NBA Power Rankings: West dominance

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NBA Power Rankings: West dominance

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 11 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at@BullsTalkCSNwith comments or criticisms.
Past rankings:PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7 Week 8 Week 10 Week 11

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony:Durant is just flat out ridiculous.
Mark: The NBA Gods owe us another Thunder-Heat Finals.
2
Tony: Amazing that they didn't miss a beat with CP3 out.
Mark: The NBA Gods also owe us Thunder-Clippers in the Western Finals.
3
Tony: Tony Parker is having the best season of his career at age 30.
Mark: Danny Green needs to step up, but Duncan remains fantastic at 36.
4
Tony: Man, they really have the Bulls' number this year.
Mark: Heat won't move Chris Bosh, but interested to see how Birdman fits in middle.
5
Tony: LeBron has taken complete ownership of this team.
Mark: BIG overtime win over the Thunder on Sunday. Watch out for the Nugs.
6
Tony: Steph Curry's return is a huge boon. Can't afford to lose him.
Mark: Those defensive matchups like the one in Chicago on Saturday are fun.7
Tony: Felton supposedly coming back soon. Will be a boost.
Mark:Tyson Chandler's numbers being overshadowed by Melo's career year.8
Tony: Proving they're a legitimate contender with solid last couple of weeks.
Mark: Good to see Steph Curry back; Marc Jackson should be coach of the year.
9
Tony: D-Will is money at the charity stripe.
Mark: Could be the hottest team in the league right now.
10
Tony: George looks like a beast some nights, a non-factor others.
Mark: Nate can be one big headache at times, and win you games the next night.
11
Tony: Gritting out wins in Rose's absence.
Mark: Boylan seems to understand the roster better, or the team is rejuvenated post-Skiles.
12
Tony: Are they really more than just a .500 team?
Mark: Playing well, but I have concerns about how Granger could mess with George's game.
13
Tony: If Sullinger maintains production, will be key role player.
Mark: Could be one of the busiest teams at this year's trade deadline (Jefferson, Millsap).
14
Tony: Sanders has turned into a bonafide stud. Just has to improve offensive game.
Mark: Continue to fade fast, and losing Lou Williams (torn ACL) won't help matters.
15
Tony: Very good at home, but bad (9-11) on the road.
Mark: Three-game losing streak right after they looked to be turning the corner.
16
Tony: Batum playing heavy minutes in breakout year, but can't seem to stay healthy.
Mark: The pieces are there when healthy; a healthy Rubio may carry them to playoffs.
17
Tony: Lost 7 straight, but somehow still in 8-seed in West.
Mark: Terrible January after being the biggest surprise of the 2012 calendar.
18
Tony: What happened to the positive momentum they gained last season?
Mark: Worst bench in the league means starters won't make it all year.
19
Tony: Love still has 2 months until he's back on the court. Sigh.
Mark: Dirk hasn't been the guy the Mavs have needed, but they're not out of the hunt yet.
20
Tony: Really didn't see this poor season coming, you guys.
Mark: The Lakers in the Lottery. Sounds weird, but likely to happen.
21
Tony: Can Cousins stay out of trouble?
Mark:Have fun in Seattle, DeMarcus.
22
Tony: Just getting sad now. But only 3 games out of playoffs.
Mark: Time to get Andre Drummond more minutes, Detroit.
23
Tony: Would've been completely different season if Gordon starts healthy.
Mark:Bynum looks ready to return after the All-Star break; if that's the case, don't count them out.
24
Tony: Monroe is a stud, but players around him just too inconsistent.
Mark: Finally out of the cellar in the West, and have won 7 of 10.
25
Tony: 4-17 record in the US, but 11-9 in Canada.
Mark: Do they have to move Lowry or Calderon?
26
Tony: What's their plan for the future? 'Cause it's time to start thinking about that.
Mark:Unleash Moe Harkless!
27
Tony: Taken over the crown as the worst team in the west.
Mark:Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is only 19, but he's been a disappointment as the No. 2 pick.
28
Tony: Giving them the nod over WAS because of wins alone.
Mark: Varejao done for the year, but probably a good thing to rest his knee.
29
Tony: Wall is a big boost, but he can't do it all himself.
Mark: In the last 10 games, have doubled their win totals.
30
Tony: Kemba's rekindled early-season success, but not leading to any more wins.
Mark: Firing Alvin Gentry wasn't the answer, but it had to happen. Rock-bottom in PHX.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs

In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) join Kap on the panel. Jonathan Toews is still not back at practice. Is it time to panic?

Meanwhile, the Bulls beat the Spurs. And Rajon Rondo compliments the coaches? Is all well in Bulls-town?

Plus, Dexter Fowler is Cardinal. Should Cubs fans be angry?

And finally, is it good idea for Jordan Howard to get the ball less for the rest of the season?

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: 

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."