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Power Rankings

What becomes of the Celtics?

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Jan 28 2013 10:28AM

Ricky Rubio, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, Lou Williams, and now Rajon Rondo. All in the last 11 months.

When it comes to league-wide ramifications, Rose's ACL tear obviously meant more than the rest. But Rondo's could also mean quite a bit.

The Celtics were barely a playoff team with Rondo, so the loss of their point guard isn't exactly going to shake up the standings. But it does affect Boston's outlook, for both this season and next, because they can't realistically expect him to be back at 100 percent before the start of the 2014-15 season.

So while Doc Rivers is ready to compete with the roster he's left with, Danny Ainge has to consider all options. And maybe that means Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett are available (or at least more available than they were previously) to help a playoff team get better.

Trading those salaries and getting back assets that the Celtics can use is easier said than done. But the potential is there for Rondo's injury to have some serious ripple effects around the league.

• Last week: Clear big three at midway point
• This time last year: Heat back on top after big win Carlos Boozer's kids were caught on camera cheering for the Heat, the Spurs (12-9) and Grizzlies (10-9) were both out of playoff position, Flip Saunders got fired in Washington, Jimmer Fredette missed the game-winner in his return to Utah, and Dwight Howard called out his teammates as they lost four straight games.

Hero Team of the Week: San Antonio (4-0) - The opponents weren't that great, but the Spurs won three games without their defensive anchor or their coach.
Zero Team of the Week: Sacramento (0-4) - The Kings lost to the Hornets and Suns by a combined 19 points before getting blown out by the Thunder and Nuggets.

Plus-minus Stud: Kyle Korver (ATL) was a plus-67 in four games last week.
Plus-minus Dud: John Salmons (SAC) was a minus-60 in four games last week.

High jumps of the week: Chicago (+4), Cleveland (+2), Dallas (+2), Washington (+2)
Free falls of the week: Minnesota (-4), Sacramento (-4), L.A. Clippers (-3)

East vs. West: The West is 154-110 (.583) against the East in interconference games this season, but the East was 9-7 last week.

Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. New Orleans, 2. Denver, 3. Phoenix
Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Chicago, 2. Atlanta, 3. Orlando
Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league is averaging 94.3 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 102.5 points scored per 100 possessions.

NBA.com's Power Rankings are just one man's opinion and are released every Monday during the season. If you've got an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, contact him via twitter.

1 San Antonio (36-11)
Pace: 96.7 (5), OffRtg: 106.8 (5), DefRtg: 98.4 (4), NetRtg: +8.4 (2)
The Spurs have won eight straight games, despite the absence of Tim Duncan for four of the last five and Gregg Popovich for the last three. Tony Parker has carried the load, averaging 22.9 points on 58 percent shooting during the streak. Still, it's a good time for some rest. Sunday began an 10-day stretch in which they only play two games ... at home ... against Charlotte and Washington.
Last week: 2

2 Oklahoma City (34-11)
Pace: 95.5 (8), OffRtg: 109.9 (1), DefRtg: 100.2 (6), NetRtg: +9.7 (1)
It feels as though the Thunder have taken their foot off the pedal a bit, and now they're in a dog fight with the Spurs for the top spot in the West. The six-game trip they just completed was rather uninspiring, with losses to the Nuggets, Warriors and Lakers. Russell Westbrook shot 37 percent over the six games, while the defense allowed 104 points per 100 possessions.
Last week: 3

3 Miami (28-13)
Pace: 93.4 (20), OffRtg: 109.0 (2), DefRtg: 101.5 (11), NetRtg: +7.5 (4)
The Rondo-less Celtics didn't elicit the best from the Heat, who seemed to be going through the motions at times on Sunday. So it will be interesting to see how they approach games in Brooklyn (Wednesday) and Indiana (Friday) this week. They've already crushed the Nets twice this season, but lost their only meeting with the Pacers earlier this month, scoring a season-low 77 points.
Last week: 4

4 L.A. Clippers (33-13)
Pace: 94.2 (14), OffRtg: 107.0 (4), DefRtg: 98.8 (5), NetRtg: +8.2 (3)
The Clippers finally felt the absence of Chris Paul last week, dropping three straight without him before beating the Blazers on Sunday. We still don't know when Paul will be back, but the Clips begin an eight-game trip in Minnesota on Wednesday. Most of the opponents on the trip aren't that strong, but further slippage could take them out of the race for a top-2 seed in the West.
Last week: 1

