(Last week’s record in parenthesis; last week’s ranking in brackets)
1) Golden State Warriors (3-0) : They are again putting games away in the third quarter: since losing at home to Detroit Oct. 29, Golden State’s cumulative third quarter the last six games has been 225-140, or 38-23 per game.
2) Boston Celtics (4-0) : Per NBA.com/Stats: among guards who’ve played in 12 or more games season and logged 24 or more minutes per game, the Celtics’ Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in the league in Defensive Rating — Rozier and Smart at 94.7/100, and Brown at 94.8. And: Kyrie Irving is fifth in the L, at 96.2.
3) Houston Rockets (3-0) : Once again, this season, Ryan Anderson’s home-road splits are truly bizarre.
4) San Antonio Spurs (2-1) : Down to putting Darrun Hililard and Matt Costello into the rotation with all the injuries of late.
5) Detroit Pistons (3-0) : Best start since going 15-3 out of the gate in 2005-06, en route to a 64-18 record and an Eastern Conference finals appearance against Cleveland.
6) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) : The need for an athletic big who can run and rebound is strong with this one, Obi-Wan.
7) Memphis Grizzlies (1-1) : Tyreke Evans (17.5 ppg, 43 percent on 3-pointers) playing some of the best basketball of his career off the bench for Grizz.
8) Toronto Raptors (2-1) : The Raptors continue to walk the walk when it comes to inclusion and diversity at all levels of their organization.
9) Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) : If you’re expecting Malcolm Brogdon to be anything but professional now that he’s lost his starting job to Eric Bledsoe, you don’t know “The President” very well.
10) Washington Wizards (2-1) : Interesting call for coach Scott Brooks: keep starting Markieff Morris, back from sports hernia surgery, at the four, or rapidly emerging Kelly Oubre Jr., who shines with the first unit?
11) Orlando Magic (2-1) : Good news: rookie forward Jonathan Isaac didn’t break his ankle Saturday night. He’ll miss Monday’s game against Golden State, but it could have been worse.
12) Minnesota Timberwolves (0-2) : Blowing a six-point lead in Phoenix with five minutes to go? Let’s just say the Wolves’ subsequent practice/film sessions will be … unpleasant.
13) Denver Nuggets (3-0) [NR]: Spreading the wealth: Nuggets have six players averaging double figures in points, and five different players have led the team in scoring in a game already.
14) New York Knicks (2-1) [NR]: “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
15) Portland Trail Blazers (0-2) : .500 (4-4) at home after dispiriting losses to Memphis and Brooklyn.
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MORE MORNING TIP: Defensive funk marks season for Cavs | Surprise teams dot East map | Your questions on Lonzo Ball & more | Q&A: Dennis Smith Jr.
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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.
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