NBA Power Rankings: Some consistency at the top
1. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 15-2; last week’s rank: 1): The Grizzlies still own the NBA’s best record, have won five straight games and are 7-2 on the road. They host the champion Spurs on Friday.
2. Golden State Warriors (Record: 14-2; last week’s rank: 2): The Warriors are three wins from surpassing the franchise record for most consecutive victories, which is 11, set from Dec. 29, 1971-Jan. 22, 1972.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 13-4; last week’s rank: 3): The Blazers are 11-1 when scoring more than 100 points. They scored 99 when visiting Memphis snapped their nine-game winning streak Friday.
4. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 12-4; last week’s rank: 9): How good is the West? The Spurs are winners of seven straight and 10 of 11, but own the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.
5. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 13-5; last week’s rank: 7): The Mavericks have won three straight games and nine of 11, and average an NBA-best 109.1 points per game.
6. Toronto Raptors (Record: 13-4; last week’s rank: 4): Drake, David Beckham, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley are expected to attend Friday’s game against Cleveland in Toronto that will promote the Giants of Africa foundation, which uses basketball to educate and enrich African youth. Toronto will host a pregame fundraiser, and the Raptors will wear shooting shirts honoring Nelson Mandela.
7. Houston Rockets (Record: 13-4; last week’s rank: 5). The Rockets have a 4-3 record without center Dwight Howard. It’s still uncertain when Howard will return from his knee injury, a source told Yahoo Sports.
8. Chicago Bulls (Record: 11-6; last week’s rank: 11): Guard Jimmy Butler, who will be a restricted free agent next summer, is off to a strong start, averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
9. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 11-5; last week’s rank: 12) After a slow start, the Clippers, who have won four straight, appear to have righted the ship, going 6-1 on their just-completed road trip.
10. Washington Wizards (Record: 10-5; last week’s rank: 6): The Wizards won nine games in November for their highest total in a month since March 2012. Bradley Beal has missed nine games this season because of injury, too.
11. Miami Heat (Record: 9-7; last week’s rank: 14): The Heat are 6-3 when Dwyane Wade plays, including five games scoring more 100 points, and 3-4 when he sits because of injury.
12. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 9-6; last week’s rank: 16): The Hawks are the NBA’s best fourth-quarter scoring team, averaging 27.5 points, and have scored at least 30 fourth-quarter points five times.
13. Sacramento Kings (Record: 9-8; last week’s rank: 8): Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has missed the past two games – both losses – because of a virus. Cousins is expected to play Tuesday against the visiting Raptors.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 8-7; last week’s rank: 18): LeBron James on Thursday plays his first game at Madison Square Garden, home of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, since returning to the Cavs.
15. Phoenix Suns (Record: 10-8; last week’s rank: 10): Guard Isaiah Thomas, who averages 15.5 points and 4.1 assists as a reserve, has missed three straight games because of a bruised ankle.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 10-8; last week’s rank: 15): Bucks rookie forward Jabari Parker plays at Cleveland for the first time Tuesday. He preferred to be drafted by the Bucks over the Cavs.
17. Denver Nuggets (Record: 8-8; last week’s rank: 17): Denver has improved defensively by allowing 101.1 points per game in the nine games since giving up an average of 116.5 points during a six-game losing streak.
18. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 7-8; last week’s rank: 13) The Pelicans have dropped three straight and now play Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook, Golden State and the Clippers next.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 5-12; last week’s rank: 23): Coach Scott Brooks didn’t rule out the possibility of All-Star Kevin Durant (foot) making his season debut Tuesday in New Orleans.
20. Indiana Pacers (Record: 7-10; last week’s rank: 22): November ended with the Pacers holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
21. Orlando Magic (Record: 7-12; last week’s rank: 19): Forward Tobias Harris scored 21 points in a win over Phoenix on Sunday and has scored over 20 points seven times this season.
22. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 6-9; last week’s rank: 20): The Nets visit crosstown rival New York on Tuesday. The Nets won the first meeting 110-99 in Brooklyn on Nov. 7.
23. Utah Jazz (Record: 5-12; last week’s rank: 21): Gordon Hayward joined Carlos Boozer and Karl Malone as the only Jazz players to record at least four 30-point-plus scoring games through November.
24. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 4-13; last week’s rank: 29): The NBA’s most storied rivalry will be overlooked on Friday when the Lakers visit Boston. The now-rebuilding teams met in the 2010 NBA Finals.
25. Boston Celtics (Record: 4-10; last week’s rank: 24): Rajon Rondo has missed 21 of 30 free throws (30 percent) this season. He’s never shot less than 56.8 percent from the line in a season.
26. New York Knicks (Record: 4-14; last week’s rank: 27): The Knicks have lost 13 of their past 15 games, have been held under 90 points at home four times and averaged 78.5 points the past two games.
27. Charlotte Hornets (Record: 4-14; last week’s rank: 25): The disappointing Hornets have the NBA’s second-longest losing streak at nine games. Wish Charlotte played the Sixers this week.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 4-11; last week’s rank: 28): The injury-plagued T'wolves played with nine players in a loss to Portland on Sunday and were without rookie Andrew Wiggins (flu-like symptoms).
29. Detroit Pistons (Record: 3-14; last week’s rank: 26): Detroit has lost eight straight games, the longest losing streak of coach Stan Van Gundy’s career.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 0-16; last week’s rank: 30) The Sixers are now just two losses from tying the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets for the worst start in NBA history. Next up: San Antonio on Monday.
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