NBA Energy Rankings: Clippers and Kawhi surge, as Knicks create hunch in East

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Jan 10, 2024, 08: 00 AM ET

We’re a couple of month faraway from the 2024 NBA commerce lower-off date (Feb. 8, 3 p.m. ET), and issues are starting to heat up around the league.

The Minnesota Timberwolves remain at the conclude of a aggressive Western Conference, but the Oklahoma Metropolis Whine and Denver Nuggets are scorching on their tails.

The Los Angeles Lakers contain taken a tumble in our rankings after an in-season match spree, and the Golden Say Warriors will query to catch their rhythm with the anticipated return of Draymond Green.

As commerce lower-off date rumblings commence to earn louder at some stage in the month, we are going to protect you as much as this level with what’s occurring around the league. Can the Boston Celtics be dethroned? Will the Milwaukee Bucks fix their points? And which teams will fulfill their Recent Year’s resolutions? Let’s purchase a query at this week’s Energy Rankings.

Exhibit: Throughout the widespread season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking inventory of which teams are playing the correct basketball and which teams are taking a query most be pleased title contenders.

Old rankings: Put up-Finals | Nov. 1 | Nov. 8 | Nov. 15 | Nov. 22 | Nov. 29 | Dec. 6 | Dec. 13 | Dec. 20 | Dec. 27 | Jan. 3 |

Soar to a team:






1. Boston Celtics

2023-24 story: 28-8

  • Old ranking: 1

  • Subsequent video games: vs. MIN (Jan. 10), @ MIL (Jan. 11), vs. HOU (Jan. 13), @ TOR (Jan. 15)

Even after a couple of end losses to the Whine and Pacers in the previous two weeks, Boston peaceable ranks second in the league in offense and defense and has a healthy lead in accumulate ranking at plus-10.4 sides per 100 possessions. Your entire while, the Celtics contain had a rotating cast of characters in and out of the lineup attributable to injuries. The following week sees Boston host its counterparts atop the West in the Timberwolves, in addition to the return of aged coach Ime Udoka with the Rockets on Saturday. — Bontemps


1: 45

The head Celtics performs of the week

Jaylen Brown’s excessive-flying jams highlight the correct performs from the Celtics over the previous week.

2. Denver Nuggets

2023-24 story: 26-12

  • Old ranking: 5

  • Subsequent video games: @ UTAH (Jan. 10), vs. NO (Jan. 12), vs. IND (Jan. 14), @ PHI (Jan. 16)

When Nikola Jokic does something query-popping, it be on the total some statistical feat that hasn’t been performed since Wilt Chamberlain‘s playing days. On Sunday, Jokic took lovely three shots and scored handiest four sides but had 16 assists and five blocks, becoming lovely the third player with out a much less than 15 assists and five blocks in a sport since blocks grew to turn out to be an reputable stat in 1973-74, becoming a member of Jamaal Tinsley and Jalen Rose. Denver has won 12 of its previous 15 video games but will play on the avenue in six of its subsequent eight, including a five-sport East Wing swing. The Nuggets’ story is gorgeous 11-8 faraway from Denver. — Youngmisuk

3. Minnesota Timberwolves

2023-24 story: 26-10

  • Old ranking: 3

  • Subsequent video games: @ BOS (Jan. 10), vs. POR (Jan. 12), vs. LAC (Jan. 14)

The Timberwolves remain atop the West with the second-ideal story in the NBA, but their lead over the Whine and Nuggets has dwindled to one sport. The Wolves dropped three of their previous five video games heading into a again-to-again in opposition to a pair of Eastern Conference contenders. After defeating the Magic on Tuesday night, they would possibly perchance well contain a showdown with the Celtics on Wednesday — a matchup between two teams with the correct records in every conference. — Collier


1: 48

High performs of the week from the Timberwolves

Revisit the conclude performs this previous week from Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert and the Wolves.

