NBA Power Rankings: An East team is rising

Golden State
Golden State

1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 24-5; last week’s rank: 1): The Warriors once again resemble last season’s small playoff team with centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli out with injuries.

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Portland
Portland

2. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 25-7; last week’s rank: 2): Wesley Matthews, leading the NBA with 3.3 made three-pointers per game, would be an ideal candidate to compete in his first Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend.



Toronto
Toronto

3. Toronto Raptors (Record: 24-7; last week’s rank: 4): Kyle Lowry, who was at the center of trade rumors last season, is an early MVP candidate, leading Toronto to a 10-4 record without DeMar DeRozan.



Memphis
Memphis

4. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 22-8; last week’s rank: 3): It’s impressive and surprising that NBA fans have voted center Marc Gasol as the West starter in the first returns of All-Star balloting.



Houston
Houston

5. Houston Rockets (Record: 21-8; last week’s rank: 5) Josh Smith shot a career-low 41.9 percent last season, is shooting 39.1 percent this year and missed 17 of his first 28 shots with Houston.



Dallas
Dallas

6. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 22-10; last week’s rank: 6) The Mavericks could sign free-agent big man Jermaine O’Neal, but a source told Yahoo Sports he still needs a few weeks to get in shape.



Atlanta
Atlanta

7. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 22-8; last week’s rank: 8): Atlanta’s new ownership search is going very slowly, a source said. Keep an eye on a bid from ex-NBA player Grant Hill, who tried to buy the Clippers.



Washington
Washington

8. Washington Wizards (Record: 21-8; last week’s rank: 9) A tough West test is about to commence for the Wizards this week with road games against Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.



Chicago
Chicago

9. Chicago Bulls (Record: 21-9; last week’s rank: 11): Pau Gasol was also a pleasant surprise as an East starter in the first returns of All-Star balloting.



Los Angeles
Los Angeles

10. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 20-11; last week’s rank: 7) The most exciting thing about the disappointing Clippers right now is Spencer Hawes’ loud and groundbreaking Christmas suit.



San Antonio
San Antonio

11. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 19-13; last week’s rank: 10) The injury-plagued Spurs got a much-needed boost with the return of guard Patty Mills. Spurs players have totaled 94 missed games this season because of injuries.



Phoenix
Phoenix

12. Phoenix Suns (Record: 18-14; last week’s rank: 14): Here come the pesky and young Suns, winners of six in a row, showing they are ready to compete for a playoff spot.



Cleveland
Cleveland

13. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 18-12; last week’s rank: 12): Cleveland is in no hurry to find a replacement for Anderson Varejao, but either Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk or A.J. Price could be waived if a roster spot is needed, a source said.



New Orleans
New Orleans

14. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 15-15; last week’s rank: 13) New Orleans has to improve on the road if it wants to make it to the postseason. The Pelicans are 6-11 away from home.



Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City

15. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 15-17; last week’s rank: 15): Kevin Durant has now missed six consecutive games because of a right ankle injury that appears to be much worse than initially thought.



Milwaukee
Milwaukee

16. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 15-16; last week’s rank: 16) So which NBA bench is scoring the most points? The Bucks’ reserves are leading the league, averaging 45.1 points per game and outscoring opponents by 16.



Sacramento
Sacramento

17. Sacramento Kings (Record: 13-17; last week’s rank: 17): Lost in the attention given to cavalier owner Vivek Ranadivé is an All-Star-worthy season by DeMarcus Cousins, who is averaging 24.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.



Denver
Denver

18. Denver Nuggets (Record: 13-18; last week’s rank: 18) Kenneth Faried is starting to play like he did for USA Basketball with averages of 21 points and 19.3 rebounds the past three games.



Miami
Miami

19. Miami Heat (Record: 14-17; last week’s rank: 19): Miami desperately needs injured forward Chris Bosh (calf), who practiced Sunday and is a game-time decision at Orlando on Monday night.



Brooklyn
Brooklyn

20. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 13-16; last week’s rank: 20): The Nets play the Kings on Monday night in the wake of recent talk about Brooklyn trading guard Deron Williams to Sacramento.



Orlando
Orlando

21. Orlando Magic (Record: 12-21; last week’s rank: 24): Injured rookie forward Aaron Gordon (foot surgery) is now taking part in low-impact, non-basketball workouts and could return in mid-January, a source said.



Utah
Utah

22. Utah Jazz (Record: 10-20; last week’s rank: 26): The Jazz, winners of four of five, play the Clippers on Monday night. The Clips have beaten them 11 straight times dating to Jan. 17, 2012.



Boston
Boston

23. Boston Celtics (Record: 10-18; last week’s rank: 21): Did you know the Celtics, who are 1-4 since the Rajon Rondo trade, have two first-round picks in 2015 and could have four in 2016?



Los Angeles
Los Angeles

24. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 9-22; last week’s rank: 22): The Lakers’ best trade offer for Rajon Rondo was Steve Nash’s expiring contract, a first-round pick from Houston and two second-round picks, a source said.



Indiana
Indiana

25. Indiana Pacers (Record: 11-20; last week’s rank: 23): Indiana, which has been ravaged by injuries, got a much-needed boost from the return of point guard George Hill (knee injury), who is averaging 13.3 points in three games.



Charlotte
Charlotte

26. Charlotte Hornets (Record: 10-21; last week’s rank: 25): The Hornets sent rookie power forward Noah Vonleh, the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA draft, to their D-League affiliate in Fort Wayne on Sunday.



Detroit
Detroit

27. Detroit Pistons (Record: 7-23; last week’s rank: 28): The Pistons look a lot better since waiving Josh Smith. Is there still enough time for Detroit to make a playoff push in the weak East?



Minnesota
Minnesota

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 5-24; last week’s rank: 27): When asked which rookies will be healthy to play with him in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, Andrew Wiggins mentioned teammates Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III.



New York
New York

29. New York Knicks (Record: 5-28; last week’s rank: 29): The Knicks are not interested in fire-sale trades yet despite their franchise-worst start, one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports.



Philadelphia
Philadelphia

30. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 4-25; last week’s rank: 30) The Sixers scored just 71 points in a loss to Utah on Saturday and are a laughable 3-3 this season when holding opponents under 90 points.

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