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Tag:3-Up 3-Down
Posted on: March 1, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 8:56 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Blazers aren't going away

Posted by Royce Young



Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here.

3-UP

1. Los Angeles Lakers (3): Look out NBA. The Lakers might be waking up.

After dropping the most embarrasing game of the season to the Cavs before the All-Star break, the Lakers have stormed out to win four straight, including big wins over Atlanta, Portland and Oklahoma City. They're rediscovering that championship defense and finally, are looking healthy. Ron Artest is contributing, Kobe Bryant is playing a bit better within the offense and Pau Gasol is asserting himself. It's been a bit up and down (get it?) for the Lakers this season, but they might be coming to the top at the right time.

2. Portland Trail Blazers (7): At some point, Nate McMillan has to get some major love for Coach of the Year. Please people, please. I mean, look at what he's worked through.

Another season for the Blazers, another year of dealing with adversity and injuries. But Portland went from sellers to buyers right before the deadline when the team started winning. The Blazers have gone from the brink of playoff contention to now fifth place in the West and the only real threat to the Thunder for the Northwest crown. With Brandon Roy back (somewhat), Marcus Camby on the way and the addition of Gerald Wallace, the Blazers are poised to make noise the rest of the way.

3. Indiana Pacers (18):
They just keep climbing under interim coach Frank Vogel. They're playing looser, more confidently and with some serious passion. They've dropped two straight but caught a nice break at the deadline when one of their main competitors for the eight-seed essentially dropped out when the Bobcats sold off big pieces.

They've scored at least 100 points in every game but one under Vogel and their two recent losses aren't bad ones (Phoenix and Utah). The Pacers will be in the discussion for the playoffs the rest of the way, which certainly wasn't something we were saying two months ago.

3-DOWN

1. Orlando Magic (9): Orlando is slipping, and not just in the standings. They're going to be fine heading into the postseason. They'll likely win the Southeast and have the four-seed. They'll likely be good enough to win their opening round series. But this team made its splash in December with the Gilbert Arenas deal and it's not really working out.

Without Dwight Howard's hero play, this team is down three or four spots in the East and maybe not even competing for a playoff spot. Other teams got better at the deadline. And while the Magic already played their cards, they may have called on the wrong hand.

2. Detroit Pistons (30): Could things be more ugly in Detroit? The team banded together to win Monday, but this situation is ugly. John Kuester is hanging on by a thread despite a vote of confidence from Joe Dumars. Players on the team are trying to say things are cool now. But the team is in a total state of disarray.

The shame is, they could totally be a playoff contender in the pathetic lower half of the East. Win three straight games and you're right in it. They're only 5.5 back of eighth right now and if Detroit could just get its act together, they actually have quality enough players to at least make a push.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (11):
The Thunder improved themselves greatly at the deadline. They went from a definite second-round exit, to a legit Western Conference contender. The main deficiency was remedied in acquiring not just Kendrick Perkins, but Nazr Mohammed.

But right now, the team has dipped a bit. For the first time this season they've dropped three in a row and won't have the services of Perkins for at least two weeks. OKC will be fine, but the Blazers aren't just handing the Thunder the division. Once OKC gets healthy and has its new front line in tact, it'll be tough. But right now, the Thunder's taken a bit of a turn down.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:26 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Lakers riding the see-saw

Posted by Royce Young



Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here.

3-UP

1. Dallas Mavericks (5): Here they come. Finally.

After a few weeks of major struggles following Dirk Nowitzki's knee injury and Caron Butler's season-ending surgery, the Mavs finally appear to be righting the ship. They've won five straight and appear to be finding that mojo all over again. Better yet, the injury to Dirk might have a silver lining as some other players had to re-find themselves a bit. Shawn Marion is playing well, J.J. Barea has stepped up big off the bench and Tyson Chandler is playing downright angry.

2. Knicks (12): The Knicks have been a bit up and down, but that comes with being a largely mediocre team. But they've won three of four and appear to actually be finding a bit of defense too. In a big win over Miami, they held the powerful Heat to just 88 points including a fourth quarter lockdown where they gave up just 15 points.

The Knicks clearly aren't equipped to be an actual contender in the East, but they do look like a squad that will give someone fits in the postseason.

