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Weeks 8 & 9 Archive: NBA Power Rankings

Our 2008 NBA power ratings after week seven of the 2008-09 NBA Basketball season.

2008-09 Weeks 8 and 9 NBA Team Ratings
(Dated: December 22, 2008 - January 4, 2009)

1. Boston Celtics (25-2) – The Boston Celtics, led by Rajon Rondo’s 26 points, 18 in the third quarter, won their 17th straight game on Sunday. The win for Boston moved them to 25-2 overall, and up one spot in the power rankings from # 2 to # 1. Ray Allen continues to lead Boston in scoring with 18.8 points per game, and helped by Kevin Garnett’s 9.2 rebounds per game. To conclude 2008, the Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, and then head for the road for games at the Lakers (Christmas Day), Warriors, Kings and Trailblazers.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (21-5) – The Lakers fell for the second straight game Saturday night 106-103. The losses for Los Angeles were on back-to-back nights in the state of Florida, after the 97-89 loss at Miami on Friday. The Lakers are 21-5 on the season, leading the Pacific Division by 5.5 games over the Phoenix Suns. The losses drop Los Angeles down one position from the # 1 spot, down to # 2. The Lakers will continue their road trip on Monday and Tuesday when they take on the Grizzles and Hornets, before a Christmas Day home game with the red hot Boston Celtics. The Lakers will finish 2008 on the 28th with a home game with Golden State.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (23-4) – LeBron James and company were able to fend Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets on Friday night 105-88, and then picked up another win Sunday night over Oklahoma City. Despite being 23-4 overall, the Cavaliers still sit at the # 3 position within the power rankings. James, on the season is scoring 27.5 points per game, and adding 6.4 assists. The Cavs lead the Pistons in the Central Division by 7.5 games. Cleveland will head back home to take on Houston on Tuesday, and then a Christmas Day battle with the Washington Wizards, before a December 28th game with the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers will conclude 2008 with a December 28th game at Miami.

4. Orlando Magic (21-6) – Behind Boston and Cleveland the Orlando Magic quietly sit as the third best team in the Eastern Conference. The Magic remain at # 4 with their impressive 21-6 overall record. Orlando leads the Eastern Conference – Southeast Division by four games over the pesky Atlanta Hawks. The Magic have won four straight games since their December 12 loss at Phoenix. Saturday nights win was a 106-103 decision over the Western Conference leading Lakers. Dwight Howard is putting up MVP type numbers with 20.7 points per game and 14.0 rebounds per game. The Magic will remain at home for games on Monday and Christmas Day with the Warriors and Hornets. Orlando will then take the road for three road games to conclude 2008; at Minnesota, Detroit, and New Years Eve at Chicago.

5. New Orleans Hornets (16-7) – The Hornets picked up their fourth straight win on Saturday with a 99-90 win over the Sacramento Kings. The Hornets are currently tied in the Western Division – Southwest Division with the Houston Rockets. New Orleans point guard Chris Paul is scoring 20.4 points per game, and adding 11.8 assists per game, while shooting 51.5% from the field. The Hornets will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday December 23rd, before a Christmas Day battle at Orlando. December 26th New Orleans will take on Houston, December 28th at Indiana, and then a December 30th game with the Washington Wizards.

6. Houston Rockets (18-9) – The Houston Rockets handed the Minnesota Timber wolves their 12th straight loss, and in the process won their third straight game Saturday night. The Rockets move up one spot from # 7 to # 6. Houston currently sits in a tie for first place in the Western Conference – Southwest Division with the New Orleans Hornets. Yao Ming leads the Rockets scoring 20.0 points per game, and ripping down 9.5 rebounds per game. Houston will take on the Nets, Cavs, and Hornets on the road this week, before a December 27th home game with the Jazz and a December 29th home game with the Wizards.

7. Denver Nuggets (17-10) – The Denver Nuggets have lost three straight games, and dropped a spot from # 6 to # 7. The Nuggets latest defeat was a 108-101 loss to the Suns, a night after falling 105-88 to Cleveland. Denver’s Carmelo Anthony is getting MVP attention scoring 20.5 points per game, and adding 7.4 rebounds per game. Chauncey Billups, who came to Denver from Detroit in November, has helped the Nuggets by adding 6.9 assists per game, and shooting a robust 89.8% from the free throw line. Denver will play home and away games with Portland on Monday and Tuesday, and then come back home for one game with the 76ers on the 26th. The Nuggets will travel to New York and Atlanta on the 28th and 29th to finish their 2008 portion of the schedule.

