- Brooklyn Nets
Previous Ranking: 1 (Same)
The Nets had a relatively light schedule this week, as they picked up wins against the Pacers and the Pistons. Brooklyn would get handed an uncharacteristic loss to the Magic in which James Harden had a rare bad game. The team has looked dominant despite them still waiting for Kevin Durant to make his return.
- Utah Jazz
Previous Ranking: 2 (Same)
Coming back from the All Star break, Utah has looked more vulnerable. They’ve gone 3-2 in their first 5 games back and have seemed to cool off a little from their huge winning streak earlier this year. Despite this, the Jazz still have a 2.5 game lead for the one seed and have the inside lane in clinching it for the playoffs.
- Phoenix Suns
Previous Ranking: 3 (Same)
The Suns suffered a quick hiccup against the Timberwolves by allowing two 40 point scorers, but quickly overcame it by beating them the very next day. Devin Booker nearly carried the Suns to victory on Thursday by dropping 35 points, but didn’t have to do nearly as much on Friday as the Suns cruised to an easy 113-101 victory. The backcourt duo of Booker and Chris Paul has continued to lead the Suns on a charge for the top seed in the Western Conference.
- Philadelphia 76ers
Previous Ranking: 4 (Same)
Despite Joel Embiid going down with an injury, the 76ers haven’t missed a beat so far. A major reason for that has to be Tobias Harris, who has stepped up and taken on a major part of the scoring load since Embiid’s absence. Harris against the Kings Saturday night had a 29 point, 11 rebound, 8 assist game to get Philly the win and to add to his impressive run.
- Milwaukee Bucks
Previous Ranking: 7 (Up 2)
The Bucks seem to be hitting their stride right now powered behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and his late surge for the MVP award. The front office decided to bring in some reinforcements for the playoffs as they made a trade to acquire P.J. Tucker this week. Tucker will come in and provide some solid defense and shooting which no team can ever get enough of.
- Los Angeles Lakers
Previous Ranking: 5 (Down 1)
The injury bug continues to hurt the Lakers as LeBron James left the Hawks game this Saturday with a high ankle sprain. LeBron will be out indefinitely and the Lakers will need to rely on guys like Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Schroder even more now that both LeBron and Anthony Davis are out with injuries.
- Denver Nuggets
Previous Ranking: 8 (Up 1)
The Nuggets won an overtime thriller against the Bulls, thanks to a great performance by their star duo in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Jokic had 34 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists, while Murray had 34 points as well, along with 5 assists and a buzzer beater to send the game into OT.
- Portland Trail Blazers
Previous Ranking: 9 (Up 1)
CJ McCollum made his return this week against the Pelicans after missing the last month and a half with a foot fracture. His return was somewhat disappointing as he only scored 10 points on 3-11 shooting. Fortunately Damian Lillard stepped up big time and had a 50 point game to help the Blazers pull out the dub.
- Los Angeles Clippers
Previous Ranking: 6 (Down 3)
The Clippers have been struggling as of late and might become buyers at the deadline to fix some of their holes. They are clearly in need of a point guard who can take some of the playmaking load off of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Lonzo Ball seems to be a potential target, but even someone like George Hill could be a cheaper option that appeals to the Clippers.
- San Antonio Spurs
Previous Ranking: 11 (Up 1)
Keldon Johnson has continued to show his improvement this season, as he had a career game against the Cavs in a win. Johnson scored 23 points and snagged a career high 21 rebounds in the 116-110 win. Johnson is the first player to put up a 20-20 game for the Spurs since Tim Duncan.
- Miami Heat
Previous Ranking: 10 (Down 1)
The surging Heat have cooled off a little this week as they went 2-2 in the four games played. Despite that, they currently stand fourth in the East with a record only two games above .500. They will get a rematch against the Pacers this Sunday with a chance to bounce back after getting blown out by them Friday night.
- Dallas Mavericks
Previous Ranking: 12 (Same)
The Mavericks were able to split their mini series with the Clippers this week thanks to an amazing performance by Luka Doncic. Doncic had 42 points and 9 assists on 16-28 shooting and 6-11 from three. That would be enough to give the Mavericks a 105-89 win, as they remain only a half game above the Warriors for the 8 seed.
- Golden State Warriors
Previous Ranking: 14 (Up 1)
When Steph Curry went down with a tailbone injury against the Rockets this week, many feared that the Warriors playoff hopes might be over. Thankfully, he is expected to return soon, but he would miss the next two games against the Grizzlies. Andrew Wiggins stepped up and scored 40 in a 116-103 win to help the Warriors split the series despite Curry’s absence.
- Atlanta Hawks
Previous Ranking: 18 (Up 4)
After firing their head coach Lloyd Pierce, the Hawks have gone on to win 8 straight games and find themselves in the fifth seed in the East. For a team that had struggled to remain consistent for most of the season, it seems like a coaching change was all that was needed. The young Hawks core looks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
- New York Knicks
Previous Ranking: 15 (Same)
The Knicks have continued to find ways to win games, and their win against Orlando this week is proof of that. Julius Randle had an 18 point, 17 assist, 10 rebound triple double, but it would end up being their defense that would seal the win. Reggie Bullock would steal Evan Fournier’s pass to secure the win as the Knicks stayed at a .500 record.
