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Weeks 6 & 7 Achieve: NBA Power Rankings

Our 2008 NBA power ratings after week five of the 2008 NBA Basketball season.

2008 Weeks 6 and 7 NBA Team Ratings
(Dated: December 8 - Decmber 21, 2008)

1. Los Angeles Lakers (16-2) – The Lakers remain # 1 in the power rankings, with their 16-2 start. Los Angeles picked up their second straight win on Friday night, a 106-104 decision on the road in Washington. The Lakers fell on December 2nd in a 118-117-overtime loss at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Kobe Bryant is pouring in 25.1 points per game for Los Angeles, while Pao Gasol is ripping down 9.2 rebounds per game. The Lakers are scoring league high 108.6 points per game, and allowing 96.4. Los Angeles is 9-1 at the Staples Center, and 7-1 in road games. The Lakers will host Milwaukee on Sunday, then travel to Sacramento, before a four game home stand with Phoenix, Sacramento, Minnesota and the Knicks, before a four game road trip before Christmas.

2. Boston Celtics (19-2) – The Celtics have won 11 in a row, and are the defending World Champions, and still can’t crack the Lakers atop the Power Rankings. Boston will remain in the # 2 position. The Celtics disposed of Portland on Friday night, picking up their 11th straight, not having been beat since a November 1st loss to Indiana. Boston is led in scoring by Paul Pierce, with 18.6 points per game, and 3.3 assists per game. The Celtics will travel to Indiana for a rematch on Sunday, and then head to the nation’s capital to take on the Wizards. The Celtics will then play two games at home on December 12th and 15th against New Orleans and Utah, before traveling down to Atlanta on December 17th, before a three game home stand before Christmas.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-3) – The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a fast start, at 16-3 on the year. With their impressive play, Cleveland remains at # 3, behind the Lakers and Celtics in the power rankings. The King LeBron James, who is scoring 27.4 points per game, and dishing out 6.3 assists per game, leads Cleveland. The Cavaliers are scoring 104.0 points per game, and allowing 91.1 points per game. Cleveland has yet to lose at home, while winning five of eight on the road. The Cavs are coming off a Friday night 97-73 win over the Indiana Pacers. LeBron and the Cavs will travel to Charlotte on Saturday night, host Toronto December 9th, then play back to back home and away with Philadelphia, before a four city trip to Atlanta, Minnesota, Denver and Oklahoma City.

4. Orlando Magic (15-5) – Leading the NBA’s Eastern Conference – Southeast Division by two full games, the Orlando Magic have started the season winners of 15 of 20. The Magic remain behind Los Angeles, Boston and Cleveland for the fourth spot in the power rankings. Orlando’s Dwight Howard has put up a fantastic start to the season scoring 21.5 points per game, and ripping down 14.0 rebounds a game. Orlando is coming off an 11 point victory over the Thunder on Friday night. The Magic start a five game road trip on Monday, with trips to Los Angeles (Clippers), Portland, Phoenix, Utah and Golden State. After the road trip, Orlando will stay at home for four games, leading up to a Christmas Day game with the Hornets of New Orleans.

5. Portland Trailblazers (14-7) – Portland had won six in a row, and eight of their last night before their trip to Boston on Friday night. The Celtics showed the Trailblazers they were not quite ready to compete at the very top of the league. With their hot play, Portland has moved up six spots from # 11 to # 5. The Trailblazers are being led in scoring by guard Brandon Roy, at 21.1 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, and 1.1 steals. Portland sits just ahead of the Denver Nuggets atop the NBA’s Western Conference – Northwest Division. Portland will complete their five game road trip on Sunday in Toronto, and then head home to face the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night. A trip to Utah will lead up to three straight home games with the Clippers, Kings and Suns in the next two weeks.