5 Denver (27-18)
Pace: 97.3 (2), OffRtg: 105.5 (7), DefRtg: 102.3 (13), NetRtg: +3.3 (6)
Ty Lawson seems to like 2013 a lot better than the end of 2012. After averaging 13.6 points on 41 percent shooting through December, he has averaged 18.0 points on 50 percent shooting in January. It's probably not a coincidence that the Nuggets have increased their pace, averaging 99.9 possessions per 48 minutes over their last 11 games. They're 9-2 in that stretch.
Last week: 5

6 Memphis (28-15)
Pace: 91.8 (28), OffRtg: 100.0 (21), DefRtg: 96.8 (2), NetRtg: +3.2 (7)
The three-for-one trade the Grizzlies pulled off on Tuesday relieves some of the pressure on their payroll, but adds some pressure to the players left in their rotation. So the timing of Mike Conley's ankle injury, suffered in Sunday's loss to the Hornets, is tough. The Memphis offense has been absolutely brutal (93.4 points scored per 100 possessions) with Conley on the bench.
Last week: 6

7 Chicago (26-17)
Pace: 92.4 (26), OffRtg: 100.0 (20), DefRtg: 97.6 (3), NetRtg: +2.4 (8)
Marco Belinelli had his second ridiculous game-winner in just six days against the Pistons on Wednesday, but 99 percent of the credit goes to Joakim Noah for the incredible save that set it up. After they host Charlotte on Monday, the Bulls begin a six-game trip against six teams with winning records, including games at Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Indiana that could alter the East standings.
Last week: 11

8 New York (27-15)
Pace: 93.0 (23), OffRtg: 108.1 (3), DefRtg: 103.0 (16), NetRtg: +5.1 (5)
Grouping the season in 10-game segments, the Knicks' offense has regressed consistently. They scored 111 points per 100 possessions in Games 1-10, 110 in Games 11-20, 108 in Games 21-30 and 105 in Games 31-40. The good news is that Sunday's win over the Hawks was their best offensive game in over six weeks, though 16-for-27 from 3-point range isn't exactly sustainable.
Last week: 7

9 Golden State (26-17)
Pace: 96.4 (7), OffRtg: 103.7 (11), DefRtg: 101.9 (12), NetRtg: +1.9 (11)
It's been said in this space that one of the biggest stories this season has been the Warriors' improvement on the glass. Well, in weekend losses in Chicago and Milwaukee, they allowed a total of 38 offensive rebounds and 55 second-chance points. They rank 26th in rebounding percentage in January at 47.9 percent, and are down to ninth (51.1 percent) for the season overall.
Last week: 8

10 Brooklyn (26-18)
Pace: 90.6 (29), OffRtg: 104.5 (9), DefRtg: 103.7 (19), NetRtg: +0.7 (14)
The Nets got a nice win over the Knicks on Monday, but their defense continues to be a real issue. They allowed the Grizzlies and Rockets to score a combined 129 points in the first half over the weekend. Though they're 12-4 under P.J. Carlesimo, they rank 15th defensively in his time as head coach. Still, Brook Lopez has to be the obvious choice to replace Rondo on the East All-Star roster.
Last week: 9

11 Indiana (26-18)
Pace: 92.1 (27), OffRtg: 98.6 (29), DefRtg: 96.3 (1), NetRtg: +2.2 (9)
It's been a fascinating trip for the Pacers already, and they've still got a game in Denver on Monday. In Memphis on Wednesday, they escaped with a win when Rudy Gay's game-winner was half a second too late. And in Utah on Saturday, they came back from eight down with less than two minutes to go in regulation, only to lose in OT. Those two games sandwiched a blowout loss in Portland.
Last week: 10

12 Milwaukee (23-19)
Pace: 97.2 (3), OffRtg: 100.0 (22), DefRtg: 100.5 (8), NetRtg: -0.5 (15)
When he took over as head coach, Jim Boylan immediately put Ersan Ilyasova back in the starting lineup. And now, Ilyasova is starting to play like he did at times last season, averaging 25.5 points and 12.3 rebounds over the last four games. If the Bucks didn't blow a 20-point lead in Cleveland on Friday, Ilyasova could be their third different (and fourth total) Player of the Week winner.
Last week: 12

13 Utah (24-20)
Pace: 94.0 (16), OffRtg: 103.7 (12), DefRtg: 104.2 (23), NetRtg: -0.6 (16)
The Jazz are an impressive 8-3 in January (6-0 at home), even though their defense has been pretty poor of late, allowing more than 105 points per 100 possessions over their last 10 games. This is a huge week in their quest to remain a playoff team, as they host the eighth-place Rockets on Monday and have a home-and-home with the ninth-place Blazers on Friday and Saturday.
Last week: 13

