NBA Power Rankings: 3/4-3/10


There is less than one month until the end of the NBA season and there is a playoff feel to the biggest games each night. In what could be the biggest game of the regular season on Thursday night, the Brooklyn Nets will travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers. It will be Ben Simmons‘s first in-person return to Philadelphia since being traded. It will also be the first time James Harden gets to face his old team. This would be a fascinating playoff series that would be must-watch tv every night. Thursday night is the first night we get to see the team’s face-off, but it might not be the last.

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30. Oklahoma City Thunder (-4)

The Thunder have seemed to realize that it is getting closer to the draft lottery and they need to start losing games more often. Oklahoma City lost three of its four games by at least 28 points this week and this team has lost the competitiveness that they brought earlier. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has not been playing bad however and had another strong week.

29. Portland Trail Blazers (-5)

The Trail Blazers have fully embraced tanking the rest of the season and it shows on the court. This team has lost six games in a row and the losses are not close. Anfernee Simons only played in one game this week and it is evident that Portland is trying to get a look at some different guys and just get to the end of the season quickly. It was very competitive between Portland and Oklahoma City for the last spot in the rankings this week.

28. Orlando Magic (+1)

Because of the ineptitude of the Blazers and the Thunder, Orlando gets to move up a spot in the rankings. This team still has the worst winning percentage in the NBA, but on the bright side, they did win two games this week. The Magic beat the Raptors and the Pelicans while losing to the Suns and the Grizzlies. The defense was the driving force behind the winning efforts, while the offense still continues to struggle most nights.

27. Indiana Pacers (-2)

It was a tough week for the Pacers, losing all three of their games this week. The losses came at the hands of the Cavaliers, Wizards, and the Pistons, and the Cavalier’s loss was especially egregious. Jalen Smith fouled Darius Garland in a tied game with fourteen seconds to go and it was not a good look. Indiana keeps falling further down the standings in hopes of landing a higher pick.

26. Houston Rockets (+4)

Houston only managed to win two games this week, but they were two great wins at that. The Rockets won against Memphis on Sunday and then pulled an overtime stunner against the Lakers on Wednesday. Jalen Green was the leader in getting Houston the victory over the Lakers, but he had a great week overall, not just in the game on Wednesday.

25. Detroit Pistons (+3)

Detroit has been playing solid basketball over the last 8-10 games and some people are finally starting to notice. Cade Cunningham flirted with a triple-double in the Piston’s overtime win against the Hawks on Monday and he seems to be figuring things out. Detroit got a win over the Raptors as well and the Pistons are not easy to beat on a nightly basis. As a team that is hoping to land a top-three pick, this is exactly what you want.

24. Sacramento Kings (-1)

The Kings had a 1-3, with the lone win coming against the Spurs and the losses were to Dallas and the Knicks and the Nuggets. The Knicks loss was one of the worst losses of any NBA team this week due to the Kings blowing a 20 point lead and giving up 83 points in the second half. De’Aaron Fox had a strong week scoring the ball, but the Kings have not been winning games during his hot streak.

23. Los Angeles Lakers (-3)

The Lakers just keep losing games and finding ways to do so. Los Angeles went to overtime with the Rockets on Wednesday, but let Houston jump all over them at the start and the Lakers could never recover. The Lakers have lost six of their seven games since the All-Star Break and the team looks worse and worse each time they take the floor. LeBron James did put forth a great effort on Saturday night against the Warriors, scoring 56 points.

22. New York Knicks (+5)

After looking like they were in a freefall, the Knicks have won three of four. The one loss was to Phoenix on a buzzer-beating shot by Cameron Johnson and the Knicks have been blowing teams out in the past week. Julius Randle is looking like the All-NBA player that he was last season and Immanuel Quickley is scoring the basketball well. New York finds itself 3.5 games behind Atlanta and Charlotte for the last play-in tournament spot with one month to go.

21. San Antonio Spurs (+1)

It was not a great week for San Antonio, going 1-3, with their only win coming against the Lakers. The most notable thing that came from this week for the Spurs was that Gregg Popovich tied Don Nelson for the most all-time wins in the NBA. While Dejounte Murray continues to be great, it was Keldon Johnson who was having a great week and had a career-high 33 points against the Hornets.

20. New Orleans Pelicans (-2)

New Orleans had a rough week, going 1-3 and then Brandon Ingram was injured and will miss at least a week with a hamstring injury. The one win that they got was a great one by blowing out the Jazz, but then the losses to the Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Magic came. It will be important for someone to step up in Ingram’s absence, as he has been the team’s most consistent scorer.

19. Washington Wizards (+2)

The one win for the Wizards came against the struggling Pacers and the two losses were close ones to the Hawks and Clippers. The loss to the Hawks could end up being a costly one, as Washington is trying to catch Atlanta in the standings. It was good to see Kristaps Porzingis play well in his Wizards debut, averaging 22 points in two games.

18. Charlotte Hornets (+1)

The Hornets are in danger of falling out of the play-in tournament if they don’t start playing more consistently. Charlotte went 1-2 this week, losing to the Nets and the Celtics and beating the Spurs. Terry Rozier has been playing well, but it has not mattered because the defense continues to be terrible. Defensive improvement will be the biggest key over the last month of the season for the Hornets.

17. Atlanta Hawks (+0)

The Hawks got a win over the Wizards to start their week, but have suffered back-to-back losses to the Pistons and the Bucks. The defense for the Hawks has been bad over the last week and late-game execution was bad in the loss to the Pistons. One bright spot for Atlanta was that De’Andre Hunter had a good week and averaged 19 points on 44% shooting from three-point range. The clock is ticking on the Hawks to get more consistent and make some noise.

16. Brooklyn Nets (+0)

The Nets went 1-2 this week, but it was an eventful week. Kevin Durant made his return and Kyrie Irving had a 50 point game against the Hornets this week. The losses were to the Celtics and the Heat and Irving’s effort helped to get a win over Charlotte. Durant looked great in his return, but time is running short on Brooklyn. The team is only 1.5 games up on Atlanta and Charlotte for the eighth spot and they don’t want to risk further falling down in the standings.

15. Toronto Raptors (+0)

The Raptors were dangerously close to taking a big fall down the standings this week. Toronto had a 1-3 week and the losses were to teams like the Pistons and the Magic. Losing to both of those teams in the same week is never good and Toronto needs to find a way to get back on track quickly and start playing like they were in the weeks before this one. Fred VanVleet looked good in his return against the Spurs on Wednesday and that might be what the Raptors needed.

14. Golden State Warriors (-4)

It was a good thing that the Warriors beat the Clippers on Tuesday and saved themselves from falling further in these power rankings. The losing streak was at five games before the win on Tuesday and the losses came against the Mavericks, Lakers, and Nuggets. Those are good teams, but the Warriors have not looked like a contender for the past month. Draymond Green is reportedly coming back next week and Golden State is hoping that can get them going in the right direction.

13. Los Angeles Clippers (+0)

The Clippers did go 1-2 this week, but they will always take getting a win over the Lakers any day. The losses came to the Knicks and the Warriors, but the Clippers remain firmly in control as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris were the stars of the week and both scored the basketball well.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (+2)

The Cavaliers got a nice week, going 2-1 and having great performances by Garland. Garland had 19 assists in a loss to the 76ers and then dropped 41 points on the Pacers in a win. Evan Mobley has done a nice job in the absence of Jarrett Allen, but Allen is going to be missed. Cleveland has had to survive injuries all season long and will have to continue to do so to remain in the top six spots in the Eastern Conference.

11. Chicago Bulls (-3)

It has been a tough few weeks for the Bulls. They went 1-3, with the only win coming against the Pistons on Wednesday night. The week started off with three losses to the Hawks, Bucks, and 76ers and the Bulls have slipped to the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. This team is still missing Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball on the defensive end and that is why the Bulls have slipped down in recent weeks.