6. Denver Nuggets (13-7) – The Denver Nuggets lost their three game winning streak Thursday night, falling 108-91 at San Antonio. In the last two weeks, the Nuggets have moved up one position from # 7 to # 6. Carmelo Anthony, scoring 19.8 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game, leads Denver. Currently, Denver is ½ game behind Portland in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. The Nuggets are scoring 101.7 points per game, while allowing 98.2 per game. Denver is 7-3 at home and 6-4 on the road. The Nuggets will play at Sacramento on Saturday, then host Minnesota and Golden State before a road trip to Dallas and Houston, before hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 19th.

7. Houston Rockets (13-7) – The Houston Rockets sit atop the Western Conference – Southwest Division by a full game over New Orleans, and two over Dallas and San Antonio. The Rockets have won two straight games, over the Clippers and Warriors. Houston moves up one spot from # 8 to # 7 in the power rankings. Houston is scoring 96.6 points per game, and allowing 92.3 per game. The Rockets are 6-3 when playing in Houston and 7-4 on the road. Yao Ming is scoring 18.9 points per game and grabbing 9.5 rebounds per game for Houston. The Rockets will play at Memphis on Monday, and host Atlanta on Tuesday, before heading to the road at the Warriors and Clippers. On December 16th Houston will host Denver, and then host Sacramento, before a four game road trip during the week of Christmas.

8. Detroit Pistons (11-7) – The Detroit Pistons fell 96-91 to Philadelphia on Friday night, their 7th loss of the season. The Pistons dropped two spots in the power rankings from # 6 to # 8. Detroit trails the Eastern Conference – Central Division by four games, trailing Cleveland. Allen Iverson is leading the Pistons in scoring, at 17.6 points per game, while Rasheed Wallace is leading Detroit in rebounding, at 8.2. The Pistons will play at New York on Sunday, and at Washington on Tuesday, host Indiana, travel to Charlotte, and then host Washington and Utah in the next two weeks.

9. Atlanta Hawks (12-6) – The Atlanta Hawks remain at # 9 in the power rankings with their 12-6 record. Atlanta has won three straight games; over Washington, Memphis and New York. The Hawks are led in scoring by guard Joe Johnson, who is averaging 22.6 points per game, and 5.4 assists per game. The Hawks are 7-1 at home this season, and 5-5 on the road. Atlanta will start a four game road trip on Saturday in Dallas, before heading to Houston, San Antonio and Miami. After the road trip, the Hawks will play eight straight games at home, starting with Cleveland on December 13th.

10. New Orleans Hornets (10-6) – The New Orleans Hornets, led by Chris Paul’s 20.6 points and 11.8 assists per game are 10-6 on the year, and just one full game behind Houston in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference. The Hornets are scoring 96.7 points per game, and allowing 92.9. New Orleans has won five of eight at home, and also are 5-3 on the road. The Hornets moved into the Top Ten, after their position at # 12 in the last rankings. The Hornets will continue their home stand on Saturday, taking on the Memphis Grizzles, and then another home game with Charlotte. On December 12th the Hornets will play in Boston, and then head to Toronto and Memphis.

11. Utah Jazz (13-8) – The Utah Jazz seem to be re-gaining some of their injured players, and seem to be playing better. The Jazz got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Paul Milsap and picked up 14 points from point guard Deron Williams in their blow out win over Toronto Friday night. The Jazz, due to their injuries fell from # 5 to # 11. Utah sits just one game back of Portland in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. The Jazz plays at Phoenix Saturday, at Minnesota Tuesday before a brief two game home stand with Portland and Orlando, before taking the road again for five straight, starting in Boston on December 15th.

12. Dallas Mavericks (10-8) – Dallas, winners of three straight games, have moved up three spots from # 15 to # 12. Dallas led in scoring by Dirk Nowitzki, at 25.1 points per game is just two games back of Houston in the Northwest Division. Dallas is scoring 100.2 points per game, and allowing 97.1 per game. The Mavericks are just 4-4 at home, while 6-4 on the road. The Mavericks will host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, as part of their current seven game home stand. After Atlanta leaves town, San Antonio, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, and Denver will invade Dallas.

