NBA Power Rankings: Heat, Nuggets streaking – Celtics, Lakers falling

The Celtics are falling hard without Kevin Garnett.
The Celtics are falling hard without Kevin Garnett.

1. Miami Heat (55-14, previous No. 1) – As good as the Miami Heat are playing right now, they’re just the second-best basketball team in Florida. Hey, you’ve got to give Florida Gulf Coast University the credit they deserve.

2. Denver Nuggets (49-22, previous No. 3) – If it wasn’t for the Heat, the Nuggets would be the talk of the NBA. They went into Monday’s game against the Hornets winners of 15 in a row. Scary team that will haunt your dreams.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-19, previous No. 2) – Losses to Denver at home and Memphis on the road make you question the toughness of OKC in a potential matchup with either one in the second round.

4. Los Angeles Clippers (48-22, previous No. 5) – A big four-game road trip kicks off Tuesday in Dallas and includes two more Texas stops in San Antonio and Houston. Tough test for them.

5. San Antonio Spurs (53-17, previous No. 6) – The Spurs went 6-2 without their MVP Tony Parker, and it looks like he’s picking up where he left off. With Parker back, the Spurs – as always – must be feared.

6. Memphis Grizzlies (47-22 previous No. 4) – The news that center Marc Gasol is out indefinitely after an abdominal tear is an absolute killer for a Grizzlies team fighting for home court advantage.

7. Indiana Pacers (43-27, previous No. 7) – Losing to the Bulls without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah? That could creep back into the minds of Indy players if they see Chicago in the postseason . . . with those two players.

8. Houston Rockets (39-31, previous No. 8) – In his last 10 games, James Harden has hit 34 3-pointers and 111 free throws. The guy literally scores from all over. Fear the beard.

9. Atlanta Hawks (39-31, previous No. 10) – Nobody’s talking about the Hawks, but they’re a very tough first-round opponent, especially if Josh Smith is set on proving he’s a max player.

10. Brooklyn Nets (41-29, previous No. 12) – In the middle of an eight-game road trip and they play in three of the toughest road venues coming up: Portland, Denver, and Utah. The Prokhorov embraces it.

11. Golden State Warriors (40-31, previous No. 13) – Former NBA player Dell Curry must be a proud dad. One of his sons, Stephen, is making a run at the postseason with Golden State, while the other, Seth, is making a run at the Final Four with Duke.

12. New York Knicks (42-26, previous No. 14) – Wins over the Jazz, Magic, and Raptors twice doesn’t make the Knicks “better” than they were last week. They are older, though – somehow.

13. Boston Celtics (36-33, previous No. 9) – Celtics president Danny Ainge says Kevin Garnett could be out for a couple weeks. Hey, as long as he’s back before the C’s lose to the Heat in the opening round.

14. Los Angeles Lakers (36-34, previous No. 11) – Coach Mike D’Antoni told his team that the idea of a championship is “laughable.” Well then, everybody all together now: “Hahahahahaha!”

15. Chicago Bulls (38-31, previous No. 15) – You never want to rush a player back from an injury, but Rose has been cleared to play. At what point do the Bulls say, “Derrick, you’re fine. And you’re starting tonight.”

16. Milwaukee Bucks (34-35, previous No. 16) – There’s never been a better time for the Bucks to make up ground on the Celtics and take the No. 7 spot. Somebody should tell them that.

17. Dallas Mavericks (34-36, previous No. 18) – Dallas has found life over its last 11 games, going 8-3, and now sits just two games behind the Lakers for the No. 8 seed. Nothing would make Mark Cuban happier.

18. Utah Jazz (34-36, previous No. 17) – It appears as though the Mavs and Jazz are at opposite ends of their play right now, and that’s terrible news for Utah.

19. Portland Trail Blazers (33-37, previous No. 19) – Of the final 12 games, nine are against teams currently slotted into a playoff spot. Doesn’t do much for the team’s outside playoff chances.

20. Philadelphia 76ers (27-42, previous -) – Bigger shock: Andrew Bynum missing the entire season due to knee injuries, or Punxsutawney Phil’s inaccurate “spring will come early” forecast?

 

Follow Jimmy Toscano on Twitter @Jimmy_Toscano



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

Movies

Review: Bickering family dramedy 'This is Where I…

A talented cast sits Shiva in the bickering family dramedy "This is Where I Leave You," although it's more sap than yuks.

Movies

Review: Desert-walking movie 'Tracks' would be better as…

Mia Wasikowska walks 1700 miles across Australia's deserts in "Tracks," in a story that defies triumph-of-the-spirit cliches but gets some of them anyway.

NFL

J.J. Watt poses unique challenges to struggling Giants…

Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, is the leader of a surprising Texans (2-0) team that has already matched last season’s win total.

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…