NBA Power Rankings: Utah Jazz ride huge win streak to take the top spot

Previous Power Rankings:  PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6, Week 7

  1. Utah Jazz

Record: 22-5

Previous Ranking: 3 (Up 2)

The Jazz have officially taken the number one spot in the power rankings as they remain the hottest team in basketball at the moment. The Jazz are an insane 17-1 in their last 18 games, with their only loss in that stretch coming against the Denver Nuggets. This week was definitely their most impressive week, as they beat the Pacers, Celtics, Bucks, and Heat to keep their momentum going. They will face off against Philly and the Clippers twice next week, giving them a chance to show that they are truly the real deal.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

Record: 21-6

Previous Ranking: 1 (Down 1)

The Lakers would have back to back overtime games against the Thunder this week, with both resulting in wins. The Lakeshow has often played down to their competition as they have had several close games against lesser opponents. Fortunately, LeBron James has been able to answer the call whenever needed by carrying L.A. to some wins and is looking to be in the MVP conversation yet again.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Record: 19-8

Previous Ranking: 2 (Down 1)

The Clippers were able to bounce back against some lackluster opponents to go 2-1 this week. Paul George has missed the last week of play with a lingering toe injury, but he should be returning next week. His return will be a welcome sight for the Clippers, as they will have two chances to cool off the red hot Utah Jazz.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers

Record: 18-9

Previous Ranking: 4 (Same)

Philadelphia has lost two in a row to close out a rather disappointing week. They once again lost to an undermanned Portland team, and then dropped another game to an up and coming Suns team. Fortunately they were able to put a little distance between them and the rest of the Eastern Conference in the standings, so they have been able to hold on to the one seed despite a down week.

  1. Brooklyn Nets

Record: 16-12

Previous Ranking: 5 (Same)

If we’ve learned anything from this week about the Nets, it is that there will always be some drama swirling around the team. After a disappointing loss to the Pistons it seemed that Brooklyn might implode with coach Steve Nash saying that they will only be as good as they want to be. Brooklyn would bounce back and win their next game in convincing fashion, but these highs and lows will continue to follow the team for most of the season. 

  1. Phoenix Suns

Record: 16-9

Previous Ranking: 9 (Up 3)

Phoenix has rattled out a nice five game win streak after going through a rough patch. Devin Booker who just recently returned from injury has really carried the load, especially against the 76ers on Saturday. Booker had 36 points and 5 boards, scoring 24 of his 36 in the second half to help push the Suns over the top seeded team in the East.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

Record: 16-10

Previous Ranking: 6 (Down 1)

With the 76ers dropping a couple games this week, the Bucks had a chance to make a run at the one seed in the East. Unfortunately they dropped two games as well, losing to the Suns and the Jazz. Giannis Antetokounmpo has quietly returned to his MVP form, averaging 28.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on the season, however the MVP narrative for him to three peat doesn’t seem to be there right now.

  1. Denver Nuggets

Record: 14-11

Previous Ranking: 8 (Same)

After a double digit loss to the Bucks, the Nuggets were able to pick up back to back wins to finish up the week. Denver has been up and down all year and seem to be trending upward now. If they can keep up this momentum heading into the next few weeks, they could really cement themselves as contenders and help Nikola Jokic make a serious case for MVP.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Record: 15-10

Previous Ranking: 12 (Up 3)

The undermanned Portland Trail Blazers were able to beat Philadelphia again this week thanks in large part to Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony. Dame had a good night, scoring 30 points and dishing out 7 assists. Carmelo Anthony had 24 coming off the bench and helped close the game out with 16 of those points coming in the fourth. It was nice to see a vintage Melo performance from the aging veteran after such a long and hard road for him to return to the NBA.

  1. Golden State Warriors

Record: 14-13

Previous Ranking: 10 (Same)

The Warriors have been one of the most inconsistent teams this season. Outside of Steph Curry, you never really know what offensive production you are going to get out of guys like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins. When both of those guys are on, this team becomes elite offensively and are very hard to stop. If they don’t show up though, teams can hone in on Curry and force him to rely on those guys who just can’t score sometimes.

