The Oklahoma City Thunder continue at the top of the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, holding on just ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, whose 17-game winning streak took them without a loss in the entire month of December.
Forever in the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers, their fellow Staples Center tennants, the Clippers have the game's premier point guard, Chris Paul, and possibly the league's best bench, led by Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and Matt Barnes.
Of course, the Lakers are one of the big risers in this week's rankings. Getting Pau Gasol and Steve Nash back in the lineup has lifted the Lakers from 17 to nine, while the Houston Rockets moved from 14 to 10 after going 8-3 in their last 11 games.
The Milwaukee Bucks (8-4 in their last 12 games) and Detroit Pistons (five wins in the last six games) both moved up five spots, to 15 and 21, respectively.
The Brooklyn Nets went 5-11 in December and fired head coach Avery Johnson; they've slipped from 13 to 17.
Seven losses in the last nine games has dropped the Boston Celtics from 10 to 18 and the Orlando Magic dropped from 21 to 26 due to six straight losses and a couple of key injuries.
Winning seven of eight, along with the return of point guard Kyle Lowry, has lifted the Toronto Raptors from 27 to 23, their highest ranking since the preseason, when they were slotted at 18.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.