13. San Antonio Spurs (10-8) – The 10-8 San Antonio Spurs continue to just “hang in” with injuries hampering the team. The Spurs remain at # 13 in the rankings. San Antonio is coming off a 108-91 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. Tony Parker is leading the Spurs, scoring 23.0 points per game, and 6.2 assists. Old man steady Tim Duncan is pulling down 10.3 rebounds per game, and blocking 1.8 shots per game for the Spurs. San Antonio is just two games behind Houston, and a game behind New Orleans and Dallas in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference. The Spurs will host the Warriors on Saturday, and travel to Dallas on Tuesday. Atlanta will come to San Antonio on December 10th, before the Spurs play at Minnesota on December 12th.

14. Phoenix Suns (11-9) – The Phoenix Suns have lost four straight games after starting the season out at 11-5. In their four game losing streak, Phoenix has dropped four spots from # 10 to # 14. The Suns are led in scoring by Amare Stoudemire, who is scoring 22.4 points per game, while big SHAQ is picking up 8.3 rebounds, and the always reliable Steve Nash is dishing out 8.2 assists per game. Phoenix is scoring 99.9 points per game, and allowing 100.5 per game. The Suns are just 4-5 at home, while winning seven of eleven games on the road. The Suns will host Utah on Saturday and the Bucks on Tuesday, before a Wednesday road game at the Lakers. The Magic and Knicks will come to town for December 12th and 15th match-ups with the Suns, before Phoenix hits the road to Portland on December 18th.

15. New Jersey Nets (10-8) –The New Jersey Nets are winners of four of their last five games, and have moved up eight spots from # 23 to # 15. The Nets beat Minnesota 113-84 on Friday night, three nights after a 108-88 loss to the Wizards. Devon Harris, out of Wisconsin is scoring 24.2 points per game, and dishing out 6.0 assists per game. The Nets are scoring 101.7 points per game, and allowing 103.4. New Jersey is 4-5 at home, while winning six of nine games on the road this season, New Jersey will play at Philadelphia on Saturday, before hosting the Knicks and Raptors, before heading on the road to Chicago and Toronto.

16. Miami Heat (10-9) – The Miami Heat, at 10-9 are hanging in, around the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. This is a huge step up for the Heat, who finished at the very bottom of the 2007-2008 standings. Miami remains at # 16 in the power rankings. Miami is 4.5 games back of the Orlando Magic, in third place, in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Dwyane Wade has remained healthy thus far, and is scoring 28.4 points per game, and 7.7 assists per game. The Heat are scoring 98.8 points per game, and allowing 97.5 per game. The Heat will take on Oklahoma City on Saturday, Charlotte on Monday, and the Hawks on Friday. A quick trip on the road on December 14th at Memphis, will lead up to another two home games with Milwaukee and the Lakers, December 15th and 19th.

17. Toronto Raptors (8-10) – The Toronto Raptors had high hopes coming into the 2008-2009 season, and now after firing former head coach Sam Mitchell, Jay Triano will look to bring Toronto back to where they are expected to be. The Raptors have fallen one position, from # 16 to # 17. The Raptors are 8-10 overall, and tied with Philadelphia for third place in the Eastern Conference – Atlantic Division. Toronto is scoring 97.1 points per game, but allowing 102.3 points per game. The Raptors are 4-4 at home and 4-6 on the road. Chris Bosh is scoring 26.1 points per game, and grabbing 10.3 rebounds per game for the Raptors. Toronto will host Portland on Sunday, and then travel to Cleveland to take on LeBron James and the Cavs on Tuesday night. With Indiana, at New Jersey, with New Orleans, New Jersey and Dallas will be on the schedule for the next two weeks.

18. Philadelphia 76ers (9-11) – The Philadelphia 76ers are currently holding onto the # 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, despite their sub .500 record. Philadelphia remains at # 18 in the NBA Power Rankings. The 76ers are coming off a 96-91 upset win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. Philadelphia is getting 16.7 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game from free agent signee Elton Brand on the year. The 76ers are two games behind New Jersey for second place in the Atlantic Division, with Boston running away with it. Philadelphia will host New Jersey on Saturday before playing a home and away game with the Cleveland Cavaliers, before hosting Washington and Milwaukee.

