NBA Power Rankings: April 12, 2016

james-harden-rocketsGolden State needs just one more win tomorrow night to capture the best record in NBA history at 73-9. Moving further down the Western Conference standings, Houston and Utah are still fighting for who’ll play Golden State in the first round. One of these teams will earn a playoff berth, one is going to be headed to the lottery. See who we think it will be in our latest power rankings, and check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Golden State Warriors (72-9); same spot – Few thought that Golden State could beat the Spurs at the A&T Center on Sunday. The hard work is mostly out of the way for this team; they just need a win vs. Memphis to earn the best-ever NBA record.

2. San Antonio Spurs (65-15); same spot – San Antonio’s perfect 39-0 home record was snapped against the Warriors. Now, they can focus 100% on getting ready for the playoffs.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-24); same spot – The Cavs got the important win they needed to clinch the East’s top spot. It’ll be interesting to see if they play everybody against the Pistons tomorrow.

kevin-durant4. Oklahoma City Thunder (55-26); same spot – OKC is another team that doesn’t really have anything to play for as the season winds down since they have the West’s #3 seed locked down.

5. Toronto Raptors (54-26); same spot – Like Cleveland, the Raptors are waiting to see if they’ll play the Pistons or Pacers in the first round.

6. LA Clippers (52-28); same spot – Blake Griffin’s return has definitely been a good thing for L.A. as they’ve won five straight.

7. Atlanta Hawks (48-33); up 1 spot – Another loss to the Cavs non-withstanding, Atlanta is still in control of the East’s #3 seed.

8. Miami Heat (47-33); up 1 spot – Currently seeded #4, Miami would make a dangerous second-round matchup for Cleveland if both teams make it there as seeded.

9. Charlotte Hornets (47-34); up 1 spot – The Hornets got a nice confidence boost by blowing out Boston last night.

isaiah-thomas-celtics10. Boston Celtics (47-34); down 3 spots – Boston lost some steam, dropping two straight contests. But they’re still battling for seeding with the Heat and Hornets.

11. Indiana Pacers (43-37); same spot – Indiana finishes up with New York at home and Milwaukee on the road, which is a much-more favorable path to the #7 seed than what the Pistons have.

12. Detroit Pistons (43-37); same spot – Speaking of which, Detroit finishes with Cleveland on the road and Miami at home. We’re predicting they wind up with the #8 seed.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (43-38); same spot – Nobody predicted at the season’s beginning – or even before the All-Star break – that Portland would clinch a playoff spot.

14. Dallas Mavericks (42-39); up 1 spot – Dallas can still earn the sixth seed over Memphis, but they must beat the Spurs to do it.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (42-38); down 1 spot – Memphis lost the fifth seed to the Trail Blazers. It’s hard to see them regaining it with a road game against Golden State.

16. Houston Rockets (40-41); up 1 spot – A recent loss to Phoenix made it look like Houston might not make the postseason. Now they have a chance to wrap up the #8 seed with a home win over Sacramento.

pau-gasol-bulls-playoffs17. Chicago Bulls (41-40); up 1 spot – Pau Gasol said the downfall of this season was the team’s lack of awareness, maturity and urgency. Yeah…that pretty much sums it up.

18. Utah Jazz (40-41); down 2 spots – Utah is still alive to grab the West’s #8 seed; however, even with a win over the Lakers, they need Sacramento to beat Houston

19. Washington Wizards (40-41); same spot – Washington could actually close out what’s been a rough season with a .500 record. But it won’t keep Randy Wittman from being fired.

20. Orlando Magic (35-46); same spot – Orlando picked up some nice wins to close the season, making it seem like the future could be good here.

21. Sacramento Kings (33-48); up 2 spots – For the first time in a while, Sacramento has actually cobbled together a winning record in a 10-game stretch, going 6-4.

22. Denver Nuggets (33-48); down 1 spot – All Denver has left is to play spoiler to Portland retaining the fifth seed in the West.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (33-48); down 1 spot – Milwaukee will attempt to beat a hungry Pacers team to close their season.

phil-jackson-new-york-turnaround-124. New York Knicks (32-49); same spot – After a failed two years in New York, is Phil Jackson heading back to the Lakers’ organization?

25. New Orleans Pelicans (30-51); same spot – Injuries certainly hit New Orleans hard this year; however, their 9-31 road record didn’t help matters either.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-53); same spot – Minnesota will head into the offseason with a recent victory over the Warriors under their belt.

27. Phoenix Suns (22-59); up 1 spot – Recent victories at New Orleans and Houston give Phoenix something positive to build on as they head to the lottery.

28. Brooklyn Nets (21-60); down 1 spot
– With no draft picks in the foreseeable future, Brooklyn has little room to work this offseason.

29. L.A. Lakers (16-65); same spot – Kobe Bryant will officially end his storied career on Wednesday night against Utah.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (10-70); same spot – Philadelphia may have avoided the worst-ever record in NBA history. But now they are mired in controversy after hiring Bryan Colangelo to essentially replace Sam Hinkie.

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