NBA Power Rankings: Clippers rolling along without Blake Griffin


NBA Power Rankings: Clippers rolling along without Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin's quad injury came at a difficult time for the Clippers, who had lost three of four and had just started a five-game road trip.

But Chris Paul rallied the troops and helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week and a league-best six-game win streak.

Paul shot just 32 percent from the field in those contests but handed out 11.0 assists per game. He's a big reason why Los Angeles moved up into the top five of this week's NBA power rankings.

Here's how this week shook out:

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (31-2) Loss No. 2 comes with Stephen Curry sidelined with a calf injury. In his absence, Draymond Green averaged 16.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 11.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 block in three games. Hello.
(2) (29-6)  Ho, hum. Another perfect week for Western Coach of the Month Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Next up? Four straight against sub-.500 opponents.
(3) (24-10) They've won 13 of 15 and are an impressive 16-2 against the Western Conference. Kevin Durant's sprained big toe will be something to keep an eye on.
4 (5) (22-9) The Cavaliers have won nine of 11, including three easy ones last week. Kyrie Irving is still shaking off some rust, shooting just 34 percent since returning to the lineup.
5 (9) (22-13) The Clippers have won a league-best six games in a row, including five without the services of Blake Griffin. DeAndre Jordan in that span: 14.0 points, 81.0% FG 14.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks.
6 (4) (21-14) The Hawks are up to No. 6 in offensive efficiency, but allowing 111 points to the Knicks like they did on Sunday is a recipe for disaster.
7 (7) (20-13)  Ugly, ugly start to the week was finished with a 24-point win over Dallas and a 22-point win over Washington. Hassan Whiteside has 51 (!!) more blocks than anyone in the league.
8 (13) (20-12)  How good was Jimmy Butler's 40-point second half in Sunday's victory over the Raptors? Michael Jordan never did it. The Bulls have now won four straight.
9 (6) (21-14)  See above: Jimmy Butler's historic night included the Raptors watching a 14-point home lead in the second half disappear. Raptors are fine, but that was one they had wrapped up.
10 (10) (19-14) Paul George went 7-for-7 with 21 points in the fourth quarter of a crucial win over the Pistons to avoid a 1-3 week. Now they play four straight tough ones on the road.
11 (11) (19-15)  Chandler Parsons losing his minutes restriction is big. Expect him to play a major role in the Mavs' playoff push once he's back to 100 percent.
12 (8) (18-15)  Yuck. Home losses to both the Nets and Lakers was not the way to follow up a four-game win streak. Still, just two games back of Toronto in the Atlantic.
13 (12) (18-16) They look like world beaters one night and Lottery-bound the next. Consistency is a major issue for the Pistons, who have now lost four of five.
14 (14) (19-15)  The calendar has flipped to 2016 and the Orlando Magic have the 11th best record in the NBA. A 10-5 December record earned Scott Skiles East Coach of the Month honors.
15 (15) (15-17) Whatever the reason, Sunday's 22-point home loss to Miami was a stark reminder that John Wall can't do it all himself. They really need Bradley Beal back sooner than later.
16 (17) (17-16) The defense isn't good enough to win games, and right now the offense is struggling, failing to top 100 points in five of their last seven games. They've lost six of eight.
17 (18) (18-17) Zach Randolph's first five games off the bench: 8.6 points on 51% shooting and 6.2 rebounds. Randolph's last five games off the bench: 14.4 points on 54% shooting and 6.6 rebounds.
18 (16) (16-19)  The Rockets failed "finals week," losing to Atlanta, Golden State and San Antonio while allowing at least 114 points in each. Winning just one of those would have been a positive sign.
19 (22) (16-19)  Kristaps Porzingis was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, averaging 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He's seventh in the NBA in rejections per game.
20 (19) (14-21)  Yes, he was expected to start slow after ACL surgery. But Jabari Parker is averaging 10.7 points on 9.3 FGA in 25.8 minutes. The Bucks need him to be more aggressive.
21 (21) (11-22)  Don't look now but the Pelicans have won five of 10 and are just four games out of the final playoff spot in the West. A win in Dallas was impressive last week.
22 (24) (15-17)  Utah has won three of four, and Rodney Hood has been a big reason why. The sophomore has averaged 17.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers in that span.
23 (23) (15-21) Another week, another C.J. McCollum praising. In six games without Damian Lillard, McCollum is averaging 26.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. And Portland is 4-2.
24 (20) (13-20) Lose at home to the Sixers and you fall in the power rankings. Pretty simple. Still, Saturday's 142-point effort against the Suns was mighty impressive.
25 (27) (12-22)  Remember that exciting 8-8 start? They're 4-14 since, and the youth movement has begun in Minnesota; Kevin Martin has been a healthy scratch in six straight.
26 (28) (10-23) Brook Lopez earns East Player of the Week honors after a monster three-game stretch, averaging 26.7 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. He's an All-Star.
27 (25) (12-23)  It was great to see Kenneth Faried back in action on Sunday night after being taken off on a stretcher Friday night with a neck scare.
28 (29) (8-27)  Rookie Larry Nance has really impressed of late, averaging 11.6 points on 70% shooting and 10.4 rebounds in his last five games.
29 (26) (12-25)  Rock bottom is when your team scores 22 points in the first half against a team with the league's second worst record. Jeff Hornacek's days are numbered.
30 (30) (3-33) Signing Elton Brand makes no difference on the court, but he'll do wonders as a mentor for fellow bigs Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Zach LaVine gets no respect

NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Zach LaVine gets no respect

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, Dave Watson, and John Sabine react to the week in the NBA and ‘list’ season.

1:45 - On Sports Illustrated top 100 NBA players list and the Bulls players, LaVine disrespect

13:10 - Which recent draft class would have the best starting five?

22:30 - Would Iman Shumpert be a good fit for the Bulls?

32:55 - Matt Peck goes on a rant that involves Wade+Melo

34:45 - Dave gives his top 5 PG’s of all-time

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

NBA G League to introduce new, $100K prize tournament


NBA G League to introduce new, $100K prize tournament

The NBA G League is introducing a new tournament format for their premier showcase games, starting in the 2019-20 season. 

The 2019 NBA G League Winter Showcase will take place December 19-22 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and it will feature all 28 teams in the league, with the winning squad taking home a $100,000 prize. 

Under the re-brand, the NBA G League Winter Showcase will see the teams seeded No. 1 through 28, with the top four seeds receiving a bye and advancing straight to the Championship Bracket. The remaining 24 teams will get placed into six separate four-team brackets. All games played at the Winter Showcase will count against G League regular-season records.

For a league full of players fighting for NBA attention and ultimately, (NBA) dollars, the $100,000 prize is sure to add a decent amount of motivation. Last season more than 60 players received Gatorade call-ups (to the NBA) during or right after the showcase games. 

The Bulls know quite a bit about the talent that can be found at the NBA G League Winter Showcase.

Last season the Bulls signed guard Brandon Sampson to a Two-Way contract following a breakout performance at the 2018 G League Showcase for the Rio Grande Vipers.

Sampson averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists through 18 G League games for the Vipers before signing his Two-Way deal with the Bulls and gaining 214 minutes of NBA experience over 14 games. 

The new tournament format for the Winter Showcase will make for an exciting spectacle to for hardcore basketball fans and will add a great layer of intrigue to what is already the best in-season scouting event for NBA scouts interested in the G League.