James Harden continues to take the league by storm with his scoring. The NBA has been very competitive up to this point. It may not be as competitive with DeMarcus Cousins returning for the Golden State Warriors this weekend. Who are the Top 10 teams in the NBA up to this point?
10. Houston Rockets: Other than James Harden, who else does this team have? They don't have much considering that Clint Capela and Chris Paul are out due to injury. The Rockets could be even better when they return. Houston could be a threat in the west, but Harden might get tired of carrying the team on his back. The Houston Rockets are currently the fifth seed in the west with a 25-19 record so far this season.
9. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs system continues to be effective. They don't have the most athletic players in the world, but it continues to work. Greg Popovich gets the most out of his players. San Antonio is currently the sixth seed in the west with a 26-20 record so far this season. The San Antonio Spurs rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks on the road Wednesday night 105-101. Marco Belinelli led the team with 17 points. DeMar Derozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills each scored 14 points. There are different players stepping up each and every game. They will be a tough out in the postseason.
8. Portland Trail Blazers: The Trail Blazers continue to struggle on the road, but they continue to impress at home. Portland took down the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Wednesday night 129-112. The Portland Trail Blazers record so far this season is 27-19. They currently sit in fourth place in the west. Jusuf Nurkic recorded a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Damian Lillard scored 33 points. This team is good defensively. They also could use a true starting small forward like Carmelo Anthony. Portland has a big game on the road on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder's defense has not lived up to standards as of late. It is the glue of this basketball team. Oklahoma City isn't usually good at playing high scoring games. They struggle to shoot the basketball at various moments. The Oklahoma City Thunder are ranked in the Top 10 because of the talent they have on the roster. Oklahoma City sits in third in the west with a 26-17 record. They are four games back of the Golden State Warriors for the first spot in the Western Conference.
6. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers will be tested in a big game at home on Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. Indiana has a 29-14 record in the east so far this season. They are just one game up on Philadelphia for third place. The Indiana Pacers play the next four games at home. They defeated the Phoenix Suns at home on Tuesday night 131-97. Seven players scored in double digits. Indiana is one of the deepest teams in the NBA. They could be a dark horse team to win the Eastern Conference.
5. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid hasn't been getting enough attention for what he has been doing so far this season. Embiid is averaging 27 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2 BPG, and 0.5 SPG so far this season. He should be one of the favorites to win MVP. Joel Embiid has been one of the most consistent players in the NBA. He can dominate the game on both ends of the floor at any moment. Jimmy Butler continues to shine for Philadelphia. He scored 19 points, grabbed four rebounds, recorded three assists, had one block, and recorded two steals in a 149-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at home on Tuesday night. The Philadelphia 76ers will be tested the next four games against the Indiana Pacers (Thurs. away), the Oklahoma City Thunder (Sat. home), the Houston Rockets (Mon. home), and the San Antonio Spurs (Wed. home). Philadelphia sits in fourth place in the east with a 29-16 record. The 76ers have the best starting lineup in basketball, but they need to improve the bench.
4. Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets time in being the top spot in the west was fun while it lasted. They were crushed against the Golden State Warriors at home on Tuesday night 142-111. The good news for Denver is that their schedule will lighten up over the next week. They are still one of the best teams in the NBA and the Nuggets will still be a threat in the west. Isaiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr. have not played at all this season due to injury. Nikola Jokic continues to be a double-double machine. He is averaging 19.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 7.5 APG, 0.7 BPG, and 1.3 SPG so far this season. Denver currently sits in second place in the west with a 29-14 record and they sit one game back of the Golden State Warriors.
3. Golden State Warriors: The Warriors have won six straight games and they are starting to catch fire. Golden State is now back in first place in the Western Conference with a 31-14 record. The Golden State Warriors may not be looking back for the rest of the season. They will be getting back DeMarcus Cousins on Friday night on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers. They will also be playing the Los Angeles Lakers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the road. Golden State scored 51 points in the first-quarter on the road against the Denver Nuggets en route to a 142-111 victory. Kevin Durant scored 27 points. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 41 points. Curry also scored 41 points in a 147-140 win at home on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
2. Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard scored 41 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a Raptors 140-138 win in overtime on Sunday afternoon against the Washington Wizards on the road. Pascal Siakam also scored 24 points and grabbed 19 points in that game. Siakam might win the most improved play of the year award. Toronto did lose a tough game on the road against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night 117-108. The Toronto Raptors sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 33-13 record so far this season. They also have one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks sit in first place in the NBA with a 32-12 record. Milwaukee has been one of the few teams in the NBA that has won double digit games at home and on the road. The Milwaukee Bucks schedule will continue to ease up. This team plays as a cohesive unit. Giannis Antetokounmpo has cooled off a little bit lately.