4. Oklahoma Metropolis Whine

2023-24 story: 24-11

  • Old ranking: 4

  • Subsequent video games: @ MIA (Jan. 10), vs. POR (Jan. 11), vs. ORL (Jan. 13), @ LAL (Jan. 15)

Chet Holmgren had his third 30-level performance of the season in Monday’s arrangement end over the Wizards, and he has shot better than 60% from the ground in all of them. Holmgren has taken aback many scouts and coaches around the league by instantly establishing himself as an environment friendly and efficient scoring complement to MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Holmgren is averaging 17.8 sides while taking pictures 55.1% from the ground and 40.9% from 3-level differ. No rookie has ever averaged that many sides with an efficient field plot percentage as excessive as Holmgren’s (62.4). — MacMahon


1: 47

The Whine’s ideal performs of the week

Witness again at the Oklahoma Metropolis Whine’s ideal performs of this previous week.

5. Milwaukee Bucks

2023-24 story: 25-12

  • Old ranking: 2

  • Subsequent video games: vs. BOS (Jan. 11), vs. GS (Jan. 13), vs. SAC (Jan. 14)

Milwaukee has dropped four of its previous five video games, warding off a dropping bolt with a slim victory over San Antonio closing week. The Bucks’ defense ranks 25th since the starting up of the month, inflicting two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to blast the team’s effort on that conclude after a loss to the Rockets over the weekend. The following three video games would possibly perchance be a take a look at, because the Bucks host Boston, Golden Say and Sacramento. — Collier

6. LA Clippers

2023-24 story: 23-13

  • Old ranking: 7

  • Subsequent video games: vs. TOR (Jan. 10), @ MEM (Jan. 12), @ MIN (Jan. 14), vs. OKC (Jan. 16)

The Clippers lost for handiest the third time since the conclude of November with an gruesome 106-103 defeat to the Lakers. It was as soon as a rare day out wherein Kawhi Leonard and James Harden struggled, taking pictures 10-for-30 mixed. But it absolutely served as a be-cautious call: Ty Lue’s team overwhelmed the Suns on Monday, coping with them for the second time in five days. Share of the Clippers’ surge has been fueled by the impressive play of center Ivica Zubac, who has benefited from Harden’s passing. In his previous six video games, Zubac has had two enormous performances: 22 sides and 19 rebounds in the loss to the Lakers, and 15 sides and 20 rebounds in a arrangement end over Memphis on Dec. 29. — Youngmisuk


1: 43

The Clippers’ ideal performs of the week

Ivica Zubac’s poster jam is one of the indispensable Clippers’ top performs of the previous week.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

2023-24 story: 23-12

  • Old ranking: 6

  • Subsequent video games: @ ATL (Jan. 10), vs. SAC (Jan. 12), vs. HOU (Jan. 15), vs. DEN (Jan. 16)

It has been an gruesome week for Philadelphia, which had a pair of imperfect losses to Recent York and Utah closing weekend. To create issues worse, reigning MVP Joel Embiid, after missing four video games attributable to a sprained ankle, now would possibly perchance well be going to miss no much less than two more, including Wednesday’s sport in Atlanta, attributable to knee swelling. — Bontemps

8. Dallas Mavericks

2023-24 story: 22-16

  • Old ranking: 10

  • Subsequent video games: vs. NY (Jan. 11), vs. NO (Jan. 13), vs. NO (Jan. 15)

Forward Derrick Jones Jr. has provided foremost cost on a veterans minimum deal, incomes a starting feature and the distinction of his coaches and teammates by on the total taking potentially the most animated defensive project. “While you query at his compose, there would possibly perchance be now not slightly about a muscle, but he loves the competition,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He likes to compete, he likes to arrangement end. He desires to be a part of something that is about the team, and so that you just would possibly perchance no longer quiz for a bigger feature player that performs at the ideal stage for us.” Jones is averaging a career-ideal 10.3 sides, benefitting from the attention defenses pay to Luka Doncic, who has assisted on 49 of Jones’ 134 field targets. — MacMahon

