NBA Power Rankings: 3/13/18

Who rises and who falls in this week’s power rankings installment?

(Team’s record, Change in ranking from last week. Records as of 3/12/18)

30. Memphis Grizzlies (18-49, -)

Memphis has lost 18 straight games and lost to the Mavericks by 34 on Saturday.

29. Phoenix Suns (19-49, -)

Over the last 15 games, T.J. Warren averaged 20.7 points. Too bad the Suns are 1-14 over that span.

28. Orlando Magic (20-47, -1)

Aaron Gordon scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Magic’s loss to the Lakers, but has not played the last two games due to a concussion.

27. Atlanta Hawks (20-47, -2)

The Atlanta Hawks have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, breaking a 10 season playoff streak.

26. New York Knicks (24-43, -3)

Over the last 15 games, the Knicks are 1-14, and losers of seven straight. Over that stretch, the Knicks have the worst defensive rating in the NBA (114.2) and the fourth-worst offensive rating (100.7)

25. Brooklyn Nets (21-46, +3)

The Nets are 2-8 over the last 10 games and have the fourth worst defensive rating in the NBA in that span (112).

24. Sacramento Kings (24-43, -)

 The Kings are 3-7 over their last 10 games and have scored the fifth least points per game over that stretch (101.6)

23. Chicago Bulls (23-43, -1)

The Bulls are 3-7 over the last 10 games and rank in the bottom five in offensive (101.4) and defensive rating (111.8).

22. Dallas Mavericks (21-46, +4)

Dallas posted an impressive 34 point win over the bottom-feeding Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Three Mavericks scored 20 points or over.

21. Detroit Pistons (30-36, -)

The Pistons have scored the third least points per game over the past 10 games (101.4). They are fifth to last in offensive rating (102) and 3-7 over that span, sitting five games behind the eighth-seeded Heat.

20. Charlotte Hornets (29-38, -)

The Hornets are 5-5 over their last 10 games, and sit in the 10th seed, putting them nearly out of the playoff race.

19. Miami Heat (36-32, -)

Over the last 10 games, the Heat rank sixth in defensive rating (104.5) and 10th in offensive rating (110.8). The Heat are 6-4 over the last 10 and sit comfortably in the eighth seed.

18. Milwaukee Bucks (36-31, -2)

The Bucks are 4-6 over the last 10 games. They sit only half a game above the eighth-seeded heat, but a comfortable 6.5 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Pistons,

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (39-29, +1)

Minnesota posted their first impressive win since Jimmy Butler’s injury with a six-point victory over Golden State. Over the last four games, Nemanja Bjelica leads the NBA in minutes per game, at an absurd 40.

16. Los Angeles Lakers (30-36, +1)

The Lakers have exceeded expectations greatly after the All-Star Break. In that stretch, they are 7-2. Taking the place of Larry Nance, Julius Randle has been excellent, scoring 20.7 points per game to go along with 9.3 boards and 4.3 assists,

15. San Antonio Spurs (37-30, -3)

San Antonio has fallen out of the playoff race, and look the worst they have looked without Kawhi Leonard. Their loss to the Thunder ensures them a losing record on the road for the first time in 20 seasons.

14. Denver Nuggets (37-30, +1)

The Nuggets have also fallen out of the playoffs momentarily, but still are four games behind the THIRD seed. The West is crazy, man. Since the All-Star break, the Nuggets have posted the best offensive rating in the NBA (115.9), but the second worst defensive rating in the league (113.5).

13. Washington Wizards (38-29, -3)

The Wizards are 2-4 over their last six games and rank in the bottom ten in defensive rating (109.3) over that span. John Wall has been running through offensive sets with the team and could be back in practice as soon as Friday.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-28, -6)

The Cavaliers are the fourth seed in the East and are 4-6 over their last 10 games on a two-game losing streak. LeBron James has never lost a first-round playoff series; Cleveland is the most vulnerable they have been in a few years now. A finals appearance and a first-round exit seem equally plausible.

11. Philadelphia 76ers (36-29, +3)

The Sixers have won 11 straight games at home, their longest streak since 1983. Philly are 11-4 over their last 15 games, and rank top 10 in offensive and defensive rating over that stretch.

10. New Orleans Pelicans (38-28, -3)

The Pelicans’ hot streak has hit a bit of a standstill, as they have lost two straight games. They are still 8-2 and in the fifth seed, but every game matters in the ever-competitive Western Conference. The Wizards snapped their 10 game streak, in a game where Anthony Davis sat out with an injury.

9. Los Angeles Clippers (36-29, +5)

After going 5-1 over their last six games, including a fairly dominant win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Clippers sit in the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Lou Williams continues his All-Star-esk campaign, averaging 21.8 points over the last five games.

8. Utah Jazz (37-30, -)

Utah is on a six-game win streak and an impressive 13-2 over their last 15 games. The Jazz have finally squeaked into the playoffs, but have the same record as the ninth seed Nuggets and 10th seed Spurs. Over the last six games, Rudy Gobert leads the NBA in net rating (17.2) and has scored 18.2 points, grabbed 14.2 rebounds, and recorded 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals.

7. Indiana Pacers (39-28, +2)

After an impressive win over the Boston Celtics, the Pacers have risen up to the third seed in the Eastern Conference. For a team that was not expected to make the playoffs after Paul George’s departure, their season has been incredibly impressive.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-29, +5)

The Thunder have climbed back up into the fourth seed in the NBA, and are on a three-game win streak. Over the last 10 games, Oklahoma City’s defense has improved greatly; they ranked seventh in defensive rating (104.8). In the Thunder’s 10 point win against the Spurs, no Spur scored over 14 points.

5. Boston Celtics (46-21, -1)

Injuries plagued the Celtics in their two-point loss to the Indiana Pacers. They still sit comfortably in the second seed, a whole seven games in front of the third-seeded Pacers. Kyrie Irving’s knee soreness is supposedly not serious, but injuries piling up could be detrimental to the Celtics in the playoffs.

4. Portland Trail Blazers (40-26, +1)

Portland posted an impressive win over the Portland Trailblazers on Friday, in a night where their bench scored 47 points. They are on an impressive 10 game win streak, sitting them in three West’s third seed. Over that streak, Damian Lillard has been scorching, averaging 32.5 points and 6.4 assists on an 11.6 plus-minus, which is second best in the NBA over that span.

3. Golden State Warriors (51-16, -1)

The Warriors are on a two-game losing streak, after losing to the red-hot Portland Trailblazers and the Timberwolves. It is clear how much the Warriors struggle on offense without Stephen Curry on the floor. In the Warriors’ last three games without Curry, their offensive rating ranked 17th (107.4) and shot an uncharacteristically bad 44.4% from the field and 34.4% from three.

2. Toronto Raptors (49-17, -+)

The Raptors posted an impressive win over the Houston Rockets, ending their 17 game winning streak. James Harden scored 40 points, but no other player on the Rockets scored more than 15 points. The Raptors now hold the second-longest winning streak in the NBA, at eight games. Over that streak, they rank third in offensive rating (114.5) and fifth in defensive rating (101.8).

1. Houston Rockets (53-14, -)

Despite the fact that the Rockets’ unreal win streak finally came to an end against the equally hot Toronto Raptors, they still hold the number one spot in my power rankings. Houston still holds the number one seed in the Western Conference. Over the last 15 games, the Rockets ranked second in offensive rating (115.1) and fourth in defensive rating (102).

Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_ and @FPC_Colts.

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