NBA power rankings

December 29, 2012|By Ben Bolch, Tribune newspapers

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder

Records through Friday; (last week)

1. Thunder (22-6): New Year’s wish is not to lose two consecutive games. (1) And by winning on Saturday night, that wish came true.

2. Heat (20-7): Without Dwyane Wade, put up little fight against Pistons. (4) One could say that there was no kick in the Heat’s game that night.

3. Spurs (23-8): Gregg Popovich just took Nets management off Christmas card list. (2) Pop’s coach tree lost another branch this past week.

4. Clippers (24-6): Franchise doesn’t need to wait until March to experience Sweet 16. (5) Long-time fans holding our collective breaths that nobody tells Donald T. Sterling that the team is winning.

5. Knicks (21-9): What’s next after Raymond Felton’s fractured pinky? (3) Locusts anyone?

6. Grizzlies (18-8): Must return gifts after losing to 76ers at  home on Wednesday. (6) Losing to the Sixers @ home is like a prostitute returning your money; damn near impossible.

7. Warriors (20-10): Warriors get 20 wins before Jan. 1 for first time since 1980. (7) Maybe coach/reverend Jackson’s prayers are being answered after all.

8. Hawks (18-9): If this keeps up, Hawks will have cap room and trade assets this summer. (8) I have a really funny joke about keeping this up, but it’s Sunday so…no.

9. Pacers (17-12): Fourth-quarter mantra: Go (David) West, young man. (16) David West hasn’t been young since the days of Reggie Miller.

10. Bulls (15-12): Derrick Rose injury updates getting as old as last season’s “Dwight Watch.” (9) Yes, but people still like D-Rose.

11. Bucks (15-12): Going .500 since mid-December good enough to stay in Central race. (10) And that tells you everything you need to know about the Central division.

12. Nuggets (17-14): A few more wins and George Karl might not think records are so overhyped. (15) George Karl is “overhyped.”

13. Nets (15-14): Deron Williams logs another assist in getting rid of a coach. (14) His name is now “Demoan.”

14. Timberwolves (13-13): Injury reports are on a knee-to-know basis. (11) Are the T-Wolves still in the association?

15. Celtics (14-14): Finding trips to Staples Center doubly dangerous. (12) Celtics are THIS close to playing “Old-Timers Games” every night.

16. Rockets (16-13): Learning perils of rocket-fueled offense combined with on-empty defense. (17) I got nothing.

17. Lakers (15-15): Fans worried that old, injury-prone roster will fall off physical cliff. (20) I never realized how annoying Mike D’Antoni’s voice is until he became Laker coach.

18. Jazz (15-16): Randy Foye’s late miss shows why he no longer is part of Clippers’ bench. (13) Not true. It was his last name that no one in Lob City liked.

19. Trail Blazers (14-14): J.J. Hickson’s double-double streak ends at nine. (18) I’d be more impressed if I actually knew who the hell J. J. Hickson is.

20. 76ers (14-16): Nick Young: 13 points in 2nd half vs. Warriors after 0-for-5 start. (21) Nick Young? The Nick Young?

21. Magic (12-17): Losses to Hornets, Wizards reveal team’s true potential. (19) Quick, without looking it up, name a Magic starter other than Jameer Nelson. I dare you!

22. Mavericks (12-18): It hasn’t exactly been Dirk Nowitzki (7.3 ppg) to the rescue. (22) Reverse “Jungle Fever” seems to have drained Dirk’s tank.

23. Suns (11-19): Talent-deprived Suns were New Year’s toast well before Jan. 1. (23) Suns reportedly looking at bringing back Alvin Adams, Tom Chambers, Connie Hawkins, Larry Nance and whichever Van Arsdale twin answers the phone first.

24. Raptors (10-20): 6-4 in last 10 games. Unfortunately, they’ve played 30 this season. (24) Canada ignoring two sports this season; basketball and hockey.

25. Kings (10-19): James Johnson’s 3-pointer (previously 0-for-11) shows power of perseverance. (25) Rick James is playing for the Kings? I thought he was dead.

26. Pistons (10-22): Time to rethink rotations when bench scores 149 points in two games. (27) How Joe Dumars keeps his job as club president is a mystery to both remaining Pistons fans.

27. Bobcats (7-22): Vote of confidence from Steve Lavin won’t help Mike Dunlap. (26) If only Michael Jordan were alive, this team would be so much better. What? He is alive? Oh, my bad.

28. Hornets (6-23): Claim to fame could be as last team to beat Clippers in 2012. (28) They’re seriously considering changing team name to Pelicans. ‘Nuff said.

29. Cavaliers (7-24): Still scouring new CBA to see how it might benefit small-market teams. (29) Owner Dan Gilbert so mad, he’s about to write a letter to himself.

30. Wizards (4-23): Running clock needed in Magic game because of lack of interest. (30) Look at this way; Wizards need to conjure up a 19 game winning streak just to get back to .500. That’s as likely as the Pope officiating at a same-sex marriage at the Vatican.





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