  1. Boston Celtics

Record: 13-12

Previous Ranking: 7 (Down 4)

The return of Kemba Walker has been a major disappointment for the Celtics this season. Walker is averaging 15.5 points and 4.2 assists per game on very poor efficiency. Kemba is shooting below 35% from both the field and the three point line and has been a liability on both sides of the ball at times. He needs to get himself to atleast league average efficiency or else the Celtics might be in trouble. 

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Record: 15-11

Previous Ranking: 13 (Up 1)

The Spurs have continued to quietly impress this year, as they split the two game series with the Warriors before beating the Hawks to finish up the week. Gregg Popovich has done a great job at getting this team back into playoff contention after many expected they would regress, and potentially even find themselves at the top of the draft lottery.

  1. Indiana Pacers

Record: 14-13

Previous Ranking: 11 (Down 2)

After going through a grueling part in their schedule, Indiana played some bad teams and were able to get back on track this week. They beat both the Pistons and Hawks to get back to an above .500 record and remain a top 5 seed in the East. They have some light competition next week as well, so Indiana could make up some serious ground in the standings.

  1. Toronto Raptors

Record: 12-14

Previous Ranking: 15 (Up 1)

With forward OG Anunoby out, Norman Powell has stepped up big time after being inserted into the starting lineup. Powell had a 28 point game against the Wizards to go along with his 7 rebounds, helping the Raptors get a 137-115 win over Washington. Powell has made a serious case to remain the starter when Anunoby is healthy and coach Nick Nurse will have a tough decision to make when the time comes.

  1. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 13-14

Previous Ranking: 19 (Up 4)

Dallas is currently on a 4 game winning streak, which was much needed after the team was getting blown out almost every other night. Kristaps Porzingis had his best game of the season against the Pelicans, scoring 36 points on 13-21 shooting and 8-13 from three in the 143-130 victory. Luka Doncic also posted a career high in points in that game as well, scoring 46 points in the win.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 10-11

Previous Ranking: 16 (Same)

After getting Ja Morant back in the middle of a winning streak, the Grizzlies looked poised to make a serious run at the playoffs. Although it is still possible, Memphis is 2-5 in the month of February and has fallen out of the top 8 teams in the West. It is too early to count the Grizzlies out, but this poor stretch to start February is concerning.

  1. Miami Heat

Record: 11-15

Previous Ranking: 21 (Down 1)

Jimmy Butler once again proved just how important he is to the Heat this week with some solid performances. His most impressive was a 27 point triple double against the Rockets to help Miami get a 101-94 win in Houston. Miami is slowly starting to turn things around, and are just outside the eight seed at the moment.

  1. New York Knicks

Record: 13-15

Previous Ranking: 17 (Down 1)

Rookie guard Immanuel Quickley showed out once again against the Rockets Saturday night. IQ scored 22 points in 21 minutes off the bench on 7-9 shooting to help the Knicks beat the Rockets 121-99. Quickley is looking more and more like the steal of the draft as he has a big game almost every other night. 

  1. Houston Rockets

Record: 11-15

Previous Ranking: 14 (Down 5)

After a promising start to the post Harden era in Houston, the team has started to collapse recently. The team is currently on a 5 game losing streak and seems to be out of playoff contention at the moment after just being in there about a week ago. Missing Christian Wood has been more significant than it seemed it would be at first, as the team has struggled without him.

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Record: 13-14

Previous Ranking: 24 (Up 4)

Charlotte has quietly snuck into the playoff race over the past few weeks. Terry Rozier had one of his better performances of the season, scoring 41 points and grabbing 7 boards in a 120-114 win over the Timberwolves. Scary Terry would ice the game down the stretch, hitting back to back threes that pretty much sealed the game for the Hornets. With all the noise around LaMelo Ball in Charlotte, players like Rozier and Gordon Hayward have had their solid play fly under the radar, despite being a major reason for Charlotte’s success so far.

