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.