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NBA Power Rankings – Cavs holding off hot Nuggets

Posted by Craig Parsons on 1/29/2010 9:50:37 AM

Online betting players are focused on Super Bowl odds, but the NBA’s All-Star break is right around the corner, which means the midway point of the season has passed. Cleveland is still on a roll and holds down the top spot in this week’s Power Rankings, but Denver is hot on their heels while reeling off a streak of their own.

1. (1) Cleveland (36-11): The Cavs have won six in a row, and participated in the best game of the week as LeBron James and Miami’s Dwayne Wade staged an incredible duel. Word is, they’re also looking to add Amare Stoudamire from Phoenix.

2. (3) Denver (31-14): The Nuggets leapfrog the Lakers because of an eight-game winning streak, and Carmelo Anthony leads the league in scoring. Now, if they could only focus long enough on the defensive end.

3. (2) Los Angeles Lakers (35-11): The Lakers are 3-2 on their current road trip, and you have to wonder how long Kobe Bryant can go on that injured finger. That being said, we’re not betting against him.

4. (6) Atlanta (29-15): The Hawks’ next three games are a home meeting with Boston, followed by road games at Orlando and Oklahoma City. If they’re going to challenge the sportsbook favorites in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta has to prove they can win away from home.

5. (4) Dallas (30-15): The Mavericks have won four of their last five ahead of Thursday’s trip to Phoenix, and they have to get extra points for mauling the Knicks by 50 at Madison Square Garden last Sunday.

6. (5) Boston (29-13): Like the Lakers, we haven’t even come close to seeing the Celtics at their best. Once Kevin Garnett is healthy and Ray Allen shakes out of his slump, Boston is still the team to beat in the East.

7. (13) Memphis (25-19): The Grizzlies have won 11 in a row at home, and are quickly learning what it takes to win, which makes them a team no one wants to see in the playoffs. That Zach Randolph is a possible MVP candidate is mind-blowing.

8. (8) Portland (27-19): The Trailblazers get points for staying solid even with Brandon Roy hurt. No team in the NBA has been bitten by the injury bug like Portland.

9. (7) San Antonio (26-18): Word is the Spurs have put their name in the hat for Stoudamire, and that would be a great move as Tim Duncan isn’t getting any younger. And if anyone can get Stoudamire to play defense, it’s Gregg Popovich.

10. (9) Orlando (29-16): It’s almost like the more Dwight Howard scores, the worse the Magic play. That’s not encouraging, but they’ll figure out a balance in the second half.

11. (14) Charlotte (22-22): Getting Stephen Jackson may turn out to be the move of the year as he leads the Bobcats on both ends of the floor. But they have to improve on the road to taken as a serious NBA betting threat.

12. (15) New Orleans (25-20): Chris Paul is averaging 26.4 points, 10.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals over his last five games. Not surprisingly, the Hornets have won four of their last five, and the lone loss was in overtime in Denver.  

13. (19) Chicago (22-22): We believe Vinny del Negro has Derrick Rose to thank for saving his job. The reigning Rookie of the Year has put up 25.8 points and 5.8 assists in his last five games.

14. (17) Toronto (24-22): This team can score at will, led by the duo of Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. If the defense was consistent, the Raptors would be a top-four team: they’re 15-0 when holding opponents under 100 points.

15. (16) Utah (27-18): In their quiet fashion, the Jazz has won eight of their last 10, including four in a row. However, Carlos Boozer is out with a calf strain, and he’s day-to-day right now.

16. (12) Oklahoma City (24-21)

17. (18) Miami (23-22)

18. (10) Houston (24-21)

19. (11) Phoenix (26-21)

20. (20) New York (18-26)

21. (26) Indiana (16-30)

22. (24) Milwaukee (19-25)

23. (21) Los Angeles Clippers (20-25)

24. (28) Philadelphia (15-30)

25. (22) Sacramento (16-28)

26. (23) Golden State (13-31)

27. (27) Detroit (15-29)

28. (25) Washington (14-30)

29. (29) Minnesota (9-38)

30. (30) New Jersey (4-40)

Oklahoma City and Phoenix are struggling right now, and if you could combine the Thunder’s defense with the Suns’ offense, you’d have a favorite for the NBA Finals. As for the John Wall sweepstakes, the Nets are still in the “lead”, but they actually won a game this week, defeating the Clippers at home.

Check out Craig’s Power Rankings in The Betting Edge at BetOnline before you make your sports betting picks.

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