NBA Power Rankings: Miami Heat hitting their stride, while Lakers continue to struggle with injuries

Previous Power Rankings:  PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10Week 11Week 12, Week 13, Week 14

  1. Brooklyn Nets

Previous Ranking: 1 (Same)

Record: 34-15

LaMarcus Aldridge had a solid debut for the Nets in their win against the Hornets this week. Aldridge put up 11 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists in 30 minutes of play time. Meanwhile, James Harden continues to make his MVP case, with a 38 point triple double in a win over the Timberwolves being his highlight performance of the week.

  1. Utah Jazz

Previous Ranking: 2 (Same)

Record: 38-11

The Jazz beat the Orlando Magic 137-98 last night and extended their winning streak to nine games. They would set the NBA record for most threes in a half with 18 and would also extend their franchise best home winning streak to 22 games. The only question left for the Jazz to prove is whether they can continue this play into the playoffs.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers

Previous Ranking: 3 (Same)

Record: 34-15

Joel Embiid finally returned to the Sixers lineup after missing the last ten games. Embiid would put up 24 points and 8 rebounds in a win over the Timberwolves. However, it would be his teammate Tobias Harris who led the way with 32 points on 13-17 shooting. Harris played extremely well with Embiid out, and if he can continue that level of play they will be dangerous in the playoffs.

  1. Phoenix Suns

Previous Ranking: 4 (Same)

Record: 34-14

Despite being the two seed in the West, the Suns are being heavily slept on by most NBA fans at the moment. They are in the middle of a five game winning streak, and have been playing extremely well since the All Star break. They have one of the best backcourts in the league in Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who should be looking to make some noise in the playoffs.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

Previous Ranking: 5 (Same)

Record: 32-17

Giannis Antetokounmpo had another monster performance this week, this time coming against the Trail Blazers. Giannis had an insane 47 points, 12 rebound, and 3 block performance in the 127-108 win. He shot 18-21 from the field, but 18-18 from the two point range which makes this game even more impressive for the two-time MVP.

  1. Denver Nuggets

Previous Ranking: 6 (Same)

Record: 30-18

With the Nuggets win over the Clippers this Thursday, Denver inches closer and closer to taking over the fourth seed from the Lakers. Currently they are one game behind, but with LA’s injuries it seems like a given for Denver to overtake the Lakers this upcoming week. The addition of Aaron Gordon has also paid off as he chipped in 14 points and some solid defense to help Denver pull out the win against the Clippers.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Previous Ranking: 7 (Same)

Record: 32-18

A six game winning streak for the Clippers would be snapped with an ugly loss to the Magic on the second night of a back-to-back. They would follow that up with another disappointing loss to the Nuggets who seem to have their number. Despite this, they still hold onto the three seed for the time being. However, these inconsistencies are why many people don’t trust the Clippers to make a deep run in the playoffs. 

  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Previous Ranking: 9 (Up 1)

Record: 30-19

After a blowout loss to the Bucks, the Blazers responded on the second night of the back to back with a rout over the Thunder. It was an overall team performance, with CJ McCollum scoring 20 points to lead to a 48 point win over the Thunder. Enes Kanter also had a solid game as he scored 12 points and hauled in 17 boards coming off the bench.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

Previous Ranking: 8 (Down 1)

Record: 31-18

Kyle Kuzma would step up in the absence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and have his best game of the season against the Kings. Kuzma put up a season high 30 points, to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He did it on 11-18 shooting to help the Lakers get a 115-94 win over the Kings and pick up their third win without LeBron. 

  1. Dallas Mavericks

Previous Ranking: 10 (Same)

Record: 27-21

Luka Doncic has continued his magnificent play this week with another great performance against the Celtics. Luka had 36 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, and it seemed like every shot he put up was going to fall that night as he shot 11-15 from the field and 7-11 from three. This performance would help the Mavs beat the Celtics 113-108.