14 Houston (24-22)
Pace: 98.8 (1), OffRtg: 104.6 (8), DefRtg: 103.8 (20), NetRtg: +0.9 (13)
Winners of three of their last four, the Rockets have righted the ship and put themselves back in the West's top eight. It's helped that they've played two awful defenses (Charlotte and New Orleans) and another bad one (Brooklyn), but maybe that's what James Harden needed to get going. After a rough four-game stretch, he has averaged 27.8 points on just 16.8 shots over the last four.
Last week: 15

15 Atlanta (25-19)
Pace: 93.6 (18), OffRtg: 102.1 (13), DefRtg: 101.0 (10), NetRtg: +1.1 (12)
A week ago, the Hawks were free falling into the eighth spot in the East. Then they won three straight, including a big one against the Celtics, and almost got an even bigger one in New York on Sunday. Most of their January struggles have come on the road, where they've lost seven of their last eight. They've won seven of their last nine at the Highlight Factory, where they play four of their next five.
Last week: 16

16 Boston (21-23)
Pace: 93.4 (21), OffRtg: 99.6 (26), DefRtg: 100.3 (7), NetRtg: -0.7 (17)
The Celtics don't have another point guard, but they've been slightly better both offensively and defensively with Rondo off the floor (OffRtg: 100.4, DefRtg: 100.0) than with him on the floor (OffRtg: 99.2, DefRtg: 100.5) this year. They're also 12-8 in games he's missed over the last two seasons. And they play six of their last eight pre-break games at home, where they've been much better defensively.
Last week: 14

17 Portland (22-22)
Pace: 93.6 (19), OffRtg: 101.8 (15), DefRtg: 103.9 (21), NetRtg: -2.1 (20)
Just when the Blazers appeared to be falling deep into Lottery land, they went and beat the Blazers and Clippers to get back over .500. Against L.A., Nicolas Batum messed around and got his second triple-double in three games. He's one of only three players (Kevin Durant and Josh Smith are the other two) averaging at least 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Last week: 17

18 L.A. Lakers (19-25)
Pace: 97.0 (4), OffRtg: 105.7 (6), DefRtg: 103.6 (18), NetRtg: +2.2 (10)
Hey, maybe the Lakers' season has finally started now! And maybe Kobe Bryant (28 total assists in wins over the Jazz and Thunder) is the best point guard in the league. Seriously, if this turnaround is real, the two-game winning streak needs to reach at least six, because the Lakers host the Hornets on Tuesday, and then begin a seven-game trip with the Suns, Wolves and Pistons.
Last week: 19

19 Detroit (17-27)
Pace: 92.4 (25), OffRtg: 101.3 (17), DefRtg: 103.1 (17), NetRtg: -1.7 (19)
With Rondo done for the season, we look first at Philly as the team that can take advantage. But don't rule out the Pistons, who have won 10 of their last 16 games. Of the Boston-Philly-Detroit-Toronto group, it's Detroit that has the best point differential in January. Their home-heavy schedule continues through the break, but includes some visits from tough teams between now and then.
Last week: 20

20 Dallas (19-25)
Pace: 96.6 (6), OffRtg: 101.7 (16), DefRtg: 104.2 (22), NetRtg: -2.6 (21)
Mike James is 37 years old and has shot 10-for-32 (31 percent) in his nine games with the Mavs. Yet, he's the guy who has earned that 15th roster spot - previously held by Delonte West, Troy Murphy, Derek Fisher and Chris Douglas-Roberts - for good. Hey, the Mavs are 6-3 since James was signed to his first 10-day contract and he's a plus-30 in 89 minutes. If it ain't broke...
Last week: 22

21 New Orleans (15-29)
Pace: 90.6 (30), OffRtg: 102.0 (14), DefRtg: 106.0 (27), NetRtg: -4.1 (25)
Eight of the pending-Pelicans' 15 wins have come against teams currently in playoff position. Four of those eight have come on the road, including Sunday's win in Memphis. That one was big, because their defense had started looking awful again and they held the Grizz to just 83 points on 36 percent shooting. Ryan Anderson had seven threes in each of their two wins last week.
Last week: 21

