Power Rankings Week 15

The Spurs are climbing, the Clippers are falling, and the Wizards are beating the Thunder? Yeah, it has been a bit of a weird week in the NBA. Here are your Week 5 Power Rankings:
1. San Antonio Spurs 38-11

Winners of ten straight, the Spurs are dominating on both ends of the court.  The big story this past week in San Antonio was the health of Tim Duncan, who thankfully only has a sprain of the knee after a player fell into his legs.  As long as Duncan is healthy, this team is going to be a contender. (AL)

2. Oklahoma City Thunder 36-12
OKC is not playing its best basketball right now, that combined with San Antonio playing their best ball of the season moves OKC down a spot. They are in the midst of a road stretch with 8 of their last ten games being on the road. When OKC struggles you can point to a deficiency in rebounding or turnovers, this was the case when they lost 6 of the last ten. (EJ)

3. Miami Heat 31-14
-The Heat got through one of the toughest stretches of their season, where they played 10 games out of 12 on the road. Last night’s game in Charlotte was a solid indicator for Miami, as they played awful and still got the win. (BF)

(Miami need to start getting focused on the big picture.

4. New York Knicks 31-15
The Knicks have feasted on weak competition this past week, winning 4 straight, but the continued shooting struggles for Carmelo Anthony are a major concern.  They are only a half game behind the Heat for first so a strong second half could propel them to a #1 seed. (AL)  

5. Los Angeles Clippers 34-16
-The Clippers are by no mean a weak team, but flaws are being shown. The major one is that this team is going to no where without Chris Paul, and these last couple of weeks couldn’t be any more of an indication. Losses to Toronto and Washington are inexcusable for a team that is trying to win a title. (BF)

6. Memphis Grizzlies 30-16
Obviously the news around this team surrounded the Rudy Gay deal, but Memphis still looks like a strong team.  Defense Defense Defense and more Defense. (AL) 

7. Denver Nuggets 30-18
Denver is finally playing well winning six games in a row. During that span they were not just beating up on bad teams they beat playoff teams, in Indiana, Houston and OKC. With a home heavy second half of the year expect them to climb even higher by season’s end. (EJ) 

(The Nuggets are playing together at just the right time.)

8. Golden State Warriors 30-17
-The Warriors have won four in a row, and are now just 2 1/2 games back of the Clippers in the Pacific Division. The return of Andrew Bogut makes this team even scarier. The longer this streak goes, the more the West has to be put on notice.

9. Chicago Bulls 29-19
The Bulls have been an excellent defensive team all season and that just might allow them to weather the storm until Derrick Rose gets back. Ideally, they will do it without Noah or Deng dying of exhaustion first. (EJ)    

10. Indiana Pacers 29-19
The Pacers are playing the same tough gritty ball they have been playing all season. With Granger’s return around the corner you can expect them to only play better in their remaining games. (EJ)

11. Brooklyn Nets 28-19
The uneven play of this team is infuriating.  You just never know what you’ll get one night to the next. Gerald Wallace is really struggling, scoring only 9 points a game and grabbing 5 boards despite making nearly $10 Million.  He needs to step up and get easy buckets for this team to find a level of consistency that they will need to be a true contender. (AL)

12. Utah Jazz 27-22
All season Utah has played like a late seed in the NBA tournament. Widely reported as the most difficult team in the league to get information from, Utah has sure to be burning up the phones this February. Whether they move their veterans for the future or move some of their future for win now veterans. (EJ) 

(Could Kanter be a guy on the move in a few weeks?)

13. Atlanta Hawks 26-20
-The Hawks season is going to be decided in the next two weeks. In both that they need to bounce back after this recent slide to gain home court in the East, and what they will decide to do with Josh Smith. (BF)

14. Milwaukee Bucks 25-21
As usual I can’t really put my finger on this team. They look great one moment and awful the next. This team has a dearth of big men in league that is short on them.  They will be a prime target for trades in the coming weeks. (EJ)    

15. Portland Trailblazers 25-23
Portland is struggling to stay above .500 that’s because half of their team is good (starters) and the other half is not (bench). You hope that they can add some bench pieces in the next few weeks, but that might be difficult since they don’t have much to trade. (EJ)

(The Trailblazers are two or three pieces away from becoming legit.)

