NBA Power Rankings (3-13-13)


LeBron James and Dwyane Wade own the court right now. Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

The NBA Power Rankings are updated every Wednesday throughout the season and can be found here! We go through all 30 NBA teams, with a short update on the team, their ranking from the previous week and their record.

Previous week’s rank in parentheses.

1. (1) Miami Heat (48-14) – The winning streak has hit 19 and they’re the first team to clinch a playoff spot. They’re 30-3 at home and LeBron James is in cruise control. Just wait until he turns it up for the playoffs.

2. (3) Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17) – Thunder fans know they have a tremendous team, but it’s hard to put away feelings that they could be that much better with James Harden. Kevin Martin has been solid, but Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-Harden? So much better.

3. (2) San Antonio Spurs (49-16)  – As Stephen Jackson so eloquently put it, “The sun even shines on a dog’s ass some days.” Still, we don’t expect the Spurs to get throttled by the T’Wolves. Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard’s real test comes playoff time.

4. (4) Los Angeles Clippers (45-20) – A loss at Denver on a back-to-back makes sense. The Clippers better get their wins in now, though. A tough road trip at Dallas, New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston comes up in 10 days. DeAndre Jordan, keep doing what you’re doing.

5. (6) Denver Nuggets (43-22) – The Nuggets just keep rolling as the hottest team in the Western Conference. Ty Lawson is back, Wilson Chandler is back and even Corey Brewer is feeling it offensively. This team is scary, especially in Denver.

6. (7) Memphis Grizzlies (43-19) – Memphis has taken advantage of a relatively soft spot in their schedule, but that ends now. They’re on the road against the Clippers, Nuggets and Jazz over their next three. Kudos to Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol for carrying this team when they could have sulked.

7. (5) Indiana Pacers (39-24) – Just when we think they’re elite, they lose at home to the Celtics and lay a total egg in Miami. Paul George needs a good game tonight at home to erase the memories of the stinker he put up against the Heat.

8. (9) Brooklyn Nets (38-27) – Deron Williams has entered beast mode, which gives them a shot to win every night. Still, losing to the 76ers is inexcusable if the Nets expect to go anywhere in the playoffs. Gerald Wallace is shooting .293/.190/.643 over his last 10. Ouch.

9. (8) New York Knicks (38-23) – The worst possible situation for the Knicks is to start playing tight. They’re doing just that. Doubt is creeping in after scoring just 63 points against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Carmelo Anthony needs to get healthy in a hurry or the Knicks will find themselves on the road in round one.

10. (10) Golden State Warriors (36-29) – Bet you didn’t realize the Warriors haven’t topped 100 points in five games, did you? Whether it’s a sign of a more defensive game or just rust, the Warriors aren’t playing the same right now. Home losses to Houston and Milwaukee hurt.

11. (11) Boston Celtics (34-29) – And the pendulum swings back the other way. Just when the Celtics look like they could create some problems in the East, they lose by 26 to the Charlotte Bobcats. Paul Pierce is averaging 20.8/6.8/5.8 over his last 10. Jeff Green is coming around as well, averaging 14.2 points over his last 10.

12. (12) Chicago Bulls (35-28) – The Bulls are right where we expected them to be. They’re good enough to beat mediocre teams (Brooklyn, Utah) but not good enough to beat good or hot teams (Indiana, San Antonio, Los Angeles). Derrick Rose is playing it safe, as he should be. No rush.

13. (13) Houston Rockets (34-30) – Lose at Dallas and Phoenix and win at Golden State, huh? For a jump-shooting team, that makes sense. On any given night they can get hot/cold and win/lose because of it. In a weird scheduling event, they’re home for 19 days. James Harden needs the rest.

14. (17) Los Angeles Lakers (34-31) – Don’t look now, but the Lakers are back in the playoffs. Who wants to face them in the first round? NOBODY. If Dwight Howard could play motivated and angry every night, the Lakers would be a championship contender. Kobe Bryant has no time to rest his ailing elbow, which WILL become an issue.

15. (14) Utah Jazz (33-31) – Not that the Jazz are a boring team, but, they really aren’t on anyone’s radar at this point. After a four-game losing streak, they beat the Pistons, but have a brutal stretch ahead of them with the Thunder, Grizzlies, Knicks, Rockets and Spurs on tap. They’re going to miss the playoffs and regret not making a deadline deal.

