The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 19

The Miami Heat is on an impressive 19-game win streak and they have a chance to beat the 22-game streak of the 2007-08 Houston Rockets by next week during their 5-game road trip that passes through the Sixers, Bucks, Raptors, Celtics and Cavaliers. Their streak has allowed them to already clinch a playoffs spot in the East and they have assured themselves the #1 seed in the East by virtue of a 9.5 games lead over the #2 seed.

Meanwhile, if the season ended today, the LA Lakers will make the playoffs as the #8 seed. They have played extremely well since the All-Star break and they now sit at 3 games over 0.500 with the chance to catch #6 (Warriors) and #7 (Rockets) who are within 2 games and half a game ahead of the Lakers, respectively. FYI, the Lakers are 1-8 combined versus the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers.

The 5th-8th spots  in the East also feature tight races for playoff positioning. The Bulls, Celtics, Hawks and Bucks are all within 2.5 games from each other. No one wants that 8th spot in the East with the way the Heat has been playing in the last 6 weeks.

The standings are current up to March 13, 2013. The rankings from last week refer to Week 18.

Dwyane Wade has been magnificent during the Heat's unbeaten streak.
He won Player of the Week honors this past week
(Image from:
1. Miami Heat | 48-14 | Last Week: 1 | Same
Dwyane Wade was the best player for the Heat last week and he has been amazing in their last 10 games: 26 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.7 apg and 2.8 spg. The Heat's winning point margin vs winning teams during this streak: +12.4 while their margin vs sub .500 teams: +11.

2. San Antonio Spurs | 49-16 | Last Week: 2 | Same
The Spurs managed to beat the Thunder without Parker due to the monster game by Tiago Splitter who shredded the interior defense of the Thunder. The Spurs followed that up by sitting Duncan and Leonard for their next game (a back-to-back) which resulted in an expected loss to the T'wolves.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder | 47-17 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Thunder had a chance to catch the Spurs for best record in the West but they fumbled that game away with Westbrook shooting 11-27 while Durant who was more efficient only shot 7-13. Luckily for the Thunder, Tony Parker is still out a few more weeks so they have more chances to overtake the Spurs.

4. Memphis Grizzlies | 43-19 | Last Week: 4 | Same
The Grizzlies have won 13 of 14 and have won 5 straight with Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur missing 4 straight games each. Ed Davis has filled in nicely as a starter for Randolph by averaging 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in less than 29 minutes.

5. Denver Nuggets | 43-22 | Last Week: 6 | +1
The Nuggets have won 9 straight games and have the 2nd best home record behind the Heat (28-3). They've beaten the Thunder, Clippers and Lakers during this streak and they aim to increase that during Melo's first trip back in Denver after being traded in 2011.

6. Los Angeles Clippers | 45-20 | Last Week: 5 | -1
The Clippers gave us another highlight play  this week that quite possibly was better than last week's gem from Griffin. These exciting plays have distracted us from noticing that the Clips have been erratic in their last 5 games (3-2), losing to playoff teams while winning against the inferior teams.

7. Indiana Pacers | 39-24 | Last Week: 7 | Same
Danny Granger is out with a sore knee and his integration back into their lineup has been a problem. Tough last week for the Pacers going 1-2: choked vs the Celtics at home in what could be a potential playoffs match-up and they got manhandled by the Heat on the road.

8. New York Knicks | 38-23 | Last Week: 8 | Same
Amare Stoudemire could be out for the year with his knee injury while Melo is having some problems with his right knee. The Knicks are struggling and could drop as low as a 4th seed with the Nets just a couple of games back. Back on Feb 1, the Heat and Knicks were tied for 1st in the East. Today, the Heat is ahead by 9.5 games.

9. Houston Rockets | 34-31 | Last Week: 9 | Same
The Rockets had 2 tough losses to the Mavs and Suns which allowed the Lakers to sneak closer to their #7 spot. James Harden has been great with his 26 points and 8.6 assists last week and so was Omer Asik (8 points, 14 boards) but Jeremy Lin has struggled and his minutes have been cut down in the 4th quarter.

10. Boston Celtics | 34-29 | Last Week: 11 | +1
The Celtics are creeping closer to the 5th spot (1 back) and even the 4th spot (3 back) without Rondo. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley have been playing well lately after struggling prior to Rondo's injury. The Celtics decided to rest Pierce vs the Bobcats which resulted in a blowout loss.

11. Brooklyn Nets | 38-27 | Last Week: 12 | +1
The Nets have won 4 of 5 plus Deron Williams showed us (at least for 1 game) why he was considered a top PG and superstar before. Williams scored 42 points and made 11-16 treys vs the Wizards. He made 9 treys in the 1st half alone which is a NBA record.

12. Los Angeles Lakers | 34-31 | Last Week: 15 | +3
The Lakers have won 9 of 11 and Dwight Howard (39 points, 16 boards, 3 blocks) was victorious in his homecoming in Orlando. Howard has been great lately and he leads the league in boards. More good news: Pau Gasol could be back in the next 10 days or less.

13. Chicago Bulls | 35-28 | Last Week: 10 | -3
The Bulls are 29th in team scoring and they have been ravaged with injuries to key guys all year (Hamilton, Hinrich, Rose). They need the offensive firepower from D-Rose ASAP. Derrick Rose has been cleared by doctors to play but Rose has not put a specific return date yet because he is not mentally ready to play.

14. Golden State Warriors | 34-27 | Last Week: 16 | +2
Bogut has played 5 games (3.4 points, 9.4 boards) since his last injury and the Warriors went 3-2 during that span. Steph Curry has "cooled down" a bit in the last week (20 ppg, 7 apg) while his backcourt mate, Klay Thompson has picked up his scoring (21 ppg on 55% shooting from downtown).

