NBA Power Rankings: Warriors don't fall; keep launching Boogie
From 30 to 1...
Welcome to this week’s version of the NBA Power Rankings, where we give props to LeBron, acknowledge that The Terminator plays in Oklahoma City and gain new respect for the Rockets and the Grizzlies.
30) Nets (6-16)
You’re allowing 115 points per game, which helps explain how you’ve lost 10 of 12. Welcome back, J-Lin. Are you bringing reinforcements?
29) Mavericks (5-18)
We remember when your offense gave opponents fits. Now you struggle to score 93. Come back Dirk, for sentimental reasons, for we know you’ll never be the same.
28) Suns (7-17)
You blow a 15-point second-half lead, at home, against the Pelicans. Evidently no Phoenix lead is safe, courtesy of that 29th-ranked defense. There is no hope here, only patience.
27) 76ers (6-18)
We have proof of the existence of Nerlens Noel. Off the grid since 1952, he makes his season debut and 10 minutes later . . . he’s hurt again. Incredible. “The Process” is bandages and ice.
26) Heat (7-17)
With only a couple exceptions, your cupboard offers only crumbs and seeds. We know it. You know it. Let’s see how masterfully you fellas can tank.
25) Pelicans (8-17)
Three days after losing at home to Philly, Anthony Davis goes 4-of-17 and you boys win anyway. That’s a sign of big progress in New Orleans.
24) Timberwolves (6-18)
We don’t punish you blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. It was, after all, the Warriors. We punish you wrapping your many gifts around eight losses in nine games.
23) Magic (10-15)
There are few more maddening experiences than watching you try to score. It’s like the rim shrinks every time one of you pulls up. Jodie's back, and that should help.
22) Kings (8-15)
Remember those early-November dreams of battling for the No. 8 seed? Years ago. We do enjoy the sight of Boogie launching triples on a team that ranks 29th in rebounding.
21) Pistons (13-13)
You should be about five spots higher, but we’re docking you for losing at home, by 18, to the Sixers – without Joel Embiid. We accept no excuse.
20) Wizards (9-13)
After that abysmal 2-8 start, we figured you might get to .500 by the All-Star break. You’ve given us no reason to reconsider. See you in February.
19) Nuggets (9-15)
Your best shooter is at 40 percent. Your big Euros stink in tandem. And, by the way, you guys are torching Michael Malone’s reputation as a defensive strategist.
18) Lakers: (10-16)
You’ve lost six in a row, but the roster is beginning to reassemble itself. D-Lo is back and so is Swaggy, both with restricted minutes. The ugliness is not over.
17) Pacers (12-12)
We demand an explanation for how you could go to Dallas and get worked by the awful Mavericks. We know your defense is wretched, but the Mavericks? Really?
16) Bucks (11-11)
You’re still in diapers, which explains blowing a 20-point lead to the Hawks. We love so much about you, Giannis, nothing more charming than how you can sprint baseline-to-baseline in three strides.
15) Trail Blazers (12-13)
A monument of towering disappointment, you are, partly because you don’t rebound but mostly because you don’t defend. Guard somebody, CJ. You too, Dame.
14) Hawks (12-12)
Maybe that seven-game losing streak woke you up. Maybe not. They way you impress one night and break down the next baffles us. We don’t want blame Dwight, but . . .
13) Knicks (14-10)
D-Rose shows signs of life. KP6 is stunning folks. You think you’re heating up because you’ve won six of seven. We need more data. All six wins were over teams far below .500.
12) Jazz (15-10)
That’s 10 consecutive 20-point games for Gordie, which in your offense is like 20 consecutive 30-point games for Kevin Durant. Imagine the fun when everybody’s healthy.
11) Celtics (13-11)
You’re a lion, Isaiah, and your teammates are your cubs. Heal the groin, and hurry back. This team without you is, well, like a lion without a heart.
10) Hornets (14-10)
You’re a lion, Kemba, and your teammates are your cubs. You lead, they follow and, my goodness, what we have in your team is a poor man’s version of prime Allen Iverson 76ers.
9) Grizzlies (17-8)
Cool Mike is out and handsome Chandler, too. First-year coach David Fizdale, riding Big Spain, is working miracles so massive they cannot last. Can they?
8) Bulls (13-10)
A win over the Spurs is always impressive, no matter how it’s done. Jimmy B has been ridiculously good, D-Wade impactful. A PG is needed, because Raj is not the guy.
7) Thunder (15-9)
He just keeps coming. He will not quit. Not now. Not ever. Wow, Russ. Just wow.
6) Clippers (17-7)
You are pretenders, whiners with Top-5 gifts but bottom-10 grit. This falls on your leaders, on Doc and CP3. You all could do yourselves a favor by taking the advice of Mo Speights.
5) Rockets (17-7)
Never thought we’d see James leading the league in assists or Chunky Eric firing treys better than anyone in a Warriors jersey. Gotta admit it: you have potential for scary.
4) Raptors (16-7)
We wondered when you’d show up, Kyle, and now you’re rolling, even got your first 30-point game. So . . . when on God’s green earth are you guys going to solve your Cleveland problem?
3) Spurs (19-5)
Pop grumbles, and Spurs win. Spurs win, Pop grumbles. Pop grumbles, and Spurs win. Pavlov nods from above.
2) Cavaliers (17-5)
LeBron continues to assault the record book, becoming the first player ever to reach 27,000 points, 7,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds. You don’t have to love him, but you’ve got to admit he is a monster.
1) Warriors (21-4)
You’ve earned this, though that stinker you laid in Memphis was spectacularly bad, a collision of egg trucks. You cleaned yourselves off nicely, digging deep for a late comeback in Minny.