Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers lost their long-awaited rematch with the Miami Heat last week, but that still wasn't enough to dislodge them from the top of the NBA Power Rankings.
The Lakers' loss to the Heat last week snapped their eight-game winning streak, and they also failed to cover the spread as a 1-point road favorite. Bryant and the Lakers bounced back strong in their next game with a win and a cover over the Dallas Mavericks, and they could start a new winning streak this week when they return home following a four-game road trip.
The Lakers get Orlando, Minnesota, and Portland at the Staples Center this week, although they may not be the best option for bettors with a 2-6 record ATS in their last eight home games.
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Not only was Miami's big win not enough to knock the Lakers off the top rung, but it also wasn't enough to get them out of the No. 3 slot. In fact, the entire Top 5 remains the same this week with Chicago at No. 2, Miami at No. 3, Orlando at No. 4, and San Antonio at No. 5.
The Bulls deserve the No. 2 spot after winning their last six games. Led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose, Chicago was 4-0 last week after rolling through New Orleans, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Utah. Chicago is also 5-1 ATS during their current streak, and 8-1 ATS in their last nine games at home. The Bulls get an easy schedule this week with Washington, New Jersey, and Indiana on tap, so their streaks could continue.
And then there's the Heat. Now that Miami has finally stopped their tear-jerking losing streak can bettors trust them with their money? The Heat followed up their five-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over the Lakers and Memphis. They also covered the spread in both wins, something they hadn't done in six games. If bettors want to know if the Heat really have righted the ship they should find out this week with tough games against San Antonio and Oklahoma City on the schedule.
The biggest gainer on this week's rankings list was the Golden State Warriors, up four spots to No. 18. The Warriors went 3-1 last week, which included an upset win over Orlando. Golden State really had nowhere to go but up after winning only once in their previous seven games before last week. Continuing upward on the charts may be tough this week, as the Warriors have a brutal schedule with four games in seven days which includes a pair of games against the Dallas Mavericks.