The NBA spotlight isn't shining near the Alamo, and rarely does, but it should right now.
The San Antonio Spurs have leapfrogged the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers to take over the top spot in the Yahoo! Sports’ weekly NBA rankings. The Spurs currently own the NBA’s best record after winning eight straight games.
Records are through Monday.
San Antonio Spurs (36-11, previous ranking: third): All-Star Tim Duncan
has been out three straight games with a knee injury. But considering how well All-Star guard Tony Parker and the Spurs are playing without him, they shouldn’t rush Duncan back.
Oklahoma City Thunder (34-11, previous ranking: first): After losing to the Los Angeles Lakers
on Sunday, the Thunder have plenty of time to think about it before a West showdown against visiting Memphis on Thursday night. The Thunder are 19-3 at home.
Los Angeles Clippers (33-13, previous ranking: second): Chris Paul has missed four straight games and seven of the past nine because of a knee injury. His replacement, Eric Bledsoe
, is averaging 11.9 points, 4 assists and 1.7 turnovers in nine games as a starter.
4. Miami Heat
(28-13, previous ranking: fourth): Heat make their first trip to Brooklyn on Wednesday. Had the Barclays Center opened as hoped in 2010, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade
and Chris Bosh
would have considered playing for the Nets.
[Also: Why J.J. Redick had to attend Justin Bieber show]
5. Memphis Grizzlies
(29-15, previous ranking: fifth): Memphis won the first meeting against the Thunder 107-97 on Nov. 14 in Oklahoma City. Since then, the Thunder have only lost once at home to Brooklyn on Jan. 2. Can Memphis get two in Oklahoma?
6. New York Knicks
(27-15, previous ranking: sixth): Is it time to put Amar’e Stoudemire back in the starting lineup? Stoudemire has averaged 17.2 points and 6.2 rebounds the past five games. The fear is a change could mess up Carmelo Anthony’s offensive flow.
7. Chicago Bulls
(27-17, previous ranking: 11th): All-Star forward Luol Deng
returned to the lineup in Monday's win over Charlotte after missing five games with a hamstring injury. Chicago did well without Deng, thanks to solid play by Jimmy Butler.
8. Golden State Warriors
(27-17, previous ranking: seventh): Warriors get a lift with the return of Andrew Bogut
, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 23 minutes in win at Toronto on Monday. Warriors could challenge for fourth seed with Bogut.
9. Denver Nuggets
(28-18, previous ranking: 10th): Center JaVale McGee has left shin soreness and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. Nuggets might be more inclined to keep center Timofey Mozgov.
10. Indiana Pacers
(26-19, previous ranking: eighth): The Pacers matched a season-high with three straight losses after falling to Denver on Monday night. Let's see how focused Indiana is Wednesday playing Detroit knowing that Miami will be coming to town Friday.
11. Brooklyn Nets
(27-18, previous ranking: ninth): East coaches showed little respect for Brooklyn by not naming a player as an All-Star reserve. The Nets have two candidates to replace injured All-Star Rajon Rondo
in Deron Williams
and Brook Lopez.
12. Atlanta Hawks
(25-19, previous ranking: 13th): Expectations are growing that the Hawks will trade forward Josh Smith
, a source said. Smith has averaged 17 points, 8.6 rebounds. 4.7 assists and 2.1 blocks this month despite the trade speculation.
13. Milwaukee Bucks
(23-19, previous ranking: 15th): Bucks guard Brandon Jennings doesn't have the New York market like Deron Williams and J.R. Smith, but he is deserving of replacing Rondo as an All-Star.
[Also: Heat's Chris Bosh a Hall of Famer? He thinks so]
Utah Jazz (24-21, previous ranking: 12th): The Jazz suffered the worst home loss in franchise history, 125-80 on Monday against Houston. After being booed strongly, Utah has two chances to redeem itself at home this week against New Orleans and Portland.
15. Houston Rockets
(25-22, previous ranking: 14th): The Rockets rebounded from seven straight losses to win four of their last five. Houston is averaging 122.5 points the past two games and has scored at least 100 points in its last four victories.
16. Portland Trail Blazers
(22-22, previous ranking: 17th): The Blazers have dropped seven of their past nine games. The Lakers have their eyes on passing them in the West standings, and Portland has little margin of error if it wants to be a playoff team.
17. Boston Celtics
(21-23, previous ranking: 16th): There is not a lot in the free-agent point guard market as options include ex-Celtics Delonte West
and Eddie House, Earl Boykins, Anthony Carter and the retired Keyon Dooling
, who works for the Celtics.
Los Angeles Lakers (19-25, previous ranking: 19th): Lakers finally get point guard Steve Blake back from injury Tuesday against New Orleans. In other point guard news, Steve Nash returns to Phoenix on Wednesday for the first time since leaving the Suns.
19. Dallas Mavericks
(19-25, previous ranking: 20th): The Mavericks are showing real life, winning six of their last eight games with losses coming to NBA powers San Antonio and Oklahoma City. It will be odd not seeing Dirk Nowitzki suiting up as a West All-Star.
Philadelphia 76ers (18-26, previous ranking: 21st): The Sixers are eager to get out of January, a month in which they have gone 4-9. Good news is injured center Andrew Bynum
is expected to begin practicing soon and possibly return after All-Star weekend.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
(17-24, previous ranking: 18th): Tough to have worse back-to-back losses than the Wolves had against the NBA's two worst teams in Washington and Charlotte. At least coach Rick Adelman is back.
[Also: Who should be Rondo's All-Star replacement?]
22. Detroit Pistons
(17-27, previous ranking: 24th): Despite being 10 games under .500, Detroit is only four behind Boston for the final East playoff spot. In light of Rajon Rondo's injury, the Pistons have motivation to make a run at their first playoff spot since 2009.
23. Toronto Raptors
(16-29, previous ranking: 23rd): The Raptors are without four potential starters due to injury in forward-center Andrea Bargnani (elbow), rookie center Jonas Valanciunas
(finger), forward Linas Kleiza (knee) and guard Kyle Lowry (back).
Sacramento Kings (17-29, previous ranking: 22nd): Center DeMarcus Cousins tweeted out, "Pray for me," after a 96-94 win at Washington on Monday. He scored three points in a loss at Denver on Jan. 26 and had 12 points against the Wizards.
Orlando Magic (14-30, previous ranking: 25th): The Magic have dropped six straight and have only won twice in January. There isn't much hope for optimism ahead with upcoming road games against New York, Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
26. New Orleans Hornets
(15-29, previous ranking: 26th): After an impressive recent stretch, the Hornets have come back to Earth after dropping three of their past five games. New Orleans has a tough back-to-back this week against Lakers and Utah.
Phoenix Suns (15-30, previous ranking: 28th): It will be interesting to hear the reception Lakers guard Steve Nash gets in his return to Phoenix on Wednesday. After all, he did win two NBA MVPs with the Suns.
Cleveland Cavaliers (13-32, previous ranking: 29th): A testament to how respected guard Kyrie Irving is was that he made the All-Star team despite his team's atrocious record. Center Anderson Varejao had a shot, too, before a season-ending injury.
29. Washington Wizards
(11-31, previous ranking: 27th): John Wall will look to make a statement Wednesday against Sixers All-Star guard Jrue Holiday. Rookie Bradley Beal is averaging 15.2 points and shooting 50.8 percent from 3-point range in January.
Charlotte Bobcats (11-33, previous ranking: 30th): Losers of nine of their last 11, the Bobcats gave journeyman forward Jeff Adrien his first NBA start on Monday at Chicago. He responded with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
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