The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 24

The grind of the regular season is over and the playoffs will start during Easter Sunday (Manila time). The NBA rewarded us with quadruple-headers for the opening weekend of the playoffs!

This is the last Power Rankings of the regular season and stay tuned for daily updates once the playoffs begin!

Hero team of the week: The Grizzlies took 5 straight wins to vault over the Mavericks and Suns to secure the 7th seed in the West.

Sucky team of the week: The Suns lost 4 straight crucial games that abruptly ended their bid for a playoff spot.

The standings are current up to April 18, 2014 and the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 23.

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The San Antonio Spurs are happy in this team selfie. Will they be happy by the end of June?
(Image from: Danny Green's Instagram account)

1. San Antonio Spurs | 62-20 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The best team in the NBA finished tops in winning margin and #1 in assists per game which shows how unselfish this team is. They always look for the better shot and the open man. 

2. Oklahoma City Thunder | 59-23 | Last Week: 2 | Same
Kevin Durant will be the MVP and quite possibly even Finals MVP if Russell Westbrook allows KD to take the important and clutch shots. However, they need Westbrook to be always aggressive. Finding the balance is key.

3. Los Angeles Clippers | 57-25 | Last Week: 3 | Same
The Clippers are getting healthy for the playoffs. JJ Redick, Danny Granger and Jamal Crawford are all expected to be ready for the post-season. Blake Griffin needs to avoid getting into scuffles and earning techs/ejections.

4. Miami Heat | 54-28 | Last Week: 4 | Same
Dwyane Wade looked okay in the last 3 games he played. Miami will enter the playoffs with their lowest winning percentage during the era of the Big 3 and without home-court advantage through the ECF or Finals.

5. Portland | 54-28 | Last Week: 6 | +1
The Blazers are 9-1 in their last 10 and won 5 straight going into the playoffs. They defeated the Warriors and Clippers during that run. Unfortunately, they don't have home-court advantage in the 1st round.

6. Indiana Pacers | 56-26 | Last Week: 8 | +2
Even a blowout loss to Miami did not prevent them from claiming the #1 spot in the East after they beat OKC and won 3 straight games. Their offense is on a funk but their defense is still elite.

7. Houston Rockets | 54-28 | Last Week: 5 | -2
Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley are both back although both are not 100%. James Harden had a fine season where he was undoubtedly the best SG in the NBA.

8. Golden State Warriors | 51-31 | Last Week: 7 | -1
Andrew Bogut has an injured/fractured rib which means he probably won't play in the playoffs. That hurts because it will be the 2nd straight year that the Dubs aren't at full strength during the playoffs.

9. Memphis Grizzlies | 50-32 | Last Week: 11 | +2
Memphis made sure that they made the playoffs by winning 5 straight. Then, they proceeded to beat the Suns and Mavs to make sure that they played OKC in the 1st round whom they beat last season.

10. Dallas Mavericks | 49-33 | Last Week: 9 | -1
The Mavs are kicking themselves for not ending up with the 7th seed and a  better match-up against the Thunder. Dallas and San Antonio have a fierce rivalry but the Spurs have been more successful lately.

11. Toronto Raptors | 48-34 | Last Week: 13 | +2
Toronto set a franchise-record in wins and claimed the Atlantic Division title. They are a young team lacking playoffs experience but they play hard and could make noise this season.

12. Chicago Bulls | 48-34 | Last Week: 12 | Same
Great season for the Bulls who lost Derrick Rose again for the year, then traded Luol Deng away for almost nothing. Joakim Noah emerged as a Top 10 player while DJ Augustin resurrected his career.

13. Phoenix Suns | 43-34 | Last Week: 10 | -3
The Suns crumbled under the pressure of winning games vs playoff teams. They had 3 straight losses after having double digit leads. Nobody expected them to be this good and competitive.

14. Washington Wizards | 44-38 | Last Week: 15 | +1
The Wizards won 4 straight going into the playoffs and the best news, Nene is healthy and producing his usual numbers. They are 30-23 when he plays and he provides vital veteran leadership.

