Welcome to the second installation of SB Nation Bay Area's NBA Power Rankings. This week the top two spots remained the same, the Mavericks, Lakers, and Heat surged, and the Jazz and Magic have some work to do:
1. San Antonio Spurs (18-3 overall record, 8-2 last 10 games, 1st in West) - After a hiccup against the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Spurs returned to San Antonio to kick off a six-game homestand. So far, so good, as the Spurs went 3-0 last week, disposing of the T-Wolves, Hornets, and Warriors. Next up? vs. Atlanta, vs. Portland, vs. Milwaukee. Last Week: 1.
2. Boston Celtics (18-4, 9-1, 1st in East) - The Celtics went 4-0 last week to extend their winning streak to nine games. Thursday's game against the Sixers gave Boston their biggest scare during this current streak, as Rajon Rondo needed to hit Kevin Garnett on a game-winning alley-oop in the closing seconds of the game. Next up? @ Charlotte, @ New York, vs. Atlanta. Last Week: 2
3. Dallas Mavericks (18-4, 10-0, 2nd in West) - Clearly the Mavs took offense to my doubting their prowess last week. After calling them out for not being a prototypical "top team", all Dallas did was go 4-0 to extend their winning streak to 11 games. Oddly enough, the teams that have given the Mavericks the hardest time during the streak are the Warriors (8-14) and the Kings (5-15). Next up? vs. Utah, vs. Milwaukee, vs. Portland. Last Week: 5
4. Los Angeles Lakers (16-6, 6-4, 3rd in West) - At the heels of losses to the lowly Grizzlies and Rockets, just last week it seemed the Lakers would never win again! Fortunately for Laker fans, Kobe and Co., as expected, got things back on track with three wins last week. Of course, after blowing out the Kings (and if they had lost to the Kings at home I really would have predicted Armageddon), and holding off the Wizards, they needed a Derek Fisher game winning shot to knock off the lowly Clippers. Cut'em some slack, though, they were on the road! ..... [crickets]..... In any event, I didn't expect the Lakers to be held down very long. Andrew Bynum is supposedly making progress toward a return to the court, but until then, Kobe, Pau, and Lamar seem to be doing just fine. Next up? @ Chicago, @ New Jersey, @ Washington. Last Week: 6
5. Utah Jazz (16-7, 8-2, 4th in West) - Last week, the Jazz lost to two tough teams (vs. Dallas and vs. Miami) and beat the middling Grizzlies. I'm moving them down a notch because to be one of the best, you have to beat the best... especially at home! Next up? vs. Orlando, @ Dallas, vs. Golden State. Last Week: 3
6. Orlando Magic (15-7, 6-4, 2nd in East) - The Magic dropped three in a row last week, @ Milwaukee (poor), vs. Atlanta (understandable) and @ Portland (I'll let this one pass since it was on the road). It doesn't get any easier with road games @ Utah and @ Denver coming up, but I can't just jump to conclusions and say that they're now worse than the Heat. Next up? @ Utah, @ LA Clippers, @ Denver. Last Week: 4
7. Miami Heat (15-8, 7-3, 3rd in East) - Dwyane Wade and LeBron James finally seem to be clicking as the Heat knocked off Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Utah and have now won six games in a row. Especially impressive was Wednesday's win in Utah against a team that has size down low, but had no answer to LBJ (33 points) or Wade (28 points). Next up? @ Golden State, @ Sacramento, vs. New Orleans. Last Week: 10
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-8, 6-4, 6th in West) - The Thunder lost to the Raptors without Kevin Durant, so I'm willing to give them a pass for that one. They then knocked off the Warriors, lost @ the Bulls, and won @ Minnesota. I'm giving them the nod over the Hornets because they seem to be just as viable on the road (8-4) as they are at home (7-4). Next up?@ New Orleans, vs. Cleveland, vs. Houston. Last Week: 7
9. Atlanta Hawks (15-8, 7-3, 4th in East) - I kept the Hawks out of the rankings last week because I thought they'd be hurting without Joe Johnson (elbow surgery, out another 3-5 weeks). Instead, all the Hawks have done is go 4-1 without their four-time all star, and for that they deserve the distinction of being a part of this list. Next up? @ San Antonio, vs. Indiana, @ Detroit.
10. Chicago Bulls (12-8, 6-4, 6th in East) - Carlos Boozer has returned and is averaging 15 ppg and 5.6 rpg. He put together back-to-back 25+ point/9+ rebound games, so it seems like he did a good job of staying in playing shape while waiting to return from injury. Last week the Bulls lost @ Boston, but then reeled off three wins in a row vs. Houston, vs. Oklahoma City, and @ Cleveland. Next up? vs. LA Lakers, vs. Minnesota, vs. Indiana. Last Week: 9
Dropped Out: New Orleans Hornets