9. Sacramento Kings

2023-24 story: 21-14

  • Old ranking: 8

  • Subsequent video games: @ CHA (Jan. 10), @ PHI (Jan. 12), @ MIL (Jan. 14), @ PHX (Jan. 16)

The Kings contain suffered three imperfect losses since Christmas: two in opposition to dropping teams (the 10-25 Blazers and eight-25 Hornets), in addition to a blowout vs. the Pelicans. No longer all is lost in Sacramento, but at this level, it be sure the Kings haven’t taken as broad a leap as they hoped they’d after closing season’s magic. What’s most referring to? Their offense ranks 14th, which is no longer colossal for a team that has repeatedly struggled with … defense (at this time ranked 20th). — Andrews

10. Miami Warmth

2023-24 story: 21-15

  • Old ranking: 9

  • Subsequent video games: vs. OKC (Jan. 10), vs. ORL (Jan. 12), vs. CHA (Jan. 14), @ BKN (Jan. 15)

The Warmth by some means haven’t got a dropping story when Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro were out this season, no topic every of them missing no much less than 10 video games. That’s in share attributable to Miami’s roster depth. Miami has eight gamers averaging no much less than 10 sides, and a ninth (Kyle Lowry) at 9.2 sides. — Lopez

11. Recent Orleans Pelicans

2023-24 story: 22-15

  • Old ranking: 12

  • Subsequent video games: @ GS (Jan. 10), @ DEN (Jan. 12), @ DAL (Jan. 13), @ DAL (Jan. 15)

After a rough commence to the season, the Pelicans’ star trio of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum is starting to play about a of its ideal basketball. Last season, in lovely 172 minutes on the ground collectively (over 10 video games), the three were plus-62 with a plus-16.5 accumulate ranking. In 309 minutes (18 video games) this season, the trio is handiest a plus-9 with a accumulate ranking at minus-1.0. However, in the previous five video games playing collectively, they’ve a 135.9 offensive ranking and a plus-15.4 accumulate ranking in 76 minutes. As that neighborhood goes, so trip the Pelicans. — Lopez

12. Recent York Knicks

2023-24 story: 22-15

  • Old ranking: 14

  • Subsequent video games: @ DAL (Jan. 11), @ MEM (Jan. 13), vs. ORL (Jan. 15)

After a blowout arrangement end over the Blazers on Tuesday night, Recent York is now 5-0 since the OG Anunoby commerce, with the NBA’s ideal defense and accumulate ranking over that span and the original forward becoming perfectly in coach Tom Thibodeau’s gadget. But while they’ve already racked up impressive wins over the Timberwolves and 76ers with Anunoby in the fold, the original-query Knicks contain a busy stretch ahead: at Dallas on Thursday, at Memphis on Saturday after which home vs. the Magic and Rockets subsequent week. — Bontemps

13. Indiana Pacers

2023-24 story: 21-15

  • Old ranking: 13

  • Subsequent video games: vs. WAS (Jan. 10), @ ATL (Jan. 12), @ DEN (Jan. 14), @ UTA (Jan. 15)

The Pacers are feeling some relief after an MRI printed guard Tyrese Haliburton refrained from a severe hurt Monday night. However, he’s going to trip over no much less than two weeks attributable to a Grade 1 left hamstring stress, placing a damper on what had been a great commence to 2024 for the Pacers. Indiana, and its traditionally dynamic offense, is 4-1 this month with a pair of wins over Milwaukee and a arrangement end over Boston. The Pacers are the ideal team with a couple of wins over the Bucks and Celtics this season. — Collier

14. Orlando Magic

2023-24 story: 21-16

  • Old ranking: 11

  • Subsequent video games: @ MIA (Jan. 12), @ OKC (Jan. 13), @ NY (Jan. 15)