3. Phoenix Suns (18):
When Steve Nash is running your show, all hope is never lost. The Suns have eased themselves back into the Western playoff discussion after winning seven of 10. The new pieces are starting to come together as Marcin Gortat had one of the best games of his professional career. Vince Carter is still showing a heartbeat and Mickael Pietrus is helping add a little defense to their chops.

With wins over the Celtics and Hornets the past week, the Suns are starting to grab some attention again. Sustaining success will be difficult in the West, but they're at least part of the conversation again.
3-DOWN

1. Los Angeles Lakers (7): One week, they're on top of the world looking like maybe the most dominant team in basketball. The next, they're rather pedestrian, struggling to find points and having an even harder time finding stops.

The Lakers are the type of team with the spotlight directly in their face at all times and when they stink, we all notice. Kind of comes with being the defending champ, you see. General manager Mitch Kupchak is talking trades, Andrew Bynum's knee is acting up again and Kobe is hogging the ball. Just another day in Lakerland, right?

2. Utah Jazz (13): Jerry Sloan just can't seem to put his finger on the problem righ tnow in Utah. They've dropped seven of nine and the two wins were only over Minnesota and Charlotte. And both were struggles to get there.

The obvious issue is on the defensive side where the Jazz are giving up a hundred points to everyone . And when Deron Williams isn't able to carry them, they just can't keep up. Al Jefferson has been solid, but Paul Millsap just isn't the same as Carlos Boozer. Utah is still a good team no doubt, but there are problems to be solved.

3. Toronto Raptors (29):
The only reason we haven't all noticed the Raptors' 12-game losing streak is because Cleveland is toeing a historic line right now. But Toronto has been miserable lately. They were never good to start with, but the past two weeks have been especially terrible.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:41 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 8:41 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down 1.11.11: Lakers back in business

Magic and Lakers are trending up while the Suns and Nuggets tailspin in this week's 3-Up 3-Down.
Posted by Matt Moore





Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here .


3-Up


Orlando Magic (3): Nine wins straight for the Magic since The Trade, and in their last four since the start of the year have outscored their opponent by nearly 14 points.  Stunningly, it has been Hedo Turkoglu, not Jason Richardson or Gilbert Arenas who has come on strong for the Magic. Turkoglu is playing exceptionally well, especially in passing, where his assist percentage is at 29.5%, a ridiculous number and by far the highest of his career since returning to Orlando.  The Magic are now firmly back in the race for homecourt advantage, even as Miami keeps them at arm's length in their division. Big rematch in Boston looming on MLK Day. Win two against Boston with what will likely be Kevin Garnett a few days after his return and you've really got something going.

Los Angeles Lakers (4): What can an easy schedule do for you? A four-game winning streak. That's what. Even with Matt Barnes going down, the Lakers are getting back in their groove, thanks in large part to Andrew Bynum. Bynum's size advantage makes the Lakers a completely different team. Letting Gasol focus on just being taller than other power forwards in tandem with Bynum and having Bynum clean up all the misses the Lakers are chucking lately is a pretty sure fire secret to success. Now if he can just stay healthy.

Charlotte Bobcats (21): Sure, the roster is headed nowhere, they have no legitimate star, they fired their coach and their attendance is terrible. But they've won three in a row and have gotten back to being a failry dangerous team with D.J. Augustin taking big leaps now that he's out from Larry Brown's oppressive point guard yoke. Throw in Stephen Jackson keeping up his leadership and you've got a team that's... okay, it's still not going anywhere. But it's might have options at the trade deadline.


3-Down


Dallas Mavericks(6): Dirk, hurt. Butler, out for the year. Beabuois, still not back. The Mavericks just couldn't keep pace and injuries have slammed them in the face. When healthy, the Mavericks are a Western Conference Contender. But getting healthy isn't inevitable with the age they have on roster and the fact that some years, you're just injured. The question that looms over the franchise is if Cuban will consider himself compelled to make a splash at the deadline to find a replacement for Butler. Cuban made a huge splash over All-Star weekend last year, and he doesn't seem to be content to wait with a roster on a deadline.

