Week 20 Power Rankings

1.     Miami 47-14
An 18 game winning streak is just the icing on the cake for what is far and away the NBA’s best team. Another fun stat in all of this: Lebron has shot at least 50% in 19 of his last 20 games! This team will have a couple tests coming up, but this win streak could be going on for awhile longer. (AL)

2.     San Antonio 49-15
Even without TP they took care of the Thunder at home, winning by 12 and overcoming an early double digit deficit.   This team just knows how to win, is well coached, and plays the best team basketball in the NBA.  But they don’t have Lebron, so alas, they are a lowly 2nd. (AL)

3.     OKC 47-17
The Thunder have excelled all season despite trading away a player that has become one of the best scorers in the league. Kevin Martin has done a nice job filling in, but against the good teams you see where Harden would have made an impact. The Spurs are one team that Harden killed, begging the question can OKC get past the elite teams without him. (EJ)

4.     Clippers 45-20
As good as this team is, they seem a distant 4th behind the top 3 teams.  Having said that, all I want to do is watch the DeAndre Jordan dunk for the hundredth time…Chauncey Billups has really been struggling thanks in part to his back woes, but in March he has shot just 32% from the field so far. (AL)



5.     Denver 43-22
The Nuggets are winners of nine in a row, but the question still remains, can they win tough, grind it out, half court playoff games. At this point, they are only two back of the 3 seeded Clippers. If Denver can stay hot and get up to the three seed, they will avoid a difficult first round match up against Memphis, which could help them make a deep playoff run.(EJ)



6.     Memphis 42-19
The Grizz are 9-1 in their last ten and continue to be a dominant defense team allowing an NBA low 89.4 points per contest.  While their biggest strength is found in the interior on both ends with Gasol and Randolph, PG Mike Conley has been playing his best ball in March averaging 17.2 points, 7.4 assists, and 2.6 steals all on a shooting a shooting line of 55(fg)/41(3pt)/88(ft) through 5 games.  If they get this type of guard play in the postseason they can compete with anyone. (AL)

7.     Indiana 39-24
Indiana is struggling right now, but so are the Knicks. Expect the Pacers to grab the second seed due to a tough Knicks schedule to end the year. In all likelihood they will win the “Who wants to get crushed by the Heat” sweepstakes in eastern conference finals. (EJ)

8.     New York 38-23
The Knicks have only 2 wins against teams above .500 since the start of February and just are not on the level of the NBA elite.  They obviously have the pieces to be a contender, but they need to get fully healthy and play with the intensity we saw early on. Furthermore, JR Smith is shooting way to much for my liking, they need more balance offensively.(AL)

We see this about 20 times a game, about 8 times too many
9.     Lakers 33-31
As I had been preaching all year, this team would be fierce once it clicked and be a dangerous playoff seed. Kobe is killing it and Dwight finally looks engaged on the court in every game.  If i’m a top seed i’m definitely hoping I don’t get matched up with this team. (AL)

10.  Boston 34-28
A loss in OKC should not put a damper on what this team has been doing lately. They look like they can hang with any team in the NBA thanks to their defense and balanced offense.  What Paul Pierce has done since the Rondo injury has been well documented and he deserves much of the praise, but coach Doc Rivers should be in the running for Coach of the Year with what he has done in dealing with a slew of injuries. The team has gelled and looks ready for yet another postseason run. (AL)
  
11. Brooklyn 37-27
This team is so uneven, but a steady Deron Williams could be enough to make them dangerous in the stretch run. I just can’t be confident in them after what we’ve seen in March. Talent wise, they are great, but they just continue to be a roller coaster ride in terms of performance.(AL)

12. Chicago 35-28
This team plays hard every night, but it looks like they are simply holding down the fort while Rose waits to come back. With Rose pushing back his comeback and potentially not coming back at all it seems to have done a serious blow to Chicago’s psyche (EJ)

When are you coming back Derek?



