The Times’ NBA rankings
Heat moves into top spot after big win over former No. 1 Thunder
By Ben Bolch
February 16, 2013, 8:37 p.m.
Times NBA writer Ben Bolch ranks the league’s teams:
STEALING THE SHOW AT TOYOTA CENTER
1. MIAMI (36-14) LeBron James cataloging Birdman’s tattoos: “Not one, not two, not three …” (2) I swear that some of Birdman’s tattoos have tattoos!
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (39-14) Maybe that Finals rematch with Heat wouldn’t be so compelling after all. (1) Maybe they should have maxed-out “The Beard” after all.
3. SAN ANTONIO (42-12) Gregg Popovich can fix Bryant-Howard mess, if just for a weekend. (3) Either that or he excaberates it in hopes of completing destroying the Lakers’ season. “Psst, Dwight; Kobe said you’re a pussy.”
4. CLIPPERS (39-17) Partying like it’s 1992-93 after clinching season series with Lakers. (4) I can’t remember back that far. Were they good back then?
A WEEKEND IN TRANQUILITY PARK
5. NEW YORK (32-18) Carmelo Anthony’s security detail could teach him art of defense. (5) Melo couldn’t fight through a screen if it was on the window of his own house.
6. DENVER (33-21) Kenneth Faried is no longer a rising star. He’s here, dreadlocks and all. (6) He should change his name to something easier to pronounce. You know, like Kenny.
7. MEMPHIS (33-18) Lionel Hollins spends All-Star break dusting off old Rudy Gay footage. (7) And debating whether to use crack or heroin to ease the pain.
8. INDIANA (32-21) Danny Granger’s impending return means Pacers could be back in title hunt. (9) Whoever that is. Oh wait, is that the guy who built his own Batcave at his New Mexico house?
9. GOLDEN STATE (30-22) David Lee plays “Wish You Were Here” on iPad to honor Stephen Curry. (8) The Great White (American) hope.
10. CHICAGO (30-22) Floors of Hancock Center closed after Derrick Rose says he may not return. (10) The difference between Adrian Peterson and D-Rose? Rose has a guaranteed contract.
11. BROOKLYN (31-22) P.J. Carlesimo learning that the honeymoons are never permanent here. (11) Somewhere in Milwaukee, if he can afford TV after feeding his family, Latrell Sprewell is saying, “Didn’t I kill somebody named PJ in Oakland?”
12. ATLANTA (29-22) Josh Smith trade gossip so rampant he may end up on cover of Us Weekly. (12) Or still on the Hawks this time next week.
AT THE HOUSTON ZOO
13. UTAH (30-24) Jazz fans make goodbye cards to prepare for trade-deadline possibilities. (13) They’d better have a lot of them ready.
14. BOSTON (28-24) This may be Kevin Garnett’s last All-Star game, if Anthony has his way. (14) KG is the only player I think who could get thrown out of an All-Star game for general a**holeness.
15. MILWAUKEE (26-25) Follow-up question to Brandon Jennings saying he wants to stay: Why? (15) Because he has no clue?
16. HOUSTON (29-26) No defense will be played, as usual, Sunday in the Toyota Center. (16) I have to agree.
17. LAKERS (25-29) Suggested reading for Pau Gasol in next two months: The Book of Exodus. (18) Wait a minute! Are you trying to tell me that adding a 39 year-old point guard with a bad back, a center coming off serious back surgery and firing the head coach after only five games isn’t working out for the guys in purple and gold?
18. PORTLAND (25-28) Maybe Aldridge, Batum and Lillard aren’t enough. (17) Sounds more like a law firm that a team’s “Big Three.”
19. DALLAS (23-29) Will be a lot of thick beards since Mavs won’t shave until reaching .500. (20) Has any other team been this bad only two years after winning a Larry O’Brien trophy?
20. PHILADELPHIA (22-29) Here’s guessing Andrew Bynum didn’t visit old Westchester neighbors. (19) Hey, he really could use handicapped parking now.
HOBBY CENTER FOR THE UNDERPERFORMING ARTS
21. TORONTO (21-32) Rudy Gay trade provides hope for small-market teams in two countries. (23) Hope is just another way of saying, “We can’t win a title.”
22. DETROIT (21-33) Jose Calderon averaging fewer assists exclusively as a starter. (21) Maybe, but I hear his tequila is quite tasty.
23. MINNESOTA (19-31) Any more discord and Kevin Love will start wearing a He Hate Me jersey. (22) Somewhere Kurt Rambis is saying, “Hell, I could have lost this many games.”
24. NEW ORLEANS (19-34) Hornets ask Superdome officials for tips on staging power outages. (24) But wait until next year when the Pelicans win the title right after Tyler Perry wins a Best Director Oscar.
25. SACRAMENTO (19-35) NBA beat writers pulling harder for Kings’ relocation than Seattle fans. (25) Seattle instead of Sacramento? That’s like asking if you’d rather go out with Beyonce or Whoopi.
26. PHOENIX (17-36) Just when things seemingly can’t get worse, Charles Barkley rips Suns. (26) Sir Charles could make the Suns right now.
27. CLEVELAND (16-37) Kyrie Irving should put on the old man suit if Kobe Bryant guards him. (27) Oh you know Kobe’s going to switch every chance he gets.
28. WASHINGTON (15-36) Ari Gold to settle dispute between John Wall’s agent and David Falk. (28) And after Ari fails, they’ll turn it over to those guys who brokered the current Middle East peace treaty.
29. ORLANDO (15-37) Trip to Disney World during All-Star break can’t even make Magic smile. (29) Turns out you can’t do Magic!
WHY IN SAM HOUSTON ARE YOU STILL HERE?
30. CHARLOTTE (12-40) Bobcats are an utterly forgettable 5-35 since that 7-5 start to remember. (30) Well, things are going to get better just as soon as they get an owner.