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Betting On Hoops? Cappers Picks NBA Power Rankings Week 8

2014-15 NBA Handicapping

Now that Christmas has passed and the New Year is upon us, the 2014-15 NBA season can really begin. Trades and free-agent moves have shaken up the foundation of the Association, and it’s clear that the Western Conference is as dominant as it’s ever been.

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Here are the power rankings for the eighth week of the NBA schedule.

1. Portland Trail Blazers (24-7)

The Portland Trail Blazers have the league’s second-best record at this point in the process. Only the Golden State Warriors boast a winning percentage higher than the one in Rip City, but what’s impressive is the fact that this team has won seven out of its last eight.

Also worth noting is that the Blazers have done it with significant absences. Robin Lopez is out with a fractured hand. Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge have sat a few times recently due to a wrist injury and an upper-respiratory illness, respectively. Even Chris Kaman is sitting now, as he is expecting his first-born child any day now.

But despite all the missing pieces, Damian Lillard and crew just keep on winning. That’s good news for a team looking to win its division with the Oklahoma City Thunder having yet to make up for their slow start.

2. Toronto Raptors (22-7)

With the third-best record in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors earn the No. 2 spot on our list. They’re coming off a loss to the Chicago Bulls, but they had won six straight before that and haven’t dropped two straight since Nov. 30.

Although Toronto’s record is impressive, their spot on this list has more to do with the competition they’ve played. Out East, they’re able to do their damage on a nightly basis. If they were in the Western Conference, we’d probably see them down the list a ways, as their wins wouldn’t come nearly as easily.

3. Houston Rockets (21-7)

The Houston Rockets have won two straight against two very good teams. They’ve taken down the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies in back-to-back fashion, and they’ve done it once in blowout fashion and once in a closely contested contest.

But while those two wins, as well as the team’s record, are impressive, it’s a reported free-agent acquisition that moves Houston up this far. If the Josh Smith deal goes through to give Clutch City the power forward its been searching for, it will be a boom-or-bust situation if we’ve ever seen one — likely with the latter looking like the more likely scenario.

4. Atlanta Hawks (21-8)

The Atlanta Hawks have a strong case for being higher on this list. They’ve won 14 out of their last 16, and they’re doing it largely because they finally have a healthy Al Horford. This is a team to watch out for as we approach the second half of the season.

5. Memphis Grizzlies (21-8)

Unlike the Atlanta Hawks, the Memphis Grizzlies could easily be a spot or two lower in this list having lost four in a row. The reason they’re still in the top five is benefit of the doubt. We saw how dominant this team was when healthy, and now that injuries have impacted their rotation, we’ll wait and see if the struggles continue when they’re healthy before knocking them too far down the list.

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6. Chicago Bulls (20-9)

Although the Chicago Bulls don’t have the best record out East, they do have many people calling them the best team in the conference. They have a league-leading five-game winning streak, including eight of their last nine.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-16)

The Oklahoma City Thunder are as middle of the road as it comes when you look at their record. But what’s important is that this team is trending in the right direction. December has been largely successful, and if the team can keep Kevin Durant healthy, they shouldn’t have any problem boosting their winning percentage as the year progresses.

8.Dallas Mavericks (21-10)

The Dallas Mavericks’ acquisition of Rajon Rondo is either a brilliant rental situation for the rest of the season, or it’s a brilliant long-term solution at point guard. The transition hasn’t been the smoothest as of yet, but either way, it was brilliant.

9. San Antonio Spurs (18-13)

The San Antonio Spurs have lost four in a row, including five out of six. If this trend continues, expect this team to be out of the top 10 next time around.

10. Los Angeles Clippers (20-10)

The Los Angeles Clippers are good enough, and well-coached enough to be a top-10 team. However, they lost three of four before taking down the league-leading Golden State Warriors. For that reason, they stay at 10 with the potential to rise or fall in the coming weeks.

The Rest

  • 11. Phoenix Suns (17-14)
  • 12.  Cleveland Cavaliers (18-11)
  • 13. Washington Wizards (20-8)
  • 14. New Orleans Pelicans (15-14)
  • 15. Sacramento Kings (12-17)
  • 16. Denver Nuggets (13-17)
  • 17. Brooklyn Nets (13-15)
  • 18. Miami Heat (14-16)
  • 19. Indiana Pacers (10-20)
  • 20. Milwaukee Bucks (15-15)
  • 21. Indiana Pacers (10-20)
  • 22. Orlando Magic (11-21)
  • 23. Charlotte Hornets (10-20)
  • 24. Boston Celtics (10-17)
  • 25. Los Angeles Lakers (9-21)
  • 26. Utah Jazz (9-20)
  • 27. Detroit Pistons (6-23)
  • 28. Philadelphia 76ers (4-24)
  • 29. New York Knicks (5-26)
  • 30. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-23)

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