8. Atlanta Hawks (17-10) – The Atlanta Hawks picked up a 85-78 win over the Detroit Pistons, their second straight win; on Sunday. The win for Atlanta moved them to 17-10 overall, and in second place in the Eastern Conference – Southeast Division. The Hawks are four full games behind the Orlando Magic. Atlanta moves up one spot from # 9 to # 8 in the power rankings. Joe Johnson’s 22.9 points per game, and 5.3 assists per game lead Atlanta. Al Horford is picking 8.4 rebounds per game, and shooting 52.3% from the field. The Hawks will play three straight home games in the next week against the Thunder, Bulls and Nuggets. On December 30th the Hawks will play at the Indiana Pacers.

9. Portland Trailblazers (17-10) – Brandon Roy cemented his name in the Portland record book with 52 points against the Suns on Friday night. Those points helped Portland come up with a 124-119 win. Roy on the season is scoring 23.4 points per game and 5.2 assists per game. Portland is tied with Denver atop the Western Conference – Northwest Division. The Trailblazers despite that win drop four spots from # 5 to # 9. Portland will play a road and home game against the Nuggets Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and then finish the month with three more home games; with Dallas, Toronto and Boston.

10. San Antonio Spurs (16-10) – The Spurs snapped their two game losing streak on Saturday night with a 107-97 win over the Raptors. Since the slow start the Spurs have developed a 16-10 record, good enough for # 10, moving up three spots from # 13 during the last power rankings. The Spurs trail the Hornets and Rockets in the Southwest Division by 1.5 games. Tim Duncan is leading San Antonio in almost every offensive category, including 20.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Duncan is also shooting 51.7% from the field. The Spurs will host Sacramento on Monday and Minnesota on Tuesday, and then take to the road for a Christmas Day game at Phoenix. The Spurs will then host Memphis and Milwaukee to finish the 2008 slate.

11. Phoenix Suns (16-11) – Two nights after falling 124-119 to Portland, the Phoenix Suns picked up a 108-101 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The Suns, at 16-11 are in second place in the Pacific Division. The latest hot streak for the Suns has moved them up from # 14 to # 11. Amare Stoudemire’s 22.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game lead the Suns, and their 103.3 points per game. Phoenix is also getting 8.5 assists and a 93%+ free throw percentages out of point guard Steve Nash. The Suns will host the San Antonio Spurs on Christmas Day, and then travel to Oklahoma City and Memphis for back-to-back road games to finish December.

12. Utah Jazz (17-12) – The Utah Jazz fell 106-98 on Saturday to the Chicago Bulls. Rookie guard Derrick Rose picked up 24 points in the win for the Bulls. Utah has lost three of their last five games. Utah fell one spot from # 11 to # 12. Paul Milsap leads Utah in scoring and rebounds with 15.1 and 9.0 per game. DeRon Williams is dishing out 9.8 assists per game, which leads the team. The Jazz sit one game behind Denver and Portland in the Western Conference – Northwest Division. Utah will play at Milwaukee on Tuesday, and then host Dallas on December 26th. December 27th the Jazz will play at Houston on December 27th, and then host the 76ers on December 29th.

13. Detroit Pistons (14-11) – The Pistons recent struggles have dropped them from # 8, out of the top ten, to # 13. Detroit has lost two straight games, with Utah and at Atlanta. The Pistons are scoring 96.6 points per game, and also allowing 96.6 points per game, thus far in 2008. Detroit’s leading scorer is Richard Hamilton, at 17.7 points per game. Rasheed Wallace, the Pistons big man is ripping down 7.6 rebounds per game. The Pistons trail the Cleveland Cavaliers by eight games in the Central Division. Detroit will host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Pistons will travel to Milwaukee on December 27th, before home games with Orlando and New Jersey, before 2009 begins.

14. Dallas Mavericks (15-11) – The Dallas Mavericks picked up a 97-86 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday to move to 15-11 overall. With that record, Dallas sits in fourth place in the Western Conference – Southwest Division. The Mavericks trail third place San Antonio by one game, and division leading Houston and New Orleans by 2.5 games. The Mavericks move up two spots from # 12 to # 14. Dallas will host the Grizzles on Tuesday, and then take to the road for three games at Portland, Utah and Los Angeles Clippers. On December 30th Dallas will host the Minnesota Timber wolves.

15. Miami Heat (14-12) – The Miami Heat move up one spot from # 16 to # 15. Miami has won two straight games to climb to two games over .500 on the season. The two wins for the Heat came at home with the Lakers and then on the road at New Jersey. On Saturday nights win over the Nets, Dwyane Wade poured in 43 points. Wade is scoring 28.9 points per game for Miami, while also dishing out 7.0 assists per game. The Heat trails Atlanta by 2.5 games in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. The Heat will host Golden State on Tuesday and Chicago on Friday, before a December 28th game at Cleveland. The Heat will then host the Cavs on December 30th to finish the month of December.

16. New Jersey Nets (13-13) – The Nets allowed Dwyane Wade to score 43 points in a 106-103 Nets loss to the Heat. New Jersey falls just one spot from # 15 to # 16. The Nets, despite being .500 are in second place in the Eastern Conference - Atlantic Division. The Nets trail the division leading Celtics by 12 games. Devin Harris leads the Nets in scoring with 24.4 points per game and 6.7 assists per game. The Nets host the Rockets on Monday, and then head to Indiana on Tuesday. A home game on December 26th, followed by a road game at Charlotte on December 27th will lead up to a December 29th home game with the Chicago Bulls.

17. Chicago Bulls (13-14) – The Chicago Bulls picked up a 106-98 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday to move to 13-14 overall. Chicago sits in third place in the Eastern Conference – Central Division. With the recent hot play the Bulls have moved up from # 20 to # 17. Chicago is currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference, sitting with the final playoff spot; if they were to start today. The Bulls are led in scoring by former UConn star Ben Gordon. Gordon is scoring 20.9 points per game. Rookie point guard Derrick Rose is leading the team with 6.2 assists per game. The Bulls will play four straight road games, starting on Tuesday at Detroit. December 26th and 27th at Miami and Atlanta, and then a road game on December 29th at New Jersey will wrap up the road trip. The Bulls will host the Orlando Magic on New Years Eve.

18. Philadelphia 76ers (12-15) – Philadelphia fell in a close ball game; 95-94 at home to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. In the loss the Pacers guard T.J Ford hit a jump shut with 3.5 to go to seal the win. The 76ers remain at #18 in the power rankings, and are in third place in the Atlantic Division, behind Boston and New Jersey. Philadelphia is led in scoring by Andre Miller with 15.2 points per game. Miller is also adding 6.1 assists for Philadelphia. The 76ers will start a long road trip on Tuesday at the Boston Celtics. Games at Denver, Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers will all be played before 2009.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (13-16) – The Milwaukee Bucks are currently just one full game behind the Chicago Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With just over 1/3 of the season complete, Milwaukee is not thinking playoff yet, simply wins. The Bucks have won two straight games; at New York and with the Los Angeles Clippers. The latest spell of winning games has moved the Bucks up from # 21 to # 19. The Bucks will host Utah on Tuesday, and then host the Pistons on December 27th. Road games at San Antonio and Houston on December 30th and 31st will complete the 2008 portion of the Bucks schedule.

20. New York Knicks (11-16) – The Knicks have fallen in four straight games, and by doing so have fallen to five games below .500. The Knicks fall one spot from # 19, to # 20. The Knicks four losses came at Phoenix, at the Lakers, with Milwaukee and at Boston. David Lee is averaging a double double for New York, scoring 14.3 points and grabbing 10.7 rebounds per game. Chris Duhon, the Knicks point guard is averaging 8.5 assists, which leads the team. The Knicks will take off until December 26th when they host the Minnesota Timber wolves. On December 28th the Knicks will host Denver, and then December 30th New York will travel to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats.

21. Toronto Raptors (10-17) – The Raptors lost their fifth straight game on Saturday; 107-97 to the Spurs. The loss for the Raptors was their 9th during the month of December, with just two wins. Toronto falls from # 17 to # 19 in the power rankings. The Raptors sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference – Atlantic Division, trailing fourth place New York by just one game, and Philadelphia by two games. The Raptors will continue their road trip on Monday at the Clippers, December 26 at Sacramento, December 27th at Portland, and December 29th at Golden State. On New Years Eve the Raptors will host the Denver Nuggets.

22. Indiana Pacers (10-17) – The Pacers knocked off Philadelphia 95-94 on Saturday to pick up their 10th win of the season. The Pacers 10-17 record puts them in fifth place in the Central Division, behind Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee. In the power rankings the Pacers stay at # 22. Danny Granger leads Indiana in scoring with 24.4 points per game. The Pacers are scoring over 100 points a game, at 101.9, but allowing 104.1. The Pacers will host New Jersey on Tuesday, and then take to the road to Memphis on December 26th. Home games with the Hornets and Hawks will finish the 2008 portion of their schedule.

23. Charlotte Bobcats (9-19) – Thankfully for the Washington Wizards, the Charlotte Bobcats are not the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Remaining at # 23 the Bobcats fell 110-103 to Golden State on Saturday night. That loss snapped a two game losing streak for the Bobcats. Charlotte is being led in scoring by Gerald Wallace, who is scoring 16.1 points per game, and 2.0 steals per game. Charlotte is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference – Southeast Division six games behind third place Miami. The Bobcats will host the Wizards on Tuesday, play home and away against New Jersey on December 26th and 27th, and then host the Knicks on December 30th.

24. Memphis Grizzles (9-17) – The Memphis Grizzles were able to move up two spots from # 26 to # 24. During the past two weeks, the Grizzles went on a three game winning streak with wins at Oklahoma City, with Chicago and with Miami. The last two games for Memphis were 91-84 and 112-83 defeats to New Orleans and Charlotte. The Grizzles are in last place in the Western Conference – Southwest Division, trailing fourth place Dallas by six games. Memphis rookie O.J. Mayo is scoring 20.3 points per game, while shooting 39.7% from behind the arc. The Grizzles will host the Lakers on Monday, travel to Dallas on Tuesday, host the Pacers on December 26th, and then travel to San Antonio and Minnesota before the New Years.

25. Los Angeles Clippers (8-19) – The first of three straight struggling Pacific Division teams is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers were able to slide ahead of both Golden State and Sacramento to currently sit in third place in the division. With the surge forward the Clippers moved up from # 28 to # 25. Los Angeles has won three of their last five games; wins over Houston, Oklahoma City and Indiana. On the season, Los Angeles is allowing 100.4 points per game, and scoring 95. Clippers leading scorer Baron Davis is scoring 18.1 points per game, and dishing out 8.1 assists per game. The Clippers will host the Raptors on Monday, and then take several days off before a December 28th home game with Dallas. The Clippers will conclude the 2008 portion of the schedule with a December 30th game at Sacramento, and a December 31st home game with Philadelphia.

26. Golden State Warriors (8-20) – On Saturday, the Warriors were 110-103 winners over the Charlotte Bobcats. The win for Golden State was their 8th of the season, moving them ahead of Sacramento for fourth place in the Pacific Division. The Warriors during the last two weeks fell two spots from # 24 to # 26. Golden State is led in scoring by guard Stephen Jackson. Jackson is scoring 18.6 points per game, and also adding 6.0 assists per game. The Warriors will continue their road trip on Monday and Tuesday at Orlando and Miami, before a December 26th home game with the Celtics. On December 28th the Warriors will travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers, before a December 29th home game with the Toronto Raptors.

27. Sacramento Kings (7-21) – On Saturday, the Kings lost their third straight games, a 99-90 loss at New Orleans. With the losses, the Kings fell two spots from # 25 to # 27. Sacramento sits in last place in the Western Conference – Pacific Division 15 games out of first place, and a full game behind Golden State for fourth place. The Kings have scored 97.4 points per game, but defensively have allowed 105.9. The Kings are also getting out rebounded on average of 42.1 – 39.4 per game. The Kings will take on the Spurs in San Antonio on Monday, and then come back home to take on Toronto, Boston and the Clippers to finish the 2008 schedule.

28. Minnesota Timber wolves (4-22) – The Minnesota Timber wolves fell one spot from # 28 to # 27 after losing their 12th straight game on Saturday evening. The loss was a 109-102 home loss to the Houston Rockets. That loss was the closest defeat since a December 9th three point loss to the Utah Jazz. Al Jefferson is leading the Timber wolves offense, scoring 22.2 points per game, and grabbing 10.3 rebounds per game. Minnesota is allowing 102.2 points per game, and scoring just 94.5. The Timber wolves will take on the Spurs on Tuesday night in San Antonio, before a December 26th trip to New York City to take on the Knicks. Home games on December 27th and 29th against Orlando and Memphis will lead up to a December 30th road game in Dallas.

29. Washington Wizards (4-21) – The Washington Wizards fell for the 6th straight game Sunday; 97-86 to Dallas. The Wizards remain at # 29 overall. Washington sits three games back of the Charlotte Bobcats for fourth place in the Eastern Conference – Southeast Division. Caron Butler leads the team in scoring, at 21.3 points per game, and Antwan Jamison is picking up 9.7 rebounds per game. The Wizards will take on the Charlotte Bobcats on the road on Tuesday, before a Christmas Day game at Cleveland. December 27th Washington will head home to take on Oklahoma City, before road games at Houston and New Orleans to finish 2008.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-25) – The Oklahoma City Thunder’s winning streak did not last long. Two nights after knocking off Toronto 91-83, Cleveland 102-91 knocked off the Thunder Sunday evening. With an overall record of 3-25, the Thunder remains at # 30 in the power rankings. The Thunder are led by Kevin Durant’s 23.2 points per game, as Durant is shooting 45.9% from the field and 84.3% from the free thrown line. The Thunder are being outscored 102.5 – 93.3 throughout the season. The Thunder will head to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Tuesday, and take on the Pistons and Wizards over the weekend; both on the road. Home games with the Suns and Warriors on the 29th and 31st will conclude the 2008 schedule.


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