By the end of this week, the Lakers will have played 17 of 21 games at Staples Center, so it's no surprise that they are looking pretty content at the top of the league and also atop of The Daily Hurt's weekly power rankings.
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Also Allen Iverson was the only man who picked up a million dollars last week and didn't have to sleep with Tiger Woods to do it.
- LA LAKERS - Boredom appears to be the only real obstacle facing the Lakers face right now. Phil Jackson must be hoping it doesn't turn Ron Artest back to the (halftime)bottle.
- BOSTON CELTICS - Boston won its four road games this week by a combined 50 points. Therefore, the C's are probably not too daunted by playing three of their next four on the road.
- ORLANDO MAGIC - The Magic are going about their business quietly, and I think they remain the biggest threat to both the Lakers and Celtics—yes, even more so than the Cavs.
- CLEVELAND CAVALIERS - LeBron has got the Cavs playing pretty well, but on form, they are still only third best team in the east. If LeBron does shoot through next year, do you think that Dan Gilbert would be interested in retiring the No. 23 league wide?
- DENVER NUGGETS - The only real blotch on the Nuggets season so far has been the losses to the Clippers and Timberwolves. Still, Denver is off to its best 20-game start in franchise history.
- ATLANTA HAWKS - Atlanta smoked Toronto for 146 points but needed only 80 points to beat Dallas on Saturday night, which was interesting considering the Hawks missed 20 straight field goals during one stretch.
- PHOENIX SUNS - The losses to the Knicks and Cavs can't be overlooked. Just a week ago, Phoenix looked like they were a serious contender, but that doesn't seem as believable anymore.
- PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS - What a blow it was for the Blazers and any basketball fan to see Oden go down again. However, it may give Portland even more incentive to try to deal Andre Miller as soon as the December 15 deadline passes.
- DALLAS MAVERICKS - Add the Memphis Grizzlies to the Mavericks list of boogie teams. Dallas shot a season low 35-percent and scored a season low 82 points en route to their third straight loss in Memphis on Wednesday.
- HOUSTON ROCKETS - Seeing Greg Oden go down would have been an untimely reminder to the Rockets that they are still without Yao. Luis Scola once again displayed his super talent, but the Rockets still lost again to the Blazers.
- OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER - I was expecting more from the Thunder against the Celtics. Is Kevin Durant a starter in this years All-Star game? He deserves it.
- SAN ANTONIO SPURS - I know the Spurs don't care about what happens in November and December, but losing both games at home to the Celtics and Nuggets was a pretty poor effort by San Antonio's standards.
- UTAH JAZZ - Utah couldn't beat the Timberwolves on Saturday, so just how are they going to fair this week where they face the Lakers twice, San Antonio and Orlando?
- MIAMI HEAT - For all of Miami's struggles of late, Dwyane Wade has a knack for saving his absolute best form for when he faces the league's best. However, he needs to show it against opponents not named Bryant, James or Roy.
- SACRAMENTO KINGS - The Kings are 1-7 on the road but a tidy 8-3 at Arco, so by the looks of it they'll need every advantage they gain at home if they are to stay within reach of the playoffs.
- MILWAUKEE BUCKS - The wheels aren't completely off in Milwaukee, but the Bucks have dropped seven of the last eight and are at Boston next. Brandon Jennings hasn't shot better than 40-percent from the field more than once in the last eight games.
- MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES - The Grizzlies 16-point blowout of the Mavericks was impressive not because of Memphis' offensive, rather its defense, especially on Dirk Nowitzki. It will be put to the test again this week against LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
- NEW ORLEANS HORNETS - The key to New Orleans season might not rest on the return of Chris Paul. Instead, it could come down to how David West snaps out of his early season funk.
- TORONTO RAPTORS - The Raptors finally stood up for themselves against the Wizards and Bulls after Atlanta humiliated them earlier in the week. This could be a turning point in the season, but most likely it will be just a mirage.
- LA CLIPPERS - That the Clippers shot 35-percent but still crushed the Indiana Pacers says quite a lot...about Indiana.
- DETROIT PISTONS - Last year Ben Wallace looked like bored and done with playing basketball. On Friday night he had four monster dunks on five field goals and he already has half as many rebounds this year as he had all of last season. He's back.
- CHARLOTTE BOBCATS - By becoming the first team to lose to the New Jersey Nets this year, it confirmed what I'd thought for a while. The Bobcats aren't very good.
- WASHINGTON WIZARDS - Every time I think Earl Boykins is little more than a crowd pleaser, he keeps proving me wrong. His game-winning free throws against the Bucks showed that he's got smarts much bigger than his size.
- GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS - Five-game road trips are never easy, but four of the Warriors opponents this week have records south of .500. It will be very interesting to see how they play without Don Nelson who'll miss the entire trip.
- CHICAGO BULLS - Joakim Noah was right to call LeBron out for his dancing, because that's Shaq's gig. If only the rest of the Bulls team had Noah's attitude they wouldn't be four games below .500.
- INDIANA PACERS - I just can't help but wonder how Indiana knocked off the Celtics but have won just twice in 11 games since. With Lawrence Frank done, Jim O'Brien must be the bookies favourite to the next coach to go.
- NEW YORK KNICKS - The Nate Robinson-Mike D'Antoni feud has stretched to three games. If Robinson needs reminding about his attitude, maybe he should watch this again.
- MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - With Kevin Love's impressive numbers in his return and two wins from four games made it easily the T'Wolves best week of the season. Still a lot of work to do, but maybe this is the start.
- PHILADELPHIA 76ERS - Allen Iverson's return to Philadelphia began with tears and I have a feeling it will end that way too. Philly has lost nine straight so for Iverson; it will probably feel like he's never left.
- NEW JERSEY NETS - The Nets breakthrough victory was a relief no doubt, but they still need another nine wins to avoid the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers(9-73) for the worst season ever. See, there's a reason to watch the Nets this year.
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