When teammate Franz Wagner went down in opposition to the Kings on Jan. 3, Paolo Banchero stepped up in an infinite system with a career-excessive 43 sides. He adopted that up with the foremost triple-double of his career (32 sides, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) in a arrangement end over the Nuggets in Denver, and he’s averaging 34.3 sides, 9.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists over his previous five video games. — Lopez

15. Cleveland Cavaliers

2023-24 story: 21-15

  • Old ranking: 16

  • Subsequent video games: vs. BKN (Jan. 11), vs. CHI (Jan. 15)

It was as soon as an acceptable week on the court docket for Cleveland — a hit three in a row and going 7-3 over its previous 10 video games — but additionally a bittersweet one. Feeble level guard Ricky Rubio, who conducted parts of the previous two seasons with the Cavs, retired from the NBA at age 33. A licensed in the group for his spirit and beneficiant attitude, Rubio made a “particular mention to Cleveland” in his retirement letter for the Cavs’ figuring out as he stepped faraway from the game to level of interest on his psychological well being. — McMenamin

16. Phoenix Suns

2023-24 story: 19-18

  • Old ranking: 15

  • Subsequent video games: @ LAL (Jan. 11), @ POR (Jan. 14), vs. SAC (Jan. 16)

Monday’s 27-level loss to the Clippers makes one shock about the allege of a Suns team that had championship aspirations. Granted, it was as soon as the second night of a again-to-again for Phoenix, and the Clippers were taking a query to bounce again from a loss to the Lakers, but the Suns were disappointing. Suns coach Frank Vogel said the Clips are a “full team.” Perfect now, at 19-18 and ninth in the West, giving the Suns a grade of incomplete would possibly perchance well be beneficiant. — McMenamin

17. Houston Rockets

2023-24 story: 18-17

  • Old ranking: 18

  • Subsequent video games: @ CHI (Jan. 10), @ DET (Jan. 12), @ BOS (Jan. 13), @ PHI (Jan. 15)

Accidents to Dillon Brooks (indirect) and Tari Eason (lower leg) contain created a chance for rookie forward Cam Whitmore. The 19-year-mature has scored 54 sides and shot 58.3% from the ground and 53.8% on 3s in 69 minutes over the previous five video games, a stretch wherein the Rockets went 3-2. Or no longer it is a ways the foremost time that Whitmore, who conducted in handiest five of the Rockets’ first 25 video games, has appeared in five straight NBA video games. The No. 20 total earn displayed his scoring capability by averaging 27.0 sides with a 62.4 factual taking pictures percentage in 13 G League video games. — MacMahon

18. Los Angeles Lakers

2023-24 story: 19-19

  • Old ranking: 17

  • Subsequent video games: vs. PHX (Jan. 11), @ UTA (Jan. 13), vs. OKC (Jan. 15)

So basic for the Lakers wanting a little bit of home cooking to turn issues around after a protracted December. They spread out a home-heavy January schedule with two alarming losses: one to the Warmth, wherein the Lakers shot 4-for-30 from 3 and dedicated 22 turnovers, and but one more to the Grizzlies, wherein L.A. was as soon as outscored by 14 in the fourth quarter. The Lakers grew to turn out to be it around with a arrangement end Sunday over the Clippers and but one more Tuesday in opposition to the Raptors, but these subsequent couple of weeks would possibly perchance be valuable in figuring out what varieties of moves the team will contain to pursue at the lower-off date. — McMenamin

19. Golden Say Warriors

2023-24 story: 17-19

  • Old ranking: 19

  • Subsequent video games: vs. NO (Jan. 10), @ CHI (Jan. 12), @ MIL (Jan. 13), @ MEM (Jan. 15)

