NBA Power Rankings: November 7th, 2012

The first full week of NBA games are in the book and some of the usual suspects are dominating. The San Antonio Spurs stand atop the league at 4-0 and the New York Knicks have started hot with a three-game winning streak.

The power rankings are updated every Wednesday, so make sure to continue checking back.

Last weeks ranking is in parentheses. Teams in green are risers, teams in red have fallen.

1. (1) Miami Heat (3-1) – The Heat stay on the mountain, despite an ugly loss at the Knicks. Ray Allen‘s been bigger than we thought. Scary to think LeBron James could coast through the regular season and enter the playoffs fresh.

2. (4) San Antonio Spurs (4-0) – Home wins against three potential playoff teams in the Thunder, Jazz and Pacers is impressive. Hard to believe they’ve never started 4-0. Tim Duncan averaging 19.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 2.5 bpg.

3. (14) New York Knicks (3-0) - Knicks beat a depleted 76ers squad twice and the defending champ Heat. The leagues best defense and Carmelo Anthony averaging 26.0 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Wait till Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert come back.

4. (13) Chicago Bulls (3-1) – They’re surprising based on the strength of Joakim Noah and his offense. He’s averaging 16 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.8 apg and 2.5 bpg. Team is 2nd in the league in defense. Big game against the Thunder looming.

5. (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (2-2) – Not ready to shovel dirt on them just yet. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are doing their thing and Kevin Martin is fitting in. Quietly, they’re the 6th best defense in the NBA.

6. (11) Dallas Mavericks (3-1) – No Dirk Nowitzki and they’re averaging 108.2 ppg and shooting 51.5% from the field. O.J. Mayo has been excellent as has Darren Collison. Jae Crowder ready to take over for Shawn Marion.

7. (10) Memphis Grizzlies (2-1) - Losing at the Clippers isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Wins at Golden State and against the Jazz have the Grizzlies happy. Zach Randolph averaging 15.3 ppg and 16 rpg has management grinning.

8. (6) Indiana Pacers (2-2) – Losing Danny Granger for 3 months is a killer. Still, they are 2nd in the league in opponents eFG%. We’re all in on Paul George. He’s averaging 14 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1 spg and 1.8 bpg.

9. (7) Los Angeles Clippers (2-2) – Wins against the Grizzlies and Lakers were great, but home losses to the Warriors and Cavs have us shaking our head. Jamal Crawford is going off with 24 ppg and a shooting line of 53.6/48.1/85.2.

10. (23) Milwaukee Bucks (2-0) - Beware what a motivated player in a contract year can do. Brandon Jennings is on fire, averaging 17 ppg, 13 apg and 4 spg. Nice win at Boston, but we’re reserving judgement for now.

11. (3) Boston Celtics (1-2) - The last thing they wanted was a slow start. After losses to the Heat and Bucks, a close win at Washington has red flags all over the place. Paul Pierce is shooting 39.6%, Kevin Garnett is only averaging 7.7 rebounds and Jason Terry isn’t himself.

12. (9) Denver Nuggets (1-3) – We’re not as quick as others to bury the Nuggets. A loss at Miami on the last possession isn’t bad. 6 players averaging over 10 ppg and under 15 ppg is great for balance. Danilo Gallinari shooting 26.2% is great for losses.

13. (5) Los Angeles Lakers (1-3) – After getting win #1 under their belt, the Lakers are feeling (and looking) better. Dwight Howard is regaining his strength and the team is embracing the system. Pau Gasol is playing very well and Kobe Bryant is trusting his teammates.

14. (22) Houston Rockets (2-1) – The only thing that can cool James Harden off is a three day break. He’s averaging 35.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 6.3 apg and 1.7 spg. He’d be the MVP if the season ended today. 2013-14 is looking really bright if they get a big FA signing in summer 2013.

15. (20) New Orleans Hornets (2-1) – A balanced attack on offense, a team approach to rebounding and some clutch play by Greivis Vasquez has the Hornets surprising people. Anthony Davis should be back from concussion symptoms soon. Coach Williams, don’t send us back 50 years with taunts about player toughness in relation to concussions.

