NBA Power Rankings: No one can beat the Heat
Records through March 3
1. Miami Heat (43-14, previous No. 2) – A 14-game winning streak. Is that good? Nope. It’s freaking awesome – and so are the Heat right now. They haven’t lost in over a month!
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-16, previous No. 3) – A tough loss in Denver was followed up by a big win against the Clippers to lock the Thunder in at the No. 2 spot this week. Miami No. 1, OKC No. 2 – not much has changed since last year.
3. San Antonio Spurs (47-14, previous No. 1) - Tony Parker (ankle) will be down for about a month. He’s been the reason the Spurs have overcome injuries. Can they pay him back the favor?
4. Los Angeles Clippers (43-19, previous No. 4) – Still one of the deepest teams in the NBA, which will be huge for them in the postseason – especially if they eventually meet that always-banged-up Spurs team.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (39-19 previous No. 5) – The second hottest team in the league behind the Heat has gone 9-1 in their last 10 games losing to just – you guessed it – the Heat. An OKC-Memphis second round sounds exciting. Then again, so does a Memphis-Denver first round.
6. Indiana Pacers (38-22, previous No. 6) – The last game the Heat lost was against the Pacers, and the two will play again – this time in Miami – on Sunday. We’ll learn a lot about the Pacers here.
7. DenverNuggets (38-22, previous No. 7) - Say what you want about the Nuggets’ lack of star power, by Ty Lawson is averaging 23.1 points and 7.6 assists over his last 10 games – including a game-winner to beat the Thunder last Friday.
8. New York Knicks (35-21, previous No. 11) – The Knicks posted 37 points in the second quarter against the Heat on Sunday, but just 34 points combined in the third and fourth. They move up the ranks this week by default.
9. Atlanta Hawks (33-25, previous No. 12) - Going into Monday night, the Hawks were ranked No. 4 in the Eastern Conference, but they were just two games from falling to No. 7. Do they have what it takes to hold on?
10. Chicago Bulls (34-26, previous No. 10) – Joakim Noah looks like a man amongst boys out there as of late, but the Bulls are playing below-.500 basketball since late January.
11. Brooklyn Nets (34-26, previous No. 9) – Hopefully Jay-Z is too busy planning his summer stadium tour with Justin Timberlake to notice his team has lost four of its last five games.
12. Houston Rockets (33-28, previous No. 13) – What does a No. 1 ranked offense and a No. 29 ranked defense get you? Fun basketball games. Give it up for . . . Chandler Parsons?
13. Boston Celtics (31-27, previous No. 14) – Four games in six days for the C’s, including a back-to-back on the road. They could easily go 4-0, or 0-4. That’s been the theme for the majority of the year.
14. Golden State Warriors (33-27, previous No. 8) – The Warriors have two big problems. They don’t play much defense and they can’t win on the road. That spells early playoff exit.
15. Utah Jazz (32-27, previous No. 15) - The good news: The Jazz are 22-8 at home. The bad news: Five of their next six are on the road, where they’ve gone 10-19.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (29-28, previous No. 16) – As it stands now, the Bucks would play the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Imagine if they w- nah, never mind.
17. Los Angeles Lakers (30-30, previous No. 17) - It might sound crazy, but with the Warriors, Jazz, and Rockets currently ahead of L.A., the No. 6 seed is still possible.
18. Dallas Mavericks (26-33, previous No. 19) – Mark Cuban claims to have this new CBA thing down. Mavericks fans have no choice but to hope he’s right.
19. Portland Trail Blazers (27-31, previous No. 20) – It’s starting to hit the fans in Portand that the playoffs probably aren’t coming there this season.
20. Toronto Raptors (23-37 previous No. 18) - It was looking good for Toronto for a few days anyways, but losing five of six will snap everybody back to reality.
Follow Metro sports writer Jimmy Toscano @Jimmy_Toscano