19. New York Knicks (8-11) – The New York Knicks are trying to put all the Stephon Marbury drama to rest, and battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While in last place in the Atlantic Division, the Knicks sit just ½ game behind Philadelphia for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks fall from # 17 to # 19 in the power rankings. New York is being led in scoring by Al Harrington. Harrington is scoring 21.8 points per game in 37.0 minutes played. The Knicks have lost three straight games in the month of December. New York will host Detroit on Sunday, and then begin a five game road trip on Tuesday, heading to Chicago, New Jersey, Sacramento, Phoenix and finishing at the Lakers on December 16th.

20. Chicago Bulls (8-11) – The Chicago Bulls, at 8-11, are sputtering, losers of two of their last three ball games. The Bulls in the last two weeks drop one spot from # 19 to # 20 this week. The Bulls’ Ben Gordon is scoring 20.4 points per game, and 3.7 assists per game. Drew Gooden is ripping down 8.7 rebounds per game, and rookie Derek Rose is dishing out 5.9 assists per game. The Bulls are tied in third place with Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference – Central Division, trailing the Cavaliers by eight games. The Bulls host Washington on Saturday and the Knicks on Tuesday, before heading to the road on December 12th in Memphis.

21. Milwaukee Bucks (9-12) – The Milwaukee Bucks have won two straight games over Charlotte and Chicago, moving up from # 22 to # 21. The Bucks are tied with Chicago in third place in the Eastern Conference – Central Division standings. Milwaukee’s Michael Redd, despite missing some games with injuries is scoring 20.4 points per game, while Andrew Bogut is grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game. Milwaukee will start a three game road trip on Sunday, in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, then head to Phoenix and Golden State, before a quick home game with Indiana, before heading back on the road to Miami, Philadelphia and New York.

22. Indiana Pacers (7-12) – At 7-12, the Indiana Pacers have created quite a stir this season beating the Lakers and the Celtics, arguably the two best teams in the NBA. The Pacers are coming off a 97-73 loss to the Cavaliers on Friday. The current two game losing streak Indiana is on has dropped them from # 21 to # 22. Danny Granger is averaging 23.3 points per game. The Pacers are in last place in the Central Division, trailing Chicago and Milwaukee by just one full game. The Pacers will face the Boston Celtics on Sunday, and then begin a four game road trip in Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee and Washington.

23. Charlotte Bobcats (7-12) – The Charlotte Bobcats fell on Friday night, 101-96 to Milwaukee. The loss snapped the Bobcats two game-winning streak. Within the last two weeks, Charlotte has moved up three spots from # 26 to # 23. The Bobcats are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference – Southeast Division, trailing Orlando, Atlanta and Miami, and three games ahead of Washington. Jason Richardson and Emeka Okafor lead the Bobcats, Richardson scoring 19.1 points per game, and Okafor grabbing 10.7 rebounds per game. The Bobcats will host Cleveland on Saturday before taking the road to Miami, New Orleans and Dallas.

24. Golden State Warriors (5-14) – The Warriors scored 112 points in their game against the Rockets on Friday. The problem for Golden State was, they allowed 131, in the loss. The loss was the eighth in a row for the Warriors. Golden State moves down four spots from their # 20 position, to # 24. Stephen Jackson leads Golden State in scoring, at 20.9 points per game, and 6.6 assists. The Warriors are in third place in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Golden State will play at San Antonio on Saturday, and Oklahoma City on Monday. The Bucks and Rockets will come to town next week, before the Warriors head to Denver and host Orlando before a five city road trip leading up to Christmas.

