by Lang Whitaker

First of all, happy holla-days to everyone out there. It’s late the night after Christmas, and I’m here at the computer, typing away. And what a Christmas Day it was, with a collection of great games. The main event, Boston and L.A., tipped in L.A.’s favor. This doesn’t mean the Lakers are suddenly absolved from losing in the NBA Finals, but it should provide some measure of relief and, perhaps, revenge for the Lake Show.

Before we get Dirty, one more thing I wanted to mention, mostly in response to some of the comments from week to week: I rank these teams using a combination of criteria, including record, head-to-head, who’s hot, etc. But the overriding criteria in my mind is this: If I was an NBA head coach, which team would I least want to face in a game tonight? That’s my eternal question. What follows is my answer, at least for this week.

(And yes, I am totally slacking on a comment for each team this week. I will say this, though: You lose 13 games in a row, you get the bottom spot. Merry Christmas!)

1.2.Los Angeles Lakers24-5
2.1.Boston Celtics27-3
3.3.Cleveland Cavaliers24-4
4.6.Orlando Magic23-6
5.7.San Antonio Spurs19-10
6.4.Denver Nuggets18-11
7.8.Houston Rockets19-10
8.10.Atlanta Hawks18-10
9.5.New Orleans Hornets16-9
10.9.Portland Trailblazers18-12
11.14.Dallas Mavericks17-11
12.12.Utah Jazz17-13
13.13.Phoenix Suns16-12
14.17.Miami Heat15-12
15.11.Detroit Pistons15-11
16.15.New Jersey Nets14-14
17.21.Milwaukee Bucks14-16
18.18.Philadelphia 76ers12-16
19.20.Chicago Bulls13-15
20.16.New York Knicks11-16
21.19.Toronto Raptors11-17
22.22.Charlotte BETcats10-19
23.24.Indiana Pacers10-18
24.23.Memphis Grizzlies9-19
25.25.Los Angeles Clippers8-20
26.26.Golden State Warriors8-22
27.27.Sacramento Kings7-22
28.28.Washington Wizards4-22
29.30.Oklahoma City Thunder3-26
30.29.Minnesota L-Wolves4-23