15. Brooklyn Nets | 44-38 | Last Week: 14 | -1
The Nets positioned themselves for a crack against the Heat (4-0 vs Miami) if both advance to the 2nd round. Brooklyn has been one of the best teams since New Year's Day.

16. Charlotte Bobcats | 43-39 | Last Week: 16 | Same
The Bobcats are going to the playoffs after winning just 21 games last season. Big Al Jefferson has been the difference this year with his superb play while coach Steve Clifford preaches defense.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves | 40-42 | Last Week: 17 | Same
Have we seen the last of Coach Rick Adelman? He might retire during the summer. It was a great year for Kevin Love and even Corey Brewer had 51 points vs the Rockets but the T'wolves underachieved again.

18. Atlanta Hawks | 38-44 | Last Week: 18 | Same
Atlanta clinched a playoffs spot by beating Miami whom they've beaten twice this year without Al Horford. Luckily, their first round opponent will be Indiana whom they've also beaten twice.

19. New York Knicks | 37-45 | Last Week: 19 | Same
The Knicks signed Lamar Odom already for next season. Maybe they are getting ready for Melo not signing back with them in the summer. They finished 28th in team assists (Iso-Melo or JR bombs offense).

20. Denver Nuggets | 36-46 | Last Week: 20 | Same
The main thing they have to do in the summer is to get healthy. A full Denver squad is capable of making the playoffs but injuries severely weakened their roster. It didn't help that Coach Brian Shaw was a rookie.

21. Cleveland Cavaliers | 33-49 | Last Week: 22 | +1
How many more reports of Irving and Waiters not getting along well will we hear before the Cavs decide to trade Dion Waitiers? How about rookie bust Anthony Bennett? Is he the worse #1 pick ever?

22. New Orleans Pelicans | 34-48 | Last Week: 21 | -1
Anthony Davis took a huge step in growing his game but multiple injuries caused him to miss 15 games this season after missing 18 in his rookie year. Hopefully, that trend doesn't materialize for a 3rd straight season.

23. Sacramento Kings | 28-54 | Last Week: 24 | +1
Isaiah Thomas, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins all had great seasons offensively for the Kings but they finished last in team assists and 24th in defense. Their best players need to be more unselfish and play defense.

24. Detroit Pistons | 29-53 | Last Week: 23 | -1
Terrible season for the Pistons who had aspirations of making the playoff after signing Jennings and Josh Smith. On the bright side, Andre Drummond improved from last year and turned into a double-double beast.

25. Los Angeles Lakers | 27-55 | Last Week: 25 | Same
Kobe Bryant tweeted that this season was a "S*** season" for them and next year will be better. That may not happen since Pau Gasol might leave in the summer and Steve Nash is still under contract.

26. Utah Jazz | 25-57 | Last Week: 27 | +1
The Jazz has a young core that can definitely grow together and become better. Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors all improved from a year ago. Although, the wins didn't happen.

27. Orlando Magic | 23-59 | Last Week: 26 | -1
The Magic will have another high draft pick this coming summer and they should use it on a forward who can shoot to complement the slashing and penetrating ability of Victor Oladipo.

28. Boston Celtics | 25-57 | Last Week: 28 | Same
There were reports that said Rajon Rondo was sulking and disgruntled this season. It's hard not to blame him after they missed the playoffs. Still, the Celtics were 6-24 in games Rondo played so he is part of the problem.

29. Milwaukee Bucks | 15-67 | Last Week: 30 | +1
Terrible year for the Bucks. OJ Mayo was a total bust while Larry Sanders has been a HUGE disappointment on and off the court. At least the "Greek Freak" should some potential.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 19-63 | Last Week: 29 | -1
They ended up with the highest losing margin at more than 10 points a game. They also tied the worst losing streak in the league at 26 games. Prized rookie Nerlens Noel did not even play this season.

Biggest Jump of the Week: Suns -3
Biggest Drop of the Week: Too Many Teams at -2

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