1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 22-3; last week’s rank: 1): A Warriors player suggested that Marreese Speights, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, should get NBA Sixth Man of the Year consideration.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 22-6; last week’s rank: 3): Point guard Damian Lillard offered a reminder of how talented he is with his career-high 43-point performance Friday at San Antonio.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 21-6; last week’s rank: 2): Keep an eye on injured forward Zach Randolph (knee), who is expected to miss his second straight game tonight against Utah.
4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 22-6; last week’s rank: 6): The top team in the East has won six straight, but each win came against an East team with a losing record. Next up: at Chicago.
5. Houston Rockets (Record: 19-7; last week’s rank: 4) Dwight Howard has averaged 21.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks since returning from a knee injury, but he now has an ailing shoulder.
6. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 20-8; last week’s rank: 7) One Western Conference assistant coach said the loss of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo trade would be detrimental to Dallas.
7. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 19-8; last week’s rank: 8) Remember when the Warriors-Clippers game got testy last year on Christmas? Well, they meet this Christmas in Los Angeles.
8. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 19-7; last week’s rank: 11): The Hawks are limiting foes to 89.6 points per game and 41.8 percent shooting during their 12-1 run.
9. Washington Wizards (Record: 19-7; last week’s rank: 10): Wonder what former Celtics great Paul Pierce, who plays his old team Saturday, thinks about the direction Boston is going after the Rajon Rondo trade.
10. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 17-11; last week’s rank: 5): It is very possible injury-plagued San Antonio, losers of four straight, could end up without a top-four West playoff seed.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 14-13; last week’s rank: 16) The NBA and its partner networks made a big mistake by not having MVP candidate Anthony Davis play on Christmas.
14. Phoenix Suns (Record: 15-14; last week’s rank: 14): After being up and down early, the Suns have won three straight games and are competing for a playoff spot.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 13-15; last week’s rank: 9): Kevin Durant has missed two straight games after spraining his right ankle last week, but he says the injury is minor.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 14-14; last week’s rank: 15) Can the Bucks make it to the postseason without rookie Jabari Parker, who is out for the season because of a knee injury? In the East, it’s definitely possible.
17. Sacramento Kings (Record: 12-15; last week’s rank: 17): The Kings have been getting a lot of calls from playoff teams about guard Ben McLemore, but they aren’t interested in trading him.
18. Denver Nuggets (Record: 12-15; last week’s rank: 18) Danilo Gallinari’s injury woes make for an interesting debate on whether New York or Denver got the best of the Carmelo Anthony trade.
19. Miami Heat (Record: 13-15; last week’s rank: 19): Free agent Ray Allen, who played for Miami last season, has been getting interest from about half the league’s teams, a source said.
20. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 11-15; last week’s rank: 20): Kevin Garnett is still pulling in 8.3 rebounds a game, but as Brooklyn struggles along, does anybody notice?
21. Boston Celtics (Record: 10-15; last week’s rank: 23): With the 2016 NBA draft potentially looking strong, it made sense for Boston to make a play for Dallas’ 2016 first-round pick in the Rajon Rondo deal.
22. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 8-19; last week’s rank: 21): The Lakers and Celtics had mutual interest for a Rajon Rondo deal, but the Lakers weren’t willing to give up injured rookie Julius Randle, a source said.
23. Indiana Pacers (Record: 9-19; last week’s rank: 24): It’s not a good sign when Rodney Stuckey is leading the way in scoring at 12.4 points per game.
24. Orlando Magic (Record: 10-20; last week’s rank: 22): The Magic have fallen on hard times of late, losing four straight, including a loss at home to the 76ers.
25. Charlotte Hornets (Record: 8-19; last week’s rank: 26): Offseason acquisition Lance Stephenson is not only struggling but isn’t seeing eye to eye with teammates, a source said.
26. Utah Jazz (Record: 8-20; last week’s rank: 25): The Jazz have a chance to win three of four games for the first time this season at Memphis tonight with Zach Randolph (knee) likely sidelined.
27. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 5-21; last week’s rank: 27): Second-year forward Shabazz Muhammad has had a breakthrough December, which made it easier for Minnesota to trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets.
28. Detroit Pistons (Record: 5-23; last week’s rank: 28): The Pistons must have been really tired of Josh Smith to waive him Monday with two years and $26 million remaining on his contract.
29. New York Knicks (Record: 5-25; last week’s rank: 29): Free-agent forward Kenyon Martin, who played for New York last season, has healed from ankle injuries and says he is in shape.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 3-23; last week’s rank: 30) Need another sign of tanking? The Sixers have already had an NBA record 11 undrafted players on their roster this season.
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