- Boston Celtics
Previous Ranking: 13 (Down 3)
Outside of a blowout win over the Rockets, this week has been a disaster for Boston. They lost their last three games, two of which were to teams with losing records in the Kings and Cavs. The return of Marcus Smart has not helped the C’s get back on track at all, as they have continued to play awful and give little effort on the floor.
- Memphis Grizzlies
Previous Ranking: 16 (Down 1)
In a gritty defensive game, Ja Morant would come in clutch as he would hit the game-winning layup to put the Grizzlies in the lead over the Miami Heat. Memphis would go on to win 89-85 over Miami, as they picked up a crucial win to help them hang around in the playoff hunt.
- Charlotte Hornets
Previous Ranking: 17 (Down 1)
The Hornets had a difficult week, as they played the Nuggets, Lakers, and Clippers on their west coast trip. They lost all three games by double figures as they dropped below a .500 record once again. Despite the record they are still in the playoff hunt thanks to how weak the East is near the bottom of the playoff seeds.
- Indiana Pacers
Previous Ranking: 20 (Up 1)
After dropping their first two games this week, Indiana would bounce back with a blowout win over the Miami Heat. It was an all around effort to get the win, as 7 different players scored in double figures to get the 137-110 win. The Pacers need to build off this momentum from the win and try to get themselves back in the playoff race.
- Chicago Bulls
Previous Ranking: 21 (Up 1)
The Bulls were able to pick up two easy wins over the struggling Raptors and OKC. Rookie Patrick Williams provided a much needed boost in the win over Toronto as he scored a career high 23 points to give the team the extra boost they needed. Against OKC, it was the All Star Zach LaVine who scored 40 to help the Bulls get the job done.
- Toronto Raptors
Previous Ranking: 19 (Down 2)
The Raptors have been spiraling out of control recently, and currently find themselves mired in a seven game losing streak. This losing streak has put their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy as they currently sit at the 11 seed in the East. If these woes continue, Toronto could look to be major sellers at the deadline to get some assets for their veteran players like Kyle Lowry.
- New Orleans Pelicans
Previous Ranking: 22 (Same)
The Pelicans looked like they could be set to go on a little win streak after blowing out the Clippers to open the week, but then followed that up with two consecutive losses to the Trailblazers. With the trade deadline approaching, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pelicans offload some of their veteran pieces to contenders in return for some future assets.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous Ranking: 23 (Same)
The Thunder faced a relatively easy slate of teams this week, but were unable to take full advantage of it. After opening the week with a solid win over the Grizzlies, they proceeded to get blown out by the Bulls and Hawks. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having a solid season, but when he struggles, the Thunder don’t really have much of a chance at winning. Getting him some help this offseason should be a priority for the Thunder.
- Sacramento Kings
Previous Ranking: 25 (Up 1)
The Kings picked up a couple of close victories over the Wizards and Celtics this week to counter their tough losses to the Hornets and 76ers. De’Aaron Fox has continued to lead the way for the Kings, but has also gotten some more contributions from his teammates lately. Richaun Holmes had a huge game against the Celtics, while five other Kings players reached double digits with Fox.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous Ranking: 26 (Up 1)
The Cavaliers were playing some of their worst basketball at the beginning of this week before taking down the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Colin Sexton and Darius Garland both took advantage of the Celtics weak defending to drop 25+ points each. While the Cavs couldn’t get a similar result against the Spurs, they’ll have a couple chances to get back in the win column this week, as they play five games over the next seven days.
- Washington Wizards
Previous Ranking: 24 (Down 2)
The Wizards have been scoring a lot, but they just can’t defend well enough to pick up many wins. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook finally seem to have figured each other out, leading to some huge performances from the two. Both had their best games of the week in their victory against the Jazz, where Beal dropped 43 points and Westbrook put up a 35 point triple double. If the Wizards could figure out how to defend opposing teams, they could make a late surge for a playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference.
- Orlando Magic
Previous Ranking: 27 (Same)
The Magic seemed bound for a winless week heading into their contest with Brooklyn on Friday, but somehow managed to come away with a win. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier both dropped 30+ points to help hand the seemingly invincible Nets a loss. Nikola Vucevic has continued to impress, as he posted a double-double in each of the Magic’s three contests this past week.
- Detroit Pistons
Previous Ranking: 28 (Same)
The Pistons actually had a winning week, going 2-1 over their past 3 games. Obviously it was helped by beating up on the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets, two of the coldest teams in the league, but wins are wins. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about these victories is that Jerami Grant isn’t having to carry the scoring burden all by himself. Saddiq Bey dropped 20+ points in both their victories, and Grant wasn’t the highest scorer in any of the three games this week.
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous Ranking: 30 (Up 1)
Minnesota had one of their best week’s of the season, and were able to move out of the bottom spot of the power rankings as a result. They started off the week with a 114-112 win over the Trailblazers, led by Anthony Edwards’ 34 point game. Edwards would one-up that performance by dropping 42 points in their win over Phoenix on Thursday, while also getting 41 points from Karl-Anthony Towns. Edwards development for the Timberwolves has been a bright spot as of late, and he could look to make the Rookie of the Year race interesting if he keeps this up.
- Houston Rockets
Previous Ranking: 29 (Down 1)
Houston’s losing streak has gone up to a staggering 19 games as they inch closer to the bottom of the standings. On the bright side, Christian Wood has returned and he should help them get their first win in over a month. The Rockets have also started selling some of their pieces as they traded PJ Tucker to the Bucks earlier this week.
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