NBA Power Rankings: March 1, 2016

steph-curry-thunderAs great as Golden State has been, they still have detractors. And last week was marred by comments from Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas, who claim that Steph Curry’s incredible success is due to poor perimeter defense these days. For his part, Curry doesn’t seem to phased as his team marches on to the best record in NBA history. And we don’t seem too phased either since they once again top our power rankings. See where everybody else ranks below, and take a look at last week’s power rankings here.

1. Golden State Warriors (53-5); same spot – As if the Warriors needed to further convince anybody else how great they are (apparently they do), they just beat Oklahoma City on the road again…thanks to Curry’s game-winning 35-footer.

2. San Antonio Spurs (50-9); same spot – The Spurs remain the one team that looks like they could possibly stop Golden State. But even that seems like a stretch now.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (42-18); up 1 spot – OKC somewhat redeemed a loss to the Pelicans by almost beating Golden State. The Clippers are gaining on them for the third spot in the West.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-17); down 1 spot – Kyrie Irving won’t admit that he’s unhappy in Cleveland. But whether or not it’s true, this isn’t an ideal time for such a report to surface.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks5. Toronto Raptors (39-19); same spot – The Raptors still remain 2.5 games behind the Cavaliers. But a recent home win over Cleveland shows that Toronto is definitely a threat to win the East.

6. Boston Celtics (36-25); same spot – Boston got a solid 12-point win over Miami on Saturday to keep a firm grip on the number-three seed. They’d make an interesting opponent for Toronto in the playoffs.

7. LA Clippers (39-20); same spot – The Clippers continue to play their best basketball of the year with Blake Griffin sidelined.

8. Miami Heat (34-26); up 1 spot – Chris Bosh still faces an uncertain future. But the Heat are rallying around his absence and have posted a 4-2 record since the All-Star break.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (35-24); down 1 spot – Marc Gasol will miss the rest of the year with a foot injury. Hard to see the Grizzlies doing much better than this with Gasol missing.

10. Portland Trail Blazers (33-28); up 4 spots – There’s no question that Portland is the surprise team of the year after losing LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews in the offseason.

11. Atlanta Hawks (33-27); down 1 spot – Atlanta continues struggling to find last season’s magic. They still have 26 games to try and find it before the postseason.

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Hornets12. Charlotte Hornets (31-28); same spot – The Hornets are streaking up the standings now that their team is healthy. They could be even better as their chemistry improves with Al Jefferson back in the lineup.

13. Indiana Pacers (31-29); down 2 spots – Indiana looked like they had last night’s contest won against the Cavaliers. Then officials took away a late three by Paul George after determining that the shot clock had expired.

14. Dallas Mavericks (32-28); down 1 spot – The Mavericks were a bit of a surprise at the beginning of the season. But lately, they’ve cooled off and will need some good play just to stay in the postseason.

15. Detroit Pistons (31-29); up 3 spots – Detroit played terrible leading up to the All-Star break. But with four straight wins, they’re now looking like a dangerous low-seed playoff team.

16. Houston Rockets (29-31); same spot – Houston’s disappointing season leaves plenty of questions as we inch towards the offseason.

17. Chicago Bulls (30-29); down 2 spots – For the first time this season, Chicago is suddenly out of a playoff spot.

john-wall18. Washington Wizards (29-30); up 1 spot – Washington has used two wins over the Sixers and a victory over the LeBron-less Cavaliers to put themselves in the postseason hunt.

19. Utah Jazz (28-31); down 2 spots – Utah’s downfall this year has been their road play since they’re just 9-19 away from home.

20. Orlando Magic (26-32); same spot – Despite Orlando’s January/February collapse, this is still a young team that’s playing close to .500 basketball.

21. Milwaukee Bucks (25-35); up 4 spots – Interesting to hear that Dwight Howard “likes Milwaukee,” even though he wouldn’t opt into their trade due to contract extension reasons.

22. New Orleans Pelicans (23-35); up 2 spots – This has been a lost season for New Orleans, but at least they’re playing decent now.

23. New York Knicks (25-37); down 2 spots – The Knicks have gotten more attention for controversy than their play. The latest involves Carmelo Anthony and ex-Knick Amar’e Stoudemire.

