NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Manu Ginobili
The Spurs haven’t won the whole shebang since 2007. Credit: Getty Images

1. San Antonio Spurs (62-19, Previous 1) – Fitting that the Spurs close out the regular season as our No. 1. They’ll finish with the best record in the NBA, but they’ll continue to be known as the New England Patriots of basketball if they can’t bring the title back to San Antonio this June. Like the Pats, the Spurs owned the early 2000s in terms of championships, but since that time they have been exceedingly average in the postseason.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (58-23, Previous 2) – Here’s hoping OKC and the Clippers meet at some point this spring. Their matchup last week was outstanding as the Clips made a late rally but a late dunk by Russell Westbrook and a 3-pointer by Kevin Durant allowed the Thunder to escape Staples Center with a 107-101 victory.

3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-24, Previous: 3) – In April, the Clippers have lost to the Mavericks and Thunder but have beaten the Suns, Lakers and Kings. What will this mean when the playoffs open later this week? Absolutely nothing. With the Warriors reeling, LA could very well see the Mavs or Grizzlies in the first round.

4. Portland Trail Blazers (53-28, Previous: 7) - It seems as though the Blazers are back on track after a sluggish March. They have won four in a row – the longest win streak in the league right now – and already know that they’ll face Houston in the first round. The Rockets will have home court advantage, however.

5. Houston Rockets (54-27, Previous: 5) – The Rockets did not mess around Monday night with a chance to secure home court advantage for their upcoming series against Portland. They beat the Spurs, 104-98, and not only locked up a home date this weekend but sent a message to the West by having swept the season series against San Antonio.

6. Miami Heat (54-27, Previous: 4) – Miami had been focusing on one game for weeks, last Friday’s matchup against the Pacers. LeBron was dominant, scoring 36 points, and the Heat beat Indiana, 98-86. The Pacers will get the top seed in the East, but it’s clear as to which team is in the driver’s seat.

7. Indiana Pacers (55-26, Previous: 6) – The Pacers received way too much press way too soon, it seems, and Frank Vogel now looks more like the overwhelmed video coordinator he used to be than any sort of coach of the year candidate. Indiana has gone 9-13 in their last 24 games and who’s to say that the 37-44 Atlanta Hawks won’t give them a run for their money in the first round?

8. Golden State Warriors (50-31, Previous: 8) – It’s been a rough month if you’re a fan of Warriors. The famed wrestler, Ultimate Warrior, passed away. Golden State center Andrew Bogut fractured a rib and could miss the entire postseason. That means a lot more Jermaine O’Neal in the postseason for head coach Mark Jackson.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (49-32, Previous: 13) – The Grizzlies are in the playoffs and did so the old fashioned way by earning it with a 97-91 road victory over the Suns Monday. Fifteen lead changes took place in the fourth quarter of the intense game in Phoenix but Zach Randolph and Mike Conley came up huge in the clutch for Memphis.

10. Dallas Mavericks (49-32, Previous: 12) – Remember 2007, when the Mavs were the big dogs being upset by the nippy Warriors? There’s the distinct chance that Dallas could be the ones knocking off the big guns in the West this spring. If Monta Ellis stays hot, this team can beat anyone on any night.

11. Toronto Raptors (48-33, Previous: 11) – There is only one Canadian team in this year’s NHL playoffs, so sports fans up North are shifting their attention to the hardwood. Seriously. The Raptors have the most expensive average playoff ticket in the NBA this postseason, at $370, according to Forbes. That’s ahead of the big market Clippers and Nets.


12. Chicago Bulls (48-33, Previous: 10) – The Bulls and Suns were the feel-good stories of the NBA regular season. In the end, Phoenix didn’t make the postseason. In the end, Chicago will likely run out of gas. When you’re relying on the likes of D.J. Augustin, Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy, chickens eventually come home to roost.

13. Brooklyn Nets (44-36, Previous: 14) – It’s no secret that Brooklyn is surging as they have the second best record in the East since the All-Star break. But the Nets certainly work for their wins. Nearly all of their victories are nail-biters and for them to stay in playoff games against elite teams, will Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett be able to hold up when they see their minutes increase?

14. Washington Wizards (43-38, Previous: 15) – We just saw how important guard play was in basketball tournaments as UConn rode Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright to a title. Does this translate to the pros? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better backcourt in this year’s postseason than John Wall and Bradley Beal.

15. Charlotte Bobcats (42-39, Previous: 16) – Charlotte is 8-2 over its last 10 games. Al Jefferson has been a solid presence inside and like John Wall on the Wizards, Kemba Walker has looked special at times this season. It probably won’t be enough to make it to the semi-finals of the East playoffs, but those in the Queen City can dream.

16. Phoenix Suns (47-34, Previous: 9) – The fun is over in Phoenix and now the Suns are J.A.L.T. (Just Another Lottery Team). Yes, if they played in the East they would likely be getting ready to host a Game 1 playoff game. But that’s not how the NBA works as of 2014. Will Adam Silver blow up the ancient format? There’s been some buzz about it.

17. Atlanta Hawks (37-44, Previous: 20) – Atlanta is under .500 but they could – really, seriously, NOT KIDDING – give the Pacers a series in the first round. They beat the Pacers 107-88 just 10 days ago in Indiana and the Pacers weren’t exactly in coast mode at the time.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (40-41, Previous: 18) – Kevin Love this, Kevin Love that. Let’s focus on the positives. We now live in a world where Corey Brewer authored a 50-point game in the NBA.

19. Denver Nuggets (36-44, Previous: 19) – You think Phil Jackson would take Brian Shaw off of Denver’s hands?

20. New York Knicks (35-45, Previous: 17) – You think Phil Jackson would take Brian Shaw off of Denver’s hands?

Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.