Week 6 NBA Power Rankings

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Week 6 NBA Power Rankings

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 5 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at @BullsTalkCSN with comments or criticisms.
Past rankings: Preseason  Week 1  Week 2  Week 3  Week 4  Week 5

  Tony
 Mark Comments 1
 Tony: Hottest team in the league right now.
 Mark: Eight straight wins for the West's best home team.
 2
 Tony: Riding a five-game winning streak behind Parker.
 Mark: Imagine how good they'll be when Kawhi Leonard comes back.
 3
 Tony: Dominated the Heat, but couldn't run with the Bulls.
 Mark: Wade's shot coming back around, prompting LeBron to tell Barkley to "shut up."
 4
 Tony: Dynamic team, but a bit inconsistent to start.
Mark: Looked fantastic without Carmelo, but they're glad to have the early season MVP back. 
 5
 Tony: Would be the class of the West if not for OKCSA.
 Mark: Six straight wins, led by a red-hot Blake Griffin.
 6
 Tony: Wow, when did they become THE team in L.A.?
 Mark: December has been a rough stretch. 7
 Tony: Have won 8 of 10 to put them among NBA's best.
 Mark: Huge jump this week, but it's deserved. You can thank Steph Curry. 8
 Tony: Really looking like a playoff team.
 Mark: Love what Lou Williams is doing for a bench that needs scoring. 9
 Tony: Still clutching first place, but not by much.
 Mark: Have lost 3 of 5, but the talent is still there.
 10
 Tony: Need to find a way to win on the road.
 Mark: Andray Blatche puts up decent numbers, but they need Brook Lopez back.
 11
 Tony: If Holiday goes down, they're doomed.
 Mark: Joakim Noah is a dark horse for MVP the way he's playing on both ends so far.
 12
 Tony: Four-game losing streak bumps them down.
 Mark: Dead last in rebounds per game.
 13
 Tony: Have won three straight to climb over .500.
 Mark: Larry Sanders leads the NBA in blocks per game. Read that again.
 14
 Tony: HomeRoad splits are scary.
 Mark: Nash still 2 weeks away, which means L.A. is 2 weeks away from turning this around.
 15
 Tony: Not time to push panic button, but at least time to bring it out of storage.
 Mark: Won 4 of 5 to start December. 16
 Tony: Need to get their frontcourt rotation nailed down.
 Mark: Al Jefferson quietly putting together a monster season for the Jazz.
 17
 Tony: Just too inconsistent right now, but will be there in the end.
 Mark: Defense keeping them in the playoff hunt.
 18
 Tony: They're starting to get healthier, playoff push time?
 Mark: Ty Lawson picking things up lately.
 19
 Tony: Ninth out of 9 teams vying for playoff spots in the East.
 Mark: T-Wolves can't wait to get Rubio back, other 29 teams just fine waiting.
 20
 Tony: They can't even win when Lin puts up 38. Ouch.
 Mark: Omer Asik now hitting 17-footers in Houston. Convinced he was trolling Chicago.
 21
 Tony: See? Can't hack it when injuries hit because of lack of depth.
 Mark: They're winning games lately (3-of-5), but not playing anyone good (CLE, CHA, TOR).
 22
 Tony: Best of the worst in the East.
 Mark: Likely Lottery-bound, but this is an impressive turnaround led by Greg Monroe.
 23
 Tony: They have talent, but that's about it.
 Mark: Anthony Davis has the talent to turn the tides for the Pelicans Hornets.
 24
 Tony: Been better of late since their horrendous start.
 Mark: 3-2 on recent West roadtrip was nice to see. Still haven't played at home in Dec.
 25
 Tony: Getting Anthony Davis back. Eric Gordon on the horizon?
 Mark: Had won three in a row before loss in Dallas.
 26
 Tony: Have lost eight straight after their 7-5 start.
 Mark: Fast start was fun, but reality setting in fast on Mike Dunlap's group.
 27
 Tony: What are they doing with Marcin Gortat? Do they even know?
 Mark: Injuries just won't let this team play healthy together.
 28
 Tony: Kyrie coming back, but he can't do it alone.
 Mark: 5-5 at home, but just 2-11 away from Phoenix.
 29
 Tony: All the big offseason acquisitions haven't helped, huh?
 Mark: Still think Tristan Thompson has the skill set to be a star in the NBA.
 30
 Tony: Just flat-out awful. What is there to say?
 Mark: Injuries continue to decimate an already-shallow roster.

