Happy Thanksgiving from Hoop Central! This week saw the Warriors get back on track, the Clippers continue to surge, and LeBron steal one in his return to Cleveland.
High-Riser of the week: Clippers, Nuggets +7
Biggest Flopper of the week: Rockets -8
<> 1. Toronto Raptors – This Week: 4-0
+7 2. Los Angeles Clippers – This Week: 3-1
Are the Clippers for real? Most felt the Clippers would be easily out of the playoff hunt, but it appears they have other plans. Doc has done a great job of getting his players to embrace their roles.
-1 3. Milwaukee Bucks – This Week: 3-1
Milwaukee continues their strong start to the season. They are lighting up the scoreboard in the process. They put up 143 points against Portland on Wednesday and 135 versus the Spurs on Saturday.
-1 4. Golden State Warriors – This Week: 2-1
Brighter days are ahead for the Warriors. They secured a couple of victories this week and didn’t fight (that we know of). The better news? Steph Curry may be in the lineup sooner rather than later.
-1 5. Philadelphia 76ers – This Week: 3-1
The Sixers most recently lost to a poor Cavs team, but that doesn’t say much. It’s a long season and games like that are bound to happen. Trying to steer away from the drama that follows Markelle Fultz, Philly has found new magic and excitement in recently acquired 4x all-star Jimmy Butler, who hit two game-winners in one week to bring this team to 14-8.
<> 6. Memphis Grizzlies – This Week: 2-2
Memphis ended their week with an even record, beating the Mavs and Spurs to start their week then losing to the Clippers and the Knicks to end it. Mike Conley had a great week, leading the team in both scoring and assists. Marc Gasol finished the week with two good games although they resulted in losses. The losses were close, the team just couldn’t close them out. The Grizzlies get the Raptors at home on Tuesday night as they work on closing out games and getting more consistent play out of their big men Marc Gasol and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr.
+7 7. Denver Nuggets – This Week: 3-1
After suffering a very poor stretch last week, Denver recovered in a big way this week. With the Western Conference as tight as it is, teams cannot afford to have many bad weeks.
+2 8. Los Angeles Lakers – This Week: 2-1
The Lakers continue their up and down play. They start it by barely squeaking by Cleveland in LeBron’s return, followed by a sloppy victory over Utah. They ended the week on a sour note as they lose at home to the Magic.
-1 9. Oklahoma City Thunder – This Week: 2-2
Russell Westbrook and Paul George continue to power the Thunder. Westbrook earned himself a triple-double against his former teammate Kevin Durant, but it was his supporting cast that won them the game.
-5 10. Portland Trailblazers – This Week: 1-3
The Blazers had a week they would like to forget. They got blown out by Milwaukee by 43 points on Wednesday followed by a 28 point beatdown in Oakland. They ended the week by losing at home on Sunday to the Clippers, a game that could prove costly in the compact Western Conference.
+5 11. Detroit Pistons – This Week: 3-1
Blake Griffin has developed his game very nicely since his playing days with Chris Paul. The two met twice this week, each winning one. If Griffin and continue his improved play, Detroit could make some noise in the East.
-5 12. Indiana Pacers – This Week: 1-2
After starting the season strong, Indiana is beginning to lose some steam. The positive in Indy? Domantas Sabonis has turned into a valuable piece from the Paul George trade.
-1 13. Orlando Magic – This Week: 1-2
Orlando’s week wasn’t as bad as their record would indicate. They lost to very good Nuggets and Raptors teams and beat LeBron’s Lakers in the battle of Disneyworld vs Disneyland.
+6 14. Dallas Mavericks – This Week: 2-1
The Mavs were able to finish their week with a positive record. After a tough loss on the road against the Grizzlies, they were able to bounce back and beat both the Nets and the Celtics back on their home floor. Inconsistent play from Dennis Smith Jr. riddled the team for most of the week, but they still found a way to succeed behind the solid play from the rookie Luka Doncic and star center Deandre Jordan. The Mavs hope to keep up their win streak when they visit the Rockets on Wednesday night.
+3 15. Charlotte Hornets – This Week: 2-2
Kemba and the Hornets started the week strong by beating Boston and Indiana, but then followed it up with a loss in OKC. They ended the week with a very bad loss to Atlanta, who had lost ten straight games prior.
+6 16. Sacramento Kings – This Week: 2-2
The Kings split their games in a very difficult week. The Kings continue to show why they may not be pretenders after all.