24. Sacramento Kings (24-34); down 1 spot – Every time Sacramento shows some promise, they go on a losing streak; this time it’s three games.

danillo-gallinari25. Denver Nuggets (23-37); down 3 spots – Danilo Gallinari will unfortunately have to miss some time due to torn ligaments in his foot.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-41); same spot – Minnesota’s young nucleus still has a long way to go. But they’ve split their last 10 games and have shown some promise.

27. Brooklyn Nets (17-43); same spot – Joe Johnson is gone and Brooklyn is officially on their way to a rebuild.

28. Phoenix Suns (15-45); same spot – Only the Sixers have a worse road record than the Suns this season (4-29).

29. L.A. Lakers (11-49); same spot – Kobe Bryant probably wishes his last season was over right now in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (8-52); same spot – Philadelphia is still hunting for that ninth win that will at least tie them for the worst record ever.

NBA Power Rankings: Feb 13, 2016

gregg-popovich-lebronWe’ve hit the All-Star break, and there are 30 games left in the season. Golden State has a pretty firm grasp on the league’s top record (48-4), so it won’t be a surprise if they eventually lock up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s also no surprise that they once again top our power rankings just over halfway through the season. See where everybody else ranks below, and here are last week’s power rankings.

1. Golden State Warriors (48-4); same spot – The only question now remains if the Warriors will beat the ’96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season mark of 73-9. Golden State is on pace to accomplish the feat.

2. San Antonio Spurs (45-8); same spot – LeBron James recently said that he wishes he could spend lots of time around Gregg Popovich. It’s little wonder why when you consider how Popovich just seems to win every year.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-14); same spot – OKC may not catch either San Antonio or Golden State before the year is over. But they definitely can’t be overlooked once the postseason starts.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-14); same spotCleveland Cavs trade rumors are a daily story right now. Ben McLemore, Trevor Ariza and Kyle Korver are all reported targets of the Cavaliers.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks5. Toronto Raptors (35-17); same spot – Raptors stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan get to stick around their home city for the All-Star game. Then it’s back to work trying to catch Cleveland in the East.

6. Boston Celtics (32-23); up 2 spots – Boston continues to surge up the standings, with big wins over the Clippers and Cavs. Now rumors have them thinking about Al Horford in the trade market.

7. LA Clippers (35-18); down 1 spot – L.A. still remains in the upper echelon of the league while Blake Griffin sits. Unfortunately, Griffin will sit four games longer after he’s healed due to a suspension.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (31-22); down 1 spot – Memphis has a tough game coming up in Toronto on the 21st of this month.

9. Atlanta Hawks (31-24); up 1 spot – The Hawks may be talking about taking their team apart, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning.

10. Miami Heat (29-24); down 1 spot – Miami goes into the break with a two-game losing streak, but they have a chance to make up for it by playing Atlanta after the break.

11. Dallas Mavericks (29-26); up 1 spot – The Mavericks can boost their record with games against the Magic and 76ers coming out of the break.

12. Indiana Pacers (28-25); up 1 spot – Now a healthy team, perhaps Indiana can climb back up the Eastern Conference standings.

michael-kidd-gilchrist13. Charlotte Hornets (27-26); up 4 spots – The Hornets are playing their best basketball of the season and once again resembling the playoff team they looked like in November and December.

14. Chicago Bulls (27-25); down 3 spots – Chicago is playing worse than any legitimate playoff team right now with four straight losses.

15. Utah Jazz (26-26); up 1 spot – Much like their location, the Utah Jazz aren’t a flashy team. However, they have good chemistry and continue holding down a playoff seed.

16. Portland Trailblazers (25-27); up 3 spots – The Trail Blazers have played a couple more games than most teams, which lightens their load in the second half of the season.

17. Detroit Pistons (27-28); down 3 spots – Detroit definitely has the talent to win, but they haven’t found a way to put together consistent play for long stretches.

18. Houston Rockets (27-28); down 3 spots – Houston is a team at a crossroads between deciding if they want to build around James Harden, or dismantle the team and get draft picks/young players in return.

john-wall-wizards19. Washington Wizards (23-28); down 1 spot – The Wizards have a pretty solid core, but injuries have kept them from putting things together.

20. Orlando Magic (23-29); same spot – Orlando has played solid against the West, but they’re just 13-19 against their own conference.

