The NBA season is churning right along as we approach the quarter-point of the season, and the Boston Celtics have established themselves as a legitimate title contender thanks to their stunning 16-game win streak that came to an end this week. However, they still aren't at the top of our rankings because, well, the Warriors are still the Warriors. I know the Celtics already beat them in Boston, but that was the worst shooting performance Golden State has had in over a year, so I'm giving them a pass.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are also surging, winning seven games in a row to put them in the top five in our rankings. How does the rest of the league shake out? Here are our latest NBA Power Rankings.
30) Chicago Bulls (3-14)
THIS JUST IN: the Bulls are terrible. They've lost nine of their last 10 games and four in a row as they're really struggling to find their offense.
29) Atlanta Hawks (4-16)
These two teams will be at the bottom all season long. They did beat the Knicks this past week but lack the talent and depth to really do anything more than earn a top lottery pick - as their record shows.
28) Sacramento Kings (5-14)
Sacramento has been showing some fight of late, but having the worst offense in the league and no go-to scorer is really taking its toll.
27) Brooklyn Nets (6-12)
Scoring is not a problem for the Nets...they just can't defend anyone. They've given up at least 107 points in six consecutive games.
26) Dallas Mavericks (5-15)
The Mavs have shaken off their terrible start to win three of their last four games, and those wins came over solid teams - Milwaukee, Memphis, and Oklahoma City. Last season, Dallas started 4-17 and nearly made the playoffs. Is this the start of a similar turnaround?
25) Phoenix Suns (7-13)
When Devin Booker and T.J. Warren are on the court, Phoenix is competitive. When they're not, the Suns are really bad. They've handled some lesser competition with wins over the Bulls and Lakers.
24) Orlando Magic (8-12)
Remember when the Magic were at the top of the Eastern Conference just a few short weeks ago? They have since lost eight games in a row and 10 of their last 12 overall as their defense continues to slip.
23) Los Angeles Clippers (7-11)
What in the world happened to the Clippers? Back-to-back wins over the Hawks and Kings were needed, but they came after a nine-game losing streak that sent this group crashing back to Earth.
22) Memphis Grizzlies (7-11)
Speaking of crashing, the Grizzlies are currently on a seven-game losing streak after a stellar 5-1 start. That shows how much they've struggled without Mike Conley.
21) Los Angeles Lakers (8-11)
Yes, Lonzo Ball has not been anywhere near as good as expected, but LA is showing some positive signs thanks to the play of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and others. The blowout win over the Nuggets shows their potential.
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20) Charlotte Hornets (8-11)
Charlotte's inconsistencies can be tied to their road woes - they're just 1-9 away from the Spectrum Center this season. Kemba Walker continues to be excellent and should be an All-Star, but the rest of the roster is a major question mark every single night.
19) Utah Jazz (9-11)
As expected, Utah has had trouble finding their offense without Gordon Hayward in the picture but have rebounded from a 1-7 stretch by winning three of their last four games. If they can keep this up until Rudy Gobert comes back, this club will be in good shape.
18) New York Knicks (10-9)
Kristaps Porzingis has cooled off a bit but New York remains in solid playoff positioning thanks to wins over Utah, Toronto, and the Clippers over the past two weeks.
17) Miami Heat (9-9)
Miami is trending upwards, winning three of their last four games and five of their last eight overall with impressive wins over Washington, Minnesota, and - of course - their victory that ended Boston's winning streak. Still, I find it hard to trust this team given their inconsistencies.
16) Milwaukee Bucks (9-9)
Giannis Antetokounmpo can't do everything for the Bucks, who have lost three of their last four games following a four-game win streak. They're experiencing the lumps that come along with breaking in a new starter like Eric Bledsoe mid-season.
15) Indiana Pacers (11-9)
Indiana has gotten a surprising amount of production from Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis as Indianapolis' recent five-game winning streak put them back over .500. Can they keep up this offensive pace (108.3 ppg, T-8th in NBA)? I doubt it, but they're playing good basketball right now.
14) Oklahoma City Thunder (8-11)
The Thunder should admittedly be lower than this, but Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to figure out how to play together. When it looks like, they can beat the Warriors by 17 points. When it doesn't, they can lose to the Mavs by 16. Like most new teams with this much talent, they will figure it out - probably sooner rather than later.
13) Denver Nuggets (11-8)
Losing Paul Millsap to a wrist injury hurts. However, Denver has shown enough depth that they can stay in playoff contention without him. Nikola Jokic will have to step up his game even more.
12) Washington Wizards (10-9)
Not having John Wall for two weeks is going to hurt a Wizards team that has already lost four of their last five games. For as much as Washington likes to talk, they haven't been consistent.
11) Philadelphia 76ers (11-7)
Ben Simmons is winning Rookie of the Year and both he and Joel Embiid figure to be All-Stars. Trusting The Process has paid off for the 76ers, who are a year or two ahead of schedule and look like a dangerous playoff team in the East.
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10) New Orleans Pelicans (11-9)
The good news for the Pelicans is that the pairing of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is working for both individually, and that has turned into wins and put them firmly in the playoff race. However, wins over the Spurs and Thunder this week were the first real quality teams they beat.
9) Portland Trail Blazers (12-8)
Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and an improved Jusuf Nurkic have Portland looking like a legit playoff team. They've shown they can compete with the best teams in the league, too. They're a team no one will want to face in the playoffs.
8) Toronto Raptors (12-7)
Toronto's win over Houston two weeks ago was their first win over a real elite team, but DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry & Co. continue to take care of business.
7) Minnesota Timberwolves (11-8)
The T-Wolves have lost three of their last four games following an 8-2 stretch, falling to teams they shouldn't like Charlotte and Miami. However, as is the case with the Thunder, they're still trying to work in several new players. That will lead to some inconsistency.
6) Detroit Pistons (12-6)
Detroit continues to show they're legit with wins over Minnesota and OKC this week. Tobias Harris has been a revelation and is leading the team with 18.4 points per game. Avery Bradley has helped drastically on the defensive end and Andre Drummond is doing his thing on the glass. However, and perhaps more importantly, Reggie Jackson is actually playing efficient basketball. Will that continue?
5) San Antonio Spurs (12-7)
Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker (who will return this week) still haven't played a game for the Spurs yet this season, yet San Antonio continues to find ways to win. They have won five of their last seven games overall.
4) Cleveland Cavaliers (12-7)
Surprise, surprise. The Cavs have won seven games in a row after many wondered if it was time to panic following their bad start. As is the case with any LeBron James team, it was just a matter of time.
3) Houston Rockets (15-4)
The Rockets have only looked more impressive since Chris Paul returned from injury, going 4-0 since his return - with all four wins coming by at least 15 points.
2) Boston Celtics (18-3)
Boston's win streak was the most impressive thing we've seen all season to this point, showcasing the league's best defense and MVP-caliber play from Kyrie Irving. They're balanced offensively, deep, and have young stars playing well in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Given Cleveland's defensive problems, the Celtics are clearly the best team in the East right now.
1) Golden State Warriors (15-5)
As we touched on at the top, Golden State is here despite the loss to the Celtics because, well, they're the champs. We can all agree that this group can afford a hiccup or two, right? They'll be here until they hit a terrible stretch.