While it wasn’t as entertaining as that weekend of football, week 13 brought lots of entertaining basketball games. Heading into week 14, here is a ranking of all 30 teams.
1.Golden State Warriors 36-9 Prev:1
*The Warriors dominance continued with close wins over Milwaukee, Toronto, and Cleveland last week.
*GSW has multiple scoring threats; Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson all rank in the top 25 in points per game.
2.Boston Celtics 34-10 Prev:2
*In their only game of the week, Boston overcame a 22 point deficit to defeat the 76ers in London.
*The Celtics can never be ruled out of a game until it’s over because they’ve overcome multiple 20+ point deficits this season.
3.Minnesota Timberwolves 29-16 Prev:7
*Minnesota has been a force to be reckoned with the last week with wins of 15+ points over the Thunder, Cavaliers, and Trail Blazers.
*Their run is largely due to the play of Karl-Anthony Towns: he is averaging 19.8 points and 14.0 rebounds per game this month.
4.Toronto Raptors 29-13 Prev:4
*Toronto encouraged Cleveland’s collapse with a 34 point win without Kyle Lowry last Thursday.
*With Lowry back, the Raptors are a top team and a legit threat to represent the east in the NBA Finals.
5.Houston Rockets 30-12 Prev:6
*Without the talent of James Harden, the Rockets are still powerful but not as feared by opponents. Since his injury, Houston is 4-3.
*Plenty of GMs throughout the league have to be kicking themselves for not picking up Gerald Green. In ten games with Houston, Green is averaging 15.6 ppg off the bench.
6.San Antonio Spurs 29-16 Prev:5
*The Spurs’ injury situation became a little better as Kawhi Leonard returned to action. With Leonard resting on Monday, San Antonio lost a close game to the Hawks.
*However, Rudy Gay is still sidelined with a heel injury that has caused him to miss the past nine games.
7.Cleveland Cavaliers 26-17 Prev:3
*Cleveland’s collapse continued last week, blowing leads to Indiana and Golden State.
*They are still the team to beat in the east but it’s not looking good for Lebron and his Cavs.
8.Oklahoma City Thunder 24-20 Prev:8
*Still inconsistent, the Thunder went 2-1 last week.
*Their success this season relies on the play of their big three. Melo, Westbrook, and Paul George have combined for 12.5 win shares.
9.Miami Heat 25-18 Prev:11
*Miami’s seven game win-streak was snapped by the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
*In the past three weeks, Miami has climbed from out of the playoff race to fourth in the east.
*Guard Tyler Johnson left the game Monday with a sprained ankle. Should he miss an extended period of time, it would be a big loss for the Heat.
10.Washington Wizards 25-19 Prev:9
*Washington won in overtime to beat Brooklyn, but couldn’t beat Milwaukee on Monday.
*John Wall and Bradley Beal are great but the Wizards need another true superstar to compete for a championship.
11.Indiana Pacers 24-20 Prev:17
*Victor Oladipo has been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA to this point of the season. He ranks second amongst SGs on ESPN’s real plus-minus wins, only behind Jimmy Butler.
*After extensive criticism, it appears the Pacers did know what they were doing in trading Paul George.
12.Milwaukee Bucks 23-20 Prev:10
*John Henson is a much underrated asset for the Bucks. Having taken the starting job from Thon Maker, Henson averages 8.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game on the year.
13.Denver Nuggets 22-21 Prev:13
*Since a December 23 victory over the Warriors, the Nuggets are 4-6.
*Denver is currently positioned as the eight-seed in the West and have the same record as the LA Clippers and Trail Blazers, so their margin for error is slim.
14.Los Angeles Clippers 22-21 Prev:19
*Los Angeles has overcome all of their injuries to regain a playoff slot. They are 8-2 in their last ten games.
*Lou Williams has led their rise, averaging 31.6 points in eight games in January.
15.Philadelphia 76ers 20-20 Prev:14
*Markelle Fultz’s shot is still broken. Seriously, it is ugly! Even though he is healthy, it could be a good idea to shut him down for even longer so the organization can help him regain the form he had at Washington.