  1. Atlanta Hawks

Previous Ranking: 12 (Up 1)

Record: 25-24

The Hawks were able to bounce back and win the first two games of the month after losing the two prior. Bogdan Bogdanovic has been a major reason for these wins, scoring over 25 points in both games. Bogdanovic has scored 20 plus in his last three games, and adds a whole new element to the team if he can consistently score like this.

  1. Miami Heat

Previous Ranking: 18 (Up 6)

Record: 26-24

After losing six games in a row, Miami has turned things around and won their last four games. Recently acquired Victor Oladipo made his debut in a win over the Warriors, but it was somewhat disappointing, as he only scored 6 points on 25% shooting from the field. Once Oladipo gets adjusted to the system and his new teammates, he should be able to turn things around.

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Previous Ranking: 11 (Down 2)

Record: 24-23

It was a rather disappointing week for the Spurs as they lost three out of their four games, with two of those losses coming in overtime. In all three losses, San Antonio was unable to defend, as they gave up 130+ points in all of those games. The Spurs pride themselves on playing sound, fundamental basketball, and will need to focus on the defensive side of the ball to stop this skid. 

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Previous Ranking: 13 (Down 1)

Record: 25-23

The injury bug continues to hit the Hornets as they will be losing Gordon Hayward for the next four weeks due to a foot injury. Hayward joins LaMelo Ball as two of the key pieces injured on this young Hornets squad trying to make a playoff push. That task just became a lot more difficult, but thanks to a weak Eastern Conference, they should have a legitimate shot at pulling it off.

  1. New York Knicks

Previous Ranking: 14 (Down 1)

Record: 25-25

Julius Randle had one of the best first quarters of the season this Saturday against the Pistons, as he scored 20 points and outscored the Pistons 20 to 15 all by himself. Randle would only score 9 more points for the rest of the game, but that was all that was needed as the Knicks beat the Pistons 125-81 to get back to a .500 record.

  1. Boston Celtics

Previous Ranking: 15 (Down 1)

Record: 24-25

After struggling in his first two games with the Celtics, Evan Fournier had a major bounce back game against the Rockets. Fournier dropped 23 points coming off the bench, and drilled a career high seven three pointers. Fournier’s 23 were much needed as it provided some relief for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who played 27 minutes and 32 minutes respectively in the 118-102 win.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Previous Ranking: 16 (Down 1)

Record: 23-23

The Grizzlies picked up two wins against the two worst teams in the West. Jonas Valanciunas has become one of the more underrated players in the league, as he had 30 points, 15 rebound game against the Rockets and a 19 point 11 rebound performance against the Timberwolves. He has been one of the most consistent players on the team and a great second fiddle to Ja Morant. 

  1. Golden State Warriors 

Previous Ranking: 17 (Down 1)

Record: 23-26

Injuries have begun to pile up in Golden State, leading to them getting destroyed by Toronto. With Steph Curry and Draymond Green out, the Warriors couldn’t get anything going on either side of the court, and got whooped as a result. The Warriors success seems to rely solely on whether Curry and Green can stay on the court at this time, as their playoff hopes look to be fading. 

  1. Indiana Pacers

Previous Ranking: 19 (Same)

Record: 22-26

The Pacers struggles continued this week, as they only were able to pick up an overtime victory against the Spurs this week. Caris LeVert looked solid in that win, dropping 26 points as well as dishing out 9 assists. Consistency has been a huge issue for Indiana on the season, as they have the talent to win, but they just can’t string the wins together. There still is time for them to surge back into the playoff picture, but they need to get it going fast.

