Week 21 Power Rankings

The Heat keep winning, and the rest of the league is wondering who can stop them. Here are your week 21 power rankings:
 (Oh my word are we good at basketball!)
1. Miami Heat (52-14)
-24 and counting. After the 17 point comeback and the 27 point comeback in Cleveland, you wonder how anyone can beat this time once, let alone four times in the playoffs. (BF)
2. San Antonio Spurs (51-16)
-Still getting it done as the season hits its final stretch.  The Spurs are clearly the 2nd best team in the NBA behind Miami, but they face 7 straight opponents with a record above .500%.  Big stretch ahead for Pop, TD and crew. (AL)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (50-17)
-Two top 5 players, a defensive player of the year candidate and OKC miraculously isn’t dominating every team not named Miami. Hopefully they are able to focus on getting better shots down the stretch, because if they continue to settle for jumpers in the playoffs, their playoff run will be a short one. (EJ)
4. Denver Nuggets (46-22)
-Denver has won 13 straight without an all-star. Suddenly the possibility of a three seed in the playoffs is not out of reach. Although the Nuggets probably will come up short, look for the team to take an OKC type leap after their playoff run this year. (EJ)
5. Memphis Grizzlies (45-21)
-This team is capable of beating anyone.  Its a pleasure to watch Gasol and Randolph dominate the interior every single game. (AL)

6. Los Angeles Clippers (46-21)
-The Clippers have quietly fallen to fourth in the West, which isn’t a good thing. A team that struggled on the road(just 20-14) needs home court for the first two rounds to have any chance in the playoffs. (BF)
7. Indiana Pacers (42-26)
-Indiana is the second best team in the east simply because the rules prohibit the Heat from occupying more than one spot in the standings. Danny Granger has yet to fill his role as the savior of the franchise’s title hopes. (EJ)
8. Brooklyn Nets (39-28)
-I know Dwill and Brook Lopez continue to play well, but the rest of the cast is frustratingly inconsistent.  Coach C needs to get his rotation down heading into the postseason or it will be a disastrous first round exit for the Nets. (AL)

(This has been a familiar face in Brooklyn.)

9. Boston Celtics (36-30)
-A loss to Miami is somewhat expected, but they proved once again they can play with anyone.  I just can’t see this team bowing out before a series with Miami in whatever round that ends up being. (AL)
10. New York Knicks (39-26)
-Injuries have left this team in a horrible way.  Without Melo, Amare, or Chandler they put out laughable lineups.  Health will be the key for this team, but even still, I’ve been unimpressed with what i’ve seen over the last month.
 11. Los Angeles Lakers (36-33) 
-Listen, the Kobe injury hurts, we get it. But this team is staying afloat, could have Kobe by tomorrow, and Pao by early next week? With Steve Blake playing well and Jamison improving, all of the sudden the Lakers are the team NO ONE wants to face in round 1. (BF)
12. Chicago Bulls (36-30)
-The return of Derrick Rose, originally was viewed as the weapon that would turn the tide in the war that is the Bull’s season. Now it is looking more and more like reinforcements never will arrive. (EJ)

(I’ll give it to Rose, that’s a sweet jacket.)

13. Golden State Warriors  (39-30)
-The season’s early darlings have fallen back into somewhat of a mediocrity. Since a hot start in November and December, the Warriors are just 18-21 in the calendar year and are looking at a date with Memphis, LAC or OKC in the first round. (BF)
14. Houston Rockets (36-31)
-Still hanging onto the 7th seed, this team face some tough competition through the rest of March.  Visits from the Jazz, Cavs and Spurs are in store this week. (AL)
15. Atlanta Hawks (37-30)
Jeff Teagueshowed what he can last night as the primary ball handler when he torched the Bucks with a solid double double. But can he do that against point guards that actually know how to play defense? (BF)
16. Milwaukee Bucks (33- 32)
-Since the JJ Redick trade, Monta Ellis has finally lived up to the promise he showed early in his career. Suddenly the Bucks are watchable again, and the future looks bright, with overpaying JJ and Jennings right on the horizon. (EJ)
17. Dallas Mavericks (32-35)
-They are trying so hard, but I just can’t see them getting over the hump to the postseason. Thankfully Mark Cuban says Dirk has “at least 3” more good years, so Dallas fans, there’s that. (AL)
18. Portland Trailblazers(31-35)
-It’s been the same old song and dance all year, good starters, no bench. To give you a different narrative how about we discuss the most recent Champs Sports national commercial, featuring All Pro Von Miller, future rookie of the year Damian Lillard and IMAN SHUMPERT! With the season Shumpert is having he would be lucky if the Pick and Pop Diaries hired him as a spokesman, his agent is making his fee and then some. (EJ)

(Remember when this was the Nets pick? Oh wait, they wanted Gerald Wallace.)
19. Utah Jazz (34-33)
– Hey Utah, everyone is tired of hearing an endless string of Lakers news it would be cool if you could actually start winning some games. Good thing their most difficult game is behind them after losing to a Knicks team at home that is missing its three best players. My only hope for this team at this point involves Al Jefferson playing so poorly he’s forced to take the MLE in Boston. (EJ)
20. Toronto Raptors (26-41)
-A rough stretch for the team, winning only 3 of their last 10, but at least Rudy Gayhas finally put together back-to-back good games of shooting over 50%.  (AL)
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-42)
-Good thing, Minnesota’s best players are coming back in time for the playoffs. What’s that? They aren’t going to make the playoffs. Oh well in that case the Wolves should find a way to sit everyone, I hear the Caucasian flue is going around. (EJ)
22. Philadelphia 76ers (26-40)
-After all my ranting, Bynum is now officially done for the season.  Should the 76ers max him out in the offseason? (AL)

(This is pretty much the most Bynum touched a basketball in Phili.)
23. Washington Wizards (23-43)
-The Wizards make the All-League Pass team. Despite not being that good, they are so much fun to watch. This team could be a 7 or 8 seed next year. (BF)
24. Detroit Pistons(23-46)
-The Pistons clearly don’t not what they are doing. Bringing back Andre Drummond during tank season, terrible take a lap. Hopefully Drummond continues to progress in these last few games making his return worthwhile to the franchise. (EJ)
25. New Orleans Hornets (22-46)
-Last place record wise in the west, but this team has talent.  When watching them at times you see a playoff-esque team, but most of the time you just see a group not organized enough to win against quality NBA teams. (AL)
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26. Phoenix Suns (18-50)
-Umm….the Morris twins are playing well together? So that’s cool. If there was ever a team that needed their draft pick to land, it’s the Suns. (BF)
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45)
-The skeptic in me thinks it is curious that both Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving got injured during the tanking portion of the season. Obviously they are both hurt but it is convenient none the less. Since Kyrie graduated high school he has struggled to stay healthy for an entire year. In this case his injury history will help Cleveland rebuild, but is it a bad omen for the future? (EJ)
28. Sacramento Kings (23-44)
-Quietly, Sacramento picked up wins over the Clippers and a blowout victory over the Bulls. But the efficient offense that is too dependent on the three is still there. (BF)
29. Orlando Magic (18-50)
-The Hack a Dwight was the writing on the wall for this team. Whenever a premier scorer comes into town, the Magic have little to no shoot with no premier defender. (BF)
30. Charlotte Bobcats (15-52)
-Why are we even doing this anymore to this team? Just let them go golf. (BF)


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