Week 19 Power Rankings

1. Miami Heat 44-14 
-After Sunday night’s win in New York, it is becoming painfully obvious that when the Heat want to play defense, they might as well be considered unbeatable. If Shane Battier and Ray Allen shoot consistently well in the playoffs, we might be handing Lebron another ring. (BF)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder 43-16

-With the injury to Tony Parker, OKC moves up. With the Thunder’s collection of scoring athleticism and defense they would be the favorite to win the title if not for some guy named LeBron. After the season they will be joining a “Career wasted by playing against one of the greatest players ever” support group founded by the 1990‘s Utah Jazz. (EJ)

(The Thunder seem to be the frontrunner for the West’s top spot with Parker out.)

3. San Antonio Spurs 47-14

-Losing Tony Parker hurts this team, but not as much as many may think. The Spurs lead the NBA in assists (25.3 per game) thanks to excellent ball movement, not just one player driving and kicking to open shooters.  Look for that trend to continue and for Gary Neal to be given a green light in the coming weeks. (AL)

4. Indiana Pacers 38-22

-The Pacers are one of the best defensive and rebounding teams in the league, but before we anoint them the most likely to knock off the Heat it must be noted that they have utilized the second easiest schedule to do so. Turnovers and a lack of shot creation will doom Indiana in the playoffs. (EJ)

5. Denver Nuggets 39-22

-With a recent victory against OKC, the Nuggets showed that if they are allowed to get out and run no one in the league can beat them. Unfortunately for Denver playoff basketball is a slower game than its regular season counterpart. Unless Galanari and Lawson can hit closely guarded shots against staunch defenses in the playoffs Denver’s excellent regular season will be wasted. (EJ)


6. Memphis Grizzlies 39-19

-Well, I’m back on board with this bunch.  Their only loss in their last ten is to a dominant Miami team.  Their front line is just a joy to watch.  Both Gasol and Randolph are elites at their positions. Hats off to Lionel Hollins for his work here. (AL)
7. Los Angeles Clippers 43-19
-Could the Clippers be fooling us all? The loss to OKC told us two very scary things. The Clippers don’t know what their rotation is 60 games into the season, and they have a real hard time stopping scorers in the 4th quarter. (BF)

8. New York Knicks 36-21

-JR Smith has been playing poorly, Carmelo hasn’t regained his shooting form yet, and the team defense doesn’t look as together as it once did.  They are slipping in the East and need to turn it around quickly to take the number two seed away from Indiana. (AL)

(Melo is slowly turning back into the ball stopper that couldn‘t bring Denver to the next step.)

9. Brooklyn Nets 34-26
-losing 4 of 5 is bad, but somehow I’m encouraged by this team.  mainly because Deron Williams is starting to look like a star again.  He needs to carry this team as they head to the postseason and assert himself as the main guy on this team. (AL)

10. Houston Rockets 33-28
-I just have so much fun watching this team play.  They score points in amazing flurries thanks to both a high pace of play and to knock down three point shooting.  adding Aaron Brooks should only further help this team as they try to hold onto a playoff spot and make some headway in the postseason.  (AL)

11. Boston Celtics 31-27
-They barely played this past week and for an aging bunch that’s a good thing.  A lot of new faces in Boston from Jordan “steaz” Crawford and Terrence Williams to Shavlik Randolph and DJ White.  Doc is a master at managing his rotation, let’s see if he lets the new guys get their feet wet in the coming weeks so that they would be ready for use come the postseason. (AL)

12. Chicago Bulls 34-26

-All season this team has been trying to keep the ship afloat until Derrick Rose comes back. As early as two weeks ago this ship looked to be taking in some serious water, at that point Joakim Noah decided to get out and pull the boat to safety. If that boat analogy went too far, the point is Noah has carried this team. (EJ)

13. Atlanta Hawks 33-26
-Atlanta is a below .500 road team. This stat is just one of the many reminders that they have no shaken the fact that their will be no jump this year. (BF)

14. Los Angeles Lakers 30-30
-While tonight’s game against the Thunder isn’t necessarily a must-win, the Lakers are most likely treating it as such. You have to expect one more losing streak would doom the Lakers for good. (BF)

15. Golden State Warriors 34-27
-The Warriors got a MUCH needed win against Toronto at home last night. Unfortunately, it looks as though their defense may have been exposed. Word from the Sloan conference is that it was a running joke that you can score inside on Golden State. (BF)

(Sure, they can score in bunches; but can they stop anyone?

