Cleveland Cavaliers have four wins in a row, but nobody talks about Memphis Grizzlies with 6 wins and Portland Trail Blazers with 4 losses.
Houston Rockets are hot right now and they have the best streak, so we can ask everyone here - are they a legitimate NBA title contenders with James Harden as a point guard?
Check the NBA Power Rankings for this week.
1. Golden State Warriors 21-4 Previous Rank: 1
The Warriors remain in the top spot even with their embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies. This team still leads the league in scoring and point per game differential and it’s obvious how good they can be. They are 8-2 over their last ten and still have the best record in the league and likely will the rest of the season.
2. San Antonio Spurs 19-5 Previous Rank: 2
The Spurs have continued to play well in lately, and now own the second-best record in the NBA. They are still in need of some extra scoring from the guard positions, as Patty Mills is their only guard putting up over 10 points per game. The team continues to play well on the road and has only lost one game in opposing buildings this season.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers 17-5 Previous Rank: 4
The Cavs have played a lot better lately after losing three straight last week. They pulled out a close victory in Toronto, then blew out three teams. With Kevin Love back to All-Star form, there aren’t many teams that have enough players to defend the Cavs.
4. Los Angeles Clippers 17-7 Previous Rank: 2
The Clippers haven’t played super well lately, going 5-5 in their last ten games. They lost to the Warriors and Pacers this week, but then blew out the Pelicans at home. Chris Paul became the first player with 20 assists and no turnovers since individual turnovers became a stat. Has he become the best point guard in the league again?
5. Toronto Raptors 16-7 Previous Rank: 5
The Raptors seem to be locked in this 5 spot for the long run. The team has been great this year, and are looking to set the franchise record for wins in a fourth straight season. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have continued to play extremely well. Their goal for the rest of the season should be figuring out how to win a game against the Cavs.
6. Houston Rockets 17-7 Previous Rank: 6
The Rockets have been ballin’ lately. They are on a 6-game win streak and dominating opponents. During this streak, their margin of victory has been by an average of almost 15 points per game. With James Harden playing well, this team is unstoppable on offense, but will their defense screw them over late in the year?
7. Memphis Grizzlies 17-8 Previous Rank: 7
Memphis has won 6-games in a row, just like the Rockets. The team is still functioning without Mike Conley, which is somewhat surprising because of his importance to this team. If they can continue to play well in his absence, they should be able to hold down a high seed in the West.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder 15-9 Previous Rank: 8
The Thunder continue to surprise me with all their wins. It helps that Russell Westbrook had 7 straight triple-doubles. With Westbrook playing as hard as he can every night, this team always has a chance to win. Victor Oladipo has also helped fill the gap Durant left nicely, but this team is going to have trouble without Durant come playoffs or if Westbrook gets injured from playing so hard.
9. Utah Jazz 15-10 Previous Rank: 10
The Jazz are a young team that continues to impress me. They have gone 8-2 over their last ten games, and have been without multiple starters for many of those games. Rudy Gobert has been leading the squad lately, and recently had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 blocks against the Kings. This team has NBA’s leading three-point shooter in Joe Ingles at 48% and the field-goal leader in Gobert at 67%.
10. New York Knicks 14-10 Previous Rank: 12
The Knicks have made a surge lately and have gone 7-3 over their last ten games. The team seems to be gelling a lot more, and playing better defense. The team has had several role players step it up and perform well, including Willy Hernangomez, who is currently second in PER for rookies.
11. Charlotte Hornets 14-10 Previous Rank: 13
The Hornets have been playing well all season, mostly because of Kemba Walker. Their only problem is that they can’t seem to get a quality win. They currently only have 3 wins against teams over .500 out of their 14 total wins. They need to get a quality win soon or they’ll drop again.
12. Chicago Bulls 13-10 Previous Rank: 9
The Bulls may have beaten the Spurs and Heat recently, but they also lost 3 straight before that to the Pistons, Blazers, and Mavs. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade have played well recently, but the team doesn’t have many other options after those two. Someone needs to step up or they’ll lose more games because Butler and Wade can’t do it all.
13. Boston Celtics 13-11 Previous Rank: 11
The Celtics continue to lose close games late in the game. Al Horford missed a game-winning layup against the Rockets, and Marcus Smart missed the game-tying three-point attempt against the Thunder. This team has got to figure out how to win a close game or they aren’t going to do as well as they did last season.
14. Detroit Pistons 13-13 Previous Rank: 17
The Pistons are just 2nd in the league in points allowed at just over 96 per game. The team has played a lot better with Reggie Jackson back in the lineup. His scoring versatility has opened up the game for the rest of the team and allowed them to have easier shots.
