10. Los Angeles Lakers (15-15, Last Week: 12): Maybe I’m being too optimistic here, and some of you are probably wondering why a .500 team is at number ten on the list. However, a significant Christmas Day victory over a strong New York Knicks team deserves some credit. Sure, the Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets, but have won six of seven games overall and the return of Steve Nash has seemingly sparked the Lakers. The defense, however, still needs some serious work as the team is giving up an average of 100.2 points to opponents.
9. Houston Rockets (16-14, Last Week: 9): The Rockets continue to get the job done, despite losing to the San Antonio Spurs and getting crushed by the Oklahoma City Thunder in back-to-back games. Omer Asik has turned into a rebounding beast, however; averaging 11.6 boards on the season and 13.3 over the past six games.
8. Atlanta Hawks (19-9, Last Week: 8): The Hawks are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (19-8, Last Week: 6): The Grizzlies have slid a bit as of late; getting smashed by the Rockets last week and losing to the Pistons on Wednesday before defeating the Nuggets on Saturday.
6. New York Knicks (21-9, Last Week: 5): The Knicks lost to the Kings on Friday, and barely defeated the Suns on Wednesday. Amar’e Stoudemire could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday, however. It will be interesting to see how he’s utilized, and he could make the Knicks a serious title-contending team if he can be effective in whatever role Mike Woodson chooses for him.
5. Golden State Warriors (21-10, Last Week: 7): The Warriors have won three in a row and continue to be an outstanding road team (11-6).
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-6, Last Week: 2): The Thunder failed to beat the Miami Heat in their Christmas Day, NBA Finals rematch, matchup. Psychologically, the inability to win in Miami will weigh heavily on OKC–at least until they face each other again in Oklahoma City.
3. Miami Heat (20-8, Last Week: 3): The Heat lost to the Pistons and Bucks in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Granted, both games were on the road.
2. San Antonio Spurs (24-8, Last Week: 4): The Spurs are currently on a five-game winning streak, and simply know how to win.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (25-6, Last Week: 1): Lo and behold, the Clippers hold their number one spot and continue to dominate teams. Currently on an 17-game winning streak, Los Angeles’ other team is defeating their opponents by a league-leading average of 10.1 points. The depth the Clippers possess is extremely dangerous and downright scary for other teams.