-2 17. Boston Celtics – This Week: 1-3
Boston is 1-3 in their last four games, moving the team to 10-10. The Celtics have been disappointing through the first 20 games, but expect Kyrie Irving and this talented team to bounce back at some point and make a run for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference at some point this season.
-5 18. New Orleans Pelicans – This Week: 1-3
It was a rough week for the Pelicans. Starting the week with a solid win against the Spurs, they immediately dropped off and ended the week with three straight losses on the road. Two close losses in Philadelphia and New York followed by an ugly loss at Washington in a game that did not feature the superstar center Anthony Davis due to illness. A failure to find their identity has been a looming problem for the Pelicans this season. Losing Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo this past offseason has taken a toll on the Davis-lead Pelicans. They hope to get things going with a home game against the struggling Celtics on Monday night.
-8 19. Houston Rockets – This Week: 1-2
Houston had a rocky week after going on a five-game win streak. Following a close win at home against the Pistons, they ended their week with two straight losses on the road versus the Pistons and Cavs. Despite the stellar play from James Harden who averaged 39 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists during the week, they were still not able to close out their last two games. The Rockets will look to get back on track as they go on the road to face the Wizards on Monday night.
+1 20. Minnesota Timberwolves – This Week: 2-1
The Wolves have been winning lately, but it doesn’t mean their troubles are over. Andrew Wiggins has had his struggles, posting a goose-egg on Saturday, including a 0-12 shooting night.
-4 21. San Antonio Spurs – This Week: 1-3
San Antonio has not been playing very good basketball and this week was no different. Their week consisted of three disappointing losses to the Pelicans, Grizzlies and Bucks and a much-needed victory on the road in Indianapolis. Injuries have tormented this team from losing rookie Lonnie Walker IV for an extended period, to losing starting point guard Dejounte Murray for the season due to a torn ACL. LaMarcus Aldridge has done a great job of picking up the slack for the team but he can only do so much. The Spurs have a good chance of stealing a road game from the Bulls on Monday night, but they’ll need Aldridge to continue his terrific play.
+2 22. Washington Wizards – This Week: 2-1
The Wizards are finally beginning to pull off some wins. Against some decent teams even. They beat a very good Clippers team battling for the top spot in the West and a high-octane Pelicans offense minus Anthony Davis.
+3 New York Knicks – This Week: 3-1
The Knicks have won three straight impressive games over the Celtics, Pelicans, and Grizzlies. Still being without all-star Kristaps Porzingis and Courtney Lee, New York has been relying on an impressive play from Tim Hardaway Jr. and rookie Allonzo Trier. Hopefully, this team will become more exciting once Lee and Porzingis return, but right now the Knicks are 7-14.
+1 24. Miami Heat – This Week 1-2
Miami may not be very good this year, but at least fans got to see vintage Dwayne Wade on Sunday as he poured on 35 points against the Toronto Raptors. Unfortunately for the Heat, it wasn’t enough to get the win.
-6 25. Utah Jazz – This Week: 1-3
This team was expected to be competing for a top seed in the West, but instead, they are floating closer to the bottom. They started the week losing three straight before stopping the bleeding in Sacramento.
-3 26. Brooklyn Nets – This Week: 1-3
Brooklyn recently lost their leading scorer in Caris LeVert, so the hopes for the Nets to make a run and compete are going downhill. The Nets can rely on D’Angelo Russell to carry a lot of slack, but it’s just not enough to turn this team into something special.
+3 27. Cleveland Cavaliers – This Week: 2-2
Well, look what we have here! The Cavs had a relatively good week. They almost ruined LeBron James’ homecoming and then pull off victories over two solid teams in Houston and Philly.
<> 28. Phoenix Suns – This Week: 1-3
Phoenix has been losing games that they could win, and winning games they should have no business winning. They lose to the lowly Bulls then surprise the Milwaukee Bucks all in the same week.
-2 29. Chicago Bulls – This Week: 1-2
There isn’t much to be proud about if you are the Chicago Bulls. Not only are they continuing to lose, but they are losing by an average of 9.5 points this season. This is only better than Atlanta and Phoenix.
-1 30. Atlanta Hawks – This Week: 1-3
Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom in order to see improvement. After losing ten straight games, the Hawks finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel as they beat the Charlotte Hornets. If you are the Hawks, you just have to hope that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.