25. Sacramento Kings (5-15) – The Sacramento Kings are 12 games back of the National Basketball Association – Western Conference – Pacific Division, trailing the Lakers, Suns and Warriors, ahead of just the Clippers. On the year, Sacramento has won just five of twenty games, and are currently on a seven game losing streak. The streak has caused the Kings to fall from # 24 to # 25. Sacramento on the year is scoring 97.7 points per game, and allowing 105.1. The Kings are 3-7 at home and 2-8 when playing on the road. The Kings are led in scoring by Kevin Martin, at 22.4 points per game. Sacramento will host Denver on Saturday and the Lakers on Monday. They will then travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers again, before the Knicks and Timberwolves come to down. The Kings will play four road games at Portland, Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio leading up to Christmas.

26. Memphis Grizzles (5-14) – The Memphis Grizzles picked up their fifth win of the season on Friday night over the Los Angeles Clippers 93-81. The win for Memphis snapped a seven game losing streak. The Grizzles drop one position in the power rankings from # 25 to # 26. Rookie guard O.J Mayo is scoring 21.3 points per game, while playing 39.2 minutes per game. Rudy Gay is also scoring 20 points per game, and nearly 6 rebounds per game. The Grizzles will play at New Orleans Saturday night, host the Rockets Monday, and play at Oklahoma City Wednesday. On December 12th the Grizzles will start a five game home stand that will see the Bulls, Heat, Hornets, Bobcats and Lakers come to town.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-14) – The 4-14 Minnesota Timberwolves remain at # 27 in the NBA Power Rankings. The Timberwolves have have dropped four straight games, including a Friday night loss at New Jersey. The Timberwolves are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference – Northwest Division, trailing the front running Portland Trailblazers by nine games. Minnesota is getting great production from big man Al Jefferson who is scoring 21.2 points per game, and grabbing 10.1 rebounds per game. The Timberwolves are scoring 95.8 points per game, and allowing 101.1 points per game. The Timberwolves are 2-6 at home, while winning just two of ten on the road. Minnesota will host the Clippers on Saturday, and the Jazz on Tuesday, before a road game on December 10th to Denver.

28. Los Angeles Clippers (3-16) – The Los Angeles Clippers fell on Friday, 93-81 at Memphis. The loss for the Clippers was their 16th in 19 games. The Clippers cannot find a way to get onto winning ways, allowing 100.3 points per game. The Clippers, despite their struggles moved up one position, passing Washington. Zach Randolph, coming over from the Knicks is scoring 21.0 points per game, while Marcus Camby is ripping down 10.5 rebounds per game, and blocking 2.7 shots per game. The Clippers will finish their four game road trip on Saturday in Minnesota, before coming home to host the Magic on Monday. A trip to Portland and a home game with the Rockets will lead up to a four game road trip leading into Christmas, with visits to Oklahoma City, Chicago, Indiana and Milwaukee.

29. Washington Wizards (3-14) – The Washington Wizards fought back and had a chance to win Friday night’s game against the Lakers 106-104. The loss dropped the Wizards to 3-14 start. The start to the season cost former head coach Eddie Jordan his job. Washington sits in last place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference – Southeast Division, trailing fourth place Charlotte by 3.5 games. The Wizards fall one spot from # 28 last week to # 29 this week. Washington will travel to Chicago on Saturday, before hosting Eastern Conference powers Detroit and Boston, before heading to the road for a single game at Philadelphia, hosting Indiana and heading to Detroit.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-18) – The Oklahoma City Thunder cannot seem to find a way to get going this season. At 2-18 on the season, the Thunder have lost two straight, following a 111-103 victory over Memphis. Leading up to the win over the Grizzles was a 14 game losing streak. The Thunder remain at the bottom of the NBA Power Rankings; # 30. Kevin Durant, a second year forward out of the University of Texas is leading the Thunder in scoring, with 22.3 points per game. Oklahoma City’s problems are team wide, but allowing 102.5 points per game has not helped their cause. The Thunder are a matching 1-9 at home, and on the road. The Thunder finish a three game road trip on Saturday in Miami, before hosting Golden State and Memphis, then heading to Texas to face Dallas and San Antonio, before hosting the Clippers, Raptors and Cavaliers.


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