NBA Power Rankings
Four teams fighting for three positions are shaking up the bottom of the Western Conference race. On the other hand, no fewer than eight teams are scrambling for space between the third and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference. With the playoffs only a few weeks away, the most recent NBA Power Rankings show that the top four teams in the NBA are the only serious title contenders.
The East will be an interesting conference to watch come the playoffs. The West is top heavy, meaning the first four seeds in the Western Conference are all serious title contenders. The Golden State Warriors are gunning for 73 wins. The San Antonio Spurs are right on their tail. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a lot to prove. The Cleveland Cavaliers, with all of their turmoil, still lead the Eastern Conference.
Let’s take a look, at this week’s NBA Power Rankings:
1. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are the second team in NBA history to win at least 65 games in consecutive seasons. Draymond Green admitted the Warriors are gunning for 73 wins this season. 9-2 in their next 11 games will get them just that.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have the best home start in NBA history at 37-0. With little more than 1o games to go, expect the Spurs to go into rest mode. Nobody in the Western Conference is catching them for the 2nd seed, so no point in risking an unnecessary injury.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have averaged 118.0 points on 51.5 percent shooting during a six-game winning streak. Their supporting cast continues to step things up. Keeping the whole team in rhythm should be the M.O. with three weeks to go until the playoffs start.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are 32-6 against teams below .500. Since Tyronn Lue took over, they’re 19–9. However, they are currently yielding 105.7 points per 100 possessions to opponents. They’re good, but are they clear-path-to-the-Finals good? Number 5 on the NBA Power Rankings list may have something to say about that.
5. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are 6-6 in games decided by three points or less. One more win and Toronto has it’s first 50-win season in franchise history. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are averaging 26.9 and 24.6 points, respectively, in the last 12 games and the Raptors have put up at least 100 points in each of those games.
6. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are gaining momentum when it counts the most, winning seven of they’re last eight and 10 of their last 12 to move to the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Post All-Star break, the Hawks have posted the league’s second-best point differential (behind the Spurs, ahead of the Warriors) and are allowing four fewer points per game.
7. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are 4-1 in overtime games. Their seeding is pretty safe and they’ve definitely showed signs of clutch play. Watch for a momentum spark once Blake Griffin returns from his 4-game ban.
8. Miami Heat
In the Miami Heats’ last 18 games, Hassan Whiteside is averaging 18 points and 13.7 rebounds with 16 double-doubles. Keep in mind, those stats came while he was coming off the bench. Beating down the Cavaliers has intensified the Heat-as-a-formidable-playoff-team argument.
9. Boston Celtics
At 42-30, the Boston Celtics have already clinched a winning record for the first time in three seasons under coach Brad Stevens.
10. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are 17-5 in the last 22 games, but remain one game behind Boston for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.