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!)

RANK PREVIOUS TEAM RECORD
1. 2. Los Angeles Lakers 24-5
2. 1. Boston Celtics 27-3
3. 3. Cleveland Cavaliers 24-4
4. 6. Orlando Magic 23-6
5. 7. San Antonio Spurs 19-10
6. 4. Denver Nuggets 18-11
7. 8. Houston Rockets 19-10
8. 10. Atlanta Hawks 18-10
9. 5. New Orleans Hornets 16-9
10. 9. Portland Trailblazers 18-12
11. 14. Dallas Mavericks 17-11
12. 12. Utah Jazz 17-13
13. 13. Phoenix Suns 16-12
14. 17. Miami Heat 15-12
15. 11. Detroit Pistons 15-11
16. 15. New Jersey Nets 14-14
17. 21. Milwaukee Bucks 14-16
18. 18. Philadelphia 76ers 12-16
19. 20. Chicago Bulls 13-15
20. 16. New York Knicks 11-16
21. 19. Toronto Raptors 11-17
22. 22. Charlotte BETcats 10-19
23. 24. Indiana Pacers 10-18
24. 23. Memphis Grizzlies 9-19
25. 25. Los Angeles Clippers 8-20
26. 26. Golden State Warriors 8-22
27. 27. Sacramento Kings 7-22
28. 28. Washington Wizards 4-22
29. 30. Oklahoma City Thunder 3-26
30. 29. Minnesota L-Wolves 4-23