  1. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 11-15

Previous Ranking: 18 (Down 3)

The Hawks have had an abysmal start to this month as they have won only one of their seven games. They are currently on a three game losing streak and the once promising young team is starting to look like a lottery team once again. Power forward John Collins has also been in a lot of trade rumors recently, so he could be on the move soon.

  1. Sacramento Kings

Record: 12-13

Previous Ranking: 23 (Up 1)

De’Aaron Fox led the Kings to a very impressive win over the Clippers to start the week. Fox scored 36 points to go along with his seven assists as the Kings won 113-110. Sactown was unable to carry that momentum into the rest of the week, as they lost their remaining two games to the 76ers and the Magic by a combined 19 points.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Record: 11-14

Previous Ranking: 22 (Down 1)

Another great performance from Zion Williamson went to waste as the Pelicans would lose to the Mavericks 143-130. Zion had a career high 36 points, and started the game off shooting 10-10 from the field. He would finish shooting 14-15 on the night, but his efforts coupled with Brandon Ingram and his 30 point night were unable to push the Pelicans over the top.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Record: 10-15

Previous Ranking: 25 (Up 1)

The Thunder had one of the toughest weeks of the season so far. They played the Lakers in back to back games and went to overtime in both of those games, only to fall short in both of them. Then against the Nuggets, Hamidou Diallo would mistakenly goaltend a half court heave by Jamal Murray at the end of the third quarter. The Thunder would go on to lose that game by two points, 97-95.

  1. Chicago Bulls

Record: 10-15

Previous Ranking: 26 (Up 1)

Against the Pelicans, Bulls guard duo of Zach LaVine and Coby White made history. The two were the first set of teammates to both knockdown eight threes in the same game in NBA history. LaVine would finish the night with a season high 46 points while Coby White added on 30 of his own. This would obviously help the Bulls grab the dub, as they would go on to win 129-116.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Record: 10-17

Previous Ranking: 20 (Down 6)

After a promising start, many wondered if the Cavs were going to make the jump this year and return to the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James had left. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that will be the case, as Cleveland is currently on a six game losing streak and hasn’t really been competitive at all in those losses. Luckily the East is very top heavy, so they might be able to make a run at the playoffs despite a losing record.

  1. Orlando Magic

Record: 10-17

Previous Ranking: 27 (Same)

The Orlando Magic have been really thinned out at the point guard position as of late. Markelle Fultz got injured early on in the season, and rookie Cole Anthony filled in his role. Anthony has missed some games recently due to a right shoulder injury, so Orlando called on Frank Jackson to be their starting point guard against the Warriors. Jackson would leave the game after only 4 minutes played so the Magic were without a point guard for the rest of the game and had to rely on Dwayne Bacon to be the primary ball handler for the rest of the game. The Magic just can’t catch a break from the injury bug this year.

  1. Detroit Pistons

Record: 7-19

Previous Ranking: 30 (Up 2)

The Pistons have made it their job this year to be a difficult team to beat when they go up against top tier teams. Just this week, they were able to beat the Celtics and Nets despite being one of the worst teams in the league. They have made a habit out of beating good teams, as this is the second time they have beaten the Celtics, and they have beaten other solid teams like the Suns and 76ers. 

  1. Washington Wizards

Record: 6-17

Previous Ranking: 29 (Same)

The Wizards had another disappointing week as they went 1-3 over their four games. Their only bright spot was a 105-101 win over the Chicago Bulls. Bradley Beal had another great night, scoring 35 points with 7 assists and 5 rebounds, and is pretty much a lock for an All Star appearance this year. 

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Record: 6-20

Previous Ranking: 28 (Down 2)

Minnesota continues to remain competitive in their games this week, but they have just been unable to win any. They lost all three games this week by less than 7 points and remain at the bottom of the standings in the West. On the bright side, Karl-Anthony Towns made his first appearance in about a month after returning from having Covid-19 and clearing the health and safety protocols.

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