15. Milwaukee Bucks 11-11 Previous Rank: 19
Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading this team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He is doing it all for a team that desperately needs him to. The Bucks still need to get some scoring from someone other than Giannis or Jabari Parker to become a relevant team in the league.
16. Indiana Pacers 12-12 Previous Rank: 16
Will the Pacers ever get it together and play as well as they can? Maybe Larry Bird should show the team his 60th birthday highlight video to light a fire under them so they can get out there and play like they can.
17. Portland Trail Blazers 12-13 Previous Rank: 14
The Blazers continue to suck at playing defense and are still giving up over 111 points per game. The team can score but doesn’t have much firepower other than Lillard and McCollum. If those two remain the only scorers, the team could drop from the playoff picture fast.
18. Atlanta Hawks 12-12 Previous Rank: 15
The Hawks move away from Jeff Teague has continued to look bad. Dennis Schroeder hasn’t played well recently, and neither has the team. Paul Millsap has been the lone bright spot on this slumping team and might be able to get them out of it or they’ll be at risk of continuing to fall fast.
19. Washington Wizards 9-13 Previous Rank: 26
John Wall has propelled the Wizards to multiple wins lately, but can’t do everything for this team as seen in a loss to the Magic. Even putting up 52 points wasn’t good enough for Wall to help the Wizards get a win. The team seems to be figuring it out, so maybe they’ll be able to string some wins together and get into the playoff picture.
20. Los Angeles Lakers 10-16 Previous Rank: 18
The Lakers look lost without D’Angelo Russell. Lou Williams has been playing very well in his absence, but nobody else has been. The team has lost 6-straight games and is starting to look like the Lakers of the past few seasons. Luke Walton needs to turn this around quickly, and the return of Russel in the next week should help that immensely.
21. Orlando Magic 10-15 Previous Rank: 20
I’m still not sure what to think of this team. After putting together a 3-game winning streak, they go out and lose 3 in a row, two of which were blowouts. The team has little offensive talent which is the main reason they can’t stay in games with the better teams in the league. If this doesn’t change, the team’s record won’t change much either.
22. New Orleans Pelicans 8-17 Previous Rank: 21
This team sucks, but Anthony Davis does not. After a 6-game skid against 5 good teams and the Sixers, the team came back from 15 down against the Suns to win in overtime. Anthony Davis continues to carry the team, but can’t seem to carry them to many wins.
23. Sacramento Kings 8-15 Previous Rank: 24
The Kings have two good players in Cousins and Gay, but they have no other scoring options. Opposing teams don’t have to play defense as hard on the other players because nobody else can do anything. It’s remarkable to me that this team has 8 wins, but then again, Cousins is a really good player. He needs some help soon or he should leave.
24. Denver Nuggets 9-15 Previous Rank: 22
The Nuggets are just 3-7 over their last ten games. The team’s young players haven’t been playing great, and the veterans aren’t helping them out much. The team needs to figure out if they want to stay in the middle of the bottom pack, or step it up and push for the playoffs.
25. Phoenix Suns 7-17 Previous Rank: 27
The Suns have a lot of potential, just not this year. Their young stars have played well lately, and Tyson Chandler has been a rebounding machine, but they can’t play any defense. The team is 29th in points allowed at just over 113 per game.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves 6-18 Previous Rank: 25
The Wolves have lost 4-straight games, and look out of sorts lately. They need to figure out how to play defense, and Coach Tibs is a great guy to learn it from. The team just needs to start playing on both ends of the floor because they have the talent to win more game than they currently are winning.
27. Miami Heat 7-17 Previous Rank: 23
The Heat have lost 5 in a row, and look like they suck again. Hassan Whiteside is playing well, but this team isn’t going to be winning when he continues to be their leading scorer. Justice Winslow needs to step up and take control like he said he would at the beginning of the season, and become the leader of this team.
28. Brooklyn 6-16 Previous Rank: 28
No new news here, the Nets are still terrible. They are 2-8 over their last ten and have lost 4 in a row. The team needs a new GM or a new owner or a new coach. Maybe all three. But they still won’t be getting better anytime soon.
29. Philadelphia 76ers 6-18 Previous Rank: 29
The team is on a 2-game winning streak right now after their 8-game losing streak. Nerlens Noel made his debut against the Pistons but didn’t play much because of an apparent ankle injury. Where will he slide into the rotation when Embiid is playing is the real question for this team.
30. Dallas Mavericks 5-18 Previous Rank: 30
I feel bad for Dirk because this team is terrible in what will likely be his last season. The team is still having problems scoring and defending the ball. They are currently last in the league in points per game.
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