The Times' NBA rankings

Barry Stavro ranks the 30 NBA teams

Last week’s ranking in parentheses, statistics are through Friday’s games:

1. GOLDEN STATE: Offense is a buzz-saw and so is defense. Warriors holding opponents to league-best 40.9% shooting. (1)
2. SAN ANTONIO: Walking wounded: Parker and Leonard are nursing injuries and Duncan sits a game to rest. (2)
3. MEMPHIS: Cooking at home: Grizzlies have the best home record in the league at 11-1. (10)
4. CLIPPERS: In their nine-game win streak, Clippers played only two teams with winning records. (3)
5. HOUSTON: James Harden wants the ball. He leads NBA in scoring, free-throws and turnovers. (6)
6. CLEVELAND: LeBron is carrying the Cavaliers, averaging 40 minutes, 27.1 points and 52.7% shooting in last six games. (5)
7. PORTLAND: December is frequent flyer month as the Blazers play 10 of 15 games on the road. (4)
8. WASHINGTON: When Wall and Beal are on the court, the Wizards’  offense is in overdrive. (7)
9. TORONTO: Raptors have the best point differential of any East team at +8.2. (8)
10. ATLANTA: Power forward Paul Millsap contributes everywhere on the court, including 2.2 steals a game. (9)
11. DALLAS: Mavericks are cleaning up against weaker Eastern Conference teams, winning 10 of 12. (12)
12. CHICAGO: Thirty-four-year-old Pau Gasol has eight consecutive double-doubles. (11)
13. OKLAHOMA CITY: In their five-game win streak, Durant has played only 29 minutes a game. (20)

14. PHOENIX: Suns’ defense needs to tighten up, is allowing 103.9 points a game. (13)

15. MIAMI: Teams don’t fear playing in Miami now. Heat is only 4-6 at home. (16)
Read-only     intro_small
16. MILWAUKEE: Like many young teams, Bucks have trouble getting stops on defense. (14)
17. NEW ORLEANS: Pelicans hope Anthony Davis’ chest contusion isn’t serious. (18)
18. DENVER: Playoff dreams fading after posting six-game and four-game losing streaks. (17)
19. BROOKLYN: Luxury tax blues: Nets looking to unload Williams, Johnson and Lopez and rebuild. (19)
20. SACRAMENTO: Been hard to replace DeMarcus Cousins’ 23.5 PPG,  12.6 RPG  since he was sidelined with a virus. (15)
21. ORLANDO: Magic has an almost-respectable 7-10 record on the road. (21)
22. BOSTON: Rajon Rondo, in a holiday gift-giving mood, is shooting 30.8% from the field in December. (22)
23. INDIANA: Point guard Donald Sloan leads a bad team with a paltry 4.8 assists per game. (23)
24. LAKERS: Kobe dishes trash talk to fire up teammates in practice, then they beat Spurs in overtime.  (26)
25. CHARLOTTE: Hornets are 24th in scoring, 20th in points allowed and 29th in steals. (24)
26. UTAH: Gordon Hayward averaging career-bests in scoring (18.9), rebounds (5.5) and steals (1.6). (25)
27. MINNESOTA: Timberwolves  tradition: blizzards in the winter, lottery balls in the spring. (27)
28. NEW YORK: Vultures circle after reports of  Carmelo’s teammates saying he’s lazy on D and won’t pass the ball. (28)
29. DETROIT: Motown emerges from bankruptcy and Pistons end a 13-game losing streak. (29)
30. PHILADELPHIA: Tough start for Michael Carter-Williams; 76ers  are 21-83 so far in his NBA career. (30)

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World