It is a scary time in the NBA, especially for us over here on the West Coast, as it seems that some Eastern teams are really starting to wake up and play some basketball. Taking the biggest jump in our rankings this week were both the Raptors and the Cavs who’s offenses have been consistently dominant, and we know the ATL has been balling out for the last 36 games. They’re even starting to beat western teams! With LeBron making new friends and Derozan back for The North, who knows what to expect?
The Hotlanta Hawks finally had their winstreak killed this week at a total of 19 wins just as they became the first team to hit 40 this NBA season. In honor of the longest streak that we have seen this year, I present to you my official tribute.
The streak has finally come to an end at 19 straight victories with Monday’s loss to the Pelicans due to a couple Hawk injuries. Although that is a downer as I’m sure they wanted the record, the party is not over yet. Winning 33 out of 36 games is nothing to be sad about and out of the seven NBA teams in history to get 19straight, five of them went on to win a championship.
A mixture of solid defense and the return of Z-Bo and his double-doubles has pushed this squad to winning 11 of their last 13. In fact, with Randolph suited up the Grizzlies are an outstanding 31-7, meaning without him they are 5-5. If he can stay on the floor, there is no doubt they can make a push.
Yes I understand that they still have the least amount of losses in the league but you can’t pick up 25 percent of your losses in just one week and not expect to drop a little bit. This team is obviously still one of the best teams in the league and I doubt they’ll have another skid like this this year, but I could be wrong since this is the 3rd time they’ve dropped two straight. Time to get back to playing Warriors basketball. They’ll be tested this week with both Dallas and The high-flying Hawks.
This may be too generous of a placement for this squad since they are off to a rough start on a challenging road trip. I was almost sold on moving them up until this happened. He deserved to weirdly gallop away after that one. Even with that dagger from everyone’s favorite backup scorer and a loss to Brooklyn of all teams (who needed the revenge from their 40-point loss to LAC), The Clips still show a huge amount of improvement and it seems that they don’t have excuses anymore. They have been flat out blowing quality teams out of the water including a 20 point Spurs victory.
Taking a 20 point loss to the team right below usually doesn’t turn out too well. They’ve won three out of five recently with wins coming over mediocre teams and the losses coming to actual opponents. TP hasn’t looked like himself in a while even to the point where people are dropping him in their fantasy leagues. We know it’s just a matter of time before they decide to really try again.
The Beard and company got a solid rekindling with Terrence Jones coming back to the line up and Montiejunas playing solid minutes, which is perfect timing because it looks like D12 is gonna be gone for a while. Keeping up in the second half of the season when you’re in the West isn’t easy, especially when you’re in fourth-fifth place. It’s a tight race they have to keep up scoring throughout.
7) Cleveland Cavaliers (30-20, +5)
This team has finally woken up. Following a terrible six game skid this team has put on a 10 game winning streak dominating everyone in their path. The new additions are working out better than planned and The King is making a case for another MVP candidacy. If they can beat The Clippers tomorrow night they can easily stretch this streak out to 14.
Tied with Cleveland for the biggest jump of the week are the Raptors, eh. Minus the recent L from Milwaukee, the offense has looked superbly efficient compared to earlier this season. Its even potent enough to make up for their non existent defense. Just like with the Rockets, if they play this kind of offense and the starters stay healthy, they can beat anybody. They will really be tested this month with the toughest next 10 games.
Currently at the finishing line of an extremely tough homestead where I’m sure they didn’t get as many wins as they like. In those losses they though they found quality wins and have continued to improve in playing their different style basketball with more guards than the Buckingham Palace and the Morris twins playing all over.
10) Washington Wizards (31-18, -1)
Can’t quite put my finger on it. Great team inside and out and they show it all the time, but the head scratching losses make you question length and depth when looking ahead at playoffs.
11) Portland Trail Blazers (32-16, -3)
Almost the exact same thing I said for Washington. They have all of the tools but they aren’t always as sharp. With LA playing through a bad injury and Batum shrinking as a good all-around player, it’ll be up to the man who should be in the All-Star game-Big Game Dam Lillard.
12) Dallas Mavericks (33-17, -5)
Four straight losses is quite the skid for any team, let alone a playoff team. The addition of Rondo was necessary and will prove to be helpful but at the moment the system is still flawed. Can’t see them winning a seven game series right now and they will take this week’s biggest ranking slide.
13) Chicago Bulls (30-19, -3)
Really? To the Lakers? If the offense struggles that much there wont be many teams you can beat. The addition of Pau Gasol this year has helped them offensively no doubt, but at the same time they are ranked in the 20’s on defense since his arrival.
