The last week was a rough one for the NBA, with stars ranging from Boogie Cousins to John Wall to Kevin Love being lost either for the season or at least a couple of months. WEEI.com’s Power Rankings, compiled by Danny Dragin, reflect the tumult (previous rank in parentheses, followed by record).
1. Golden State Warriors (1): 40-11
Steph Curry had a wild 49-point game against the Celtics on Saturday night but the Dubs were demolished by the Jazz on Tuesday by 30 points, earning a rare rebuke from head coach Steve Kerr for playing “disgusting basketball.”
2. Houston Rockets (2): 37-13
James Harden became part of NBA history as the first player to record a 60-point triple-double. He’s the first player to score exactly 60 since Kobe Bryant’s finale, though Devin Booker went for 70 against the Celtics last year.
3. Boston Celtics (3): 37-15
The Celtics played one of their best games of the year in a loss to the Warriors on Saturday. Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, but was outdone by Curry’s 49. A big reason could be the absence of Marcus Smart, who is recovering from lacerations on his hand from “swiping at a picture.” Terry Rozier then became the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first career start in a blowout of the Knicks.
4. Toronto Raptors (5): 34-16
The Raptors were able to beat Minnesota on the back of DeMar DeRozan, and they’re breathing down the neck of the Celtics. The Raptors lost to the John Wall-less Wizards, which may not be a good sign for the playoffs.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (4): 30-22
Russell Westbrook stared down Joel Embiid as the clock counted down in the Thunder’s win against the 76ers. The feud between these two teams continues to be one of the most entertaining subplots of this season. The Thunder then lost to the Nuggets at the buzzer on Thursday.
6. San Antonio Spurs (6): 34-20
The absence of Kawhi Leonard is still clearly very prevalent within the Spurs locker room, but Pop and LaMarcus Aldridge continue to keep them in contention as they wait.
7. Portland Trail Blazers (8): 29-22
The Trail Blazers are riding the coattails of newly named All-Star Damian Lillard during a four-game winning streak. The Trail Blazers also saw a glimpse of C.J. McCollum’s genius when he scored 50 points in 29 minutes against the Bulls.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves (7): 33-22
The Timberwolves continue to stay extremely inconsistent by losing to both the Hawks and Raptors. They did manage to beat the Bucks this week on the back of Jimmy Butler, who had 28 points.
9. Milwaukee Bucks (12): 27-23
Jabari Parker looks like he should be making his long-awaited return on Friday against the Knicks. Parker will add post play and mid-range scoring that the Bucks desperately need if they want to make any type of noise in the postseason.
10. Denver Nuggets (14): 27-25
The Nuggets had everyone contributing in their game against the Celtics. Nikola Jokic had 24 points but it wasn’t quite enough in a one-point loss. They did pull off an unbelievable upset against the Thunder on Gary Harris’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
11. Miami Heat (11): 29-22
The Loss of Dion Waiters was not as crucial as everyone seems to have thought. The Heat remain extremely consistent, beating teams they should beat and staying competitive right up until the end with teams that are much better.
12. Indiana Pacers (10): 29-23
Every single year that Victor Oladipo has been in this league he has been surrounded by trade rumors and that is happening once again. He’s having an All-Star season, but the Pacers still don’t look at him as a player to build around. He’d look awfully nice as a complementary piece on a contender, however.
13. Cleveland Cavaliers (15): 30-20
The Cavs continue to struggle and the loss of Kevin Love to a broken hand will absolutely make a significant impact. Whether that impact is positive or negative we will have to see. The smart thing the Cavs could do now is try to send the Brooklyn pick and other players to the Clippers to acquire both Avery Bradley and DeAndre Jordan. They need a big man and they need defense, and you know Avery Bradley already has some good chemistry with a couple players on the Cavs roster.
14. Philadelphia 76ers (13): 24-24
The Sixers and Thunder rivalry is amongst one of the most entertaining feuds in the NBA right now. The Thunder got the best of them in their last meeting, and since then they’ve lost to the Bucks and the Nets.
15. New Orleans Pelicans (9): 27-23
Brutal week for New Orleans. The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the season, which could be catastrophic, but then they went out and traded Omer Asik, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson, and a first-round pick so they could acquire Nikola Mirotic from the Bulls.
16. Washington Wizards (16): 29-22
The Wizards found out this week that they would be without John Wall for six to eight weeks due to knee surgery. They already managed to beat the Thunder in his absence.
17. Detroit Pistons (18): 24-26
The Pistons could have the best frontcourt in the NBA with the acquisition of Blake Griffin. They are losing a lot on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball without Bradley and Harris. Griffin had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in his Pistons debut vs. the Grizzlies.
18. Utah Jazz (21): 22-28
The Jazz put on an absolute show the other night, killing the Warriors 129-99 while they were at full strength. They had huge games from Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell (20 points each), as well as point guard Ricky Rubio.
19. Brooklyn Nets (23): 19-33
The return of D’Angelo Russell has proven to be only helpful to the Nets as they also try to work Jahlil Okafor in so he can become a key piece to the franchise. They managed to beat the 76ers but lost to the Raptors and Knicks.
20. Charlotte Hornets (19): 21-29
With all these trades going on in the NBA and the fact that Michael Jordan said he would entertain potential trades for Kemba Walker, this could be the end of Kemba in Charlotte.
21. New York Knicks (20): 23-29
Nobody showed up to play the against the Celtics in a woeful 30-point loss, and New York’s season appears to be headed south.
22. Los Angeles Clippers (17): 25-25
The Clippers we once knew are no more and the rebuilding process looks like it’s just getting started. The Clips made some huge noise trading away Griffin. Next on the block: Jordan and Lou Williams.
23. Los Angeles Lakers (22): 19-31
The Lakers lost to both the Magic and the Raptors, proving that the absence of Lonzo Ball makes a difference.
24. Phoenix Suns (24): 18-34
Phoenix just released Greg Monroe after acquiring him from the Bucks for disgruntled guard Eric Bledsoe. Devin Booker was tossed from a game for getting into it with Enes Kanter when they faced the Knicks.
25. Sacramento Kings (29): 16-34
The Cavs could soon be picking this carcass for scraps like guard George Hill.
26. Chicago Bulls (30): 18-33
Chicago has lost its last five games, and also traded one of its best players, Nikola Mirotic.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (27): 18-33
Tyreke Evans has been a name dominating NBA trade talks and many teams think he can help with scoring off the bench. The loss of Mike Conley has also proven to be a sign of the times.
28. Atlanta Hawks (28): 15-36
The Hawks are only a couple of years removed from being the No. 1 seed in the East. Now they’re pointless.
29. Orlando Magic (25): 15-35
The Magic remain stagnant this week, losing to the Rockets and beating the Lakers.
30. Dallas Mavericks (26): 16-36
The cliff for Dirk Nowitzki looks closer and closer every time they get on the floor. Dallas is definitely a team that is ready for a rebuild and Dennis Smith Jr. looks like he’ll be a good piece to build around.
Full article @ NBA Power Rankings: Wild week of injuries shakes things up
Source: GreenStreet Blog