Denver Nuggets (15): Ujiri. Please, please, please make it stop. No one believes Melo will be in Denver past June. No one. Make it end. Please. We're dying of boredom waiting for this deal to go through and the team is dying on the vine with all the distractions. End it.

Phoenix Suns (22): You ever seen those bands who are desperately trying to cling to their popularity, playing smaller and smaller clubs while playing the same songs that are now relics, only with replacement band members? Meet the Suns.  Marcin Gortat seems to have thought he was quite a bit more than he was. This is what it's like on the wrong side of the playoff tracks.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:41 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 8:41 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down 1.11.11: Lakers back in business

Magic and Lakers are trending up while the Suns and Nuggets tailspin in this week's 3-Up 3-Down.
Posted by Matt Moore





Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here .


3-Up


Orlando Magic (3): Nine wins straight for the Magic since The Trade, and in their last four since the start of the year have outscored their opponent by nearly 14 points.  Stunningly, it has been Hedo Turkoglu, not Jason Richardson or Gilbert Arenas who has come on strong for the Magic. Turkoglu is playing exceptionally well, especially in passing, where his assist percentage is at 29.5%, a ridiculous number and by far the highest of his career since returning to Orlando.  The Magic are now firmly back in the race for homecourt advantage, even as Miami keeps them at arm's length in their division. Big rematch in Boston looming on MLK Day. Win two against Boston with what will likely be Kevin Garnett a few days after his return and you've really got something going.

Los Angeles Lakers (4): What can an easy schedule do for you? A four-game winning streak. That's what. Even with Matt Barnes going down, the Lakers are getting back in their groove, thanks in large part to Andrew Bynum. Bynum's size advantage makes the Lakers a completely different team. Letting Gasol focus on just being taller than other power forwards in tandem with Bynum and having Bynum clean up all the misses the Lakers are chucking lately is a pretty sure fire secret to success. Now if he can just stay healthy.

Charlotte Bobcats (21): Sure, the roster is headed nowhere, they have no legitimate star, they fired their coach and their attendance is terrible. But they've won three in a row and have gotten back to being a failry dangerous team with D.J. Augustin taking big leaps now that he's out from Larry Brown's oppressive point guard yoke. Throw in Stephen Jackson keeping up his leadership and you've got a team that's... okay, it's still not going anywhere. But it's might have options at the trade deadline.


3-Down


Dallas Mavericks(6): Dirk, hurt. Butler, out for the year. Beabuois, still not back. The Mavericks just couldn't keep pace and injuries have slammed them in the face. When healthy, the Mavericks are a Western Conference Contender. But getting healthy isn't inevitable with the age they have on roster and the fact that some years, you're just injured. The question that looms over the franchise is if Cuban will consider himself compelled to make a splash at the deadline to find a replacement for Butler. Cuban made a huge splash over All-Star weekend last year, and he doesn't seem to be content to wait with a roster on a deadline.

Denver Nuggets (15): Ujiri. Please, please, please make it stop. No one believes Melo will be in Denver past June. No one. Make it end. Please. We're dying of boredom waiting for this deal to go through and the team is dying on the vine with all the distractions. End it.

Phoenix Suns (22): You ever seen those bands who are desperately trying to cling to their popularity, playing smaller and smaller clubs while playing the same songs that are now relics, only with replacement band members? Meet the Suns.  Marcin Gortat seems to have thought he was quite a bit more than he was. This is what it's like on the wrong side of the playoff tracks.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down 1.4.11

Three teams rising and three teams falling this week as the Lakers take a tumble, the Bulls keep slugging and wait, the Clippers?!

Posted by Matt Moore




In this week's edition of 3-Up, 3-Down, the Bulls go up, the Lakers go down, and most everyone else stays just about the same. The latest edition of the power rankings this edition reflects will be up this afternoon on CBSSports.com so check back soon to vent your rage and/or shake your pom-poms.

3-Up



Chicago Bulls (6): The Bulls are without Joakim Noah, and yet they've won four in a row, and 8 of their last 10. It's Derrick Rose. It's Carlos Boozer. It's Tom Thibodeau. And the combination thereof. Turns out Thibs is letting Rose set the table, and in doing so, has freed up the Bulls in a way the offense hasn't been let go in years. And about that jumper that Derrick Rose improved upon? Rose is currently the 10th best scorer in the NBA in spot-up situations, shooting 48%. That's league wide, not just among point guards. That's up from 293rd last season. Pretty incredible turnaround. And a huge reason why the Bulls are the #3 seed right now. 

