Clippers running rampant
The Los Angeles Clippers are easily one of the best teams in the league at present, and they continue to signal that they mean business as they have rocketed to a franchise-best record of 17 unbeaten games. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company are steamrolling everything in their path and there seems to be no end in sight.
Their current streak is not only a franchise best, but with their 107-96 win over the Utah Jazz they became only the third team in basketball history to record a perfect month, winning all 16 games played throughout December.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are second in the conference and all also on a good run of form, losing only two games of their last 10 played. That being said, their record stands at 23-6, while the Clippers with the best record in the NBA sit prettily with a record of 25-6.
There finally seems to be increased stability and confidence in the Los Angeles Lakers' camp as they have managed to break even to end the year. After spending much of the year with a losing record, six wins from their last 10 means that they end the year with a 15-15 record, still far from the leaders, but slowly building, being boosted by the return of Steve Nash.
The San Antonio Spurs had a bump in the track, but they appear to be in sync once more thanks to a five-game winning stretch. Among the wins was a 38-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks; surely an indication of a team back on track.
The Mark Jackson-coached Golden State Warriors continue to defy the odds of the conference as their 21-10 record has them battling for a position in the top four of the Western Conference.
The Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets were the only teams in the top eight of the conference to end the year with losses.
When did this happen?
With so many other stories making the headlines in recent weeks, no one seems to have taken note of the poor run of the Charlotte Bobcats. After being 7-5 in the early stages of the season, their record now stands at 7-23, losing 18 consecutive games.
On their current run, they have lost more games than the combined number of games the two leaders of the conference (the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks) have lost all season, which is 17.
The Heat boasts a record of 20-8, while the Knicks continue their impressive season with an overall 21-9 record. Though still comfortably ahead of everyone else in the conference, both teams ended the year with losses. The Heat last Saturday were put to the sword by the Milwaukee Bucks 104-85 while the Knicks lost to the Sacramento Kings 106-105 on Friday.
The Atlanta Hawks with a 19-9 record are making a surge towards the top position, boosted hugely by their four-game winning streak. A well-deserved 109-100 win over the Indiana Pacers wrapped up the week.
The Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic are all staring the play-off contenders pulling away, not a feat they are familiar with.
The three combined have lost their last 10 games, not something you would have expected of three franchises that gave opponents a lot of difficulty in last season's play-offs.