16. Milwaukee Bucks 30-28 

-Maybe, the Bucks should be higher, but I just can’t trust this team. Recently JJ Reddick has been hot, Brandon Jennings is spreading the ball around (keeping his awful shots to minimum) and Monta Ellis has been an efficient scorer. My money would be on two of those players faltering and the Bucks getting mounted on the Heat’s living room wall after the first round. (EJ)

17. Utah Jazz 32-28

-Utah had a chance to further their team at the deadline, but their front office’s insistence on making the playoffs this year at the expense of the long term future prevented this. Well guess what Utah, one of Jefferson and Millsap will walk this offseason, and the Jazz probably won’t make the playoffs anyway. (EJ)

18. Portland Trailblazers 28-31

-If the Blazers were a pool, it would be so shallow that someone could try and try but would not be able to drown themselves. With the return of Wes Matthews, the trade for Eric Maynor and the emergence of Victor Claver, this team went from a small plastic kiddy pool to a middle of the pack above ground pool. Don’t expect this team to make a playoff push but the depth they have added this year should work to improve their future playoff chances. (EJ)

19. Philadelphia 76ers 23-35
-Andrew Bynum is the worst. The WORST. Another setback, who knows if he will ever play again.  He may get the worst Max Contract deal ever….or he could be a dominant center.  I hate him. (AL)

(Jrue Holliday has to wonder what he could be doing with a better roster right now.)

20. Toronto Raptors 23-38
-Losers of 6 of 7, this team is in a slide right now.  Check out http://pickandpopdiaries.blogspot.com/2013/03/rudy-gay-another-curious-case.htmlfor a main reason why. (AL)

21. Dallas Mavericks 26-33
 -It’s going to be an itchy next couple months for the bearded up bunch from Big D. They are not making the postseason.  Does this mean they don;t shave till next season’s postseason is decided too? I hope so. (AL)

22. Detroit Pistons 23-39

-I’m not going to say that Pistons should try to lose the rest of their remaining games, but it would help. Detroit is a rebuilding team, looking for game to game improvement from it’s young players, if they can do this while continuing to lose, even better. (EJ)

23. Cleveland Cavaliers 20-40

-Kyrie Irving has emerged as a super star, Tristan Thompson has emerged as a very good young big man. This is reason for optimism, but not a reason to remove Cleveland from the bottom ten of the league. (EJ)

24. Minnesota Timberwolves 20-37

-The T-Wolves have shown great fight all year, but no amount of fight has been able make up for the injuries they have sustained. Hopefully Kevin Love and the rest of the Minnesota mash unit can take their time coming back so Minnesota can pick up the wing they sorely need (Victor Oladipo) in the draft. On a side note, JJ Barea will be drinking for free next time he comes to Boston after leveling Judas I mean Ray Allen. (EJ)

25. Washington Wizards 19-39
-While the Wizards are technically 3rd to last in the league right now, they are certainly much better than that. A Bradley Beal sprained ankle doesn’t look too serious, so the hope is they can continue to watch him and Wall grow in close game situations. (BF) 

26. New Orleans Hornets 21-40
-Anthony Davis had one of his better games of the season returning from a bum shoulder to put up 17, 15 and 4 blocks. I see the light for this team, i swear I do. (AL)

(The Hornets have to like how Davis has looked lately.)

27. Sacramento Kings 21-40

-It’s unfortunate that such a talent is such a hothead. During stretches of the double OT loss against the Heat, DeMarcus Cousins looked unstoppable. Yet the disinterest seemed to be there more. (BF)

28.Phoenix Suns 21-39
-Could the Morris twins be the future of this team? Maybe, but the problem is you can’t really play them together in a Western Conference loaded with forward scorers. (BF)

29. Orlando Magic 17-44
-The Magic did one thing right. They let Tobias Harris wear #12 after his trade from the Bucks. NOW the Dwight Howard era is officially dead. (BF)

(Hey, HE’S BACK!? Ohh..wait, nevermind.)

30. Charlotte Bobcats 13-47
-Umm…the Bobcats have losing streaks of 7, 7 and 18 this year. Remember when they were 7-5? (BF)



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