DA's Morning Tip

DA's Top 15 Rankings: Cleveland Cavaliers make up some ground

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

1) Boston Celtics (3-1) [1]: Had to end sometime, and I got the sense last week that Brad Stevens wouldn’t be all that upset when the win streak was over.

2) Houston Rockets (2-0) [3]: In their last 10 wins, the Rockets have won by an average of 19.9 points per game.

3) Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0) [5]: Defense has picked up significantly: per NBA.com/Stats, Cavs are 10th-best (101.8) in Defensive Rating during their seven-game win streak.

4) Golden State Warriors (2-1) [2]: Seems like the Warriors just got off the road, but they have another six-game, all over the place trip — at the Lakers, at Orlando, at Miami, at New Orleans, at Charlotte, at Detroit — after tonight’s game at Oracle against Sacramento.

5) San Antonio Spurs (2-1) [4]: Crazy number from Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News: the Spurs have held opponents under 100 points a game, on average, every year for 22 straight years, and are well on pace this year to do it for a 23rd.

6) Toronto Raptors (1-2) [6]: Raptors looking at small ball more and more, with Jonas Valanciunas playing less and less in fourth quarters.

7) Detroit Pistons (1-1) [8]: Pistons already have five road wins this season. They had 13 last season.

8) Philadelphia 76ers (3-0) [12]: Sixers must turn Jahlil Okafor into a productive bench piece when/if they move him. Feel a player light.

9) Milwaukee Bucks (1-2) [7]: Gary Payton II in the starting lineup the last two games as Jason Kidd’s gone to three-guard look.

10) Portland Trail Blazers (3-1) [11]: Blazers turned what looked like an awful road trip into a productive one with improbable back-to-back wins at Nets, Wizards.

11) Minnesota Timberwolves (2-2) [9]: Twenty games played this season, 16 double-doubles for Karl-Anthony Towns.

12) Washington Wizards (1-2) [10]: They have already blown five double-digit leads this season, the latest Saturday against Portland, when Washington gave up a 17-point fourth-quarter edge.

13) Denver Nuggets (2-1) [13]: Kudos and Godspeed to longtime Nuggets PR man Tim Gelt, who’s leaving the organization after 18 years for greater, greener pastures.

14) New Orleans Pelicans (3-1) [NR]: Rondo and Tony Allen get back on the floor, and the Pelicans get to stiff-arming fools.

15) New York Knicks (2-2) [14]: Not often a team drops 28 straight on someone at this level.

Dropped out: Memphis [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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