16. Boston Celtics 24-23
It’s not that this team is better without Rajon Rondo, it’s that they are playing harder on both ends.  A more balanced offensive attack and an aggressive Jeff Green makes this team dangerous.  They make a game an ugly defensive battle, hoping to have the game come down to the final few minutes and let their veterans do what they have always done, WIN. (AL)

17. Houston Rockets 26-23
Hanging onto the 8th seed by one game, they face a difficult trifecta coming up in Golden State, @Miami, and vs. Portland, the team currently sitting in 9th.  Houston needs to win 2 of these games. (AL)

18. Los Angeles Lakers 22-26
The Lakers have definitely improved, their is no denying that. However, for the them to make the season worth anything, they would have to get into at least a six seed to avoid the Spurs and/or Thunder. (Oh how I wish to see the day the Clippers/Lakers meet in the playoffs.) (BF)

19. Toronto Raptors 17-31
This team could easily be much higher on this board as they may be a top 12 talent right now.  The addition of Gay paired with Derozan gives this team the most athletic 2/3 in basketball.  The sky is the limit if they can play good team defense. (AL) 

20. Philadelphia 76ers 21-26
This team is headed for the lottery for sure now.  With both Toronto and Detroit making acquisitions to improve their teams, the 76ers are left to scout for June’s draft day.  They should tank….just saying. (AL)

   (Bynum…where are you?)

21. Detroit Pistons 18-31
I am becoming an unabashed Andre Drummond fan. After not living up to the hype in college, Drummond has looked every bit the elite big man he was purported to be in high school. Look for him to become a top five center by next year and lead Detroit in doing so. (EJ)

22. Dallas Mavericks 20-28
Big D is just not doing enough right now on defense to be considered a playoff contender.  They could be interesting sellers at the deadline with a bevy of veterans that could play big minutes for a true contender. (EJ)

23. Minnesota Timberwolves 18-27
Minnesota is not good without Love or Pekovic. Pekovic came back recently to help their play, but this is looking more and more like a lost season for Minnesota. (EJ)

24. Sacramento Kings 17-33
-The Kings starting lineup was outrebounded by two rebounds by one player on Saturday night. And while that player was Tyson Chandler, it is still inexcusable. There isn’t a more dead in the water team in the NBA. (BF)

25. Phoenix Suns 16-32
-Gortat has come out publicly saying that he doesn’t like the way Dragic plays. When your two key starters are publicly at odd, you have to assume a trade is in the works. Their are many pieces in play for this team gone bad. (BF)

26. Orlando Magic 14-34
-The injury to Big Baby Davis is very disappointing. A team just 1-9 in it’s last ten couldnt afford to lose one of it’s few bright spots. (BF)

(There have been alot of dazed and confused looks on Magic‘s faces this year.)

27. Cleveland Cavaliers 14-34
Kyrie Irving has been balling. He has shown himself to be a top five point guard in the league right now. If he continues to play like this he just might be able to carry Cleveland past the whole Lebron thing. (EJ)     

28. New Orleans Hornets 15-33
Four losses in a row has dampened any enthusiasm this team was feeling mid January.  Eric Gordon. although resting last game, has shown improvement in getting his shooting stroke back on track, making 48% of his shots in his last four. (AL)

29. Washington Wizards 12-15
-The Wizards are out of the bottom spot of the league for the first time in over two months. While they won’t be a playoff team, you can assume that this team will continue to rise with how Beal and Wall has improved.

30. Charlotte Bobcats 11-36
The Bobcats played three solid quarters against the Heat last night. The Bobcats fourth quarter execution once again left them down. Until this team gets a proven consistent scorer, this team is going nowhere. (BF)




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