Week 8 Power Rankings: Clippers soaring

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Week 8 Power Rankings: Clippers soaring

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 7 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 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony:Hey, they finally lost!
Mark: Best team in the NBA, and they are coached by Vinny del Negro.
2
Tony: Hey, they still haven't lost since November!
Mark: Win streak is over, but OKC-Miami will be lots of fun tomorrow.
3
Tony: Parker and Co. spoiled TheReturn: Dirk Edition.
Mark: LeBron went 250 minutes without committing a foul? Wow.
4
Tony: Need to get LeBron some help.
Mark: Kawhi Leonard making a big impact after his return from injury.
5
Tony: Can't handle Bulls, Rockets.
Mark: Nasty week, but Carmelo is still playing out of his mind.
6
Tony: What happens if 31-year-old Randolph gets hurt?
Mark: Recent struggles, but still just 1 game behind the Spurs for the division.7
Tony: Not much star power, but very solid all-around squad.
Mark: Marc Jackson continues to successfully coach easily the biggest surprise in the NBA.8
Tony: Curry should be getting some MVP votes. He's been phenomenal.
Mark: Good for them to get a big win over Chicago last week.9
Tony: Not quite consistent enough yet, but rounding into form.
Mark: If they replicate this success until Rose returns, Bulls will fight for East supremacy.
10
Tony: Just won't let Bulls run away with the division.
Mark: Interested to see how Omer Asik responds to Joakim Noah's comments.
11
Tony: At least they have the Knicks' number, ya know?
Mark: Deepest team in league finding stride, beating Memphis and San Antonio last 2 weeks.
12
Tony: If McGee can stay under control, he's a solid, efficient role player.
Mark: Nash coming back, but will it make a difference for West's No. 11 seed?
13
Tony: So now Humphries is getting benched? Too much drama in Brooklyn.
Mark: Same as Bulls, patiently waiting until their superstar (Granger) returns.
14
Tony: Ellis can just take over games sometimes.
Mark: Jennings trade talks heating up, and they will be until the deadline.
15
Tony: Kevin Love just needs to stay on the court.
Mark: Rubio beginning to ramp up minutes can only mean good things for Minnesota.16
Tony: On outside of playoff race if season ended today.
Mark: Struggled against fierce competition, as expected by most.
17
Tony: Can still be exploited inside by most teams.
Mark:Bynum thinks he can still contribute this season; I'll say he doesn't.
18
Tony: J.J. Hickson is actually playing pretty well.
Mark: What did Avery Johnson do to Deron Williams' field goal percentage?
19
Tony: Fading fast, and even with Holiday back and playing at high level again.
Mark: Pierce is on fire lately, but his teammates aren't matching the effort.
20
Tony: On a four-game win streak, but they've had to fight and claw for every victory.
Mark: Wes Matthews needs to get healthy, as the playoffs are a possibility in diluted West.
21
Tony: To say Dirk's return could've gone better is an understatement.
Mark: So what will Dwight Howard say if the Magic make the playoffs and he doesn't?
22
Tony: Still just kinda hangin' around.
Mark: Fading fast, need some shakeups.
23
Tony: I just don't get Alvin Gentry's rotation. At all.
Mark: 12-16 Mavs must love having Dirk back.
24
Tony: They're on a five-game win streak and they're still only 9-19? Ouch.
Mark: Two straight wins after losing six in a row, eight of nine.
25
Tony: Andre Drummond looking like a solid future piece.
Mark: 5 straight wins, but Houston the only opponent of note.
26
Tony: The DeMarcus Cousins situation has just become laughable.
Mark:Cavs probably need to deal Varejao and continue rebuilding.
27
Tony: Ridiculous that a six-win team is 27th.
Mark:With Evans, Cousins out, Kings score 105 points. Go figure.
28
Tony: It's like a race with Nawlins for worst record in NBA. They may never win again.
Mark: Would love to see Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon together soon.
29
Tony: Seriously? 11 straight losses? At least Davis has grown another half-inch in NO.
Mark: 15 losses in a row. It's last year all over again.
30
Tony:Amazing that a seven-game losing streak is far from worst in league.
Mark: Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford will work well when John Wall returns.

Dax McCarty named to U.S. national team roster for Gold Cup

Dax McCarty named to U.S. national team roster for Gold Cup

After the Chicago Fire's 4-0 win against Orlando on Saturday, midfielder Dax McCarty said his goodbyes to his teammates and got an extra handshake and a good luck message from coach Veljko Paunovic.

That's because McCarty was preparing to leave the Fire to join the U.S. national team for the upcoming Gold Cup, CONCACAF's regional tournament. McCarty was named to the 23-man roster that will take place in the tournament, which runs from July 7-26.

The U.S. will play against Ghana on July 1 in a tune-up. Fire winger David Accam will be a part of that Ghana team and is also away from the Fire. McCarty and Accam will both miss the U.S. Open Cup game in Cincinnati on Wednesday and the MLS game against Vancouver the same day as that friendly.

MLS is taking a break during Gold Cup group play, but will resume as the knockout round begins. If the U.S. gets to the semifinals, McCarty would miss three MLS games (July 1 vs. Vancouver, July 5 at Portland and July 22 vs. New York City FC). He would also miss a potential Open Cup quarterfinal if the Fire beat FC Cincinnati.

McCarty has been called in regularly under coach Bruce Arena, but has only played in friendlies. With the Gold Cup drawing mostly from MLS players, with European-based players getting a break during the club offseason, McCarty could see more playing time.

Fire right back Matt Polster was also included on the preliminary roster, but was not on the final 23-man roster. Former Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was also on the team.

Here is the full roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, Mexico), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest, England), Matt Miazga (Chelsea, England), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, Mexico), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Dax McCarty (FIRE), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent, Belgium), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)

Carlos Rodon to make season debut for White Sox this week

Carlos Rodon to make season debut for White Sox this week

Carlos Rodon’s next start will be with the White Sox.

The 24-year-old southpaw will make his season debut this week, though manager Rick Renteria didn’t give a definitive answer on when it’d be. But he’s likely lined up to pitch Wednesday or Thursday against the New York Yankees.

“I haven’t played here all year,” Rodon said. “I’m going to be a little geeked up and ready to go. Plus I get to face the Yankees, a good team, good swinging bats there.”

Rodon, who has been on the DL with bursitis in his left shoulder since the start of the season, has been sorely missed for a White Sox rotation that’s struggled mightily over the last month. White Sox starters have a 5.32 ERA in their last 30 games with only six quality starts.

Renteria said he’s hoping Rodon can bring some stability.

“We’re glad he’s healthy, we’re glad he’s back,” Renteria said. “We’re hoping he could kind of calm the waters a little bit in the rotation a little bit once he gets to his spot. He’s been down a while so hopefully he can settle into his role quickly, be effective and help us our moving forward.”

His numbers in three rehab starts in Triple-A Charlotte weren’t all that great, but in his final one on Friday, he struck out seven batters and threw 91 pitches. Rodon said that he felt comfortable with his pitches and that his slider was back with an increased velocity.

The only thing that’s left to do is go out and pitch.

“A lot of these guys, once they get back up to where they should be I think they feel a little bit more comfortable up here,” Renteria said. “They’re adrenaline is gonna be a little high. Hopefully it works to his advantage.”