Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NBA Power Rankings #9/Playoff Picture

Power Rankings 
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 41-12 
The Thunder are thriving right now even without Russell Westbrook, and appear poised to make a deep playoff run, 
Last Ranking: 1
2. Indiana Pacers 39-11
Although the Pacers suffered a tough loss to the Magic last night, Danny Granger is beginning to round into form. 
Last Ranking: 2 
3. San Antonio Spurs 37-14
The Spurs have quietly been the second-best team in the West, led by their new star, Small Forward Kawhi Leonard. 
Last Ranking: 3
4. Miami Heat 35-14
Miami lost to Utah Saturday night, but thanks to Indiana's disappointment in Orlando, are still just 3.5 games out of the East's #1 seed. 
Last Ranking: 4
5. Los Angeles Clippers 36-18
The Clippers are back to being legitimate title contenders with the return of Chris Paul. 
Last Ranking: 5 
6. Portland Trailblazers 36-15
They suffered a tough loss on the road to Indiana on Friday night, but the Blazers are still headed for their first home-field playoff series in a long, long time. 
Last Ranking: 6
7. Houston Rockets 34-17
Jeremy Lin has been mediocre this season, but the Rockets have hope for the future in their 6"10 big man. (Dwight Howard)
Last Ranking: 7
8. Phoenix Suns 30-20
"The Dragon" (Goran Dragic) is further cementing why he was an All-Star snub, and he has kept the Suns in playoff contention during the absence of Eric Bledsoe.
Last Ranking: 8
9. Dallas Mavericks 31-21 
Monta Ellis has proved a worthy sidekick to Dirk Nowvitzski, and the Mavs appear to be one of the favorites to land one of the West's final two playoff spots. 
Last Ranking: 11
10. Golden State Warriors 30-21
This team is not as good as people may think, but Stephen Curry will lead them to a playoff berth. 
Last Ranking: 9
11. Memphis Grizzlies 27-23 
The Griz went 1-3 in a Point Guard Mike Conley-less week, which means that they'll need to add some W's in a hurry to make the playoffs. 
Last Ranking: 10
12. Toronto Raptors 26-24
The Raptors are losing their lead on the Atlantic Division and the East's #3 seed, but are still the third-best team in the East. 
Last Ranking: 12
13. Washington Wizards 25-25 
A backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal has propelled the Wizards to playoff contention. 
Last Ranking: 14
14. Atlanta Hawks 25-24
The Hawks are slipping in the win-loss column, and need to find a clutch late-game performer if they want to host a first-round playoff series. 
Last Ranking: 13
15. Chicago Bulls 25-25
Amidst all of the injury problems, this team is still playing hard, and that reflects on coach Tom Thibodau. 
Last Ranking: 17
16. Brooklyn Nets 23-26 
The Nets are making a serious run at the East's #3 seed, led by a rejuvenated Joe Johnson. 
Last Ranking: 16
17. Minnesota Timberwolves 24-27
The T-Wolves are falling in the West's standings, and Ricky Rubio, as much as a sweet-passer as he is, must improve his shooting for Minnesota to win in June. 
Last Ranking: 15
18. New Orleans Pelicans 22-28
Anthony Davis deserved the All-Star spot he got, the next step for the block machine: making the Pelicans relevant again. (Although technically the Pelicans have never been relevant, it was the Hornets that were relevant. 
Last Ranking: 22
19. Charlotte Bobcats 22-29
Al Jefferson is proving to be the best free-agent acquisition of the season, and has Charlotte back in playoff contention. 
Last Ranking: 19
20. New York Knicks 20-31 
Without Carmelo Anthony, this team would be head-to-head with Milwaukee for the NBA's worst team. 
Last Ranking: 21 
21. Denver Nuggets 24-25 
With Javale McGee and Danilo Gallinari already out for the season, word is now in that Ty Lawson has suffered a broken rib. It's been a tough first year in Denver for Head Coach Brian Shaw. 
Last Ranking: 18
22. Detroit Pistons 21-29
Firing Maurice Cheeks when the team was just half a game out of the East's final playoff spot shows how unwilling the front-office is to shoulder mediocrity. 
Last Ranking: 20
23. Orlando Magic 16-37
The Magic are coming off a 3-0 week in which they beat the Thunder AND the Pacers. 
Last Ranking: 29
24. Utah Jazz 17-33
Gordon Heyward has shown flashes of star-power, but is too inconsistent to be a true MVP-caliber player...yet. 
Last Ranking: 23
25. Boston Celtics 18-34 
What's the point of signing super-passer Rajon Rondo to a $100 million deal if he has no one to pas to? This is the question no one in Boston wants to answer. 
Last Ranking: 28
26. Sacramento Kings 17-34
With Demarcus Cousins back, the Kings snapped a 7-game losing streak. 
Last Ranking: 25
27. Los Angeles Lakers 18-33 
Steve Nash has finally returned, but, as big a fan of his as I am, I don't see the 40-year old staying healthy for long. 40 games max.
Last Ranking: 26
28. Cleveland Cavaliers 18-33 
The sudden firing of GM Chris Grant, basically just shows that a disgruntled front-office that knew something had to change fired a General Manager associated with making bad picks, instead of a coach (Mike Brown) in year 1 of a 5-year deal. 
Last Ranking: 24
29. Philadelphia 76ers 15-37
Wow, that 48-point loss to the Clippers was tough. But Philadelphia optimists are keeping their fingers crossed on injured rookie Nerlens Noel. 
Last Ranking: 27
30. Milwaukee Bucks 9-41 
This team is terrible. Actually, they're worse than terrible. They're "turrible." 
Last Ranking: 30 
Playoff Picture
1. Indiana Pacers (Last Week: 1)
2. Miami Heat (2)
3. Brooklyn Nets (6)
4. Washington Wizards (5) 
5. Toronto Raptors (3) 
6. Chicago Bulls (7)
7. Atlanta Hawks (4) 
8. New York Knicks (8) 

(1) Indiana over (8) New York 4-1 
(2) Miami over (7) Atlanta 4-1
(3) Brooklyn over (6) Chicago 4-2
(4) Washington over (5) Toronto 4-3

(1) Indiana over (4) Washington 4-2
(2) Miami over (3) Brooklyn 4-2

(1) Indiana over (2) Miami 4-3 

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Week: 1) 
2. San Antonio Spurs (2) 
3. Portland Trailblazers (4)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (3) 
5. Houston Rockets (5) 
6. Phoenix Suns (8)
7. Golden State Warriors (6) 
8. Dallas Mavericks (N/A)

(1) Oklahoma City over (8) Dallas 4-1 
(2) San Antonio over (7) Golden State 4-3
(3) Portland over (6) Phoenix 4-1
(4) Los Angeles over (5) Houston 4-1 

(1) Oklahoma City over (4) Los Angeles 4-3
(2) San Antonio over (3) Portland 4-2 

(1) Oklahoma City over (2) San Antonio 4-2 

NBA Finals 
Game 1: Pacers 
Game 2: Thunder 
Game 3: Thunder 
Game 4: Pacers 
Game 5: Pacers 
Game 6: Thunder 
Game 7: Pacers 
Oklahoma City over Indiana 4-3
Finals MVP: OKC SF Kevin Durant 

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