Marc J. Spears
Marc J. Spears

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Yahoo! Expert

NBA Power Rankings: Clippers surge to No. 1

9 hours ago

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have led the Clippers to their longest win streak ever. (Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers are now the best team in not only L.A., but the entire NBA.

The Clippers make their debut atop the Yahoo! Sports NBA power rankings this week after earning their franchise-record 13th straight victory by beating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. Led by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and reserve Jamal Crawford, the deep Clippers have also won a franchise-record six straight road games.

The Clippers’ last loss?

Nov. 26 against the New Orleans Hornets.

Records are through Sunday’s games.

Los Angeles1. Los Angeles Clippers (21-6, previous ranking: second): The Clippers play host to the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 4. Good luck getting that ticket on a Friday night at Staples Center.


[Also: NYC DJs trolled Kris Humphries with Kanye West songs]

Oklahoma City2. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-5, previous ranking: first): After losing to the Heat in last season’s NBA Finals, the Thunder get a chance to measure themselves against the champs on Christmas.


San Antonio3. San Antonio Spurs (21-8, previous ranking: third): Spurs not invited to participate in Christmas Day matchups. Not that they care.


Miami4. Miami Heat (18-6, previous ranking: sixth): The Heat are rolling, having won six of their past seven while holding each opponent under 100 points during the streak.


New York5. New York Knicks (20-7, previous ranking: fourth): Knicks become first team in Eastern Conference to reach 20 wins with victory over Minnesota on Sunday. New York visits Lakers on Christmas.


Memphis6. Memphis Grizzlies (18-7, previous ranking: seventh): Just like the Spurs, the small-market Grizzlies are one of the league’s elite teams. And just like the Spurs, they won’t be playing on Christmas.


Golden State7. Golden State Warriors (18-10, previous ranking: fifth): Warriors had a tough week in which they lost to the Lakers and the struggling Sacramento Kings.


Atlanta8. Atlanta Hawks (16-9, previous ranking: eighth): The Hawks are playing inconsistent having lost three of their past five games. The problem? Coach Larry Drew says the team needs good energy.


Indiana9. Indiana Pacers (16-12, previous ranking: 10th): The Pacers have finally picked up some momentum with victories in six of their past seven games. David West, Paul George and George Hill are all playing well.


Chicago10. Chicago Bulls (15-11, previous ranking: ninth): Fans can dream about a Christmas matchup between Derrick Rose and Jeremy Lin. Rose’s ongoing recovery from knee surgery makes that dream just a fantasy.



Denver11. Denver Nuggets (15-13, previous ranking: 14th): The Nuggets have a tough back-to-back in Los Angeles against the Clippers and the Lakers.


Milwaukee12. Milwaukee Bucks (14-12, previous ranking: 12th): Guard Monta Ellis is averaging 20.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in December. He’s on a winning team, so does that mean he’ll finally become an All-Star?


Houston13. Houston Rockets (14-12, previous ranking: 17th): Expect the Rockets to sign guard Patrick Beverley at week’s end and then send him to the D-League for some seasoning after playing in Russia.


Brooklyn14. Brooklyn Nets (14-12, previous ranking: 11th): Deron Williams blames coach Avery Johnson‘s system for his scoring struggles. Williams also had the lowest shooting percentage for Team USA at the Olympics.


[Also: Doug Collins promises to pay for 18,000 fans’ free burgers]

Minnesota15. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12, previous ranking: 13th): Minnesota has dropped three of its past four games. An eye injury forced forward Kevin Love to miss Sunday’s loss in New York.


Los Angeles16. Los Angeles Lakers (13-14, previous ranking: 20th): The Lakers have won four straight games and now have Steve Nash back. Expect Los Angeles to make up some ground in the West.


Utah17. Utah Jazz (15-14, previous ranking: 15th): The Jazz suffered a major loss with point guard Mo Williams out indefinitely because of a thumb injury. Jamaal Tinsley is now the starter.


Boston18. Boston Celtics (13-13, previous ranking: 16th): The Celtics have dropped four of their past five games. A loss at Brooklyn on Christmas would give them a losing record.


Portland19. Portland Trail Blazers (13-13, previous ranking: 19th): With Portland at the bottom, no team in the Northwest Division has a losing record. Blazers have won four of their past five games.


Philadelphia20. Philadelphia 76ers (13-15, previous ranking: 18th): The Sixers are falling fast having lost six of their past seven games. Seven-game Western Conference road trip up won’t help, either.


Orlando21. Orlando Magic (12-15, previous ranking: 21st): Injured forward Glen Davis (shoulder), who is averaging 16 points and 7.9 rebounds, hopes to return sooner than the four weeks he is projected to be out.


Dallas22. Dallas Mavericks (12-16, previous ranking: 22nd): Dirk Nowitzki had eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes in his surprise season debut in loss to San Antonio on Sunday.


Phoenix23. Phoenix Suns (11-17, previous ranking: 23rd): Steve Nash will return to Phoenix (with the Lakers) on Jan. 30, giving Suns fans something to look forward to.


Toronto24. Toronto Raptors (9-19, previous ranking: 27th): The Raptors have gone from awful to hot after winning five games in a row. Should Toronto take Jose Calderon off the trading block?


[Also: Kings suspend DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely]

Sacramento25. Sacramento Kings (9-18, previous ranking: 24th): The Kings were 0-3 without center DeMarcus Cousins (who was suspended indefinitely on Saturday) before beating Portland.


Detroit26. Detroit Pistons (9-21, previous ranking: 26th): Rookie center Andre Drummond is averaging 7.2 points (on 55.6 percent shooting) and 7.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game in December.


Charlotte27. Charlotte Bobcats (7-20, previous ranking: 25th): The Bobcats have lost 15 straight games and haven’t won since Nov. 24. Next up? LeBron James and the Heat on Wednesday.


New Orleans28. New Orleans Hornets (5-22, previous ranking: 28th): Guard Eric Gordon could return from a knee injury at the end of this week. Hornets play Toronto on Thursday and Charlotte on Friday.


Cleveland29. Cleveland Cavaliers (6-23, previous ranking: 29th): Battle will take place between the NBA’s two worst teams when Cleveland visits the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Cavs should be better.


Washington30. Washington Wizards (3-22, previous ranking: 30th): The Wizards have dropped seven straight games. Can Washington pick up two wins this week against Cleveland and Orlando?

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