10. Indiana Pacers (20-14, Last Week: 12): The Pacers break the Top Ten this week while having an outstanding home record (12-3).
9. Atlanta Hawks (20-12, Last Week: 8): The Hawks fell a spot here due to losses against the Pistons and Celtics.
8. Houston Rockets (20-14, Last Week: 9): The Rockets are currently riding a four-game winning streak and face the struggling Lakers at home on Tuesday.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (21-10, Last Week: 7): The Grizz aren’t dominating quite as much as they were at the start of the season, but are still quietly a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
6. New York Knicks (23-10, Last Week: 6): The Knicks are 2-1 since Amar’e Stoudemire’s return. Stoudemire himself hasn’t provided much in a reserve role just yet. They did manage to beat the San Antonio Spurs, however.
5. Golden State Warriors (22-11, Last Week: 5): The Warriors managed to defeat the red-hot Clippers at home on Wednesday, but then got blown out in the rematch in L.A. The most impressive thing about the Warriors this season remains their solid road record at 11-7.
4. Miami Heat (23-9, Last Week: 3): The Heat are still playing well, but a loss against the Bulls last week drops them a spot here.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (26-7, Last Week: 4): The Thunder have the best record in the NBA. However, there are still two teams playing better than them over the past few weeks.
2. San Antonio Spurs (27-9, Last Week: 2): The Spurs have won eight of their last nine games. Had they defeated the New York Knicks instead of being blown out, they probably would have taken the number one spot; but we all know the Spurs play for the playoffs and not December/January. Still, the Spurs have shown some vulnerability to explosive teams this season.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (27-8, Last Week: 1): The Clippers won 17 games straight before suffering back-to-back losses to the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, respectively. This would have shifted the Clippers down a slot or two, but they followed that by holding off a solid effort by the town-rival Los Angeles Lakers and putting a beating on the Warriors for payback. The Clippers are the most exciting team to watch in the NBA and have put a target on their back as a team. Their chemistry, depth, and commitment to defense have propelled “Lob City” from being solely a high-fly act to becoming a legitimate championship contender.