The Warriors welcomed Draymond Green again to their facility over the weekend, but he’s peaceable about per week faraway from returning to the court docket. And at this level, it be highly no longer going Green will resolve all of Golden Say’s concerns — the team has a dropping story with and with out him. The Warriors contain struggled all season on the defensive conclude (they nasty 21st), and the hope is Green’s return makes an impact there. But with out a lineup combos working at all, it be unclear what desires to commerce for the Warriors to catch a rhythm and retain it. — Andrews

20. Utah Jazz

2023-24 story: 18-20

  • Old ranking: 22

  • Subsequent video games: vs. DEN (Jan. 10), vs. TOR (Jan. 12), vs. LAL (Jan. 13), vs. IND (Jan. 15)

Utah is surely one of the indispensable freshest teams in the league. The Jazz are 11-4 over their previous 15 video games, with handiest the Celtics, Nuggets and Clippers recording more wins in that span. Utah has won seven of nine video games since 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson returned from a hamstring hurt to a reserve feature. The mixture of Clarkson and center Walker Kessler, who’s additionally coming off the bench, has been particularly efficient. The Jazz contain outscored opponents by 79 sides in their 155 minutes on the court docket collectively over the previous nine video games. — MacMahon

21. Chicago Bulls

2023-24 story: 17-21

  • Old ranking: 21

  • Subsequent video games: vs. HOU (Jan. 10), vs. GS (Jan. 12), @ SA (Jan. 13), @ CLE (Jan. 15)

Zach LaVine has eased his system again into the lineup after missing 17 video games attributable to a foot hurt. LaVine has advance off the bench in his first two video games again, averaging 12.0 sides, 4.5 assists, four rebounds and lovely 9.5 field plot makes an are attempting. After a hit two straight (both in opposition to the Hornets), the Bulls contain moved as much as ninth in the Eastern Conference, with Lavine providing some basic-wanted momentum as they put collectively to host the Rockets and Warriors ahead of touring to San Antonio and Cleveland. — Collier

22. Toronto Raptors

2023-24 story: 15-22

  • Old ranking: 24

  • Subsequent video games: @ LAC (Jan. 10), @ UTA (Jan. 12), vs. BOS (Jan. 15)

While there was as soon as masses of level of interest on the particular impact of OG Anunoby in Recent York, don’t query previous how well Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett are becoming with Toronto early on. Barrett had a large 36-level day out in a blowout arrangement end Sunday over the Warriors, and both gamers contain instantly slotted into Toronto’s backcourt reputedly because the long-length of time starters alongside rising star forward Scottie Barnes. — Bontemps

23. Brooklyn Nets

2023-24 story: 16-21

  • Old ranking: 20

  • Subsequent video games: vs. CLE (Jan. 11), vs. MIA (Jan. 15)

It has been a disastrous stretch for the Nets since they in level of fact sat eight gamers in a loss to Milwaukee in late December. Their loss to the Path Blazers in OT on Sunday was as soon as their sixth in seven video games, leaving the Nets with a in point of fact long flight to Paris for Thursday’s sport in opposition to the Cavaliers. Over that seven-sport stretch, the ideal teams with a worse accumulate ranking are the Path Blazers and Wizards. — Bontemps

24. Atlanta Hawks

2023-24 story: 14-21

  • Old ranking: 23

  • Subsequent video games: vs. PHI (Jan. 10), vs. IND (Jan. 12), vs. WAS (Jan. 13), vs. SA (Jan. 15)

The Hawks will are attempting to manual sure of historical previous Friday night after they host the Pacers. In two matchups with Indiana this season, Atlanta has given up 157 sides and 150 sides, becoming the foremost team to enable an opponent to achieve no much less than 150 sides twice in the identical season since the 1990-91 Nuggets and Suns. Atlanta will query to manual sure of hitting that impress a third time in its two final matchups in opposition to Indiana — Friday in Atlanta and on the avenue in the April 14 widespread-season finale. — Lopez

25. Memphis Grizzlies

2023-24 story: 14-23

  • Old ranking: 25

  • Subsequent video games: vs. LAC (Jan. 12), vs. NY (Jan. 13), vs. GS (Jan. 15)

