NBA Power Rankings: April 1 edition


Paul George and the Indiana Pacers won all four of their games last week and are No. 4 in this week’s edition of the NBA Power Rankings. Photo Credit: IsoSports,

The HoopsHabit NBA Power Rankings are moving to Mondays beginning this week and have a new custodian.

These rankings are derived from a complicated mathematical formula (OK, so maybe not that complicated) that takes into account offensive and defensive efficiency, rebounding efficiency, how well a team takes care of the ball and—of course—wins and losses.

Each team is listed by ranking and record through Sunday, March 31, along with a few notes for perspective’s sake.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (54-20): The Thunder lost one of those head-scratchers on Friday, March 29, at Minnesota, but bounced back the next night for a win in Milwaukee. Tough week ahead with home games against San Antonio and New York sandwiched around a visit to Indiana.

2. Miami Heat (58-15): Yes, yes … the Heat are the defending champions and won 80 gazillion games in a row recently (number approximate). So why is Miami No. 2 here? Negative rebounding and turnover margins don’t help. And, for the record, I believe the Heat weren’t retaliating against the Spurs Sunday, March 31, in San Antonio when they kept out LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers with previously undisclosed injuries. I also believe in the Easter Bunny.

3. San Antonio Spurs (55-18): So the starless Spurs lost to the star-studded Heat in a close game in Miami earlier this season. Then the starless Heat beat the star-studded Spurs by two in San Antonio on Sunday night. Advantage: Heat.

4. Indiana Pacers (47-27): Indiana very quietly put together a 4-0 week last week, including three straight on the road at Houston, Dallas and Phoenix. And, in the addition by subtraction department, that whole “will the Pacers figure out how to reintegrate Danny Granger” thing is no longer an issue.

5. Denver Nuggets (50-24): When this team ends a franchise-record winning streak, it does it convincingly. The Nuggets got absolutely pounded in New Orleans on Monday, March 25, to end their 15-game run. Denver bounced back nicely with a 22-point drubbing of the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, March 29.

6. Los Angeles Clippers (49-25): The Clippers are picking a bad time to struggle. Lob City completed its Texas plus Louisiana road trip last week with just one win in four tries.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (49-24): The Grizzlies just keep on keeping on, splitting four games last week without Marc Gasol, who is out with an abdominal injury.

8. New York Knicks (46-26): For awhile it looked as if the Knicks were going to gag away the Atlantic Division title to the Brooklyn Nets. Eight straight wins and a 4.5-game lead with 10 to play make it appear that New York got the ship righted in time.

9. Golden State Warriors (42-32): Beat the Lakers, lose to the Kings at home, beat Portland like it stole something … ah, the joys of having a young team. But you can guarantee no team wants to face Stephen Curry and company in the first round.

Jeremy Lin, left, and Chandler Parsons scored 15 points each to lead the Houston Rockets to a 17-point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers without leading scorer James Harden available for Houston. (Photo: Flickr user thepanamerican).

10. Houston Rockets (40-33): The Rockets got a nice win over the slumping Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, March 30, without superstar James Harden in the lineup. That’s an encouraging sign for a team that still has designs on sneaking past Golden State for the No. 6 seed out West.

11. Brooklyn Nets (42-31): The Nets stumbled a bit at the end of the “circus trip” by getting drubbed at Denver and losing at Utah on back-to-back nights. But Brooklyn has had a solid first year on the other side of the Hudson.

12. Chicago Bulls (40-32): The Bulls made headlines for ending Miami’s streak on Wednesday, March 27. They avoided embarrassment by holding on to beat the Detroit Pistons by one at home on Sunday, March 31.

Instead of the Steve Nash of old, the Los Angeles Lakers have seen a lot of an old Steve Nash this season.Photo Credit: (Bridget Samuels,

13. Los Angeles Lakers (38-36): A 2-2 week could have been worse had the officials not decided to go collectively blind when Kobe Bryant hammered Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves on a potential game-tying 3-pointer on Wednesday, March 27.

14. Atlanta Hawks (41-33): The Hawks treaded water at 2-2, beating the bad teams (Toronto, Orlando) and losing to the good and decent ones (Indiana and Boston, respectively).

15. Utah Jazz (38-36): After losing four in a row, the Jazz were written off for dead. After winning all four games last week, Utah is ahead of the Lakers for the No. 8 spot in the West.

16. Boston Celtics (38-35): The C’s lost both games against the New York Knicks last week and stayed in the No. 7 spot in the East. The good news? The Knicks are still in third.

17. Dallas Mavericks (36-37): The Mavs get another shot at a clean shave for getting back to .500 Tuesday, April 2, against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The first attempt went sort of poorly … OK, it went really poorly; a 103-78 shellacking at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, March 28.

18. Portland Trail Blazers (33-40): The Trail Blazers hung around longer in the playoff chase than anyone expected. But an 0-3 week last week just about ended Portland’s hopes.

Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks was not happy about a fourth-quarter benching in a loss at Philadelphia last week. Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

19. Milwaukee Bucks (35-37): The Bucks will be the No. 8 seed in the East. The Bucks will last four games in the postseason. The Bucks will extend their string of consecutive seasons without an appearance in the NBA Finals to 39.

20. Washington Wizards (27-46): That the Wizards have made some sort of chicken salad out of the chicken … ahem … horrific start Washington endured provides a lot of hope for 2013-14.

21. Philadelphia 76ers (30-43): The 76ers still have a mathematical chance to run down Milwaukee for the final playoff spot. If I were running this team, Jrue Holiday would come down with a serious case of lottery fever disguised as a (wink, wink) knee injury.

22. New Orleans Hornets (26-48): The soon-to-be Pelicans ended Denver’s franchise-record winning streak on Monday, March 25. It’s been a long year in the Big Easy, though.

23. Toronto Raptors (27-46): Another year, another lottery pick in Toronto. The big question: How soon after the league offseason officially begins does Andrea Bargnani last in TO? I have 42 seconds in my pool.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves (26-46): The Timberwolves are staying in the fight down the stretch, a testament to Coach Rick Adelman’s ability to keep the team motivated after a season with high hopes crashed and burned early.

25. Detroit Pistons (24-50):

Detroit’s second half of the season can best be summed up by the video below:

26. Sacramento Kings (27-47): Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said last week that the city’s chances of keeping the Kings are “90 percent,” according to Because, you know, when a league can keep a team in the 20th-largest TV market in the country instead of moving to the 14th-largest in Seattle, it has to do it. Wait … what?

27. Phoenix Suns (23-51): Year One AN (After Nash) has not gone particularly well in the Valley of the Sun. On the positive side, the Suns will get a lottery pick for owner Robert Sarver to trade away for a tuna-fish sandwich later this spring.

28. Orlando Magic (19-55): Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris provide hope for the future. Coach Jacque Vaughn provides confusing rotations for the present.

29. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50): An 0-3 week made it eight losses in a row for the Cavaliers, who are stumbling to the finish line without young-but-fragile star Kyrie Irving.

Kemba Walker, right, scored 34 points to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a rare victory last week. (Photo by Craig Downing/

30. Charlotte Bobcats (17-56): The Bobcats won a game last week. On the other hand, has a team ever improved by 10 wins in one season and still not gotten to 20 victories?