Philadelphia 76ers (16):  There's a belief afoot that Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday play better without Andre Iguodala on the floor. And considering the spurt the Sixers have gone on with Iguodala on the shelf. But they've now lost two in a row without him, so the boost is fading, and Iguodala is in the top six lineups for the Sixers in plus/minus. So you can see why they're torn on when to ship Iguodala out. The Sixers are getting back to their mean, though, which is enough to not be terrible. And Evan Turner showing signs of life is the best news of all. 

Los Angeles Clippers (22): I'm not saying they're a playoff team, far from it. But it's hard to ignore the improvements they make with each game. If they can just get Baron Davis off the floor, they may have something here. Oh, and Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin.

3-Down:



Los Angeles Lakers (10): That's a pretty steep fall, there, Lake Show.  Getting your face caved in by a Grizzlies team on the second night of a back to back will do that. The Lakers will be fine, but a point should be made here. If the Lakers find themselves down by three possessions in the third quarter, what's their best approach? In the minds of many it's to get the offense moving. Get off-ball movement, flows through the triangle, guys off screens. Get the offense moving, and if it results in a Kobe jumper, terrific. He's certainly the guy you want as the tip of the spear. But what you don't want is Bryant going one-on-five in ISO to try and spark the offense. That doesn't spark the offense. It just stagnates it. Until Bryant learns that, they're going to have issues because he doesn't have the physical abilities he used to. 

Milwaukee Bucks (13): There's something seriously wrong with Milwaukee and by all appearances it looks like a matter of trying to fix something that wasn't broken. The Bucks scored 102.0 points per 100 possessions last year, 23rd in the league. They brought in massive amounts of offensive firepower with Drew Gooden and Corey Maggette among others. They're dead last in offensive efficiency, averaging 96.8 points per 100 possessions. That's not a fall, that's a cratering. The Bucks are in big trouble right now. They can't stay above water (in the playoffs in the East, anyway) with that kind of noose around their neck forever. 

Cleveland Cavaliers (30): This is bad as it gets. Right? Right?
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:03 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Falling all over

Three rising and three falling teams this week as the Rockets are getting it together and the Hornets are falling apart.  Posted by Matt Moore




3-Up, 3-Down for this week in our Power Rankings :

3-Up

Boston Celtics (3): The Celtics are doing all of this without Rajon Rondo at 100% . That's insane. They're simply crushing opponents. Their ability to coast through games and still win while getting up for big games is considerable.  Against the Bulls, the Celtics just went out and obliterated a tough team inside by going over them. Particularly, Kevin Garnett is assassinating people all over the floor. Last season he was limited largely to the pick and pop 18 footer. This season he's got the drop step-hook, the face-up baseline jumper, and a few driving dunks in his bag. That makes such a huge difference for this team.

Miami Heat (4): Six spot jump for the Heat who may  have hit the low point and started to climb back up. It's not just that they've been beating inferior competition, it's that they've been pounding them. Furthermore, Wade and James seem to be getting on the same page, while Mike Miller inches closer and closer to returning. Some big games come up for this team in the next week with Utah and New Orleans on the docket for a chance at redemption for the Heat. They need these wins not only to keep their momentum going, but to prove that they're able to beat, you know, good teams. 

Houston Rockets (17): Slowly but surely the Rockets continue to climb their way out of the bizarre hole they built for themselves. They've gone from the worst defense in the league to the 8th worst defense in the league. Progress! The most bizarre thing is that their performance is largely independent of opponent. They lost to good teams and bad, and they've beaten good teams (LA) and bad (Memphis) in the past week. Still in a hole, but starting to climb out. 

3-Down

Los Angeles Lakers (9): A four-spot drop for the Lakeshow this week after a four-game losing streak stretched from last week to this one. But a win over the dreadful Kings and a post-rankings win over the Wizards are just what the Yellow and Purple needed to get things going again. This team is tired, largely because of a lack of depth. Andrew Bynum may be back in a week, which would also help. Of course, me getting a pot of gold from a rainbow would help too, and both have about the same chance of happening, given Bynum's injury recovery history.

