With the trade deadline a little over two weeks away, every team in the NBA has played at least 41 games.
Let’s take stock as the second half of the regular season begins:
The top 10
It took the second triple-double of Markelle Fultz’s career Wednesday to snap the Lakers’ nine-game winning streak.
Jimmy Butler has gotten to the free throw line in every game he’s played besides one this season and is third in the NBA in free throw attempts per game (9.3).
Mike Conley returned from a hamstring injury Saturday for Utah, and the Jazz have 16 of 18.
The Rockets have lost three straight and the Mavs have won four straight, but Dallas has a difficult upcoming schedule with the Clippers and Jazz on tap this week.
Ben Simmons has been stellar in just about every way besides fourth-quarter scoring for the Sixers in Joel Embiid’s absence and is averaging 21.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists over his last four games.
Though Marcus Smart set a franchise record with 11 threes and scored a career-high 37 points in Saturday’s defeat to the Suns, Boston has lost three in a row.
1. Milwaukee Bucks (38-6)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (34-8)
3. Los Angeles Clippers (30-13)
4. Denver Nuggets (29-13)
5. Miami Heat (29-13)
6. Utah Jazz (29-13)
7. Dallas Mavericks (27-15)
8. Houston Rockets (26-15)
9. Sixers (28-16)
10. Boston Celtics (27-14)
The middle 10
The Raptors shot over 50 percent from the floor in every game this week and could easily be higher in our rankings — it’s tightly bunched in the six through 12 range.
Memphis has seven straight wins. Ja Morant is mesmerizing, and both he and Jaren Jackson Jr. are shooting over 40 percent on threes.
Kyrie Irving talked Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center about the Nets requiring “one or two more pieces,” then reached out to teammates to clarify his comments.
Zion Williamson is expected to debut Wednesday vs. the Spurs, exciting news if you enjoy basketball.
11. Toronto Raptors (28-14)
12. Indiana Pacers (28-15)
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-19)
14. Memphis Grizzlies (20-22)
15. Brooklyn Nets (18-23)
16. San Antonio Spurs (18-23)
17. Orlando Magic (20-23)
18. Phoenix Suns (18-24)
19. New Orleans Pelicans (16-27)
20. Portland Trail Blazers (18-26)
The bottom 10
The Bulls’ last win over a team currently in playoff position was on Dec. 14, but Zach LaVine is putting up big numbers, including 42 points Saturday vs. Cleveland, and trying to push for a home All-Star appearance.
Sekou Doumbouya, the league’s youngest player, scored 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting Wednesday night at TD Garden.
It appears that a clear bottom four has separated from the pack. Stephen Curry is targeting a March 1 return, according to The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson.
21. Chicago Bulls (16-28)
22. Sacramento Kings (15-27)
23. Detroit Pistons (16-27)
24. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-27)
25. Charlotte Hornets (15-29)
26. Washington Wizards (13-28)
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (12-31)
28. New York Knicks (11-32)
29. Golden State Warriors (10-34)
30. Atlanta Hawks (10-33)
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