Did we jinx the Chicago Bulls?
Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Co. had many feeling, well, bullish on Chicago entering 2016. But the new year has brought a host of new issues.
Chicago has lost four of its last five games and suffered a huge blow Friday when defensive leader Joakim Noah dislocated his left shoulder, an injury that’s expected to sideline him four to six months.
Can the Bulls keep pace in the East without Noah? Only time will tell. For now, see where the rest of the league stacks up in our Week 12 NBA Power Rankings, which account for all games played through Sunday, Jan. 17.
1. Golden State Warriors (37-4): The Warriors lost as many games in four days (two) as they had in the previous four months. Last week: 1
2. San Antonio Spurs (36-6): It’s now pretty reasonable to argue San Antonio is the best team in basketball. The Spurs are 18-1 in their last 19 games. Last week: 2
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (28-10): The Cavs are rolling, but not even LeBron James and Co. could take down the mighty Spurs on their home court. Last week: 3
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (30-12): The Thunder racked up four victories this week to become the third NBA team to reach 30 wins. Last week: 4
5. Los Angeles Clippers (26-14): The Clippers’ winning streak finally ended at 10 games, and they’ll be tested this week with matchups against the Cavs and Raptors. Last week: 6
6. Toronto Raptors (25-15): The Raptors played only one game this week but moved into second place in the East, thanks to the Bulls’ recent struggles. Last week: 7
7. Chicago Bulls (23-16): Talk about a tough week. Things won’t get any easier for the Bulls, either, as they’ll battle the Warriors on Wednesday. Last week: 5
8. Atlanta Hawks (24-17): Losses to the Hornets and the Bucks isn’t ideal, but Atlanta still owns the East’s No. 4 seed. Last week: 8
9. Miami Heat (23-18): Miami’s mediocre week was highlighted by Hassan Whiteside’s awesome big-man triple double (19 points, 17 rebounds, 11 blocks) on Friday. Last week: 9
10. Memphis Grizzlies (23-19): The Grizzlies have won seven of their last 10 to move into a tie with the No. 5 seed Mavericks. Last week: 13
11. Dallas Mavericks (23-19): After dropping three of their last four, the Mavericks are just four and a half games ahead of the West’s No. 8 seed, the Jazz. Last week: 10
12. Indiana Pacers (22-19): Three consecutive losses dropped Indiana into a tie for the final playoff spot in the East. Last week: 11
13. Boston Celtics (22-19): With a little help from a John Wall missed layup, the Celtics have righted the ship with three consecutive wins. Last week: 15
14. Detroit Pistons (22-18): We humbly propose that beating the Warriors, which Detroit did Saturday, should count as a win and a half. Or at least a tiebreaker. Last week: 12
15. Houston Rockets (22-20): The Rockets had won five straight before they played so bad Friday against Cleveland that Jeff Van Gundy told viewers to turn off their TVs. Last week: 16
16. Orlando Magic (20-19): Even a trip to London on Thursday couldn’t lift the Magic’s losing spell. They’ve lost seven of their last 10 games. Last week: 14
17. Washington Wizards (19-20): Wall’s missed layup ended a four-game winning streak for the Wiz, who are making a push to go over the .500 mark. Last week: 20
18. New York Knicks (20-22): The Knicks came back to Earth a bit this week with losses to the Nets and Grizzlies, slipping to two and a half games out of a playoff spot. Last week: 17
19. Utah Jazz (18-22): Utah’s 101-point effort in Friday’s loss to the Kings was the first time it had topped 100 points in eight games. Last week: 19
20. Charlotte Hornets (18-22): The Hornets finally won Wednesday, then proceeded to lose back-to-back games to the Pelicans and Bucks. Buzz City, Charlotte is not. Last week: 18
21. Sacramento Kings (17-23): The Kings’ week featured a Rudy Gay buzzer-beater and a streak-snapping win over the Clippers. Not too shabby. Last week: 23
22. Portland Trail Blazers (18-25): We were about to praise the Blazers for winning three straight. Then they lost to the Sixers by 25 points. The Sixers, you guys. Last week: 21
23. Milwaukee Bucks (18-25): The enigmatic Bucks rattled off wins over the Bulls and Hawks this week but still are 13th of 15 in the East. Last week: 22
24. Denver Nuggets (16-25): Denver had a golden week, knocking off the Warriors on Wednesday and scoring 45 points in the fourth quarter Sunday to beat the Pacers. Last week: 24
25. New Orleans Pelicans (13-26): Pelicans general manager Dell Demps says his team will be active at the trade deadline. Which is good, because it needs help badly. Last week: 27
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-29): If Minnesota drops nine straight, then beats the lowly Suns, does it still count as breaking the losing streak? Last week: 26
27. Phoenix Suns (13-29): Just when you think the Suns can’t get any worse, they go out and lose by 30 to the Timberwolves. Last week: 25
28. Brooklyn Nets (11-30): The Nets were the best team in New York for a night when they beat the Knicks on Wednesday. Last week: 28
29. Los Angeles Lakers (9-34): The Lakers rank second-to-last in the NBA in offensive efficiency and last in offensive efficiency. Translation: They’re really bad. Last week: 29
30. Philadelphia 76ers (5-37): If you claim you predicted the Sixers would win a game by 25 points this week, well, you’re a liar. Last week: 30
Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) reacts after dislocating his shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at the United Center.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP