The Los Angeles Clippers are still sailing ahead of the rest of the NBA in Yahoo! Sports' weekly Power Rankings, but they could encounter some troubled waters ahead.
The Clippers entered 2013 with a NBA-best 25-6 record after winning a franchise-record 17 straight games. The league's longest winning streak ever is 33 games held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers also face four strong tests this week with back-to-back games in Denver (Tuesday) and Golden State (Wednesday) and then back-to-back contests at home against the Lakers on Friday and Warriors on Saturday.
The Clippers have not lost since Nov. 26.
Records are through Monday's games.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (25-6, previous ranking: first): The Clippers went 16-0 in December to join the 1995-96 San Antonio Spurs, which included coach Vinny Del Negro, and 1971-72 Lakers as the only teams to go undefeated in a month.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-6, previous ranking: second): Former Seattle Supersonics coach P.J. Carlesimo had Kevin Durant as a rookie. Now, Brooklyn's interim coach, Carlesimo gets an up-close look at how much Durant has improved when the Nets visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
3. San Antonio Spurs (25-8, previous ranking: third): The Spurs are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season at six games. San Antonio plays at Milwaukee and New York next back-to-back.
4. Miami Heat (21-8, previous ranking: fourth): The Heat snapped a two-game losing streak with an overtime win over the Orlando Magic on Monday. The reigning champs continue to look bored with the regular season.
5. New York Knicks (21-9, previous ranking: fifth): Amar'e Stoudemire is expected to make his season debut Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers. Should he start?
6. Golden State Warriors (21-10, previous ranking: seventh): The Warriors handed the Clippers their first defeat of the season on Nov. 3. Golden State has chance to give the Clips another loss when they visit on Wednesday.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (19-9, previous ranking: sixth): The Grizzlies disappointingly went 7-7 in December after entering it with a 12-2 record. Key reserve Quincy Pondexter has a left MCL sprain.
8. Atlanta Hawks (19-10, previous ranking: eighth): Guard Lou Williams suffered his first loss as a starter Monday as the Hawks fell to Houston. They won their previous four games with him starting.
9. Indiana Pacers (18-13, previous ranking: ninth): The Central Division leaders have won eight of their past 10 games. Should forward David West and guard Paul George get Eastern Conference All-Star consideration?
10. Chicago Bulls (16-13, previous ranking: 10th): The Bulls suffered an embarrassing home loss to the Michael Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats, who snapped an 18-game losing streak with the win.
11. Houston Rockets (17-14, previous ranking: 13th): Is Rockets guard James Harden getting better? He averaged 27.7 points per game on a 46.1 percent shooting in December after averaging 23.6 points on 41.2 percent shooting in November.
12.Denver Nuggets (17-15, previous ranking: 11th): The Clippers will put their winning streak on the line Tuesday against the Nuggets. Denver is 9-1 at the Pepsi Center this season, but lost to the Clippers 112-100 on Christmas.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (16-13, previous ranking: 12th): Bucks guard Monta Ellis, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, says the only difference between he and Dwyane Wade is "more wins and two championships."
14. Brooklyn Nets (16-15, previous ranking: 11th): Avery Johnson tried to sell the Nets on making assistant Popeye Jones interim coach after his firing, but they opted for Carlesimo, a source said.
15. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-13, previous ranking: 15th): The Northwest Division has the potential to have all of their teams finish with winning records. The T'wolves face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
16. Los Angeles Lakers (15-15, previous ranking: 16th): Friday's game between the Lakers and the Clippers is big for both Staples Center tenants.
17. Portland Trail Blazers (15-14, previous ranking: 19th): Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been bothered by a bruised chest of late, will probably get bulk of the minutes guarding New York's Stoudemire on Tuesday.
18. Boston Celtics (14-16, previous ranking: 18th): Expect the Celtics to improve with point guard Leandro Barbosa backing up Rajon Rondo. Boston has dropped three straight games and has Memphis next.
19. Utah Jazz (15-17, previous ranking: 17th): Utah received some devastating news when they learned last week that starting point guard Mo Williams was sidelined indefinitely with a right thumb injury.
20. Philadelphia 76ers (14-17, previous ranking: 20th): Andrew Bynum has vowed to play for the Sixers this season, but he won't be on the floor Tuesday when they visit his old Lakers teammates at the Staples Center.
21. Orlando Magic (12-19, previous ranking: 21st): Second-year center Nikola Vucevic has shown some potential of easing the loss of Dwight Howard. He had 29 rebounds and 20 points in an overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Monday.
22. Dallas Mavericks (12-19, previous ranking: 22nd): The return of Dirk Nowitzki has not stopped the Mavs' slide. They have dropped six straight games, but there is some hope: The Wizards are up next.
23. Sacramento Kings (11-19, previous ranking: 25th): Kings guard Tyreke Evans is getting a second opinion about his sore left knee this week from the Lakers team physician.
24. Toronto Raptors (11-20, previous ranking: 24th): Watch out for the Raptors who are now one of the hottest teams in the NBA after winning seven of their past eight games with Andrea Bargnani sidelined.
25. Phoenix Suns (11-21, previous ranking: 23rd): The Suns have dropped six straight games and don't catch a break with their schedule. Philadelphia, Utah, Memphis, Milwaukee and Boston are up next.
26. Detroit Pistons (11-22, previous ranking: 26th): The Pistons are on the rise after winning four of their last five games, including victories over Southeast Division-leading Miami and Central-leading Milwaukee.
27. Charlotte Bobcats (8-23, previous ranking: 27th): The Bobcats could make a run at trading for DeMarcus Cousins. They have young players and as many as three first-round picks next summer, a source said.
28. New Orleans Hornets (7-23, previous ranking: 28th): Guard Eric Gordon plays his first game in New Orleans Tuesday since he declared during the summer that he'd rather join the Suns.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-25, previous ranking: 29th): Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, who also coached the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets, is one victory shy of 400. Cleveland plays host to Sacramento on Wednesday.
30. Washington Wizards (4-24, previous ranking: 30th): Wizards point guard John Wall told Yahoo! Sports last week he expects to return from knee injury in January. The Wizards will have a better idea of how good (or bad) they are once he's back.
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