Ball Don't Lie - NBA

The BDL NBA Power Rankings combine two parts champagne with one part flippant observation to create the most unbalanced ranking possible, and to offer the least accurate look at the state of the NBA on a weekly basis. If you disagree with your team's spot, go crazy in the comments or spit venom via email.

1. Los Angeles Lakers — Finally got their revenge in a win over the Celtics last Thursday in a game that was overshadowed by the Mavericks/Trail Blazers classic that followed later that night. Pity, because this plucky bunch of unheralded go-getters easily deserve a Christmas laurel and hearty handshake. Really, the Lakers should be ranked higher. [Kelly Dwyer]

2. Cleveland Cavaliers — A thousand words ... [J.E.]

3. Boston Celtics — The beginning of the end, likely. The C's had a nice run in them, and we all appreciate the memories, but it's over. All over. [KD]

4. Orlando Magic — Gun to your head, just one All-Star spot left. Who do you take: Mike Bibby, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson or the ghost of Milt Palacio? [J.E.]

5. Atlanta Hawks — You win, they're good. There's no rhyme or reason for this team being anything above .500, but this rakish bunch have won our hearts. No, wait. That's the Cavs. Never mind. Forget these guys. [KD]

6. San Antonio Spurs — I'd like to take this moment to thank Roger Mason Jr. and Jason Richardson for making me look like a genius on Christmas Day. With the Suns up two, I turned to no one in particular and said, "Spurs three in the corner. Book it." Thanks, boys. An uncle seemed impressed. [J.E.]

7. New Orleans HornetsChris Paul on this team is like a Volvo station wagon with a Ford V8 under the bonnet. [KD]

8. Denver NuggetsSnippy Denver Stiffs headline: "When will the Nuggets realize that their shtick doesn't work against good teams?" (The Nugs are now just 6-11 against teams with a +.500 record.) [J.E.]

9. Portland Trail Blazers — So, if we're aware (some half a world away) that Greg Oden has gone all emo on us, what's Portland's excuse for letting this happen? Winning doesn't cover all the stank, certainly not a stank that results in bands with bangs and black nail polish, and it's possible that the tough love + starting role approach with Oden might have to be re-thought. I say you keep the starting role, he's going to have to learn to play as a starter eventually, but at least try to inform the guy of how well he's done so far in spite of several tough hurdles. And dunk his iPod in a toilet. Get this kid some Sly Stone. [KD]

10. Houston Rockets — Share your observations and experiences about the Rockets below. Lively, open, civil debate is the goal. Please refrain from personal attacks or comments about injuries. If you see an inappropriate comment about McGrady's back, please click the "Report Abuse" link. [J.E.]

11. Utah Jazz — Here's a thought: Deron Williams sits for a week, as soon as Carlos Boozer returns, rest D's dogs, then you dominate until June. Ish. [KD]

12. Dallas Mavericks — Thirty games deep, the Mavs are now in a position to put a smile on Cuban's smug face and make a move into the West's top four. Why? They have five straight games against losing teams, including four at home. The combined record of their upcoming comp: 46-100. Pounce, Dallas! Pounce! [J.E.]

13. Phoenix Suns — You know how we're always looking for a nickname for Shaquille O'Neal? How about "Shaq Attack!"? No? OK. Then I'm not writing it as "Amar'e," Amare, until the playoffs. [KD]

14. Detroit Pistons — This just in: Game 7 of the Pistons' 2009 first-round playoff series is scheduled on a Sunday. Sorry. [J.E.]

15. Miami HeatDaequan Cook averages 25 minutes per game. Just throwing it out there. [KD]

16. New Jersey Nets —  Oh, what you got there, Marc? Can I see that for a seco— Yoink! "New Jersey is the first team, according to Elias, to be more than five games over .500 on the road (10-4) and more than five games under .500 at home (5-11) at any point in any season." That is wild. [J.E.]

17. Chicago Bulls — The Bulls are a joke, but at least they're an annoying, unrepentant, irresponsible joke that isn't funny in any way. [KD]

18. Milwaukee [J.E.]

19. Charlotte Bobcats — Don't let 'em tell you that some balanced brand of offense is being showcased in Charlotte following the trade that sent Jason Richardson to Phoenix. The Bobcats were 26th in offense at the time of the deal, and 26th in offense today. [KD]

20. Philadelphia 76ers — The Sixers are 7-1 when scoring 100-plus points this season, as well as 7-3 when shooting the same percentage or better than their opponent. Too bad their "Effective FG%" is one of the worst in the L. [J.E.]

21. Memphis Grizzlies — Marc Iavaroni really has this team playing hard, and a few close wins to replace the recent close losses should have the Grizz approaching respectability pretty soon. Also, who did Darko Milicic punch? [KD]

22. Indiana Pacers — Sunday's loss to CP3 and the Hornets? You can put it on this guy. [J.E.]

23. Golden State Warriors — Putting this mess at 23 really doesn't say much for 24-30. [KD]

24. Toronto RaptorsA six spot jump? It's a must when my Raptors end a six-game western road trip with a loss to the then 9-23 Warriors. Shoot me now ... [J.E.]

25. New York Knicks — This will all be forgotten when they sign Josh Howard and Chris Kaman to huge deals in 2010. [KD]

26. Washington Wizards —"We have to build some momentum quickly. Now is the time to do it." I like the way Wizards forward Antawn Jamison thinks. [J.E.]

27. Los Angeles Clippers — Team Hatespite lost its hardest worker for the next two weeks. Zach Randolph was this team's hardest worker. Whoa boy. Marcus, it looks like you're going to have to guard your man, now. [KD]

28. Sacramento Kings —Stat-o-the-Weak: Donte' Greene's three made field goals gave him a team-high — team-high! — against the Celtics on Sunday. Sacramento hit just 19 in all for a franchise record low. Gulp. [J.E.]

29. Minnesota Timberwolves — How bad is it that the high point of this team's season is getting to hear the word "Minnesota" follow "coming off an embarrassing loss to" once a month? [KD]

30. Oklahoma City ThunderThe Sports Hernia is right. Someone actually woke up today and said, "Hey, did you see Robert Swift dunk right in between Shaq and Amare last night?" Cherish it, Oklahoma. [J.E.]

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