15. Atlanta Hawks | 34-29 | Last Week: 13 | -2
The Hawks have lost 6 of 7 and they continue to drop in the playoff standings. Injuries to Lou Williams and Zaza Pachulia have hurt them. Jeff Teague could be out with an ankle injury. Kyle Korver has made at least one three in his last 56 games and he leads the NBA in 3-point shooting.

16. Milwaukee Bucks | 32-30 | Last Week: 14 | -2
The Bucks went 2-2 last week and were unable to improve their playoff positioning. Brandon Jennings has less than 10 assists in his last 2 games and he scored a season-low 4 points against the Mavs. Monta Ellis took care of the scoring load by averaging 29 points in their last 5 games.

17. Utah Jazz | 33-31 | Last Week: 17 | Same
The Jazz has the tie-breaker (for now) over the Lakers if they end up with the same record. Paul Millsap is coming back from an injury and they need his contributions ASAP since their next 3 games are: Thunder, Grizzlies and Knicks. The Jazz cant afford to lose any of the games if they want to catch the Lakers.

18. Dallas Mavericks | 30-33 | Last Week: 19 | +1
The Mavs have won 4 straight and that is their longest winning streak of the season. They are 3 games out of the 8th spot and their chances are slim to none. Shawn Marion has missed their last 3 games with an injury. Vince Carter has been scoring like it's 2007 in his last 2 games (23 points, 6 boards and 3 assists).

19. Portland Trailblazers | 29-34 | Last Week: 18 | -1
The Blazers are fading from catching the 8th spot with 2 tough losses coming from the Grizzlies and then another loss from the Hornets. They went 1-3 last week and were unable to capitalize on their big win vs the Spurs. JJ Hickson has been a beast on the boards and he has 32 double-doubles (4th in NBA).

20. Toronto Raptors | 25-39 | Last Week: 21 | +1
The Raptors won a game without Rudy Gay and Bargnani who have both been struggling with their shooting.
The Raptors choked vs the Lakers especially Gay who shot 0-8 in the 4th and OT. Rudy is shooting 38% for the Raptors while Bargnani is at 40%. You cant win a lot of games if your main guys are that inefficient.

21. Philadelphia 76ers | 24-39 | Last Week: 20 | -1
The Sixers had a surprise win over the Nets which snapped their 5-game losing streak. Another losing streak could begin with 4 of their next 5 games against playoff teams. Evan Turner was expected to make a huge improvement with Iguodala gone but Turner has been so-so with his performance (42% shooting).

22. Phoenix Suns | 22-42 | Last Week: 23 | +1
The Suns lost Marcin Gortat for the rest of the season with an injury. They now start the Morris twins together and they try to play small ball for the most part. Michael Beasley continues to have an up and (mostly) down season when it comes to production and effort.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers | 22-42 | Last Week: 25 | +2
Kyrie Irving is a budding superstar and his talent is limitless but his durability is becoming a problem. Irving could miss 3-4 weeks with a shoulder strain. The Cavs might declare him out for the season to prevent more injuries. Irving has missed 30 games already in just 2 years in the league.

24. New Orleans Hornets | 22-43 | Last Week: 24 | Same
The Hornets lost Austin Rivers for the season after having surgery on his hand. Is it possible that Rivers who shot 37% for the year, had a shooting problem due to discomfort in his hands? Ryan Anderson will be in the mix for Sixth Man of the Year but his lack of team success will hurt his candidacy.

25. Sacramento Kings | 22-43 | Last Week: 27 | +2
DeMarcus Cousins got another ejection last week in a loss vs the Bucks. He has 3 ejections and 12 technicals which place him in the top 3 for both categories. DMC was having a great game too (24 & 10) before he got thrown out for swinging his elbow. You wonder if DMC will ever learn to control his temper.

26. Detroit Pistons | 23-43 | Last Week: 22 | -4
The Pistons have lost 6 straight and Brandon Knight had the worst week among all of them. Knight got manhandled on an alley-oop dunk by DeAndre Jordan, then someone messed with his info on Wikipedia. Knight went on and played the next game but he sprained his ankle significantly and could be out for weeks.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves | 22-39 | Last Week: 28 | +1
Ricky Rubio earned his first career triple-double with a win over the depleted Spurs. Rubio had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists including a couple of highlight plays. JJ Barea has been playing better lately but the T'wolves lack a post presence which is crucial to win in the West.

28. Washington Wizards | 20-42 | Last Week: 26 | -2
Bradley Beal has missed the last 4 games with a sprained ankle and the Wizards hope that he gets back soon to develop more chemistry with John Wall. Nene has had a disappointing season with various injuries. For the year, Nene gets 13 and 7 which is not as impressive as Okafor who has 18 double-doubles.

29. Orlando Magic | 18-47 | Last Week: 29 | Same
The Magic was unable to get their revenge on Howard during his homecoming. They will have to hope that the Lakers miss the playoffs to further damage Dwight's reputation as a superstar. Tobias Harris continues to play well for them and is their 2nd best scorer after Afflalo.

30. Charlotte Bobcats | 14-50 | Last Week: 30 | Same
The Bobcats have 2 wins over the Celtics this season and they have a chance to get another win when they play again over the weekend. Gerald Henderson had a career-high 35 vs the Celtics. Byron Mullens was having a good season until Coach Dunlap decided to bench him for Josh McRoberts.

Biggest Rise: Lakers +3
Biggest Fall: Pistons -4

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