The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 19

The Western Conference occupies the first 4 spots of the Power Rankings with Miami and Indiana enduring losing streaks last week. The Spurs, Clippers and Warriors have winning streaks of at least 5 games.

The battle for playoff positions and spots is becoming more intense with each passing game. The playoffs are about 5 weeks away.

Hero team of the week: The Clippers have won 8 straight games including that 48-point blowout vs the Lakers.

Sucky team of the week: The Sixers have lost 17 straight. Enough said.

The standings are current up to March 12, 2014 and the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 18.

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James Harden and the Rockets are soaring in the Western Conference
(Image from: NBA.com)
1. San Antonio Spurs | 47-16 | Last Week: 4 | +3
The Spurs now have the best record in the West and in the league. They won 7 straight and routed Miami in San Antonio. They have the best road record at 24-8. They are rolling with a healthy squad and bench players like Patty Mills and Bellineli are helping.

2. Los Angeles Clippers | 45-20 | Last Week: 7 | +5
The Clippers won 8 straight games including a massive blowout over the Lakers (+48). Jamal Crafwford is back after missing some games with a calf injury. DeAndre Jordan is averaging a double-double (10 and 14) for the whole season. 


3. Houston Rockets | 44-20 | Last Week: 5 | +2
The Rockets won 5 of 6 games and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They beat Miami and Indiana last week and since January 1, have one of the best records in the NBA. James Harden is averaging 30 points. 7 assists and 6 rebounds in his last 5.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder | 47-17 | Last Week: 3 | -1
Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley of the Rockets have legitimate bad blood between them that started last year. Russ and OKC got the last laugh by beating Houston last night. Their defense is struggling after allowing Green (41 pts) and Meeks (42 pts) to beat them.

5. Miami Heat | 44-17 | Last Week: 1 | -4
Miami dropped 3 straight road games to quality teams on the road. LeBron James had major difficulties hitting anything outside of the paint after torching the Bobcats with 61 points. Luckily, Dwyane Wade has been playing well in his past 4 games.

6. Indiana Pacers | 47-17 | Last Week: 2 | -4
The Pacers dropped 4 of 5 games but still have the lead in the East. Andrew Bynum made a successful debut with 8 points and 10 boards in 16 minutes. Bynum was actually more productive than starter Roy Hibbert who had 6 points and 9 rebounds.

7. Golden State Warriors | 41-24 | Last Week: 9 | +2
The Dubs have won 5 straight including impressive wins over playoff teams (Pacers, Mavs, Suns) even with Curry not scoring well. Steph Curry is on a mini-shooting slump. He is 6 of 23 from deep in his last 5 games and getting only 15 points and 6 assists.

8. Portland | 42-22 | Last Week: 6 | -2
The Blazers had the best record in the West at one point. Now, they sit 5th overall in the conference. They lost 4 of 5 games with their defense giving up more than 103 points in all their losses. Damian Lillard is having a fine sophomore year with better shooting numbers.

9. Memphis Grizzlies | 37-26 | Last Week: 10 | +1
The Grizzlies have won 3 straight games and sit at the 7th spot in the West as of today. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are dominating the paint while Tony Allen has been a pest defensively. Reserve Kosta Koufos has scored at least 12 points in 3 straight games.

10. Dallas Mavericks | 38-27 | Last Week: 11 | -1
The Mavs are hanging on to a playoff spot after big wins over the Blazers and Pacers but losses to the Nuggets, Spurs and Warriors have hurt them. Devin Harris has been a barometer for them last week. In wins, he averaged 16 while in losses only 4 points.

11. Phoenix Suns | 36-27 | Last Week: 8 | -3
Last week, the Suns were in the playoffs. This week they are at 9th despite Gerald Green eclipsing his career-high of 33 last week with 42 points versus OKC. Eric Bledsoe is expected to be back later this week while PJ Tucker will be suspended for punching Blake Griffin.

12. Toronto Raptors | 35-27 | Last Week: 12 | Same
Despite of their loss to the Nets, the Raptors still have a 3-game lead in the Atlantic Division. They haven't been this good since 2010, the last year Chris Bosh played for them. Amir Johnson is having a solid season with career-highs in points and minutes played.

13. Chicago Bulls | 35-29 | Last Week: 13 | Same
Another week, another triple-double for Joakim Noah. He has 3 for the season which puts him 2nd after Lance Stephenson who has 4. Noah also has 32 double-doubles which places him at 10th. Can we call him a Top 10 player already?

14. Washington Wizards | 33-30 | Last Week: 14 | Same
The Wizards are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Marcin Gortat has been great for them with 13 and 9 numbers on 54% shooting. The bad news is that Nene will be out for a month or so with a sprained MCL. The Wiz are 27-22 when Nene plays.

