NBA Power Rankings: Toronto Raptors Make A Statement

It was another crazy week in the NBA, with the Toronto Raptors making a statement by season sweeping the Golden State Warriors.

Trevor Ariza is now in a Washington Wizards uniform. The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs are turning it on after sluggish starts.

We'll see what other NBA madness happens between now and Christmas. For now, enjoy this week's power rankings.

30. Phoenix Suns (5-24)

Trevor Ariza has been traded to the Washington Wizards, as the Suns continue their annual fire sale. Again, the bright side here is they're destined to get either Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett in the 2019 draft.

29. Chicago Bulls (6-23)

The losses are piling up. They can't get healthy. The players don't seem to like Jim Boylen's intensity and practice routines. To put it mildly, things simply aren't fun in the Windy City right now.

28. Atlanta Hawks (6-22)

They were dismantled by the Boston Celtics on Friday, and the Hawks have lost seven of their last 10 now. The race for the first overall pick is going to be fun, though.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers (7-22)

They got a win vs. the New York Knicks and gave the Milwaukee Bucks some frustration on Monday and Friday, but the Cavs fell just short in both upset efforts. They host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday before a tough road game against the Indiana Pacers.

26. New York Knicks (9-21)

They snapped a five-game losing streak with an overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. But make no mistake, this is still a very bad team. Free agency can't come soon enough for Knicks fans.

25. Washington Wizards (11-18)

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Well, they nearly defeated the surging Celtics, and now Trevor Ariza is here to help. The Wizards are very much in contention for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

24. Miami Heat (12-16)

The Heat have won five of their last eight games, slowly creeping up back into the playoff race. They had a huge road upset over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, led by Josh Richardson's 18 points.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-15)

That's three straight losses for the Timberwolves, and you have to think head coach Tom Thibodeau is on the hot seat. Just not an acceptable effort by the talented but underachieving T-Wolves here.


22. Orlando Magic (13-15)

They snapped a three-game losing skid vs. the lowly Chicago Bulls on Thursday. Up next, home games vs. the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

21. Brooklyn Nets (12-18)

Their record isn't great, but the Nets have now won four games in a row. That was highlighted by a big home win against the Raptors last week. D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie are enjoying career years.

20. Houston Rockets (13-14)

And just like that, the Rockets are three losses away from matching last season's total (17). Will a trade or coaching change come up if the Rockets are playing around .500 in the new year?

19. New Orleans Pelicans (15-15)

Well, they're back up to the .500 mark. Five of their next six games are against teams with winning records, so the Pelicans ought to find their form soon.

18. Utah Jazz (14-15)

The stingy defense is keeping Utah in games, but boy do they ever need more from the likes of Rudy Gobert and and Ricky Rubio. If that happens, Utah might make another second half surge.

17. Charlotte Hornets (14-14)

Kemba Walker is a one-man wrecking crew, keeping Charlotte right in the playoff picture. Now, when will the front office acquire another big talent to complement their All-Star point guard?

16. Detroit Pistons (13-13)

Yeesh, six straight losses. And the Boston Celtics come to town on Saturday. Good luck figuring this out, Dwane Casey!

15. Sacramento Kings (15-13)

The Kings have won five of their last seven games, and they nearly upset the powerhouse Golden State Warriors on Friday. They're among the most pleasant surprises so far.

14. San Antonio Spurs (15-14)

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Four straight wins for the Spurs, who have completely turned the tables and now look angry after a sluggish start. I wouldn't want to be going up against Gregg Popovich's team right now.

13. Dallas Mavericks (15-12)

They just don't stop. The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 games, and the return of Dirk Nowitzki will do wonders for rookie Luka Doncic.

12. Memphis Grizzlies (16-12)

They've lost three of their last four games, including losses to the Lakers and Nuggets. Memphis is cooling down after a hot start. This team must show that they're capable of beating the top teams if they want to be taken seriously.

11. Portland Trail Blazers (16-13)

They absolutely took it to the league-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday night, winning 128-122. Still, this team isn't playing up to its full potential. Maybe that win against the Raptors will get it going?

10. Los Angeles Clippers (17-11)

The Clippers have lost four of their last five, but let's not forget that they've surpassed early season expectations. The Spurs and Toronto Raptors were not easy opponents. Their next nine games are against teams with winning records, so the Clippers will be battle-tested for a while here.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (19-11)

A disappointing home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday marked Philly's second straight loss. They haven't played up to their full potential, but yet the 76ers are challenging for the second seed in the East. Just wait until they get it going again.


8. Los Angeles Lakers (17-11)

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If LeBron James guides this team to 50-something wins plus a playoff series victory, you may as well had him the MVP award. What he's doing with a young and inexperienced Laker team is absolutely incredible.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder ( 17-10)

They're sliding a bit now with back-to-back losses, but the Thunder are just 1.5 back for the top seed in the Western Conference. There will be bumpy roads throughout the season. For the most part, they look like a true Western Conference finalist candidate.

6. Indiana Pacers (19-10)

Victor Oladipo and co. just keep on winning. The Pacers have reeled in six straight victories, and they've won eight of their last 10. One of the bigger surprises of the youngish season.

5. Milwaukee Bucks (19-9)

Well, they're 2-0 against the Toronto Raptors, so the Bucks already look like a legitimate threat to win the East. They've been a beneficiary of a weak schedule to open up December, but hey, the Bucks are taking advantage of it.

4. Boston Celtics (18-10)

There it is. Eight straight victories. The Celtics are finally back. Now, if they could just catch up to the three teams ahead of them in the East...

3. Denver Nuggets (19-9)

The Nuggets picked up a monumental home victory over the Thunder on Friday night. Jamal Murray is a candidate for Most Improved Player. This offense is one efficient unit, and the Nuggets look poised to have their best season in years. Or decades.

2. Golden State Warriors (20-10)

The Warriors' core four is healthy again, and they've won seven of their last 10 games. They'll catch the Denver Nuggets for the top seed by season's end. Nobody in that organization is worried about the sluggish start to the season. We'll watch them take over in the playoffs again.

1.Toronto Raptors (23-8)

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Best record in the NBA. An MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard. And oh, they capped off a season series sweep of the Warriors. Without Leonard on Wednesday night, the Raptors went into Oracle Arena and won by 20. This is truly a special season, and it's not even halfway done.


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