*T.J. McConnell has been satisfying to this point in the season; he had a career-high 18 points in a win over the Raptors.
16.Portland Trail Blazers 22-21 Prev:12
*Portland had a rough week, losing three games to teams in playoff position in the west. As a result, the Blazers lost their temporary position as a playoff team.
*The Blazers have four games in week 14, all of which are winnable.
17.New Orleans Pelicans 22-20 Prev:16
*Anthony Davis had an amazing week, scoring 36 points against Portland and 48 to beat the Knicks.
*With a lot of competition at the bottom of the playoff picture in the west, the Pelicans need to keep up their success to earn their first playoff berth since 2013-14.
18.Detroit Pistons 22-20 Prev:15
*Detroit had a rough week with losses to Chicago and Charlotte.
*They play Toronto and Washington next week, both games they want to win as the 76ers are only a game behind them for the eighth seed in the east.
19.Chicago Bulls 17-27 Prev:20
*The Bulls continue to win games, now 14-7 since the return of Nikola Mirotic. *Lauri Markkanen had one of the best weeks of his rookie season, highlighted by a 33-point performance to beat the Knicks in OT.
20.Charlotte Hornets 17-25 Prev:22
*It’s been a disappointing season for the Hornets, who came into the season with playoff hopes.
*Coach Steve Clifford will return from a 21-game absence and the Hornets must hope he can give Charlotte the motivation it needs to improve.
21.New York Knicks 20-24 Prev:18
*Since a December 16 victory over the Thunder, the Knicks have slumped, going 4-10 in their last 14 games.
*Kristaps Porzingis has shown flashes of brilliance but is still too young to bring the Knicks to the playoffs by himself.
22.Utah Jazz 17-26 Prev:20
*Despite their struggles, Donovan Mitchell has continued his excellent season, dropping 35 points in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
*While the Jazz have dug themselves a big hole, they will try to regain position as a playoff team when Rudy Gobert returns.
23.Dallas Mavericks 15-29 Prev:23
*In a disappointing season, Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. have been the two bright spots for Dallas. Barnes is averaging 18.7 and DSJ is averaging 14.3 ppg.
*Dirk Nowitzki looks terrible; he is averaging the fewest points in his career since his rookie campaign.
24.Brooklyn Nets 16-28 Prev:24
*Brooklyn has been hurt by injuries to Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. Lin is out for the season and Russell is likely out until after the all-star break.
*They weren’t expected to be competitive but those injuries really cement that status.
25.Los Angeles Lakers 15-28 Prev:29
*With Lonzo Ball back in the lineup, the Lakers went on a four-game win streak. Despite a low shooting percentage, Ball’s importance became apparent without him in the lineup.
*LA also gets Kentavious-Caldwell Pope back for road games since his 25-day prison-sentence ended.
26.Phoenix Suns 16-28 Prev:26
*Josh Jackson is having the best month of his rookie year, averaging 15.9 ppg in four January games.
*While that’s a small sample-size, it has to be encouraging for a team looking at the future rather than the present.
27.Memphis Grizzlies 14-28 Prev:27
*Memphis used a balanced attack to beat the Lakers on Monday as eight players scored 10 points or more.
*The Grizzlies should use this strategy to become competitive again, even if it’s likely too late for them this year.
28.Atlanta Hawks 12-31 Prev:28
*Atlanta held on to a three point victory over the Spurs last Monday.
*Even though they don’t have many wins, they’ve beaten Cleveland, San Antonio, Washington, Denver, and Portland.
29.Sacramento Kings 13-30 Prev:25
*The Kings’ lackluster season continued as they are on a five game losing streak. *Vince Carter appears to be at the end of his career as he is averaging a career-low 4.1 ppg. Hopefully for Carter, the Kings will do the right thing and trade him to a more competitive team.
30.Orlando Magic 12-31 Prev:30
Orlando’s terrible season has continued as they are on a seven game losing streak and are last in the east. The organization said last season that they want to win a championship by 2030 but right now that seems too optimistic.