DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Oklahoma City Thunder keep on rising

David Aldridge

(Last week’s record in parenthesis; last week’s ranking in brackets)

1) Golden State Warriors (2-1) [1]: Speaking for myself, I was wrong about Nick Young’s ability to play meaningful, focused basketball for a winning team.

2) Houston Rockets (2-1) [6]: Now 17-0 this season with James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela on the floor together.

3) Toronto Raptors (2-2) [5]: Raptors have to get C.J. Miles going — just 15 of 50 (30 percent) from the floor the last five games.

4) Boston Celtics (0-3) [2]: First three-game losing streak of the season after Sunday’s inexplicable home loss to the Magic.

5) Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2) [3]: Quality win over Toronto without Jimmy Butler Saturday.

6) San Antonio Spurs (1-3) [4]: It’s not just Cousin LaMarcus: Spurs have three of the top 10 (!) guards in the league who’ve appeared in 30 or more games this season so far in Defensive Rating — Dejounte Murray (first in the league, at 94.2, entering play last weekend), Brandon Paul (ninth, 100.1) and Danny Green (10th, 100.2).

7) Miami Heat (2-2) [8]: A half-game out of third in the Eastern Conference as this is written. Amazing.

8) Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0) [12]: Andre Roberson back from knee tendinitis, getting OKC’s premier defensive five-man lineup — sixth-best in the league in Defensive Rating (95.6 per 100) among regular (100 minutes minimum) — back on the court.

9) Strugglesville — aka Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) [7]: Cavs’ starting lineup the last time the franchise gave up a buck forty eight in a regulation NBA game: Butch Beard, Bingo Smith, John Johnson, Dave Sorenson, Walt Wesley. The date was Jan. 2, 1972; Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham was one of seven Philadelphia 76ers in double figures in the 148-119 beatdown. Philly scored 48 points (!) in the fourth quarter.

10) Washington Wizards (1-2) [9]: Wizards have allowed opponents to score 100 points in 17 straight games — longest streak in the league this season — including a ghastly 114 per in the last seven.

11) Milwaukee Bucks (1-2) [10]: That’s a big scoreboard.

12) New Orleans Pelicans (2-1) [13]: Pelicans haven’t had two All-Stars since Chris Paul and David West in 2009, and have never had two players voted in as starters by fans until they put Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in the starting five for next month’s game.

13) Philadelphia 76ers (3-0) [NR]: Just as the Sixers’ season looked like it was fizzling, they’ve won seven of eight to come roaring back into the East playoff picture.

14) Indiana Pacers (2-2) [14]: Fresh off completing first season sweep of the Spurs since 1994-95 with win in San Antonio Sunday.

15) Portland Trail Blazers (3-0) [NR]: They look like they’ve finally figured out their issues at Moda Center: after starting 8-10 at home, they’ve won five straight there, including a win over the Spurs.

Dropped Out: Detroit Pistons [11]; Denver Nuggets [15]

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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