White Sox Road Ahead: Facing Chris Sale and the Red Sox

White Sox Road Ahead: Facing Chris Sale and the Red Sox

It'll be tough for Chris Sale to be humble when he makes his return to Chicago and faces his old teammates on Tuesday, but he'll do his best.

The former White Sox ace will face off against his old team as a member of the Red Sox (coverage begins at 6:30 on CSN with White Sox Pregame Live) and Dan Hayes and Siera Santos discussed what the atmosphere will be like on this week's Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers. Sale has dominated in his first season in Boston, going 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA.

Sale met with the Chicago media on Monday morning, and Hayes said the biggest takeaway from that presser was just how much Sale appreciated his time in Chicago.

"I think the fact that he realizes how important this was, how much he grew up with the White Sox," Hayes said in the video above. "He talked about that at length. Obviously last year was a little bit of a rouigh year, there were quite a few incidents, he said there were some blips on the radar, but mostly (he) had good times here than (he) had bad times and he said it's what has made him who he is. and he realizes that he apprecaites what he was able to accomplish here. misses the fans buit he's also moved on and he's doing well with the white sox."

See what else Siera and Dan had to say in the video above.

Jose Quintana on Tuesday opponent Chris Sale: 'He was the best teammate I ever played with'

Jose Quintana on Tuesday opponent Chris Sale: 'He was the best teammate I ever played with'

The majority of the talk surrounding Tuesday night's pitching matchup at Guaranteed Rate Field will be focused on the guy pitching against the White Sox.

Chris Sale returned to the South Side for the first time since being traded to the Boston Red Sox this past offseason, and he'll take the mound against his former teammates Tuesday. But the White Sox, who traded away one of the best pitchers in baseball, will be sending another All-Star hurler to the mound to oppose Sale.

Jose Quintana gets the ball for the White Sox, and while the attention will be squarely on Sale — and the emotions he does or does not show and the reaction he receives from the fans — Quintana will have his own emotional roller coaster going on, pitching against a guy who served as a mentor of sorts for the first five seasons of his career.

"Throwing on the same day will be a different feeling for me because he was the best teammate I ever played with," Quintana said. "It will be a different feeling watching him go against me after the last four years when he was my teammate. We talked last night. He said, ‘Hey, I’m in town. I can’t wait to see you guys.’ So I’m excited to play against him."

Sale had a few years on Quintana in major league service, but the duo looked like they would be a near-untouchable 1-2 combo at the front of the White Sox pitching rotation for years to come.

They both represented the White Sox at the All-Star Game last season and both finished in the top 10 in voting for the American League Cy Young Award.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Sale was shipped to the Red Sox to start the White Sox rebuilding effort, breaking up that duo leading the staff. But as is often the case, it's not the performances and the statistics that Quintana misses the most about Sale but rather the qualities he brought as a teammate.

"I learned from his focus on the game and his passion for baseball," Quintana said. "We talked a lot over the years. But the first thing I learned from him was focus.

"I miss him. He was one of my best teammates ever that I played with. I understand it was part of the game. It’s a business and that happens. ... I miss his energy. We have a lot of guys here with energy too, but I miss the energy he had every time we talked in the dugout, watching the game."

Sale is having one of the best campaigns of any pitcher in baseball through the season's first two months. And while Quintana's start has been shaky at times, he's still the White Sox ace. It's that standing, though, that has had his name the subject of plenty of trade rumors during the offseason, spring training and since Opening Day. There is an expectation, warranted or not, that he will soon join Sale in departing the White Sox for a big prospect haul.

Until then, though, Quintana is taking over for Sale as the team's No. 1. The two old mates will go head to head Tuesday night in a monumental matchup, and Quintana is already projecting that focus he learned from Sale.

"I have just one game, and I have my focus on throwing the ball well for my team, to get a 'W.' That’s my focus every time, to do my job," Quintana said. "It will be a different feeling because I’m pitching against him, but I don’t want to pay attention to the other team. I just want to do my job."