The weekly installment of NBA power rankings has been released by CBS. Monday’s edition still ranks the Golden State Warriors as the No. 1 team in the NBA. The Warriors lead the Western Conference with a (26-5) record.
The Atlanta Hawks (25-8) were the biggest winner of the week. For over a month, the Hawks have been the most consistent team, along with the Warriors, as they captured the Eastern Conference lead with another phenomenal week. Atlanta entered Monday with a four game winning streak that included a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
How dominant have the Hawks been this season? Since their Nov. 26 loss to Toronto, Atlanta has dominated their schedule with relative ease. So far, Atlanta has winning streaks of eight games, five games, and their current four game winning streak. Their only losses came to Orlando and Milwaukee. Each loss was during a home-and-away series where the Hawks split games with their opponent.
During their five game winning streak, Atlanta beat five straight title contenders in a row. It all started with a home victory over Chicago. Soon after, Cleveland, Houston and then Dallas succumbed to Atlanta’s relentless basketball savvy. They finished off the great run with a home win over the Clippers.
While other Eastern Conference contenders have struggled on west coast trips. Atlanta is proving to be elite in the way they have stifled the competition. Atlanta has another showdown with the Clippers before hosting Memphis late in the week. If there’s any chance of back to back losses, that’s the most likely spot right now.
Otherwise, Atlanta looks like they will keep rolling along throughout the month of January. Here are the rest of the Jan. 5 CBS NBA rankings:
1. Golden State Warriors (26-5): Golden State continues to lead the West. Since their Christmas day loss to the Clippers, Golden State has won three straight games by double digits, including flying past the Toronto Raptors.
2. Atlanta Hawks (25-8): The Atlanta Hawks went on the road to defeat the Portland Trailblazers. They also became the first seed in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is on a four game winning streak.
3. Portland Trailblazers (26-8): Portland is nipping at the heels of Golden State, but they were unable to beat the Hawks. They also earned a win over Toronto, so a split with the top of the Eastern Conference ain’t so bad.
4. Chicago Bulls (24-10): The Bulls have become a dominant team in recent weeks. Their only loss in the last 10 games came against Brooklyn. Chicago has the most skillful big men in the game today.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (24-9): Speaking of excellent big men, Memphis utilizes Marc Gasol extremely well. However, Memphis lost to Denver on Saturday night.
6. Dallas Mavericks (25-10): The Mavericks have won five in a row, and the Rondo trade seems to be working out quite well. Dallas beat up on Cleveland Sunday afternoon.
7. Toronto Raptors (24-9): The Raptors had to go through the west and lost two games in a row. They are in a must win situation entering Phoenix.
8. Houston Rockets (23-10): The Rockets blew out Miami to get back in the win column. And Houston already put Josh Smith on the bench.
9. Washington Wizards (22-11): After beating Houston, Washington lost three straight games during their Midwest road trip. The Wizards have one more game with New Orleans before heading home.
10. L.A. Clippers (23-11): The Clippers just beat Utah, New York, and Philadelphia. Not all three game winning streaks are created equal. Still, the Clippers couldn’t afford to lose those.
11. San Antonio Spurs (21-14): The Spurs are managing their injuries as best as they can. They’ve won two straight games to end the year and start the new one back on track.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-17): Kevin Durant is back in the lineup and his scoring has been unstoppable. The Thunder are still on the outside looking in, but they earned a big win over Phoenix.
13. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-15): The Cavaliers won their first game without LeBron James this season. Unfortunately, James will be out for up to two weeks due to a knee injury.
14. Phoenix Suns (19-16): Phoenix is holding onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns haven’t been great at home, and that needs to change.
15. New Orleans Pelicans (17-16): The Pelicans have been dominant at home, but they struggle in road games. They look like a team ready to make a push if they can earn more road victories.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (17-17): Milwaukee continues to be a .500 team. They’ve split their games at home and on the road.
17. Brooklyn Nets (16-16): The Nets are on a three game winning streak. Brooklyn is not only in the house, they currently garner the seventh seed in the East.
18. Sacramento Kings (14-19): The Kings have had a tough time on the road this week. Sacramento finally got a win at Minnesota. Sunday’s game at Detroit will be huge.
19. Denver Nuggets (14-20): The Nuggets earned a big win over Memphis. It salvaged a week of poor performances. Denver is 10-8 at home.
20. Indiana Pacers (13-21): The Pacers have turned things around. Indiana is on a two game winning streak, and they are one game out of the final playoff spot in the East. Their only blemish was a two point loss to Chicago.
21. Miami Heat (14-20): The Miami Heat have lost four games in a row. They are desperately close to dropping out of the playoffs. Injuries have depleted this roster.
22. Utah Jazz (12-22): Utah’s last two wins have come against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their losses came to the Clippers and Hawks.
23. Orlando Magic (13-24): The Magic have lost three in a row. Orlando must protect home court. Right now, they are much better on the road.
24. Boston Celtics (11-20): The Celtics had to face Rajon Rondo in his first trip back to Boston. Then they lost to the Chicago Bulls in an overtime road loss.
25. Charlotte Hornets (11-24): The Hornets have been playing .500 ball over the last couple weeks. They bounced back from a loss to Cleveland to beat Orlando. Charlotte starts the week at Boston.
26. Detroit Pistons (9-23): Detroit has won four games in a row, and they have won 6 of their last 10. The playoffs might be in their future after all.
27. Los Angeles Lakers (10-23): If Kobe and the Lakers were able to make game winning shots, they would be a little higher on the list. They still have the best interview in the league.
28. Philadelphia 76ers (4-28): The 76ers still haven’t won a home game. Their seven game road trip has come to an end. Now it’s time to give the home fans a victory.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-27): Minnesota has the longest losing streak in the NBA at 11 games. They still don’t have the worst record in the NBA though.
30. New York Knicks (5-30): The Knicks are on an 10 game losing streak entering Sunday‘s game with Milwaukee. Carmelo Anthony might shut it down for the season with a knee injury.