  1. Sacramento Kings

Previous Ranking: (Up 1)

Record: 22-28

The Kings beat the Spurs to open the week, and then proceeded to lose each of their next three games. While their losses against San Antonio and the Lakers weren’t very close, they nearly pulled out a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, falling just short at 129-128. De’Aaron Fox labored through a rough week, but had a solid game against the Bucks which he can hopefully carry over to this upcoming week.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Previous Ranking: (Up 1)

Record: 21-27

The Pelicans back-and-forth season continued, as they followed up an impressive win over the Celtics with losses to the Magic and Hawks. The Pelicans have seemed capable of making a run into the playoff picture, only to drop the next couple of games and fall right back out of it. They need to find some consistency on the defensive end if they want to make a late season surge.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Previous Ranking: (Up 1)

Record: 20-29

The Thunder have been getting killed by the injury bug lately, and it seems to be catching up to them. The only win they picked up this week was over Toronto, as they were destroyed in each of their three losses. Their three losses were by a combined 106 points, with their 48 point loss against the Trailblazers last night being the worst of them. OKC has embraced the rebuild all season, and after exceeding expectations for most of the season, they seem set to continue to pick up some huge losses.

  1. Toronto Raptors

Previous Ranking: (Up 1)

Record: 19-30

While the Raptors went 1-3 on the week and continued their downward trend, they ended the week with a demolition of the Golden State Warriors. They won the game by a 53 point margin, with Pascal Siakam leading the way. The Raptors star forward has been inconsistent on the season, but maybe he can carry some of the momentum from his 36 point game against GSW into the upcoming week.

  1. Chicago Bulls

Previous Ranking: 20 (Down 4)

Record: 19-28

After making a big splash for Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, the Bulls now find themselves mired in a six game losing streak. While Vucevic has looked solid with his new team, his supporting cast hasn’t. Zach LaVine hasn’t looked as explosive since the All Star break, and the team has struggled as a result. The Bulls are still hanging around in the playoff picture somehow, and have the talent to make a surge, but need to get their players on the same page in order to do so.

  1. Washington Wizards

Previous Ranking: 26 (Up 1)

Record: 17-31

The Wizards were forced to navigate the week without Bradley Beal, and only managed to win one game against the Pacers as a result. Russell Westbrook has looked reinvigorated since the All-Star break, as he posted a 35p/21a/14r triple double in their win against the Pistons, but has had to carry a heavy load with Beal out. Washington will look to get Beal back this week, and potentially pick up a couple of wins against a relatively easy slate of opponents.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Previous Ranking: 25 (Down 1)

Record: 17-32

The Cavs got mopped this week, losing each of their games by at least 14 points. Their offense continues to be mind-bogglingly poor, as they have no consistent production behind Colin Sexton and Darius Garland. The Cavs need to invest in getting their guard duo some help over the offseason, or they will continue to field one of the worst units in the league.

  1. Detroit Pistons 

Previous Ranking: 27 (Same)

Record: 14-35

The Pistons had a bipolar week of sorts, as they picked up blowout wins over the Raptors and Wizards, while getting blown out by the Trailblazers and Knicks in the process. The lopsided nature of all their contests allowed the bench to get some extra minutes, with Hamidou Diallo dropping double digit points in the three games he played.

  1. Orlando Magic

Previous Ranking: 28 (Same)

Record: 17-32

The Magic somehow managed to go 2-2 on the week, collecting big wins over the Clippers and Pelicans. Orlando went on a huge fourth quarter run to upset the Clippers, and then pulled out an overtime victory over New Orleans. They crashed back down to the earth after getting blown out by the Jazz last night, but it’s a good sign for the Magic to see some success in the wake of trading their star players away.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Previous Ranking: 29 (Same)

Record: 12-38

Even with some monster performances from Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves only managed to pull out one win this week against the Knicks. Towns posted a double-double in all four games, and scored 30+ in each of their three losses oddly enough. Towns’ best game came last night against the 76ers, where he dropped 39 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and he will look to try to keep Minnesota relevant throughout the rest of the season.

  1. Houston Rockets

Previous Ranking: 30 (Same)

Record: 13-35

Even with Christian Wood now firmly back in the fold, the Rockets just can’t find a way to win. They lost all three of their games this week, all by double digit margins, and were rarely ever competitive in their games. Yet the more the Rockets lose, the better their odds are at a high draft pick, so maybe at this point it’s for the better that they continue their losing ways.

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7 thoughts on “NBA Power Rankings: Miami Heat hitting their stride, while Lakers continue to struggle with injuries

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