The Hawks continue to feast on milkshakes, except where other predatory birds like the Pelicans are concerned. With the loss, they have won 33 in their last 36. Phenomenal.
1. Atlanta Hawks – They can be beat. After a 19-game win streak, the Hawks finally show signs of mortality. But their loss to the Pels does little to hurt their standing. This team drinks milkshakes aplenty.
2. Golden State Warriors – As jaw-dropping as Atlanta has been, we now tend to forget that GS is right there with them in the jaw-dropping theatrics. They’re No. 1 in the standings again…just like that. Friday (their first head-to-head with the Hawks) awaits.
3. Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Randolph is a plus-55 in last four. Need we say more?
4. Houston Rockets – Houston stays pat at No. 4. But, for how long, with Howard out for most of the month?
5. Los Angeles Clippers – With the sightings of a bench, the Clippers can be a mid-season juggernaut.
6. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs finally see some chance of breaking through to the sixth-seed out west.
7. Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs now rank in the top-10 in offense and defense metrics but can they finally prove it to themselves, and the world, that those metrics mean something against the league’s best?
8. Toronto Raptors – Toronto has regained itself as it has won seven of the last 10.
9. Portland Trailblazers – 2-8 has many wondering if this slide isn’t the sign of some deep-set issues?
10. Phoenix Suns – Phoenix can win against any team on any given night.
11. Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron is back to his old ways.
12. Washington Wizards – The Wiz consistently forget that basketball is played across two halves.
13. Chicago Bulls – The Bulls just aren’t getting it done on both ends of the floor and their weaknesses are becoming only more glaring.
14. Milwaukee Bucks – Milwaukee continues to be a team that will surprise in the postseason.
15. New Orleans Pelicans – The new streakbusters. Not only are they winning, but they’re beating the west’s best.
16. Charlotte Hornets – Eighth place in the East, baby. And people said this team was doomed.
17. Oklahoma City Thunder – Everything is not A-OK in OKC.
18. Miami Heat – Whiteside is making a name for himself in LeBron’s old stomping grounds.
19. Detroit Pistons – It was boos all-around for Josh Smith. But, without Jennings, there won’t be much else to belt out for the Pistons.
20. Utah Jazz – That the Jazz handled the Warriors speaks to their potential. That that has to be even said is exactly why we’re here.
21. Brooklyn Nets – Brook Lopez is racking up pretty numbers but not a lick of defense.
22. Boston Celtics – At least Boston has other sports teams to look up to.
23. Sacramento Kings – Boogie is an All-Star. Crickets everywhere else.
24. Indiana Pacers – The Pacers just can’t seem to put enough together on multiple nights to climb out of the sewage. And when your 7-foot-2 center is just as slow, many dark times await.
25. Denver Nuggets – Giving up 62 points, let alone to the Hornets, in a half will get you nowhere good.
26. New York Knicks – The Knicks are showing signs of life.
27. Orlando Magic – Winning two of your last 16 never has looked very good for coaches. Expect some guillotine dropping in Orlando.
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe has a future in L.A. But does L.A. have a future?
29. Philadelphia 76ers – We all know this is Philly’s rightful place, by design.
30. Minnesota Timberwolves – For the league’s worst team, the Wolves certainly know how to stay competitive against LeBron and co.