10. Dallas Mavericks (+2)

Dallas could have been even higher on this list if it were not for a 30 point beatdown they got at the hands of the New York Knicks. The Mavericks were able to get three wins against the Warriors, Jazz, and Kings and that made it a solid week. While Luka Doncic is playing phenomenal, the story for Dallas has been Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie has emerged as a secondary scorer and ball-handler next to Doncic and could be the key to Dallas making noise in the postseason.

9. Utah Jazz (-2)

While the Jazz did manage to go 2-2, it felt worse than that. Utah was beaten by 34 by the Pelicans and was also beaten by Dallas. The wins came against the Blazers and Thunder and that is not hard to do these days. It was the first week in some time that Donovan Mitchell struggled, but he was fortunate that Bojan Bogdanovic decided to get hot from three-point range.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (+3)

The Minnesota Timberwolves are tied for the longest winning streak in the NBA at six games and the team is playing really well right now. Anthony Edwards remains out, but it has not mattered because Karl-Anthony Towns is playing one of the best players in the NBA at the moment. Minnesota is now only 1.5 games out of the sixth spot in the Western Conference and is playing like they want the spot and avoid the play-in tournament.

7. Denver Nuggets (+2)

Denver has now won six of their last seven and four straight since the All-Star Break. The wins this week came against the Rockets, Pelicans, Warriors, and Kings. Nikola Jokic had an unbelievable week yet again, averaging 38 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists on great shooting numbers. Jokic is having a season that is probably better than his MVP campaign a year ago. Denver keeps winning and Jokic is the main reason.

6. Memphis Grizzlies (-3)

The Grizzlies dropping three spots is not a reflection on anything that they have done wrong necessarily, but the way the other five teams in the rankings are playing. Memphis went 2-2 with losses to the Rockets and the Celtics and wins over the Magic and the Pelicans. Ja Morant had another great week and Desmond Bane did as well. The second seed in the Western Conference is still Memphis, but not by much.

5. Miami Heat (-1)

Miami’s only loss this week was a Wednesday night clash vs Phoenix, in a game in which Jimmy Butler did not play. The wins came against the Nets, 76ers, and Rockets, although Harden did not play in the game for Philadelphia. Kyle Lowry returned to the team this week and he is joining them at the right time. Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are playing great and the Heat remains first in the Eastern Conference.

4. Philadelphia 76ers (-2)

Philadelphia had a 2-1 week, with the only loss coming to Miami and Harden did not suit up for that game. The 76ers have still been playing at a high level since acquiring Harden from Brooklyn and hope that can continue over the final month of the season. The guy that should get some attention should be Tyrese Maxey, who might be emerging as the 76er’s third-best player on the team. Maxey could be key to making a championship run and he looks like he is ready.

3. Boston Celtics (+3)

Boston has now won 17 of 20 games and Jayson Tatum has been on an unbelievable scoring streak. Tatum had 54 points in a win over Brooklyn and 44 points in a win over Charlotte. Jaylen Brown made his return from an ankle injury and looked good in doing so. This team is now only four games back of the top seed in the Eastern Conference and if they keep winning, that is an attainable goal.

2. Phoenix Suns (-1)

The Sun’s time at the top of the rankings has come to an end. Phoenix did score two nice wins this week, one coming via a buzzer-beater against the Knicks and another over a Miami Heat team without Butler. Devin Booker returned and looked good in the game against Miami and Cameron Payne has helped carry some of the offensive load with Chris Paul still injured. This team should still be among the title favorites.

1. Milwaukee Bucks (+4)

For the first time this season, the defending NBA champions are in the top spot in the rankings. This team feels like it is starting to click at the right time and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a monster week. The Bucks are on a six-game winning streak and show no signs of slowing down. With Antetokounmpo playing like an MVP and Khris Middleton playing well too, this team looks to be ready for the postseason.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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