1. Indiana Pacers (18-3; last week's ranking: 1): The first meeting of the season between the Pacers and the Heat takes place Tuesday in Indianapolis. This is the NBA's next big rivalry.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (17-4; last week's ranking: 3): Portland is off to its best start since winning 27 of 30 to open the 1990-91 season. A home loss to Dallas kept Blazers from moving to No. 1.
3. Miami Heat (16-5; last week's ranking: 2): After Tuesday's meeting with the Pacers, the Heat will face them again on Dec. 18. Luckily for them and Dwyane Wade, neither game will be a back-to-back.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4; last week's ranking: 5): Lakers star Kobe Bryant will play on the road for the first time and face a big test against the Thunder on Friday.
5. San Antonio Spurs (15-4; last week's ranking: 4): Toronto will play at home for the first time after trading Rudy Gay when they face the Spurs on Tuesday. The Spurs won't be sympathetic after coming off a loss.
6. Houston Rockets (15-7; last week's ranking: 6): The Rockets have a tough upcoming three-game road trip with Portland and Golden State on back-to-back nights and then Sacramento.
7. Golden State Warriors (12-9; last week's ranking: 9): Stephen Curry returns to his hometown to face Charlotte on Monday. He had a career-tying 15 assists at Memphis on Saturday.
8. Denver Nuggets (12-8; last week's ranking: 8): The Nuggets have a light week and a good chance to heal with only two games this week at Washington and against Utah on Friday.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (13-8; last week's ranking: 7): Coach Doc Rivers makes his return to Boston to coach against the Celtics on Wednesday. How will Celtics fans react to him?
10. Dallas Mavericks (13-8; last week's ranking: 10): Rudy Gay's trade isn't expected to be completed in time for him to make his Kings debut against the Mavericks on Monday.
11. Los Angeles Lakers (10-10; last week's ranking: 18): Kobe Bryant will face his first back-to-back test of the season when the Lakers play at Oklahoma City on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday.
12. Phoenix Suns (11-9; last week's ranking: 14): Kobe Bryant's second game will be against Phoenix Tuesday. Combo guard Goran Dragic could get the defensive assignment against him.
13. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10; last week's ranking: 11): A source said first-year coach Dave Joerger is safe, although Grizzlies brass is starting to wonder if they made the right hire.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11; last week's ranking: 13): Smoke canceled the T'wolves' game in Mexico City last week against the Spurs. The Wolves visit San Antonio on Friday.
15. Atlanta Hawks (11-10; last week's ranking: 16): Kyle Korver has hit a 3-pointer in an NBA-record 90 consecutive games. Can he stretch it to 100?
16. Detroit Pistons (10-11; last week's ranking: 20): Detroit had a four-game winning streak snapped by Miami on Sunday. Guard Brandon Jennings has averaged 20.8 points the past five games.
17. Boston Celtics (10-12; last week's ranking: 23): The Celtics have an interesting week facing Kevin Garnett and the Nets Tuesday in Brooklyn and Doc Rivers and the Clippers Wednesday in Boston.
18. New Orleans Pelicans (9-10; last week's ranking: 17): Prior to injury, Anthony Davis worked hard with strength coach Carlos Daniel to gain weight. He also hired a personal chef.
19. Chicago Bulls (8-10; last week's ranking: 17): The Bulls are 2-5 since losing Derrick Rose to a season-ending knee injury. Starting forward Luol Deng also is out with left calf tightness.
20. Washington Wizards (9-10; last week's ranking: 18): Rookie Otto Porter went scoreless in his debut in a loss to Milwaukee last Friday. He missed the first 18 games with a hip injury.
21. Charlotte Bobcats (9-11; last week's ranking: 19): The Bobcats have lost 14 straight games against Western Conference teams. Charlotte hosts the Warriors and Lakers this week.
22. Toronto Raptors (7-12; last week's ranking: 24): The Raptors get a much-needed point guard after dealing Rudy Gay for Greivis Vasquez, who will be a restricted free agent next summer.
23. Sacramento Kings (5-13; last week's ranking: 21): The Kings plan on using Rudy Gay as a stretch power forward. His debut could come Wednesday against Utah.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-13; last week's ranking: 26): Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, is averaging 2.1 points. Undrafted rookie Matthew Dellavedova is averaging 3.5 points.
25. Philadelphia 76ers (7-14, last week's ranking: 22): Add Tony Wroten to the list of Most Improved Player candidates. He's averaging 13.1 points after averaging 2.6 with Memphis last season.
26. Brooklyn Nets (6-14; last week's ranking: 27): Kevin Garnett will face the Celtics on Tuesday for the first time in the regular season since his offseason trade. Paul Pierce will miss the game with a broken hand. Their first game in Boston is Jan. 26.
27. New York Knicks (5-14; last week's ranking: 30): Coach Mike Woodson's hot seat cooled after winning two straight – at least until Sunday's 114-73 loss at home to Boston.
28. Orlando Magic (6-14; last week's ranking: 25): The Magic have dropped five straight games and play at Memphis on Monday. Three of the Magic's next four games are on the road.
29. Utah Jazz (4-18; last week's ranking: 29): The Jazz play host to the West's hottest team – the Blazers – on Monday. Damian Lillard presents a good test for Utah rookie point guard Trey Burke.
30. Milwaukee Bucks (4-16; last week's ranking: 28): Gary Neal will face his old team, the San Antonio Spurs, on Wednesday for the first time since he signed with the Bucks in the offseason.
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