Ja Morant struggling a labral dash in his exact shoulder that requires season-ending surgical treatment was as soon as a devastating blow to the Grizzlies, who nasty closing in the league in offense essentially because their celeb served a 25-sport suspension to commence the season. Memphis has averaged lovely 106.2 sides in the 27 video games Morant has overlooked entering Tuesday night, a hit handiest seven of these. The Grizzlies were 6-3 with Morant in the lineup and averaged 112.7 sides in these video games. — MacMahon

26. Portland Path Blazers

2023-24 story: 10-26

  • Old ranking: 26

  • Subsequent video games: @ OKC (Jan. 11), @ MIN (Jan. 12), vs. PHX (Jan. 14)

After missing five video games attributable to an adductor hurt, Shaedon Sharpe is again, but he has been relegated to the bench to this level. Walk Henderson, averaging 12.8 sides, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds and taking pictures 41.2% from 3 since being reinserted into the starting lineup, has remained there since Sharpe’s return. Are the Blazers easing Sharpe again, or is this a everlasting commerce? Both system, getting Sharpe again is a plus for Portland. — Andrews

27. Charlotte Hornets

2023-24 story: 8-26

  • Old ranking: 27

  • Subsequent video games: vs. SAC (Jan. 10), @ SA (Jan. 12), @ MIA (Jan. 14)

The Hornets would possibly perchance well in the end earn some basic-wanted suitable news on the hurt front. LaMelo Ball, out since Nov. 26 attributable to an ankle hurt, was as soon as a rotund participant in voice and did some 5-on-5 scrimmaging Sunday, in step with the Charlotte Observer. The Hornets, who are additionally with out cruise Gordon Hayward and center Tag Williams, are 3-16 with out Ball. — Youngmisuk

28. San Antonio Spurs

2023-24 story: 5-30

  • Old ranking: 28

  • Subsequent video games: @ DET (Jan. 10), vs. CHA (Jan. 12), vs. CHI (Jan. 13), @ ATL (Jan. 15)

Despite being exiguous to 24-26 minutes per sport attributable to the aftereffects of his exact ankle sprain, rookie Victor Wembanyama is thriving for San Antonio. In his previous five video games, the No. 1 total earn has 122 sides in 125 minutes, or 0.98 sides per minute. Essentially based mostly on the Elias Sports activities Bureau, the ideal novices to moderate more sides per minute, with out a longer much less than 100 minutes conducted, over a five-sport span are Bob Pettit (1954-55) and Calvin Murphy (1970-71). Even in the course of a dropping season, Wembanyama is displaying how particular he is more seemingly to be. — Lopez

29. Washington Wizards

2023-24 story: 6-30

  • Old ranking: 29

  • Subsequent video games: @ IND (Jan. 10), @ ATL (Jan. 13), vs. DET (Jan. 15)

Washington has dropped five straight and eight of its previous nine video games. And now the Wizards hit the avenue for three of their subsequent four, at Indiana, Atlanta and Recent York. A glimmer of … something: Forward Deni Avdija has started to play better, scoring in double figures in six of his previous seven outings. The 2020 No. 9 total earn is averaging 15.7 sides, 7.4 rebounds and 54.6% taking pictures while logging three double-doubles at some stage in that span. –Youngmisuk

30. Detroit Pistons

2023-24 story: 3-34

  • Old ranking: 30

  • Subsequent video games: vs. SA (Jan. 10), vs. HOU (Jan. 12), @ WASH (Jan. 15)

Since snapping their historic 28-sport dropping bolt, the Pistons contain dropped five in a row. Their schedule lightens up this week with video games in opposition to the Spurs and Wizards, but the Pistons would possibly perchance be fiddling with out 2021 No. 1 total earn Cade Cunningham, who would possibly perchance be sidelined no much less than per week attributable to a left knee stress. — Collier

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