Here are The Advocate’s Top 15 rankings of NBA teams entering the week of Dec. 1 to Dec. 8.
It’s always the top 15, because the bottom 15 teams in the NBA aren’t worth following.
Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, from Spain, left, loses control of the ball as Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
1. Memphis (Previous ranking No. 1)
The Grizzlies have won nine of their last 10 and have a five-game winning streak, but more impressive than that is their 11-0 record against Western Conference teams.
2. Golden State (Previous ranking No. 3)
The Warriors are the hottest team in the league with a nine-game winning streak and lead the NBA by shooting 48.7 from the field, but what will they do when the shots don’t fall?
3. Portland Trailblazers (Previous ranking No. 4)
Portland doesn’t face a decent team until it plays at Chicago on Dec. 12, so look for the wins to continue to pile up fast.
4. Toronto Raptors (Previous ranking No. 5)
The torn left adductor longus tendon injury to DeMar DeRozan will test the Raptors resolve.
5. Chicago Bulls (Previous ranking No. 2)
The Bulls have one of the best road records at 9-3, but the questions about the health of Derrick Rose persist to the point where the annoying Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is starting to make sense.
6. Houston (Previous ranking No. 7)
The Rockets can’t beat an upper echelon team until injured center Dwight Howard returns, but there are reports that suggest that day could be sooner than later.
7. San Antonio (Previous ranking No. 8)
The pick-your-spot Spurs have won nine of their last 10 and have a seven-game winning streak.
8. Washington (Previous ranking No. 9)
It’s hard to ignore what the Wizards have accomplished, but games against Miami (Monday) and Denver (Friday) could test Washington’s resolve.
9. Dallas (Previous ranking No. 6)
Struggling to beat the Knicks and the 76ers in the same week is an automatic reason for dropping in an NBA poll.
10. LA Clippers (Previous ranking No. 10)
The Clippers are coming around, and you can easily make the case for moving them up in the poll, but they have middle of the pack rankings in too many NBA team stats right now.
11. Atlanta (Previous ranking – unranked)
There is nothing special about the Hawks, but they are playing well right now having won seven of their last 10, and that is too hard to ignore.
12. Cleveland (Previous ranking No. 13)
The Cavaliers enter the week with a three-game winning streak and are slowly starting to figure things out.
13. Phoenix (Previous ranking No. 11)
The Suns are 6-4 in their last 10, but look for them to drop out of the rankings when play Dallas, Houston and the Clippers Dec. 5-8.
14. Milwaukee (Previous ranking – unranked)
OK, so coach Jason Kidd was right to leave Brooklyn for Milwaukee, but that just shows they he know personnel and not coaching.
15. Sacramento (Previous ranking No. 12)
The Kings have a three-game losing streak, but they are still capable of putting up a good fight on most nights and are too talented to be overlooked.
Out of the poll: New Orleans, Miami.