21. Denver Nuggets (22-32); up 2 spots – Emmanuel Mudiay has gradually gotten better now that he’s healthy.

22. New York Knicks (23-32); down 1 spot – The big rumor now is that Carmelo Anthony could be on his way to Cleveland. But we’ll believe it when we see it.

23. Sacramento Kings (22-31); down 1 spot – Once in the thick of the playoff hunt, Sacramento has gone just 2-8 in their last 10 games.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (22-32); same spot – Milwaukee has a nice young core, but they need veteran role players around this talent.

tyreke-evans-trade25. New Orleans Pelicans (20-33); same spot – The Pelicans got the bad news that Tyreke Evans will miss the rest of the season after knee surgery.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-37); same spot – Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine were undoubtedly the stars of the Rising Stars Challenge.

27. Brooklyn Nets (14-40); same spot – Joe Johnson reportedly isn’t interested in a contract buyout, so he’ll likely remain with Brooklyn until his deal ends.

28. Phoenix Suns (14-40); same spot – Phoenix currently owns the league’s longest losing streak at 9.

29. L.A. Lakers (11-44); same spot – Kobe Bryant gets one last chance to be in the All-Star game. Then it’s back to the dismal reality of playing his final season with one of the NBA’s worst team.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (8-45); same spot – The Sixers have a 6-16 record against the West, but they’re just 2-29 against their own conference.

NBA Power Rankings: Feb 8, 2016

golden-state-vs-okcGolden State proves that the rich keep getting richer as they’ve ripped off a 9-game win streak, extending their West lead over San Antonio to three and a half games. So it’s little surprise that they retain the top spot in our power rankings. See where everybody else ranks this week below, and take a look at last week’s rankings here.

1. Golden State Warriors (46-4); same spot – A 116-108 win over Oklahoma City further cements the Warriors’ firm grasp on the top spot. Aside from the occasional surprise loss, it’s hard to see anybody beating Golden State this year.

2. San Antonio Spurs (43-8); same spot – The Spurs have kept their perfect 28-0 home record intact, and they’re currently on a 4-game win streak.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (38-14); up 1 spot – Oklahoma City played Golden State better than any other top-tier team recently. They even tied the game at 104-104 late, before eventually succumbing to Steph Curry.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (36-14); down 1 spot – The Cavs got an easy win over an injury-riddled New Orleans team to take the sting out of their last-second loss to Boston.

5. Toronto Raptors (34-16); same spot – Toronto is truly a threat to take the top seed in the East from Cleveland. They square off again on February 26.

kevin-durant6. LA Clippers (34-17); same spot – Could the Clippers possibly deal Blake Griffin for Kevin Durrant? Rumors are swirling as the Clippers continue to win without Griffin on the floor.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (30-21); same spot – While the rest of the league is playing small ball, Memphis is proving that you can still win when playing big.

8. Boston Celtics (31-22); up 2 spots – The Celtics big road win over the Cavs proves that they’re a formidable foe in the Eastern Conference. You almost wonder if they’ll be better off avoiding any major trades this year.

9. Miami Heat (29-23); same spot – Hassan Whiteside’s emergence continues after a 10-point, 10-rebound, 10-block triple double against the Hornets. It makes you wonder why he only plays 28 minutes per game.

10. Atlanta Hawks (30-23); up 2 spots – Atlanta is another team stuck in the middle between making a big trade or making a serious playoff run.

11. Chicago Bulls (27-23); down 3 spots– Chicago is just 3-7 in their last 10 games and playing far lower than their talent level suggests. Could Fred Hoiberg be on the hot seat already if things get any worse?

12. Dallas Mavericks (29-25); down 1 spot – The Mavs had been flailing, with losses to the Hawks, Heat and Spurs. However, they got a big win over Memphis at the end of this gauntlet.

indiana-paul-george13. Indiana Pacers (27-24); same spot – The Pacers are finally healthy with George Best back and running the point. Now Paul George just needs to return to his early-season dominance.

14. Detroit Pistons (27-25); same spot – Detroit’s schedule has gotten much tougher lately, so there’s a good explanation for their recent lack of wins.

15. Houston Rockets (27-26); same spot – Houston has lost 4 out of their past 6, and now they have the unfortunate task of meeting the Warriors on Tuesday.

