Last Week: 1 Legend has it that the Spurs wait until their annual Rodeo Road Trip to really get going, but they've actually racked up 16 wins in their first 20 games for the sixth time in Gregg Popovich's 16 seasons. The only other coaches who can match that: Phil Jackson (seven) and Red Auerbach (six).
Last Week: 4 More evidence to suggest that the post-Harden healing process is moving at a brisk pace: OKC has just reeled off 12 straight 100-point games. Have to rewind all the way to the 1994-95 season, when the GP-and-Kemp Sonics did it 19 straight times, for the last time this franchise has managed that.
Last Week: 7 For all the justifiable awe their 3-point barrages generate -- how Mike D'Antoni must wish he could have brought just one of those shooters with him to L.A. -- perhaps we should be even more impressed with the fact mighty Miami has averaged a mere 88 points in two L's to the Knicks.
Last Week: 5 Chauncey Billups came back six games ago. He's only been able to play in three of the six. Minnesota, Utah and Dallas rank as the toughest opposition in that cushy stretch, but there's simply a different vibe in the air when he's around. L.A. has won those six by an average of 16.8 ppg.
Last Week: 2 One of the most likable qualities about this Grizzlies team: They refuse to lose to anyone in the bottom half of these rankings. Road losses to the Clips and Spurs, home L's to the Nuggets and Hawks, nothing else out of Memphis that the committee (of one) is really going to ding 'em for.
Last Week: 3 Not a single scout we consulted for the Weekend Dime betrayed even a hint of concern about the Heat's dreadful D to date or the fact that several of their wins have been underwhelming, too. As for that LeBron postgame workout? A message to his own teammates, not us external pests.
Last Week: 10 Trivia time: Can you name the only team that has held every foe below 50 percent from the floor this season? Answer: It's the one and only team out there that can claim road victories at OKC and Memphis. Even more good news for the Hawks: Josh Smith, as requested here, is picking it up.
Last Week: 9 Chicago must feel a little like London right now to Luol Deng. Team Great Britain couldn't afford to take Deng off the floor during the Olympics and Tom Thibodeau has Deng playing a whopping 41.2 minutes per game nightly with Rip Hamilton joining D-Rose on the Bulls' list of unavailables.
Last Week: 11 Steph Curry is making his $44 million contract extension look like a bargain. The Dubs continue to be a quality defensive team and an upper-echeleon rebounding team without Andrew Bogut. And now they've got more road wins -- seven -- than any team in the league outside of San Antonio.
Last Week: 6 No special sources needed to confirm that the Nets, after four straight defeats against teams with records over .500, officially miss the ailing Brook Lopez. Deron Williams, meanwhile, recently averaged a mortal 11.4 ppg over seven games and clearly ain't himself thanks to that bad wrist.
Last Week: 8 The shared struggles of the Lakers and Celtics have made filling the 8-to-15 slots our biggest struggle every Monday. The Bucks haven't made it any easier, either, stumbling every time we nudge 'em upward to fill the void ... then winning in Brooklyn after we promised ourselves not to do it again.
Last Week: 14 It doesn't happen too often, but when it does we're man enough to admit that Professor Hollinger's unique way of looking at things has forced us into a rethink. That's where we are with the up-and-down Nuggets, who've simply faced a schedule so far too brutal to drop 'em out of the top 15.
Last Week: 17 The week began with a heartbreaking one-point L to the Clippers that soiled their previously unblemished home record. It ended with a redemption win on the Lakers' floor that took Utah's points tally for the weekend to a whopping 248 when tacked on to Friday's home rout of Toronto.
Last Week: 13 The Thunder's revenge for losing in Boston on the night after Thanksgiving: OKC's second straight 16-4 start reminded Elias that the last team to do that in back-to-back seasons was the Celtics ... with four such (seemingly forever ago) starts in a row in the first four seasons of the KG era.
Last Week: 12 The Lakers haven't crossed the 20-game mark with a record this far below .500 since Shaq-and-Kobe-and-Co. started 8-13 in 2002-03 ... after L.A.'s three-peat. The panic, though, runs far deeper this time, because this star-laden construction has so many flaws and hasn't proved anything yet.