15. Brooklyn Nets | 32-30 | Last Week: 16 | +1
The Nets are 2 games above 0.500 for the first time this season. They have won 7 of 10 games even with Kevin Garnett missing the last 6 games. Deron Williams has played better recently. He is their leading scorer since the All-Star break.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves | 32-31 | Last Week: 15 | -1
Minny is 4th in points, 3rd in rebounds and and 7th in assists but they will probably not make the playoffs in the ultra competitive West especially when the team is just 21st in defense. Kevin Love is having an amazing season and leads the league in double-doubles.

17. Charlotte Bobcats | 30-34 | Last Week: 17 | Same
The Bobcats have won 3 of 4 games including an impressive win over the Pacers. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker have been their focal points on offense while new addition, Gary Neal has been solid off the bench with around 11 ppg.

18. Atlanta Hawks | 27-35 | Last Week: 18 | Same
The Hawks snapped a 6-game losing streak by beating the hapless Jazz by 2 points. Kyle Korver also snapped his three-point shooting streak last week at 127 straight games after going 0-5 (1 of 9 overall) from downtown versus Portland.

19. New Orleans Pelicans | 26-37 | Last Week: 22 | +3
The Pelicans have won 3 straight after losing 8 straight. Anthony Davis was front and center especially vs the Nuggets where he collected 32 points, 17 boards and 6 blocks. His average for the previous 2 games: 29 points and 15 rebounds.

20. New York Knicks | 25-40 | Last Week: 26 | +6
After saying last week that the Knicks should not hope for the playoffs, they suddenly won 4 straight and are now within 3.5 games behind the 8th spot in the East. Their next 6 of 7 games will be against non-playoff teams so they can certainly catch the 8th seed.

21. Denver Nuggets | 27-36 | Last Week: 21 | Same
The Nuggets can score but they cannot defend. They sit at 28th in points allowed with only the Lakers and Sixers below them. The tandem of JJ Hickson and Kenneth Faried can score and rebound but they are not defensive guys down in the low post.

22. Detroit Pistons | 25-39 | Last Week: 19 | -3
Andre Drummond is a beast. He had another 20+ rebound game to go with 18 points. He has five games with at least 20 boards. His frontcourt mate, Greg Monroe aint that bad with 3 straight games of double digit rebounds and 17 points.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers | 24-40 | Last Week: 20 | -3
The Cavs are sputtering again and have lost 4 straight. They lost on the night that Zydrunas Ilgauskas had his jersey retired and the Knicks have now overtaken them. Their upcoming schedule is very difficult with road games vs the Suns, Warriors and Clippers.

24. Los Angeles Lakers | 22-42 | Last Week: 23 | -1
They endured their worst loss of the year (48 pts) over their city rivals, Clippers. However, they followed that up with a win over the Thunder which is probably their best of the year. There are reports that Kobe Bryant will NOT play for the rest of the year.

25. Boston Celtics | 22-42 | Last Week: 27 | +2
Rajon Rondo is starting to get the rust out of his game. He is averaging 12 points, 9 assists and 5 boards. The Celtics aren't doing well though, going only 3-7 in their last 10 games. Avery Bradley is expected to be back after missing more than a month with an ankle injury.

26. Sacramento Kings | 22-42 | Last Week: 24 | -2
Isaiah Thomas won't win Sixth Man of Year after starting more games but he can definitely win Most Improved Player. Thomas has career-highs in points, assists and steals. Rookie Ben McLemore is having a rough shooting year at 36% overall.

27. Utah Jazz | 22-42 | Last Week: 24 | -3
Reserve Alec Burks has been solid all year with 14 points and 3 boards. Burks also plays good defense against opposing perimeter players. Gordon Hayward has risen as their best all-around player with 16 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.

28. Orlando Magic | 19-46 | Last Week: 28 | Same
Arron Afflalo is back from injury but that has not prevented the Magic from losing 3 straight games, all with Afflalo in the lineup. Victor Oladipo missed 2 games with an ankle injury but he is back. The rookie has struggled in March with just 10 ppg and 2 rpg.

29. Milwaukee Bucks | 13-51 | Last Week: 29 | Same
The Bucks are having a horrible season but Brandon Knight is playing great as he leads the team in points and assists. Meanwhile, sophomore John Henson is leading them in rebounds and has taken away minutes from the disappointing Ersan Ilyasova.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 15-48 | Last Week: 30 | Same
The Sixers are still far from the longest losing streak in NBA history (26) even after losing 17 straight. They are last in points allowed and point differential. Their last 9 losses were all in double digits with the biggest loss at 33 points.

Biggest Jump of the Week: Knicks +6

Biggest Drop of the Week: Heat & Pacers -4


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