16. (8) Brooklyn Nets (1-1) - A blown 22-point lead against the Wolves has us wondering if the Nets have much heart. Why doesn’t Joe Johnson go to the basket more? Can Brook Lopez stop anyone in the paint? Are they really overrated or just rusty?

17. (16) Utah Jazz (1-3) – A victim of cirumstance, or are they a bad team? Three straight road losses at NO, SA and MEM aren’t that bad, but we expected better. Mo Williams as the focal point of the offense isn’t going to work. Let Gordon Hayward shoot more!

18. (24) Portland Trail Blazers (2-2) - After a thrilling opening game by Damian Lillard, everyone’s Rookie of the Year dark horse has slowed down. It’s a bit alarming that four players are averaging over 37 mpg. LaMarcus Aldridge is (still) a beast.

19. (15) Minnesota Timberwolves (2-1) – Beat the Kings. Yawn. Get crushed in Toronto then come back from 22 at Brooklyn. Huh? Such is life without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. This team is going to be good when healthy. They’re deep and Andrei Kirilenko has lots left in the tank.

20. (18) Golden State Warriors (2-2) - Losing Brandon Rush for the season hurts, but it’s not a fatal blow. They’re still a decent squad, but they need to figure out why Stephen Curry (32.3%) and Klay Thompson (38.3%) can’t throw it in the ocean at this point.

21. (12) Philadelphia 76ers (1-2) - We knew they’d miss Andrew Bynum, but not this much. Jrue Holiday is balling, but that’s about it. Evan Turner continues to troll us. As we say he’ll break out, he shoots 28% from the field in his first 3 games.

22. (17) Atlanta Hawks (1-1) – One quality win at a dysfunctional OKC without Josh Smith isn’t enough for us to crown them. It is pretty good, though. Louis Williams averaging 20.5 ppg and 2.5 spg, but still shooting just 38.7%.

23. (19) Toronto Raptors (1-3)Jonas Valanciunas isn’t looking like the beast in the paint we expected. Kyle Lowry is hurt…again. They’re fresh off getting waxed in OKC and things are not looking up for the Raps. DeMar DeRozan got paid…way too much.

24. (27) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2) – They get a slight bump for a nice win at the Clippers, but the throttling at the hands of the Bulls has us worried. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao are all performing better than expected.

25. (29) Orlando Magic (2-1) – The Magic were in the right place at the right time. They played at home against a struggling Nuggets and Suns team, both wins. Glen Davis won’t average 22.3 ppg and 9.3 rpg. Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick can ball, though.

26. (25) Sacramento Kings (1-3) - They play undisciplined and loose. For some reason, DeMarcus Cousins isn’t playing aggressively and really doesn’t seem to like his teammates. Not a good elixir for Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and company.

27. (21) Phoenix Suns (1-3) – Well, that will teach us. Getting crushed at ORL and at MIA is just what the Suns do. Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat have been excellent, but that’s about it. Goran Dragic is shooting 39.5%. Michael Beasley is at 36.8%.

28. (30) Charlotte Bobcats (1-1) – Hey, they’re not in last! With a home game against the equally-terrible Suns, they could get to 2-1. Gerald Henderson getting hurt is bad. Kemba Walker is playing to his potential, averaging 20 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg and 2 spg. Keep it up, young fella!

29. (28) Washington Wizards (0-2) – A close loss at home to BOS is something to build on, but this team is bad offensively. Bradley Beal is averaging 5 pts and is shooting 15.4% from the field. Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford are the only Wizards averaging double digits. Ick.

30. (26) Detroit Pistons (0-4) – We didn’t expect much from the Pistons, and that’s what they’re giving us. The schedule makers weren’t kind, after a home opener, they’re in the middle of a six games in nine nights on the road trip. At least Rodney Stuckey is shooting 15% from the field.

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Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
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