16. (15) Atlanta Hawks (34-29) – We called it. A win over Philly and back on the losing streak. The Hawks have a comfortable cushion and some talent on the floor, but would we feel comfortable betting on them against ANYONE in the East playoffs? Nope.

17. (16) Milwaukee Bucks (32-30) – The mark of a quality team is consistency and taking care of business against the lesser foes. The Bucks can’t really claim either of those. They won at Golden State, struggled at Sacramento, then lost at home to Dallas. Monta Ellis is on fire, though, with 24.3/3.9/7.4/2.7 over his last 10.

18. (19) Dallas Mavericks (30-33) – We left the Mavericks for dead a few weeks back and they’re proving us wrong right now. They’re just three games out and they’re playing good ball right now. In addition, they have a long home stretch coming. Dirk Nowitzki is shooting .511/.462/.931 over his last 10.

19. (20) Portland Trail Blazers (29-34) – J.J. Hickson is earning himself a LOT of money right now. He’s averaging 16.6 points and 12.3 rebounds over his last 10. The guy who got a lot of money, Nicolas Batum, has fallen off considerably, with averages of 12.4/6.0/4.2/1.4 over his last 10.

20. (18) Toronto Raptors (25-39) – We just can’t figure the Raptors out. They blow out the Suns in Phoenix, only to give up a 20-0 run in the fourth quarter to lose by two to the Lakers. Rudy Gay is shooting 37.6 percent and is turning it over four times a game for the Raps. Not good.

21. (21) Detroit Pistons (23-43) – The Pistons haven’t won this month. They don’t have a regular shooting over 49 percent during their last 10 games. However, we’re going to defend Brandon Knight. Good for you trying to block that alley-oop. You took a lot of heat for it, but we salute you.

22. (22) Washington Wizards (20-42) – It doesn’t matter at this point, but the Wizards have an extremely soft schedule this week. They get the Bucks, Hornets, Bobcats and Suns twice. Time to build confidence, John Wall.

23. (23) Phoenix Suns (22-42) – After a nice win over the Rockets, the Suns were just overpowered inside by the Nuggets. Injuries have decimated this team inside and even though Hamed Haddadi is playing well, he’s not the long-term solution.

24. (24) New Orleans Hornets (22-43) – Give it up for Anthony Davis, folks. He’s averaging 15.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last 10 games. If he keeps it up, it won’t be Damian Lillard as the clear-cut winner of the Rookie of the Year.

25. (26) Minnesota Timberwolves (22-39) – Congrats to Ricky Rubio for his first triple-double of his career. He’ll get many more as he feels more like Rajon Rondo/Jason Kidd every day. Too bad the Wolves won’t see primetime this playoff season. At some point the fans get tired of waiting until next year.

26. (25) Cleveland Cavaliers (22-42) – Dion Waiters has played a respectable brand of basketball and with Kyrie Irving on the shelf, he’s going to get his chance to shine. He’s averaging 18.4/2.5/3.1 over his last eight games, which the Cavs will take for a rookie. Here’s to hoping Irving’s shoulder heals up nicely.

27. (27) Philadelphia 76ers (24-39) – How frustrating it must be to be a fan of this team. They built it with the idea that Andrew Bynum would be the focal point, then he hasn’t hit the court and the team has struggled mightily. What a loss it would be for him to walk away, but could you blame him?

28. (28) Sacramento Kings (22-43) – Your leader in scoring over the past 10 games? Not Isaiah Thomas, not DeMarcus Cousins and not Tyreke Evans. It’s Marcus Thornton, with 19.2 points in just 27.8 minutes. He’s shooting .563/.476/.903 during that time. Nice to see.

29. (29) Orlando Magic (18-47) – Hack-a-Dwight didn’t exactly work. He tied his own record with 39 attempts as the Magic lost 106-97 to the Lakers. Still, they have some pieces to be excited about. Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris look like the real deal. If they get a pass-first point guard, they could be on to something.

30. (30) Charlotte Bobcats (14-50) – They can’t shoot and can’t defend. Is that good? They’re dead last in effective field goal percentage and last in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. They’re also last in opponent’s offensive rebounding percentage. So, even when they do force a miss, they give up the most boards. Just a bad time to be a Bobcats fan.