13. Houston 34-30
6 of their final 9 games in March are against teams over .500.  Going 6-3 in these 9 games would be great, even 5-4 would be fine, but anything less than that and they may slide out of the postseason. Sunday against Golden State will be a huge match-up for both teams. (AL)

14. Golden State 36-29
Since the beginning of February, this team is 7-12.  Long gone are the thoughts of hosting a playoff series as this team just tries to hold onto a playoff spot. Jarrett Jack needs to step up and be a leader; he is shooting a woeful 38% since the all-star break. (AL)

15. Milwaukee 32-29
Milwaukee is playing much better after acquiring JJ Redick. With JJ in the fold Ellis and Jennings are keeping their stupid shots to a minimum (who woulda thunk?). Despite their recent positive play I don’t see them passing Boston or Atlanta to move up the standings. On the bright side, no one is challenging them for the last playoff spot in the east. (EJ)

16. Atlanta 34-28
Losers of 5 of their last 6, the Hawks look like a team destined for a first round sweeping by the hands of one of the top seeds.  Josh Smith and Al Horford continue to play well, especially Horford, but they need consistency from elsewhere to have any shot of putting up a fight. (AL)

17. Utah 33-31
Everyone  is killing the Jazz for not freeing up their log jam in the front court at the trade deadline.  The problem with making a deal is it takes two teams, and it seems that not many teams were willing to give back Utah the players they wanted for Millsap or Jefferson. According to Alex Kennedy they discussed a Millsap and Bucks for Granger and Stephenson deal with the Pacers. Is this the type of deal that sets Utah up for the future like they wanted? Probably not. (EJ)

18. Portland 29-33
All season Portland has been a bench short of being playoff team. Bench players are often more likely to play better at home and this has had a big impact on the Blazers (9-23 away and 20-10 at home). (EJ)

19. Dallas 29-33
Winners of three in a row, the bearded crew in Dallas are making their push for the postseason.  With 20 games remaining, they probably need to win 15 of them to have a real shot.(AL)

20. Toronto 25-39
While Rudy Gay‘s struggles have been well documented by me , he actually has only been playing worse since i wrote that.  38% from the field and 24% from downtown are terrible numbers.  Its time to get some extra burn for these young guys and for Toronto to start planning for next season. (AL)

21.  Washington 20-41
This team allows the 6th least points of any team in the league, a mere 95.1, but they just aren’t scoring enough. They have actually split their last ten games (5-5) in what is an encouraging sign for the future of this team.  Senior blogger Evan Javel has them as a playoff team next year (he had them this year too) so for many the future looks bright. (AL)

22.  Philadelphia 24-39
A nice win against Brooklyn on Monday was good to see, but the team in general is not playing well. Where the eff is Andrew Bynum already…(AL)

23. Minnesota 21-39
Injuries have derailed this team from the start. The Wolves were reportedly offering one or two first round picks for an established wing during the trade deadline. If they are able to keep losing they will have a shot at filling that need with Victor Oladipo (EJ)

24.  New Orleans 22-42
Anthony Davis is averaging 17 and 12 in his last 5 ball games. That is the only thing of note happening in the Big Easy these days basketball wise. (AL)

25. Detroit 23-43
The Pistons are in the midst of a six game losing streak, which might not be the worst thing for the overall health of the franchise. Detroit is desperately in need of wing scoring, maybe if they continue to lose they could get lucky and nab Ben McLemore. (EJ)

26. Orlando 18-46
For all the Aaron Afflalo haters that came out earliert this year, I think it’s time to shut-up.  The kid keeps playing well, scoring near 17 a game on 45% shooting.  Sure he’s out of his comfort zone at times since he is mostly a spot up shooter, but he along with these young fellas have a bright future. (AL)

27.  Cleveland 21-42
Kyrie Irving’s injury came at a curious time in the season. This ending stretch to the season is where teams jockey for position in either the Lottery or Playoffs.  I’m sure the Cleveland front office is strongly suggesting Kyrie wait as long as possible to return so they can grab another prospect to add to their young core in late June. (EJ)

28.  Sacramento 22-42 DeMarcus earned his 3rd ejection of the season this past week, matching his career high. So there’s that…(AL)

29. Phoenix 22-42
Not surprising Michael Beasley has the worst +- on the team, a horrendous -261 on the season.  Can they please bench this no defense playing malcontent!? (AL)

This is Beasley looking smart, so just imagine him when he is off his game, in other words: Every Game he has played for the Suns.


30. Charlotte 13-50
A ten game losing streak for the Bobcats, what else is new? (AL)

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