Our eighth installment of NBA Power Rankings brings us much-needed change in the basketball hierarchy. Portland and Toronto are on the upswing, San Antonio is back to playing below its grade, Dallas now boasts the league’s best starting five, and the Hawks are ready to take all comers.
1. Golden State Warriors – The Warriors had their ridiculous win streak snapped by the Grizz but they’re the only team other than the beat-all-odds Hawks to go 9-1 in the last ten bouts.
2. Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers can thank two should-be MVP candidates, in Lillard and Aldridge, for their stellar play and the league’s second-best active win streak. Their revenge over the Spurs is also worth highlighting.
3. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors just won’t let go of their Eastern Conference supremacy, are tied with Portland record wise, and own the best active win streak. Toronto is all raptor smiles right now.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Before falling to Chicago, the Grizzlies were undefeated out East but have since lost to a far-worse Cavs team and have now dropped four in their last 10.
5. Houston Rockets – That Houston couldn’t breach 100 points against the Pelicans and Hawks in back-to-back games is worrisome. But not a harbinger of doom.
6. Dallas Mavericks – Rondo, baby.
7. Atlanta Hawks – They steamroll Cleveland, outdo the Bulls, and punch Houston in the kisser. This team has gone 9-1 in last 10 games, stands at second out East and is tied for fifth overall, and America has yet to notice.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clips are the Hawks of the West. They keep on winning but everyone else’s names keep being brought up over their own.
9. Washington Wizards – Defeat at the hands of the Suns lowers their mark but not enough to drop them below the…
10. Chicago Bulls – This team has a lot of kinks to work out. One also happens to be Rose-shaped. But their handling of Memphis, sans key components, should send a shiver down the NBA’s spine.
11. San Antonio Spurs – Heartbreak (especially in overtime) has overtaken SA.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs are still in this.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – A win over the eighth-seed-hungry Thunder keeps the Pelicans just a unibrow above the fray.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Yes, they lost to AD & Co. but OKC has won eight of their last 10. Only five other teams can say they’ve done that or better in their last 10 contests.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks are somehow managing to remain competitive despite major setbacks to their roster size and pool. Good on them.
16. Phoenix Suns – Three-straight isn’t enough to nab you a playoff spot out West. Unless something changes soon, it seems the Suns will be fighting the Pelicans and the Thunder for that last place postseason ticket for the remainder of season.
17. Miami Heat – The Heat are running on fumes right now.
18. Boston Celtics – The Celtics were just looking competent when they lost their best player to the Mavs for very little. We’ll have to see how they fare without their rowdy All-Star.
19. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets are trying their best to keep their nose ahead of the surging Celtics.
20. Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets can’t catch a break as the Gallinari injury shows.
21. Sacramento Kings – The Kings looked like on an uptick until they lost Boogie for an extended period, and seemingly, their identity in the process.
22. Orlando Magic – Orlando keeps dropping games they shouldn’t.
23. Utah Jazz – Other than a nice win against the Heat, Utah has nothing much to groove along with.
24. Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets look less bad than a week ago. Still, they’re behind Orlando and Indiana in the standings, both of which have been underwhelming recently.
25. Los Angeles Lakers – The circus has come to town is Tinseltown.
26. Indiana Pacers – Indy has seen better times.
27. Philadelphia 76ers – This is like Mount Everest for the 76ers at this point. They’re stringing together some wins, finally. OK, more like three. But still.
28. Detroit Pistons – Brandon Jennings would rather shoot mid-range jumpers than open layups. Let that sink in.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves – Five L’s in a row for the sad-faced Wolves.
30. New York Knicks –New York state of mindless everything. This Knicks team is shooting for the bottom, and sadly, not of the net.