For a third straight week, there is a new team atop the rankings, and just like last week, it is this team’s first time atop the rankings all season. Needless to say, there has been a lot of shuffling so far this year with the jam packed schedule, as even the lowest ranks continue to change.
Another exciting week of basketball is behind us, so here are this week’s edition of the 2012 NBA Power Rankings:
1. Chicago Bulls (16-3)
Chicago reaches the top spot for the first time all year, having won four in a row and nine of ten overall. This run could and should continue, as the Bulls play host to the Pacers and Bucks this week.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (14-3)
A loss to the league worst Wizards on Wednesday not only snapped a seven game Thunder win streak, but also dropped them from the top spot in the power rankings.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (10-6)
The Grizzlies are rolling, ripping off seven straight wins after a sluggish 3-6 start to the season.
4. Miami Heat (11-5)
A loss to the Bucks was disappointing to say the least, but the Heat did have convincing victories over the Lakers and Sixers this week.
5. Denver Nuggets (12-5)
Denver’s four game winning streak includes overtime thrillers over the Sixers and Knicks this past week, and now hold the Western Conference’s best record after winning six of their last seven.
6. Indiana Pacers (11-4)
The Pacers are winners of five of six, and had a thrilling two point victory at the Staples Center over the Lakers on Sunday.
7. Orlando Magic (11-5)
Amid all the Dwight Howard trade talk, the Magic continue to play well, as a win over the Lakers on Friday was their sixth win in seven games. They did have an ugly loss to the Magic on Monday, though.
8. Houston Rockets (10-7)
After a 3-7 start, the Rockets have really turned it around; Houston has now won seven in a row, and shares the league’s longest winning streak with Memphis.
9. Atlanta Hawks (13-5)
The Hawks followed an impressive victory over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday with a disappointing 14 point loss to the Sixers on Friday, but have rebounded with wins over the Clippers and Bucks.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (12-5)
The Sixers’ losses to the Nuggets and Heat this week make it easy to wonder if this team is just a fraud, as they are now 2-4 against teams with winning records.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (9-5)
The Clippers have won two of three and next take on the team they share an arena with, the Lakers, on Wednesday night.
12. Utah Jazz (10-5)
The Jazz continue to be the surprise of the season, having now won four of five, with a ten point victory over a good Minnesota team on Saturday night.
13. Dallas Mavericks (11-7)
Following back to back losses to both teams from Los Angeles, the Mavericks have won three in a row, the last two coming without Dirk Nowitzki.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (10-7)
After such a promising start, the Trail Blazers are beginning to skid, having lost five of eight.
15. Los Angeles Lakers (10-8)
Serious concerns are arising in Los Angeles about the Lakers, and rightfully so, as the Lakers have lost three in a row and four of five overall.
16. San Antonio Spurs (11-7)
The Spurs have lost two of three, and will face a very tough upcoming schedule starting with the Hawks on Wednesday night.
17. Boston Celtics (7-9)
The Celtics have won three of four, including a blowout of the Magic on Monday night, and are starting to play better basketball following a recent five game losing streak.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-10)
The Timberwolves have followed a three game winning streak with two straight losses to the Jazz and Rockets, but nevertheless, this young team has been playing very well.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (6-10)
The Bucks appear to be getting on the right track, as they have had very impressive victories over the Heat and Knicks in winning two of their last three games.
20. Phoenix Suns (6-10)
The Suns finally snapped their losing streak, which had reached five, with a win over the Knicks on Friday night, and followed that up with a win at the TD Garden over the Celtics on Sunday.
21. Sacramento Kings (6-12)
The Kings had notable wins over the Spurs and Pacers this past week, as they are playing much better basketball.
22. Golden State Warriors (5-11)
The Warriors’ record and ranking may not suggest it, but they have been much improved this year, in large part thanks to new head coach Mark Jackson.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers (6-9)
After looking pretty decent through the first few weeks, the Cavaliers have now dropped three straight games, losing those games by a combined total of 76 points.
24. New York Knicks (6-10)
Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony should not be on a team ranked 24th in the power rankings, but that is just the case. Having lost six in a row, the Knicks are the epitome of a disappointment so far this season.
25. New Jersey Nets (5-13)
The Nets won two of four games this past week, and stayed competitive in their loss to the Thunder. Not bad New Jersey, not bad.
26. Detroit Pistons (4-14)
The Pistons, who are dead last in the league in scoring this year, were able to snap their four game skid with a victory over Portland on Saturday, but have lost five of six overall.
27. Charlotte Bobcats (3-14)
The Bobcats have lost four in a row, and will try to end that skid when they host the Knicks, a team they previously beat this month, on Tuesday.
28. Toronto Raptors (4-13)
The Raptors hold the league’s longest losing streak at eight in a row, and haven’t tasted victory in two weeks.
29. Washington Wizards (2-15)
A win over the Thunder gets them out of the cellar, but the Wizards still hold the league’s worst record.
30. New Orleans Hornets (3-14)
Remember when the Hornets were 2-0? Yeah, well, they have won once since then, and have dropped seven straight, making them the coldest team in the league.