David Aldridge reveals which teams, to him, are the Top 15 squads in the NBA at this moment.
(last week’s record in parenthesis; previous ranking in brackets)
1) San Antonio Spurs (3-0) : Four wins away from the sixth 60-win season during the Popovich Era.
2) Houston Rockets (3-0) : Averaging a ridiculous 123.2 points per game in the last six.
3) Golden State Warriors (4-0) : Bench has become lively and productive again.
4) Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) : Cavs’ defense: 117.2 ppg allowed last five games, with opponents shooting 52 percent from the floor. Major red flag going into the playoffs. Or, maybe they’re just bored.
5) Boston Celtics (4-0) : They look like the best team in the conference right now, and look like they’re going to overtake Cleveland for first place in the East with two weeks to go in the regular season.
6) Washington Wizards (3-1) : John Wall playing the best basketball of his career.
7) Toronto Raptors (3-0) : P.J. Tucker has given Raps’ defense its groove back at just the right time.
8) Utah Jazz (1-2) : They need Rodney Hood back on track: 37.6 percent (41 of 109) from the floor in 12 appearances since the All-Star break.
9) LA Clippers (3-2) : Beat the Jazz at home Saturday. Very impressive. Blow an 18-point fourth-quarter lead with five minutes left and lose at home to the Kings Sunday. What the…?
10) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) : Tied in the loss column with the fifth-place Clippers with three games in hand, giving the Thunder a chance to get out of sixth place and avoid Houston in the first round (against whom OKC is 1-3 this season) and play fourth-place Utah (against whom OKC is 3-1 this season).
11) Atlanta Hawks (0-4) : Without Paul Millsap, Hawks’ margin for error goes paper-thin.
12) Milwaukee Bucks (3-1) [NR]: Giannis is tremendous with the ball in his hands, no doubt. But the Bucks have looked awfully smooth offensively behind rookie point guard Malcolm Brogdon, too.
13) Memphis Grizzlies (0-3) : He’s 40.
14) Indiana Pacers (2-2) : They haven’t won two straight games in six weeks.
15) Miami Heat (1-2) : Is Dion Waiters this valuable?
Dropped out: Detroit .
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Boston Celtics (4-0): Quality wins over Washington and Miami highlight a week where the Celtics have drawn agonizingly close to first place in the conference and home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
TEAM OF THE WEAK
Boston Celtics (4-0): Y’all gave up 70 points to one guy.