New Orleans Hornets (10):
If everything went right for the Hornets in the first eight games, everything has gone wrong in the last 8. David West isn't dominating but getting the ball a ton, Chris Paul is too passive, the defense has fallen off, and Jarrett Jack was not a magical improvement, but instead has been a curse so far. With all the off-court turmoil, this team needs a reassuring run to staunch the bleeding.

Oklahoma City Thunder (12):
Yeah, we don't get it either. The team has simply been inconsistent. Time to bring it up. Coach of the Year curse?

Check out the rest of the Power Rankings here .
Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:04 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 10:08 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down: Week 3

The Texas Two-Step is high among the greats while the Magic have no magic and the Knicks have no sense, in this week's 3-Up 3-Down.
Posted by Matt Moore

http://sports.cbsimg.net/images/nba/photogallery/jazzmascot.jpg <!-- [endif]-->


Our
Power Rankings for Week 3 are out. Here at F&R, we'll give the the direct line to who was notable in the rankings from week to week. Here's three who are up and three who are down in week 3.

http://sports.cbsimg.net/u/photos/basketball/nba/img14272944.jpg 3-Up


San Antonio Spurs (1): 8-1, and their only loss to the also 8-1 Hornets. So why am I not as big on them as our distinguished Power Rankings Overlord? Probably because their signature win was against a Thunder team that can't decide which way the sun sets, or against a Suns team that let's face it, historically doesn't have much luck against them (last spring excepted). Confusing the issue is Tim Duncan's performance. Duncan's still doing all the things Tim Duncan does off-ball, but his rebounds, points, and percentages are down. That the Spurs are 8-1 despite that makes you wonder, can they really be this good without him playing up to TD standards, or conversely, how good are they going to be if he starts playing to that level?

In closing, Manu Ginobili owns your face. Thanks for your time.

Dallas Mavericks (2):
A Texas Two-Step. How nice. The Mavericks topped the might Hornets (that sounds weird) last night, no doubt helping them climb up behind the Spurs. Dirk Nowitzki is rebounding at a better rate than he has since the 06-07 season. They have the ninth best offense in efficiency and the fifth best defense, landing them a top five spot in differential of points produced vs. allowed per 100 possessions. That's pretty good. Throw in the work they've done in besting Denver once out of a home and home and taking down the Celtics, and that's good enough to show good cause for why so many people thought this team would wind up second overall in the West.

The lingering questions of the backcourt depth remain, Caron Butler does not look tip top, and they still need Beaubois back. But Tyson Chandler has filled in much better than anyone anticipated.

Utah Jazz (6):
Well, that was a pretty good week. The Jazz toppled four playoff teams in the East, all on the road, in five days. Losing to OKC was simply an inevitable return to the mean. But the difference this year is the Jazz' mean is a little bit meaner than in years past. For all the concerns that this team wouldn't be as talented as in years prior, they look stacked, top to bottom. Speed, versatility and depth in the backcourt, size, scoring ability and smooth rotations on the defensive end in the frontcourt. And, yeah, Deron Wililams? He's pretty insanely good.

3-Down


Orlando Magic (7):
You'd have thought the Rashard Lewis contract would have bitten them sooner than this, but hey, worse late than never, I suppose. The Magic have one win against a team above .500 and two losses to Miami to and Utah. It's early yet so they haven't had many cracks at it, but throw in a loss to the Raptors, and yeesh, not a great start for SVG's crew. The defense is still excelling, but the offense has fallen off a cliff, thanks in part to Rashard Lewis not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. And yet still, Ryan Anderson gets no minutes. Crying shame, really.

Denver Nuggets (12): Be wary of this team, friends. The resume is solid, the numbers hold up (10th in offense, 14th in defense). And they toppled the mighty Lakers first. But this team is very much on the cusp of oblivion. They can fall apart completely, as they did last night against the Suns. Melo's playing well, but we all know that situation is still ticking. In the meantime, they can beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given night. Teams you can't figure out? They're usually not very good.

