20. Toronto Raptors (9-19, Last Week: 24): The Raptors are hot right now–winning five games straight. Jose Calderon has been an intricate part of that–averaging 15.0 points, 9.8 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game during the stretch.
19. Boston Celtics (13-13, Last Week: 18): Despite solid individuals performances, the Celtics have lost four of their last five games–their only win coming against the lowly Cavaliers. It feels good to watch the Celtics suffer, even if it’s just a little bit.
18. Utah Jazz (15-14, Last Week: 16): Balanced scoring and solid bench play has been the Jazz’s mainstay this season. Their strength–as it has been in the past–is their play at home as they boast a 9-2 record at EnergySolutions Arena. Starting point guard Mo Williams has been listed as “out indefinitely” due to a right thumb energy, however.
17. Denver Nuggets (15-13, Last Week: 17): The Nuggets defeated the San Antonio Spurs last week, and have won four of their last five games.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12, Last Week: 10): After a four game winning-streak, the T-Wolves have faltered a bit; losing three of their past four, although they managed to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder between losses to the Miami Heat and New York Knicks. A tough schedule could be responsible for their skid.
15. Brooklyn Nets (14-12, Last Week: 11): Three consecutive losses coming against the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, and New York Knicks before a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, along with an ailing Deron Williams drop the Nets a bit here.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (13-12, Last Week: 13): The Blazers had won five consecutive games, before losing to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Rookie Damian Lillard has played exceptionally well.
13. Milwaukee Bucks (14-12, Last Week: 14): The Bucks have been up-and-down as of late. Monta Ellis has come alive over the last couple of games, however.
12. Los Angeles Lakers (13-14, Last Week: 17): The Lakers continue to get better–winning four games in a row. Steve Nash’s return provided a huge boost offensively on Saturday night versus the Golden State Warriors, and helped the Lakers earn a quality road victory. A bigger test will be the Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks, which could be a turning-point for the Lakers should they win.
11. Chicago Bulls (15-11, Last Week: 9): The Bulls have defeated some tough teams this season–including the Knicks on Friday. However, losses against solid teams such as the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks indicate that perhaps they aren’t quite a top-echelon team just yet. Maybe a Derrick Rose return in a couple months will propel them into that category.
Next Page: Who takes number one this week?