Turning up the Heat
By Steve Kerr, Yahoo Sports
December 19, 2005
But while the Heat's move was expected, the ascension of the Hornets and Hawks was not. Atlanta climbed a few rungs as Joe Johnson broke out in a big way, while New Orleans/OKC showed how pesky it can be with wins over the Suns, Clippers and Spurs.
A look at this week's rankings (records and statistics are through Dec. 19):
1. Detroit Pistons (18-3, Last week: 1) – It'll be a crime if both Piston guards don't make the all-star game this year.
2. San Antonio Spurs (19-5, Last week: 2) – As Mike Myers said in "Wayne's World," "I thought I had mono once. Turned out I was just really bored."
4. Los Angeles Clippers (15-8, Last week: 4) – Clips lose three in a row, but stem the tide with win over Houston. Livingston looking good.
5. Miami Heat (14-11, Last week: 12) – Shaq comes back, and the Heat win four straight games – what a coincidence.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (14-8, Last week: 7) – Grizzlies allowing just 85 points per game.
7. Indiana Pacers (14-8, Last week: 6) – Addition by subtraction? Artest's apparent departure should improve chemistry.
8. Phoenix Suns (14-9, Last week: 5) – Suns ravaged by injuries, and they can't get to the free-throw line.
11. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-9, Last week: 11) – Young Cavaliers must learn how to grind out victories with defense and execution.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-10, Last week: 8) – Four losses in a row, all of them close. Wolves must regroup.
14. Houston Rockets (10-13, Last week: 19) – Rockets are like the Jeffersons – they're "moving on up." Yao's injury could bring them back down.
15. Chicago Bulls (12-11, Last week: 15) – Eight Bulls average between seven and 14 points. Skiles' club just finds a way.
17. New Jersey Nets (11-12, Last week: 18) – Nets can be good, and they can really stink. How about a little consistency?
18. New Orleans Hornets (11-13, Last week: 14) – You'd better be ready when you play the Hornets – they are lightning fast.
19. Denver Nuggets (12-13, Last week: 13) – Three straight losses to end Eastern swing sets the Nuggets back.
23. Sacramento Kings (10-14 Last week: 20) – Bench play still an issue for the Kings. Adelman relying heavily on the starters.
24. Washington Wizards (9-13, Last week: 23) – Wizards need to find themselves, and quickly.
25. Boston Celtics (9-14, Last week: 22) – The Celtics haven't won two games in a row this season.
26. Atlanta Hawks (6-17, Last week: 29) – Joe Johnson is heating up, and the Hawks are finding some confidence.
27. New York Knicks (6-17, Last week: 25) – It's getting ugly in the Big Apple. Larry Brown is ready to trade the whole team.
28. Charlotte Bobcats (6-18, Last week: 30) – Bobcats are reeling, but Brevin Knight is putting together another nice year.
30. Toronto Raptors (4-20, Last week: 28) – Are the Argonauts playing for the Grey Cup this year?
Steve Kerr is Yahoo! Sports' NBA analyst. Send Steve a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Dec 19, 2005 6:00 pm, EST