14) New Orleans Pelicans (26-22, 0)
Picking up a ton of buzz kill wins lately killing the Clippers’ and Hawks’ big win streaks. Nothing is more fun than ruining it for someone else and they did just that. Beating team like this will obviously help in their fight for a playoff spot.
15) Oklahoma City Thunder (24-24, 0)
I feel like if Russ and KD were on separate teams, then people would say, “Hey! Wouldn’t they be crazy on the same team?!” Apparently the answer is no. Absolutely not. Fun to watch though.
16) Milwaukee Bucks (26-22, +3)
Like the Pelicans have enjoyed a lot of buzz kill wins lately which are a lot of fun. J Kidd really didn’t vibe with the old men in Brooklyn but he can sure work with these young guys. They will definitely be scary next year with an uninjured squad.
17) Charlotte Hornets (21-27, 0)
Definitely thought that the absence of their baller Kemba Walker would throw them off a bit but it seems to have sparked them. They are 5-1 without him on the court thanks a lot in part to Lance Stephenson and Brian Roberts. We’ll see if it rocks the boat when he finally comes back in 5 weeks.
18) Miami Heat (21-26, -2)
Hassan Whiteside has provided enough hype to how drastically this team has dropped off. Look at that, the two teams from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals are both well under .500 at the All-Star break. Have I mentioned the East is bad? Upside: anyone can win it.
19) Utah Jazz (17-30, +1)
I have said this before and I will repeat myself. This team can beat anyone in the league. They showed it recently showing off to the dominant Warriors and now that they have passed through a tough stretch of competition, they will surely grab more W’s.
20) Detroit Pistons (18-30, -2)
The no more Josh Smith magic has definitely run out. They really had me convinced that they could pull up to .500 but they cant with the recent action that they’ve been getting.
21) Brooklyn Nets (19-28, +2)
Jarret Jack saving the day is a great sign that he still has the confidence and he is still gonna get the minutes as well even with D Will back in the game. Playoffs could easily be in their future with the experience they have on the court.
22) Denver Nuggets (19-29, -1)
Our poor Gaucho out in the mountains all by his lonesome. Maybe some day Shaw will figure out how to make that team work together like they randomly did a few years ago but there is clearly a big piece missing.
23) Boston Celtics (16-30, +2)
A team of pretty much brand new faces and everything up in the air. Brad Stevens is good but just hasn’t found his groove yet. They have a favorable week coming up to test out new strategies for the future.
24) Indiana Pacers (17-32, -2)
Ya so apparently without that guy who atrociously broke his leg, this team can’t do anything at all. Even with a dominant 7’2” center down low they can’t get buckets and their defense is nothing close to last season’s. Somehow they are only four-five games out of playoffs so I suppose they can clean it up.
25) Sacramento Kings (17-29, -1)
Not easy to win games when your best player fouls out of almost half of them. D-Boogie may be an All-star but I’m not sure how long he will be a King if they keep playing like this. They haven’t been able to turn things around since Malone was fired.
26) New York Knicks (10-38, +2)
On the backs of the men who were signed to 10-day contracts, the Knicks doubled their win total and made it to the big 1-0! Now they have signed all three of those boys till the end of the season with their newfound success. Take advice everyone else. They’re playing moneyball over here minus Melo’s contract.
27) Orlando Magic (15-36, 0)
Had the second worst defense in all of January and have lost 15 of their last 17. With that being said, they still beat the pants off of the next three teams.
28) Philadelphia 76ers (10-39, +2)
Like the New York Knicks did so fashionably, the Sixers have found their way to double-digit land! And they aren’t on a disgusting, everlasting, we are so tanking streak of losses either. Keep on trucking boys.
29) Los Angeles Lakers (13-35, -3)
I love the way that Boozer has looked in the last few games trying to get his stating spot back and now Tarik Black is trying to make a run for it too. With J. Hill gone its up for grabs but once again the best player on the team is injured again. Swaggy P comes back very soon though.
30) Minnesota Timberwolves (8-40, -1)
Hey look at that! The team in last has the same amount of losses as the first place team has wins again. Aren’t numbers great? Ya, but Minnesota’s are not.
For those NBA fans out there it is just about half way through the season and for you students its just about halfway through the quarter. With midterms and papers coming your way it is important to remember not to lose your head and one thing that helps is laughter. I got my share watching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl and I’ll send you guys out with an opportunity if your own.
Thanks for checking in with us this week! Make sure you stop by next week as we will keep you up to date on everything NBA and provide the new rankings. Find out where your team lands on the league food chain. Cheers!
Statistics accurate as of 5:00 p.m. PST on February 3, 2015. If you have any questions or comments for Daniel, you can contact him on Twitter @TheRealMoebus