22 Minnesota (17-24)
Pace: 94.5 (13), OffRtg: 99.7 (24), DefRtg: 102.4 (14), NetRtg: -2.7 (22)
The Wolves have lost nine of their last 10 games. The schedule was tough early in that stretch, but they lost to the Wizards and Bobcats over the weekend. Not only are they missing Rick Adelman, but only five guys have played in all 10 of those games. That includes Ricky Rubio, who is obviously not close to 100 percent. He has shot just 26 percent in his 16 games since returning.
Last week: 18

23 Philadelphia (18-25)
Pace: 93.2 (22), OffRtg: 99.6 (25), DefRtg: 103.0 (15), NetRtg: -3.4 (23)
Reports of an Andrew Bynum return around the All-Star break are increasing, but we'll believe it when he's actually on the floor in uniform in a real game. Still, the door is now wide open for the Sixers to grab a playoff spot. They haven't won two straight games since November, but their offense has picked up of late, scoring 104 points per 100 possessions over their last six.
Last week: 24

24 Washington (11-31)
Pace: 94.2 (15), OffRtg: 95.1 (30), DefRtg: 100.6 (9), NetRtg: -5.5 (27)
The Wiz have won seven of their last 10 games, including five straight at home and including four over teams with winning records. And they're finally out of the East basement. Bradley Beal and Martell Webster are a combined 41-for-81 (51 percent) from 3-point range over the last 10 games, 18-for-33 with John Wall on the floor. Wall is back in the starting lineup, but his minutes are still limited.
Last week: 26

25 Cleveland (13-32)
Pace: 94.9 (11), OffRtg: 99.3 (27), DefRtg: 106.4 (28), NetRtg: -7.1 (28)
Dear Chris Grant, please get Kyrie Irving some quality teammates ASAP, because this kid is just ridiculous and we're just wasting time with him playing for a crummy team. If there was any doubt about Irving's All-Star status, he went out and averaged 35.7 points on 61 percent shooting as the Cavs won three straight last week, topping it off with the long-distance game-winner in Toronto.
Last week: 27

26 Toronto (16-28)
Pace: 92.4 (24), OffRtg: 103.9 (10), DefRtg: 105.3 (26), NetRtg: -1.4 (18)
The emergence of Ed "Boss" Davis and rookie Terrence Ross (get that kid in the dunk contest) calls for some sort of "Boss and Ross" programming on Canadian TV. Fortunately, the Raps have the star of "The Andy and Landry Show" as a consultant. Unfortunately, the Raptors have been pretty terrible with Boss and Ross on the floor together (-14.5 points per 100 possessions).
Last week: 25

27 Sacramento (16-29)
Pace: 95.0 (9), OffRtg: 101.0 (18), DefRtg: 108.4 (30), NetRtg: -7.5 (29)
The Kings of January are like the Nuggets of November, alternating good and bad weeks. Appropriately, their latest 0-4 week ended with a shellacking in Denver on Saturday. More important, with their ownership situation still a big question and with Geoff Petrie still general managing, can they make any real roster changes and build a better team for which ever city they'll be in next year?
Last week: 23

28 Phoenix (15-30)
Pace: 94.9 (10), OffRtg: 99.7 (23), DefRtg: 104.8 (25), NetRtg: -5.1 (26)
The Suns are 2-2 under Lindsey Hunter. They were strong defensively in wins over the Kings and Clippers, and brutal defensively in losses to the Spurs and Mavs. At least Kendall Marshall got almost 15 minutes of playing time in Sunday's game in Dallas, almost as much time as he had played in all of December and January until that point. Let's see what the rookie can do.
Last week: 28

29 Charlotte (11-32)
Pace: 94.6 (12), OffRtg: 99.0 (28), DefRtg: 108.1 (29), NetRtg: -9.0 (30)
How great was it that the Bobcats' 16-game home losing streak came to an end with this ridiculous possession, in which they lost the ball three times before Gerald Henderson hit the game-winning bomb? The game featured several minutes of Henderson playing the four, with Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon on the floor too. The Cats play eight of their next 10 on the road.
Last week: 30

30 Orlando (14-29)
Pace: 93.9 (17), OffRtg: 100.9 (19), DefRtg: 104.6 (24), NetRtg: -3.6 (24)
The Magic have lost five straight (again), with four of the five coming by six points or less. The last two were real heartbreakers. DeMar DeRozan got 'em at the buzzer on Thursday, and then Nikola Vucevic couldn't connect on the game-tying put-back against the Pistons on Sunday. They begin a five-game spoiler trip in Brooklyn on Monday, with all five games against teams in the East's top nine.
Last week: 29

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