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Jan 8, 2015

NBA Power Rankings - January 8, 2015

The Golden State Warriors continue their run at No. 1 in the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.

Speights dunks

The Golden State Warriors continue their run at No. 1 in the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.

The Warriors aren't missing a beat, despite injuries to big men, just turning up their offence another notch to overcome any defensive slippage.

Among this week's big climbers, the surprising Atlanta Hawks are up from 10 to five, while the Oklahoma City Thunder jump from 14 to six with the return of Kevin Durant.

Further down the list, the Detroit Pistons, winners of seven straight, have vaulted from 27 to 20.

Sliding this week, the Toronto Raptors fall from five to 10 after three straight losses and the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus LeBron James, drop from 11 to 15.

 

Golden State Warriors

Record: 28-5 This Week: 1 Last Week: 1

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    109.2
  • PAPG
    98.3
  • DIFF
    +10.9
  • FG%
    .483
  • OPP FG%
    .419

Five straight wins, by an average margin of 23 points, underscores that the Warriors aren't too concerned about their currently thin frontcourt, in part due to the contributions of Marreese Speights, who averaged 16.6 points per game, on 57.6% from the field, in those five wins.

Key Injuries: C Andrew Bogut (knee), PF Festus Ezeli (ankle).

Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 27-8 This Week: 2 Last Week: 3

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    103.9
  • PAPG
    97.0
  • DIFF
    +6.9
  • FG%
    .451
  • OPP FG%
    .430

Two losses in the past 12 games, and they've come against quality opponents (Houston and Atlanta), as the Blazers ride the hot hand of PG Damian Lillard, who is averaging 26.4 points per game in his last 13 games.

Key Injuries: C Robin Lopez (hand).

Houston Rockets

Record: 24-11 This Week: 3 Last Week: 2

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.1
  • PAPG
    97.3
  • DIFF
    +3.8
  • FG%
    .432
  • OPP FG%
    .436

The good news for the Rockets is that Josh Smith is only averaging 11.4 field goal attempts per game since joining Houston, but the worry for a three-friendly team like the Rockets is that Smith is shooting an abysmal 22.6% (12-for-53) from beyond the arc this season, 3-for-16 (18.8%) with Houston.

Key Injuries: PF Terrence Jones (leg).

Chicago Bulls

Record: 25-11 This Week: 4 Last Week: 4

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.4
  • PAPG
    98.8
  • DIFF
    +3.6
  • FG%
    .446
  • OPP FG%
    .434

Contributions from the bench -- Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, Nikola Mirotic -- have been crucial as the Bulls make up for various injuries.

Key Injuries: SF Mike Dunleavy (ankle).

Atlanta Hawks

Record: 27-8 This Week: 5 Last Week: 10

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.4
  • PAPG
    97.2
  • DIFF
    +5.2
  • FG%
    .466
  • OPP FG%
    .439

With 11 wins in the past 12 games, suddenly the Hawks can't be ignored, at least when it comes to Eastern Conference contenders. The emergence of PG Jeff Teague is making a difference.

Key Injuries: None.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 17-19 This Week: 6 Last Week: 14

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.8
  • PAPG
    98.1
  • DIFF
    +1.9
  • FG%
    .438
  • OPP FG%
    .429

Only five wins in the last 11 games, but with SF Kevin Durant back in the lineup, there is some reason to project the Thunder to be better than their record. 

Key Injuries: None.

LA Clippers

Record: 24-12 This Week 7 Last Week: 6

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    106.5
  • PAPG
    99.9
  • DIFF
    +6.6
  • FG%
    .472
  • OPP FG%
    .455

Four wins in the past five games, and PF Blake Griffin is becoming more efficient as the season progresses, averaging 16.5 field goal attempts per game over the past eight, yet still putting up 20.6 points per game in that span.

Key Injuries: None.

Dallas Mavericks

Record: 26-11 This Week: 8 Last Week: 9

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    109.1
  • PAPG
    102.0
  • DIFF
    +7.1
  • FG%
    .476
  • OPP FG%
    .450

Wednesday's loss to Detroit snapped a six-game winning streak, and while PG Rajon Rondo is providing more offence than he did in Boston, the Mavericks' improved defence is what should have long-term value.

Key Injuries: None.

Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 25-10 This Week: 9 Last Week: 7

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.4
  • PAPG
    97.5
  • DIFF
    +3.9
  • FG%
    .465
  • OPP FG%
    .450

Turns out that the Grizzlies miss Z-Bo's low-post game, as Jon Leuer and Jarnell Stokes are providing barely any offence at all as replacements at power forward.

Key Injuries: PF Zach Randolph (knee).

