wall is like staring too long at the sun because the brilliance is tough on the eyes. We see y’all, winning seven of nine. Nice.
10) Clippers (29-16)
No Blake. No CP3. No chance. We hear you’re itching to return this week, Blake. Really, though, how much of an impact can you make without CP3?
9) Thunder (25-19)
Going 1-3 on the road, with the only win at Sac is a reality check. We saw the sag; even Russ’ batteries seemed to tumble into the red zone.
8) Raptors (28-16)
Can you really be a serious contender if you lose by 35 to the Hornets? Nah. You and Drake are destined for the CBT trophy: The Canadian Basketball Title.
7) Celtics (26-17)
Love Isaiah’s offense and hubris. His D? It burns our pupils. Even with those inexplicable back-to-back losses (NYK, POR), Lil’ Bulldog still is an All-Star.
6) Hawks (26-18)
Trade Millsap. Keep Millsap. Offer Millsap. Protect Millsap. Decide, people. If you’re interested in getting a top-4 seed, you’ll keep him.
5) Rockets (34-13)
Hello, Sam Dekker. We liked you at Wisconsin and dropping 30 in your first career start tells us you’re ready to join the Beard’s Brigade.
4) Jazz (29-16)
Some are surprised to see you breathing such thin air. We see you coming, and now that you’re healthy we don’t expect you to stop.
3) Cavaliers (30-12)
The Warriors stole your desire. The Spurs broke your hearts. We realize you’re defending champs, but your crown fell off your heads this week.
2) Spurs (34-9)
Tony P is out and now Pau runs into a freak injury. You yawn, perhaps because this matters not at all to Killer Kawhi, the “kornrowed” savage.
1) Warriors (38-6)
A banner week for you fellas, as you conquered challenge after challenge with relative ease. You have to be special to take such a discernable leap forward during the dog days.