DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Utah Jazz take big jump forward

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

1) Houston Rockets (4-0) [1]: At 1,076 made 3-pointers after Sunday, the Rockets have 215 more 3-point makes this season than the second-place Brooklyn Nets.

2) Toronto Raptors (3-1) [2]: Wasn’t referee Marc Davis’ finest hour Sunday. Wasn’t the Raptors’, either.

3) Golden State Warriors (2-1) [3]: Warriors, pretty much locked into second in the West behind Houston, go full prevention mode and sit Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson until just before the playoffs.

4) Portland Trail Blazers (4-0) [5]: Is the annual Maurice Harkless 3-point shutdown again upon us?

5) Boston Celtics (2-1) [4]: The Celtics are a much less formidable defensive team without Marcus Smart. That makes them much more vulnerable in a first-round matchup.

6) Oklahoma City Thunder (4-0) [6]: Steven Adams straight Incredible Hulks fools these days.

7) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) [8]: Ty Lue should take all the time he needs to get well. If that means the very capable Larry Drew coaches the Cavs the rest of the season, so be it. Life’s too short.

8) Utah Jazz (3-0) [NR]: Good to see Dante Exum back on the floor.

9)New Orleans Pelicans (2-2) [9]: Emeka Okafor has been a godsend in the hole for the Pels.

10) San Antonio Spurs (3-1) [10]: Golden State, Washington, Utah, Milwaukee, Washington, Oklahoma City, Houston. And then, we’ll probably know if the Spurs are going to make the playoffs for the 21st straight season.

11) Washington Wizards (2-1) [11]: The Wizards continue to drive advanced folks crazy: 23rd in three-point attempts … fourth in three-point percentage!

12) Indiana Pacers (1-2) [7]: Despite back-to-back losses to Toronto and Washington, Pacers’ defense has been outstanding in March (97.9 ppg allowed through nine games).

13) Philadelphia 76ers (2-1) [13]: Oh, hey, look, Robert Covington (22 of his last 49 on threes) is back.

14) Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) [NR]: The Bucks may want to have all their visas and passports up to date: still have a west coast trip to fulfill (Clippers, Warriors, Lakers, Nuggets), plus Spurs and Cavaliers, so eighth in the east — and a date with Toronto in the first round — is a strong possibility.

15) Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2) [14]: The Wolves will not make the playoffs playing defense the way they are now.

Dropped out: Denver [12]; Miami [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.

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