NBA Power Rankings: Mavericks, Suns, Bulls climb; Thunder still at the top

Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs have won five games straight. Credit: Getty Images

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (41-12, Previous: 1) - The Thunder had lost their last two road games heading into Tuesday night’s game in Portland. The good news for the Thunder? Kevin Durant is averaging 38.7 points per game in three games against Portland this season.

2. Indiana Pacers (40-11, Previous: 2) – The Pacers have had five different high scorers in their last six games (5-1). If that doesn’t show you just how deep and talented this team is, nothing will.

3. Los Angeles Clippers (36-18, Previous: 3) - The Clippers went 12-6 without All-Star point guard Chris Paul, and now that he’s back they have to be feeling really good about themselves heading into the All-Star break.

4. Houston Rockets (35-17, Previous: 4) - Six straight wins for the Rockets, who are now rolling. Tough five-game road trip to come post-All-Star break, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.

5. Portland Trailblazers (36-15, Previous: 5) - There will be no “break” for Damian Lillard, who will participate in every single All-Star Weekend event (not to mention all the parties). It’s cool for NBA fans, but is it a good idea for him and the Blazers?

6. Miami Heat (35-14, Previous: 6) - LeBron James held his own dunk contest after practice on Monday. That’s his very LeBron way of saying he’s the best dunker in the NBA, even though he won’t participate the Dunk Contest. Grrrrr.

7. San Antonio Spurs (37-15 Previous: 7) - Are they strong enough to take down the best? Or will they be buyers at the trade deadline? A deal before the deadline may be in order if they want to last.

8. Golden State Warriors (31-21, Previous: 8) - It’ll be must-see TV for NBA junkies Wednesday night when the Heat head to ORACLE Arena. That said, neither team is playing their best basketball.

9. Phoenix Suns (30-20, Previous: 10) - There was a recent report that the Suns may be interested in Celtics forward Brandon Bass. Whether they acquire him or someone else, it’s cool to see what many thought to be a lottery team become buyers at the trade deadline.

10. Dallas Mavericks (31-21, Previous: 12) - The Mavs are doing everything in their power to hold on to a playoff spot. An impressive five-game winning streak keeps the Memphis Grizzlies on the outside looking in, and puts heat on the Warriors and Suns.

11. Memphis Grizzlies (27-23, Previous: 9) - The Grizzlies have hit a speed bump, having lost three of their last four games, including a crucial one to the Mavs, who sit one spot ahead of them in the standings.

12. Toronto Raptors (27-24, Previous: 13) – The Raptors have a tough decision to make – trade Kyle Lowry while his value his high and get pieces to help in future, or keep Lowry, fight for a playoff series win, and potentially lose him in free agency for nothing.

13. Atlanta Hawks (25-24, Previous: 11) - Uh oh. Three straight losses for the Hawks, and a tough back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bulls and Raptors. They could slide to below .500 at the break.

14. Washington Wizards (25-25, Previous: 14) - The Wiz have a tough road back-to-back before the All-Star break in Memphis and then Houston. The big question is whether or not they’ll add someone before the Feb. 20 deadline.


15. Chicago Bulls (25-25, Previous: 18) - Don’t tell Bulls fans their team is just a .500, mediocre squad. Chicago’s home games average 21,653 fans per night, which is tops in the NBA.

16. Brooklyn Nets (23-26, Previous: 16) - All the Nets can do is rest up over the All-Star break and come back ready to go to battle for the rest of the season. It won’t be easy.

17. Denver Nuggets (24-26, Previous: 15) - Another week, another injury. This time it’s to starting point guard Ty Lawson, who cracked a rib. It’s been one of those seasons for the Nuggets.

18. Detroit Pistons (22-29, Previous: 19) – Three weeks ago, we asked if Maurice Cheeks’ seat was getting hot. It looks like we got our answer. Detroit won its first game without him, 109-100, over the Spurs.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves (24-28, Previous: 17) - Kevin Love leads the league in double-doubles with 43. He’s going to make some other team an instant contender some day (sorry, Minnesota).

20. Charlotte Bobcats (22-29, Previous: 20) - The Bobcats would be smart to acquire some talent and make a run for that No. 6 position in the East. Otherwise, it’s a first round exit for sure.

21. New Orleans Pelicans (22-29, Previous: 22) – The big news out of New Orleans is that their mascot Pierre the Pelican – yes, that’s his name – is having reconstructive beak surgery. Are we all 12-years-old?

22. New York Knicks (20-31, Previous: 21) - Maurice Cheeks got the boot. One would think Mike Woodson could be next head coach to go if the Knicks don’t magically turn things around here.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-33, Previous: 23) - Honestly, the Cavs don’t deserve another top pick in the NBA Draft. They don’t deserve the playoffs either. We banish them to mediocrity!

24. Boston Celtics (19-34, Previous: 25) - The Celtics have already doubled the wins in February (four) that they had in January (two). Hey, if Marcus Smart loses his cool one more time, maybe he’ll fall to them in the draft.

25. Utah Jazz (17-33, Previous: 24) - The Jazz beat the Heat for the third straight time in Utah. With games against the Lakers and Sixers, we could have another win streak on our hands.

26. Sacramento Kings (17-34, Previous: 26) - DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 22.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. But he won’t be going to the All-Star game this year. His response to that on Twitter? “Politics… ha!”

27. Los Angeles Lakers (18-33, Previous: 27) - Steve Nash just turned 40-years-old. It’ll be a lot easier for him to forget this season than it will be for his younger teammates.

28. Orlando Magic (16-37, Previous: 29) - Three wins in a row for Orlando, including two over arguably the best team in each conference, the Thunder and Pacers. Now’s a good time for that “broken clock is right twice” saying.

29. Philadelphia 76ers (15-38, Previous: 28) - Losses to the Clippers on Sunday (123-78) and Warriors on Monday (123-80) made them the second team ever to lose back-to-back games by 40-plus points. Redefining the tanking game.

30. Milwaukee Bucks (9-42, Previous: 30) - The Bucks have one more shot (Wed. vs. New Orleans) to get to double-digit wins by the All-Star break. Don’t bet on it.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…

Wellbeing

What eye symptoms need emergency attention?

Many people experience temporary eye-related problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) from a cold virus or a scratched cornea resulting from an object coming into…