Toronto Raptors

Record: 24-10 This Week: 10 Last Week: 5

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    108.1
  • PAPG
    101.6
  • DIFF
    +6.5
  • FG%
    .462
  • OPP FG%
    .462

The competition (Golden State, Portland, Phoenix) was tough to end Toronto's road trip, but a three-game losing streak drops them in the rankings. Some home dates and the pending return of DeMar DeRozan could have them bouncing back in short order.

Key Injuries: SG DeMar DeRozan (groin).

San Antonio Spurs

Record: 21-15 This Week: 11 Last Week: 12

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.2
  • PAPG
    98.6
  • DIFF
    +3.6
  • FG%
    .467
  • OPP FG%
    .445

It's probably not ideal for the Spurs to have Canadian PG Cory Joseph getting so many minutes, but Joseph is taking advantage of playing time available when Tony Parker has been hurt, averaging 12.2 points and 3.6 assists per game since the start of December.

Key Injuries: SF Kawhi Leonard (hand).

Washington Wizards

Record: 24-11 This Week: 12 Last Week: 8

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    99.8
  • PAPG
    97.3
  • DIFF
    +2.5
  • FG%
    .473
  • OPP FG%
    .445

Ran into problems with Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, but it got better for the Wiz when they faced New Orleans and the Knicks.

Key Injuries: None.

Phoenix Suns

Record: 22-16 This Week: 13 Last Week: 13

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    107.2
  • PAPG
    104.7
  • DIFF
    +2.5
  • FG%
    .464
  • OPP FG%
    .454

Soft opposition has helped the Suns on a four-game winning streak, but they need to do whatever they can to cling to a playoff spot. Currently eighth in the West, they are 3.5-game ahead of New Orleans and four ahead of Oklahoma City.

Key Injuries: None.

New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 17-18 This Week: 14 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.2
  • PAPG
    100.9
  • DIFF
    +0.3
  • FG%
    .458
  • OPP FG%
    .466

Three losses in the past four games, but getting SG Eric Gordon back from injury gives the Pelicans a little boost.

Key Injuries: None.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 19-17 This Week: 15 Last Week: 11

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    100.4
  • PAPG
    99.5
  • DIFF
    +0.9
  • FG%
    .450
  • OPP FG%
    .469

Six losses in the past seven games, and LeBron is out, but the Cavs are making a desperate push to bolster the roster, trading for C Timofey Mozgov and shooting guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.

Key Injuries: C Anderson Varejao (Achilles), SF LeBron James (back, knee).

Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 19-18 This Week: 16 Last Week: 16

Team Stats

  • PPG
    98.9
  • PAPG
    98.2
  • DIFF
    +0.7
  • FG%
    .463
  • OPP FG%
    .440

As C Larry Sanders seems to have lost interest in basketball, his absence is creating an opportunity for second-round pick Johnny O'Bryant, averaging nearly 20 minutes per game in the last three.

Key Injuries: PF Ersan Ilyasova (concussion), SF Jabari Parker (knee).

Brooklyn Nets

Record: 16-19 This Week: 17 Last Week: 23

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    95.8
  • PAPG
    97.9
  • DIFF
    -2.1
  • FG%
    .445
  • OPP FG%
    .442

As C Brook Lopez works his way back into the rotation, with 17.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in the last five, the Nets have a passable starting five -- likely good enough to get into the postseason, but probably not much more than that.

Key Injuries: None.

Sacramento Kings

Record: 15-20 This Week: 18 Last Week: 16

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.0
  • PAPG
    103.8
  • DIFF
    -1.8
  • FG%
    .457
  • OPP FG%
    .446

It will be interesting to see what the Kings become when DeMarcus Cousins gets back in gear. In the past four games, one of the league's most dominant low-post scorers is hitting 33.8% (24-for-71) from the field.

Key Injuries: PG Ramon Sessions (back), F Omri Casspi (knee).

Miami Heat

Record: 15-20 This Week: 19 Last Week: 18

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    94.1
  • PAPG
    98.2
  • DIFF
    -4.1
  • FG%
    .464
  • OPP FG%
    .470

Snapped a four-game losing streak with Sunday's win over Brooklyn, but now head on a Western road trip that could be trouble, given the calibre of opposition that they will face.

Key Injuries: PF Josh McRoberts (knee).

Detroit Pistons

Record: 12-23 This Week: 20 Last Week: 27

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    97.1
  • PAPG
    99.5
  • DIFF
    -2.4
  • FG%
    .427
  • OPP FG%
    .452

It comes as no surprise that the Pistons' offence functions better without Josh Smith, but they are pretty much better everywhere since cutting Smith loose. Detroit has won seven straight and PG Brandon Jennings has upped his shots (16.1 per game since Smith departed) to fill some of the offensive void.

Key Injuries: None.