16. Utah Jazz (25-25); up 5 spots – The Jazz now own the second-longest winning streak in the league right now at 6. Of course, it helps that the Bulls are the only team they’ve played with a winning record in the last 6 contests.

17. Charlotte Hornets (23-25); same spot – Charlotte has been excellent in Time Warner Arena with an 18-9 record. If only they could improve on that 7-17 road mark…

18. Washington Wizards (22-27); down 2 spots – Washington is a rare team that plays far better on the road, sporting an 11-11 record away and an 11-16 record on their home floor.

damian-lillard-portland-trailblazers19. Portland Trailblazers (25-27); same spot – The Trail Blazers are the only West team within striking distance of Utah for the final playoff spot.

20. Orlando Magic (22-28); same spot – Orlando had a terrible month in January, and they’re just 2-8 in their last 10 contests. So they’ll look to put all this behind them as we move into February.

21. New York Knicks (23-31); down 3 spots – The Knicks fired Derek Fisher, which may be a good move considering that their talented roster is just 1-9 in their last 10 games.

22. Sacramento Kings (21-30); same spot – New York isn’t the only team that could be firing their coach. George Karl is on the hot seat once again amid the Kings’ 3-game losing streak.

23. Denver Nuggets (21-31); up 2 spots – Despite being far less talented than many teams in the league, Denver has played respectable as of late.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (20-32); down 1 spot – Milwaukee has really taken a step back this season, and things aren’t getting any better after the team has lost five straight games.

25. New Orleans Pelicans (18-32); down 1 spot – Any chance of making a run for the final postseason spot appears to be slipping away from the Pelicans. Of course, they can’t be blamed with all their injuries this season.

NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder26. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-36); same spot – Minnesota won just two games in January. They’ve already matched that total in Feb. with big victories over the Bulls and Clippers.

27. Brooklyn Nets (13-39); up 1 spot – As if Brooklyn doesn’t already have enough problems, they are also dealing with some pretty terrible TV ratings too.

28. Phoenix Suns (14-38); down 1 spot – Earl Watson stepped into an impossible situation in Phoenix – an injury plagued team that hasn’t won much in the last two months.

29. L.A. Lakers (11-42); same spot – It’s been nice seeing Kobe Bryant looking like his old self over the past week. He’s averaging over 28 points a game in his last four contests, with two of these being wins.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (8-43); same spot – If nothing else, the Sixers are proving that they may be better than other league doormats after wins over Phoenix and Brooklyn in the last six games.

NBA Power Rankings: Jan 31, 2016

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas MavericksThe biggest matchup from this past week involved the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the San Antonio Spurs. Cleveland, which recently underwent controversy after firing David Blatt, proved they can play with the league’s elite by knocking off San Antonio 117-103. See if this affects our NBA power rankings this week, and check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Golden State Warriors (44-4); same spot – Golden State doesn’t always need Steph Curry to be on. The Warriors blew out the Knicks thanks to 34 points from Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’s triple-double.

2. San Antonio Spurs (39-8); same spot – The Spurs were easily handled by Golden State and Cleveland last week. But they were also on the road both times without Tim Duncan.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (34-12); up 1 spot – Kevin Love is playing miles better and the Cavs crushed San Antonio. The players (notably LeBron James) are responding really well to new coach Tyronn Lue.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (36-13); down 1 spot – The Thunder should be fired up when they play Golden State on Feb.6 since Steph Curry guaranteed a victory over them.

5. Toronto Raptors (32-15); same spot – Cleveland is no longer a shoo-in to win the East, especially with the Raptors riding an 11-game winning streak.

blake-griffin-clippers6. LA Clippers (32-16); same spot – The Clippers’ outstanding play without Blake Griffin has been overshadowed by the latter punching an equipment manager. Griffin will be out another 4-6 weeks – will he also serve a suspension on top of that?

7. Memphis Grizzlies (28-20); up 1 spot – Memphis continues quietly climbing the standings and our power rankings after putting together an excellent January.

8. Chicago Bulls (26-20); up 1 spot – First Jimmy Butler called the Bulls soft, now we have Pau Gasol saying the team lacks discipline. But through it all, Chicago keeps winning thanks to their high talent level.

9. Miami Heat (27-21); up 6 spots – Last week, the Heat were hanging onto the East’s last playoff slot. This week, thanks to a 4-game win streak, they’re now holding the fourth seed.

10. Boston Celtics (27-22); up 1 spot – The Celtics are showing tremendous improvement under coach Brad Stevens. Don’t be surprised if they get first-round home-court advantage before the regular seasons ends.

11. Dallas Mavericks (28-22); up 2 spots – Will this be another Dallas-like season? In other words, a solid regular-season record coupled with a quick first-round playoff exit?

12. Atlanta Hawks (27-22); down 5 spots – Atlanta might not be playing as well as last year. But is it really time to start trading away their star players already?

paul-george-pacers13. Indiana Pacers (25-22); down 1 spot – Indiana faces the Cavs tomorrow night on their home floor. They’ll need a huge game from Paul George to pull this one off.

14. Detroit Pistons (25-23); down 4 spots – Detroit just can’t seem to string together consistent play, and it all begins with their limited bench.

15. Houston Rockets (25-25); down 1 spot – The Rockets are victims of a three-game losing streak, but two of these losses were to OKC and the Spurs, and they dropped a 1-point contest against Washington.

16. Washington Wizards (21-24); same spot – Washington snapped a three-game losing streak against Houston. They face the ultimate test against Golden State on Wednesday.

17. Charlotte Hornets (23-25); up 2 spots – Charlotte has Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back and they’re looking like a new team. But are they a playoff team?

18. New York Knicks (23-27); down 1 spot – The Knicks just can’t seem to get over the hump whenever they get close to .500.

19. Portland Trailblazers (23-26); up 2 spots – Portland has now won four straight games to take over the West’s eighth seed. But it won’t be easy holding it with Sacramento and Utah closely trailing.

20. Orlando Magic (21-25); same spot – The road has been Orlando’s Achilles’ heel since they’re only 8-14 away from Amway Center.

21. Utah Jazz (21-25); up 1 spot – Utah is winners of three of their last four games. But now they go on an East-Coast road trip that will really test them.

22. Sacramento Kings (20-27); down 5 spots – The West has been unkind to Sacramento since they’re just 10-20 against their own conference.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (20-29); same spot – Looking at the talent and depth that Milwaukee has, it’s hard to see how they’re sitting at 9 games below .500.

anthony-davis-vs-pistons24. New Orleans Pelicans (18-28); up 1 spot – This is a regression from last season, but at least Anthony Davis still looks like a franchise savior – he just needs the right supporting cast.

25. Denver Nuggets (18-30); down 1 spot – Denver has had major trouble holding home court, going just 9-15 at Pepsi Center.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35); same spot – After going 2-14 in January, Minnesota probably can’t wait for a new month to begin.

27. Phoenix Suns (14-35); same spot – Despite facing an impossible situation due to injuries and his assistants being fired, Jeff Hornacek himself was fired this week.

28. Brooklyn Nets (12-36); same spot – Brooklyn could unfortunately be in for plenty of seasons like this in the future since they traded away so many first-round picks.

29. L.A. Lakers (9-41); same spot – The Lakers have hit a new low after dropping 10 straight games. They are now flirting with the league’s worst record.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (7-41); same spot – Philadelphia gave the Warriors a definite scare last night, proving just how far they’ve come with Ish Smith now at point guard.

NBA Power Rankings: Jan 23, 2016

tyronn-lue-cavs-coachThe big news this week is definitely the Cleveland Cavaliers decision to fire head coach David Blatt. Cleveland is leading the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record, but apparently they felt it was time to shake things up. See how this coaching change affects our latest NBA power rankings.

1. Golden State Warriors (40-4); same spot – After a surprising 18-point loss to the Detroit Pistons, Golden State beat Cleveland by 34, Chicago by 31 and the Pacers by 12.

2. San Antonio Spurs (38-6); same spot – Like Golden State, San Antonio is also on pace for 70+ wins, thanks in large part to their recent 13-game win streak.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-12); up 1 spot – OKC has taken care of business against a soft recent schedule, winning seven straight. There’s more good news in the fact that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the only two All-Star starters from the same team.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (30-11); down 1 spot – Can Tyronn Lue integrate Kevin Love’s wide range of skills into the offense, which Blatt failed to do? He must if Cleveland is to win a title.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks5. Toronto Raptors (28-15); up 1 spot – DeMar DeRozan is on fire lately, scoring 30+ points in three straight games for the Raptors.

6. LA Clippers (28-15); down 1 spot – Blake Griffin still isn’t ready to play after missing 13 games. So L.A. will have to remain in the hunt for a top West seed without him for a little longer.

7. Atlanta Hawks (26-18); up 2 spots – Atlanta may be 11 games off the blistering start they had last year, but they’re still #3 in the East right now.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (25-19); up 4 spots – Expect Memphis to keep climbing the standings and our power rankings. They’re on a 4-game win streak and their next six opponents are all below .500.

9. Chicago Bulls (24-18); down 2 spots – Things are not going so great in Chicago right now. Even star player Jimmy Butler agrees with the assessment that the Bulls are soft.

10. Detroit Pistons (23-20); up 3 spots – Detroit recently became one of the rare teams to beat Golden State this year. But their bench has to be more consistent if they’re to become an elite team.

11. Boston Celtics (23-20); up 3 spots – Boston gets an opportunity to pump up their record with six straight opponents with below-500 records.

paul-george-pacers12. Indiana Pacers (23-20); down 1 spot – Paul George has fallen off his torrid early season pace. But Indiana is also struggling lately due to injuries and cold shooting.

13. Dallas Mavericks (25-20); same spot – Injuries and two losses to the Thunder have hit Dallas hard over the last week.

14. Houston Rockets (23-22); up 1 spot – Houston still continues to struggle compared to their 56 wins last season. But the recent Josh Smith trade could definitely help them.

15. Miami Heat (23-21); down 7 spots – The Heat have went from the biggest Eastern Conference threat to Cleveland, to merely hanging onto the eighth seed.

16. Washington Wizards (20-21); up 1 spot – With Bradley Beal back in the lineup, Washington is averaging 112 points per 100 possessions and looking like a playoff team.

17. Sacramento Kings (19-23); up 3 spots – DeMarcus Cousins has yet to play in the postseason in his 5-year career. But a current 4-game win streak has Sacramento qualified with the #8 seed.

18. New York Knicks (22-23); same spot – New York has been given plenty of praise this year, but they need to make a breakthrough eventually to warrant the compliments.

michael-kidd-gilchrist19. Charlotte Hornets (18-21); same spot – Charlotte could really use Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returning from a shoulder injury to boost their porous defense.

20. Orlando Magic (20-23); down 4 spots – The Magic will be happy when January is over with. They’re just 1-9 since the New Year started.

21. Portland Trailblazers (19-26); up 1 spot – The Blazers are guard heavy and rely on lots of outside shooting, which has led to some very inconsistent play during the season.

22. Utah Jazz (18-24); down 1 spot – If the Jazz are going to beat out Portland and Sacramento for the West’s final playoff seed, they have to improve their 1-4 mark against these two squads.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (19-26); up 1 spot – Trade rumors continue swirling around Greg Monroe, who typically drags down the defense when he’s on the floor.

24. Denver Nuggets (16-27); down 1 spot – Emmanuel Mudiay is shooting historically bad, connecting on just 32.1% of his shots this season.

25. New Orleans Pelicans (15-27); same spot – New Orleans may have had a terrible start, but they’re still just 4 games out of a postseason spot.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-31); up 1 spot – The playoffs are definitely out of the question after a terrible December/January stretch. But at least Minnesota can start developing their young talent now.

27. Phoenix Suns (13-31); down 1 spot – The Suns are on yet another losing streak, dropping six in a row.

28. Brooklyn Nets (11-33); same spot – Brooklyn tried to cobble together a cheap bench to stay under the luxury tax line – and they’re really paying for it this year.

29. L.A. Lakers (9-36); same spot – Perhaps the only highlight from this season will be Kobe Bryant getting one last All-Star game start.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (6-38); same spot – Winners of 2 of their last 3, Philadelphia could be a respectable team over the final half of the season.

NBA Power Rankings: Jan 16, 2016

spurs-vs-cavsThe game of the week was definitely the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs, with the latter taking a 99-95 victory on their home court. But is this enough to push the Spurs past the Golden State Warriors in our latest NBA power rankings? Take a look for yourself below.

1. Golden State Warriors (37-3); same spot – The Warriors may have lost to the Nuggets the other night, but they’ve also been dealing with injuries and resting Draymond Green for two games.

2. San Antonio Spurs (35-6); same spot – San Antonio is now riding a 10-game win streak and holds a 23-0 home mark. The gap between the Spurs and Warriors is closing.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (28-10); same spot – Despite the loss to the Spurs, Cleveland comes away from their 6-game road trip with a 5-1 record.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (29-12); same spot – Oklahoma recently lost to Sacramento at home, but the asterisk here is that Kevin Durant sat with a sprained toe.

5. LA Clippers (26-13); up 2 spots – Like San Antonio, L.A. is also on a 10-game win streak, and they’re looking like a serious West contender again.

demarre-carroll-raptors6. Toronto Raptors (25-15); up 2 spots – Toronto’s revamped, defensive-minded team seems to be paying dividends right now.

7. Chicago Bulls (23-16); down 2 spots – Fresh off a 53-point outing, Jimmy Butler is all that’s keeping this shaky Chicago team together while they deal with chemistry issues.

8. Miami Heat (23-17); down 2 spots – Hassan Whiteside certainly impressed with his 19-point, 17-rebound, 11-block triple-double against the Nuggets.

9. Atlanta Hawks (23-17); same spot – This isn’t the same red-hot start that Atlanta had last season; but they are still hanging around the top of the East.

10. Dallas Mavericks (23-18); up 1 spot – After taking Cleveland to overtime, Dallas followed this up by holding Chicago to just 77 points in an 83-77 victory.

11. Indiana Pacers (22-18); down 1 spot – The Pacers have lost three of their last four and will look to get back on track at home against Denver.

12. Memphis Grizzlies (22-19); up 2 spots – Memphis edges Detroit out for this spot after beating the Pistons 103-101 on Thursday.

andre-drummond-detroit13. Detroit Pistons (21-18); down 1 spot – Andre Drummond just got passed by Carmelo Anthony in the All-Star voting, but he should be assured a spot anyways.

14. Boston Celtics (21-19); up 1 spot – Boston has been pretty good on the road (10-9) this season, but pretty bad in close games, going 0-5 in contests decided by 3 or fewer points.

15. Houston Rockets (21-20); up 2 spots – Houston has played better lately, but they looked lifeless against the Cavaliers last night.

16. Orlando Magic (20-19); down 3 spots – The Magic have really been getting beat up in the Southeast Division, going 1-6 against their division this year.

17. Washington Wizards (19-19); up 2 spots – Washington is finally getting healthy, and it’s resulted in a 4-game win streak.

18. New York Knicks (20-21); down 2 spots – New York keeps flirting with playoff positioning, but they just haven’t been able to get over the hump.

19. Charlotte Hornets (18-21); down 1 spot – Charlotte is just 2-8 in their last 10 games and is fading from the postseason picture.

demarcus-cousins-trade-120. Sacramento Kings (16-23); same spot – Thursday, the Kings bettered their playoff hopes with a 103-101 victory in Utah.

21. Utah Jazz (17-22); same spot – Utah has fared much better against the East (8-5) than they have against their own conference (9-17).

22. Portland Trailblazers (18-24); same spot – Portland is another West team battling for the last playoff spot, and they’ve gotten to this position with a 3-game win streak.

23. Denver Nuggets (15-25); up 1 spot – Don’t count the Nuggets out just yet. They have Emmanuel Mudiay and SF Danilo Gallinari back from ankle injuries.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (17-25); down 1 spot – Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 28 points and 16 boards to help Milwaukee take down Atlanta 108-101 last night.

25. New Orleans Pelicans (13-26); same spot – New Orleans schedule is getting easier, but is it too late for them to make a playoff push?

26. Phoenix Suns (13-28); up 1 spot – Phoenix finally halted their lengthy losing streak with a win over Charlotte.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-29); down 1 spot – Losers of 9 straight, Minnesota’s young lineup is definitely going through growing paints right now.

28. Brooklyn Nets (11-29); same spot – Will Brooklyn ownership give up their delusions of competing for a title in the near future? If so, they should start trading away their veteran assets now.

29. L.A. Lakers (9-32) – There’s been talk that Kobe Bryant should be shut down this season, but we doubt he’s on board with this during his retirement tour.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (4-37) – Philadelphia has lost their last four games, but they are at least competitive in most contests now, thanks to new PG Ish Smith.