New York Knicks (24): Oh, Knicks. You had such promise. Felton's numbers look great but suffer in execution, they can't close, Amar'e can't do everything and Anthony Randolph is a disaster, yet again. Here's what I don't get. They're not bad at defense, they really aren't, at eleventh in the league. Their offense is struggling. Yet Raymond Felton has a 34% assist rate and is shooting well. They have 7 players with a PER above 14.5 but they just don't look like a good basketball team. Either this team's record doesn't reflect its performance, or its performance doesn't reflect what kind of team it really is.




Posted on: November 9, 2010 8:17 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down: Week 2

The Mavericks, Hornets, and Cavs rise, while the Heat, Blazers, and Timberwolves tumble in our power rankings.
Posted by Matt Moore
 



Our Power Rankings for Week 2 are out. Here at F&R, we'll give the the direct line to who was notable in the rankings from week to week. Here's three who are up and three who are down in week 2.

3-Up


Dallas Mavericks (8): Mavericks rise from 14 to 8 this week and have big victories over the Nuggets (split on a home-and-home) and the Celtics. That's a tasty platter. And for once, they're getting it done with defense. Dallas boasts the fifth best defense in terms of defensive efficiency. Combine that with a legit superstar in Dirk Nowitzki who's carrying 25.8 points per game for Dallas along with 9 rebounds. Dirk's certainly motivated. Offense needs a step up (and a step down in turnovers), but they're getting it done.

New Orleans Hornets (3): KB already told you how they're such a surprise this season, and they rightly rise in the rankings from 5 to 3. Chris Paul is awesome, we already knew that. Okafor's being a man's man, we already knew that, but don't sleep on David West. West has been consistently there for the Hornets, through last year with Paul's injury and Okafor's adjustment, and this season all he's doing is averaging 18 per game shooting 55% from the field, 6.5 boards, and 1 block per game. He's reliable, he's consistent, he's efficient, and he's just as much a part of the Hornets' success as the returning star and resurgent big. Tough week coming up for the Hornets with Portland and Dallas. We'll see if they're still undefeated last week. If they are, going to be hard to keep them out of the second overall spot (LA is still  LA).

Cleveland Cavaliers (20): Eight slot bump for the Cavs this week, who, if they keep this up will be your sentimental favorite in the playoffs come April (in what could be a first-round series with Miami - yikes). The Cavs are just working. The odd thing about it? For years the Cavs have been a tremendous defensive team that couldn't get the buckets. Now it's completely flipped. Their offense is filling it up, but they're letting their opponents get to buckets pretty easy. The weird part is it isn't their at-rim defense, it's their midrange defense that's lacking. Meanwhile, though, J.J. Hickson-Gibson is your new hotness. Bizarre what a new coach can do for you. This team isn't just hanging, they're playing pretty decently, and Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison are largely irrelevant. Which means they could trade both those guys to get younger pieces and still compete.

3-Down

Miami Heat (4): A drop with a loss to the Hornets that they could have won, had they not kept handing off the ball to James Jones and Eddie House who were frozen. With Chris Bosh struggling to find his place , and both of the other stars deferring way too much, the Heat have some problems. Huge week with a rematch versus Boston on Thursday at home. Could this team have 3 losses by the middle of November?  Not exactly Most Dominant Ever so far.

Portland Trail Blazers (9): A minor drop but this team is on kind of a ledge. They get outworked by the Thunder and then obliterated by the Lakers with an unimpressive push against the Raps in-between. It's hard to believe Oden is the difference in this team, and with Brandon Roy talking like he's 35 , and with OKC and New Orleans in the next week, this team will either rise or tumble under the pressure.

Minnesota Timberwolves (29): You know the road kill that makes it all the way to the lane divider? Where it manages to make some progress before having its life ended in a violent and brief encounter with a motor vehicle? That's the Wolves. The past two years they've managed to get an early win, before melting into nothingness. The Wolves were absolutely annihilated by both Miami and Orlando and look absolutely lost on both ends. Michael Beasley cares and is playing well, but in reality, there's just not a lot here for them to develop. The coaching is bad, the team is young, but it's also bad, and the overall construction of the team is bad. It's not surprising, but it's still a downward move from the first week where they just looked pretty bad versus pretty terrible.





 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com