Denver Nuggets

Record: 16-20 This Week: 21 Last Week: 20

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.8
  • PAPG
    103.5
  • DIFF
    -1.7
  • FG%
    .435
  • OPP FG%
    .446

Winners of three straight, the Nuggets also secured valuable draft picks from Cleveland in exchange for C Timofey Mozgov, who was easy enough to trade, given the development of rookie Jusuf Nurkic, averaging 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game in the past five.

Key Injuries: G Randy Foye (quad), C JaVale McGee (leg), SF Danilo Gallinari (knee).

Indiana Pacers

Record: 14-23 This Week: 22 Last Week: 19

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    95.1
  • PAPG
    96.6
  • DIFF
    -1.5
  • FG%
    .431
  • OPP FG%
    .443

Hanging in the playoff hunt, two games behind Miami, the Pacers have battled with an injury-depleted lineup and were looking pretty good with PG George Hill healthy but, alas, he's hurt again.

Key Injuries: SF Paul George (leg), PF Ian Mahinmi (foot), PG George Hill (groin).

Boston Celtics

Record: 12-21 This Week: 23 Last Week: 21

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    102.6
  • PAPG
    103.6
  • DIFF
    -1.0
  • FG%
    .455
  • OPP FG%
    .452

Turns out that SF Jae Crowder was the prize for Boston in the Rondo deal, as his playing time has bumped up to 16 minutes per game with the Celtics, while PF Brandan Wright is mostly on the outside looking in, playing a little over 10 minutes per game.

Key Injuries: PG Jameer Nelson (ankle).

Charlotte Hornets

Record: 13-24 This Week: 24 Last Week: 24

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    95.7
  • PAPG
    100.3
  • DIFF
    -4.6
  • FG%
    .428
  • OPP FG%
    .462

The Hornets have won three straight, which would normally earn a move up, but losing C Al Jefferson to injury limits their upward mobility. 

Key Injuries: SG Lance Stephenson (pelvis), C Al Jefferson (groin).

LA Lakers

Record: 11-25 This Week: 25 Last Week: 26

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    101.6
  • PAPG
    108.2
  • DIFF
    -6.6
  • FG%
    .439
  • OPP FG%
    .472

In his past five games, SG Kobe Bryant has averaged 12.2 field goal attempts per game, and is still averaging 20.8 per game for the season, but with Kobe's reduced shot volume, Nick Young has shot more. That may not be a good thing, as Swaggy P is shooting 31.6% from the field in the past five games.

Key Injuries: PG Steve Nash (back), PF Julius Randle (leg).

Orlando Magic

Record: 13-25 This Week: 26 Last Week: 22

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    93.8
  • PAPG
    99.2
  • DIFF
    -5.4
  • FG%
    .453
  • OPP FG%
    .460

Four straight losses for the Magic, who have to work through cold spells from SG Evan Fournier and rookie PG Elfrid Payton, who have combined to shoot 36.4% from the field in the past five games.

Key Injuries: PF Aaron Gordon (foot).

Utah Jazz

Record: 13-23 This Week: 27 Last Week: 25

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    96.4
  • PAPG
    99.1
  • DIFF
    -2.7
  • FG%
    .454
  • OPP FG%
    .464

It's some luxury that the Jazz can turn to Rudy Gobert (11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks per game in the past four) when starting centre Enes Kanter is injured.

Key Injuries: C Enes Kanter (ankle), SG Alec Burks (shoulder).

Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 5-29 This Week: 28 Last Week: 28

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    90.5
  • PAPG
    103.8
  • DIFF
    -13.3
  • FG%
    .410
  • OPP FG%
    .460

On a team of mostly lost causes, G Tony Wroten is doing his part to stand out as a viable NBA contributor, averaging 19.9 points per game in the past seven.

Key Injuries:  C Joel Embiid (foot), SG Jason Richardson (knee, foot).

New York Knicks

Record: 5-33 This Week: 29 Last Week: 29

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    93.1
  • PAPG
    101.1
  • DIFF
    -8.1
  • FG%
    .442
  • OPP FG%
    .464

13 straight losses, their best player is hurt and they dealt away two rotation shooting guards...yet it's still not enough to land in the basement.

Key Injuries: SF Carmelo Anthony (knee).

Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 5-29 This Week: 30 Last Week: 30

TEAM STATS

  • PPG
    98.8
  • PAPG
    108.6
  • DIFF
    -9.8
  • FG%
    .437
  • OPP FG%
    .495

That's because the Timberwolves have lost 13 straight and still have more injury concerns. On the plus side, rookie SF Andrew Wiggins has averaged 22.6 points on 52.2% shooting in the past five games. 

Key Injuries: PG Ricky Rubio (ankle), SG Kevin Martin (wrist), C Nikola Pekovic (wrist),

Follow Scott Cullen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen and e-mail him at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca.