1. Golden State Warriors (63-7) Last week: 1 – Stephen Curry is just 3-for-21 on three-pointers over the last two games, a loss to the Spurs and a close win over to the Timberwolves. Even the game’s greatest hit cold streaks. What’s important is that he’s hot in a few weeks.
2. San Antonio Spurs (59-11) Last week: 2 – Make no mistake about it: San Antonio’s win over the Warriors – in which they held Golden State to 79 points – means a heck of a lot more than their uncharacteristic loss to the Hornets one game later. Huge win over the Warriors.
3. Toronto Raptors (48-21) Last week: 3 – The Raptors continue to do their thing, going 4-0 over the last week. They are now just 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for top spot in the East, and still don’t have DeMarre Carroll back yet.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (50-10) Last week: 4 – The Cleveland Cavs are 1-0 since LeBron James unfollowed them on Twitter. And he dropped a triple-double in the win, too. Hey Cavs fans, relax! See? Everything is just fine. Promise. Nothing to worry about at all…
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (48-22) Last week: 5 – The Thunder followed up back-to-back losses with four straight wins, including blowouts over the Trail Blazers and Celtics. They’ll at least make things tough on either the Warriors or Spurs in the second round of the playoffs.
6. Atlanta Hawks (41-30) Last week: 7 – Had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Wizards, but there aren’t many hotter teams than the Hawks right now. After almost being blown up at the trade deadline, they have a second life.
7. Miami Heat (40-29) Last week: 8 – The Heat have been one of those under-the-radar teams all season long. While the Chris Bosh situation is a huge issue, it’s clear the Heat can still win without him – a 122-101 win over the Cavs proves that. And Bosh hasn’t been ruled out for the season.
8. Los Angeles Clippers (43-26) Last week: 6 – Blown out by the Cavs, blown out by the Spurs, 11-point loss to the Grizzlies, and unacceptable four-point loss to the Pelicans. The streaky Clippers are in need of Blake Griffin… but it doesn’t sound like he’s ready yet.
9. Boston Celtics (41-30) Last week: 9 – Four losses followed by two wins – but they came against the 76ers and Magic. It’s obvious this team is missing Jae Crowder. The only question now is if they’ll get him back in time to clinch the No. 3 seed, or continue to slip.
10. Charlotte Hornets (40-30) Last week: 12 – OK, so maybe coming back from a seven-point first quarter and 23-point first-half deficit to beat the Spurs of all teams is the win that’s going to officially put the Hornets on the map.
11. Portland Trail Blazers(36-35) Last week: 10 – The Blazers are no long the “hot” team of the NBA. They’re just 3-7 over the last 10 games and haven’t beaten a playoff team since February 28 against the Pacers. They’re clinging to the No. 6 seed with the Rockets, Mavericks, and Jazz right behind.
12. Indiana Pacers (37-33) Last week: 11 – The Pacers have a manageable schedule coming up, with games against the Pelicans, Nets, and Rockets. They then get one against a Bulls team fighting with them to keep playoff position. These are important times.
13. Utah Jazz (34-36) Last week: 13 – Huge game on Wednesday against the Rockets with both teams fighting for that final playoff spot in the West. The Jazz have won five of their last six and are now officially knocking on the playoff doors. They’re probably better than three teams currently in the playoffs.
14. Houston Rockets (35-35) Last week: 14 – So Dwight Howard uses Stickum on his hands? I’m not sure that’s such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. A bigger deal? James Harden twisting his left ankle. These guys are fighting for a playoff spot, and can’t afford to lose him for even one game.
15. Memphis Grizzlies (41-30) Last week: 15 – It’s late March and the Grizzlies just signed Jordan Farmar to a 10-day contract. That should give you an idea of the state of health they’re in right now. Hand it to Memphis for keeping their head above water right now.
16. Detroit Pistons (37-34) Last week: 16 – The Pistons are waiting and wishing on just one little blip from the Pacers or Bulls. But it gets difficult for them with games coming up against Charlotte, Atanta, and Oklahoma City.
17. Washington Wizards (35-35) Last week: 19 – Whoa. It’s getting real in D.C. right now. The Wizards are on a five-game winning streak and are just 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. If they keep it up, they could actually make the playoffs. That’s something not many saw possible.
18. Dallas Mavericks (35-35) Last week: 17 – Dirk Nowitzki continues to turn back the clocks with a 40-point performance in a big win over the Blazers. Gee, ya think he’s still got that fire burning inside of him with a playoff spot on the line?
19. Chicago Bulls (36-33) Last week: 18 – Credit where it’s due: The depleted Bulls have won three straight and just got Pau Gasol back on Monday. How about Doug McDermott? “Dougie McBuckets” has three 20-plus point games since Mar. 14.
20. Denver Nuggets (29-42) Last week: 20 – A five-game road trip ended with a thud as the Nuggets went 1-4, losing the finale to Cleveland in blowout fashion, 124-91. That had head coach Michael Malone saying his team quit.
21. Milwaukee Bucks (30-41) Last week: 21 – Not that anybody really thought they had a chance to make a playoffs, but being seven games out with 12 to play all but settles it. They have some young talent though, for sure.
22. Orlando Magic (29-41) Last week: 22 – Nic Vucevic remains out with a groin injury, and with the Magic clearly out of the playoff picture, it would be in their best interest to keep him off the court. *cough* lottery balls *cough*
23. Sacramento Kings (27-43) Last week: 23 – While all the talk surrounding the Kings has to do with DeMarcus Cousins, it’ll be interesting to see what Rajon Rondo ends up doing this offseason. He’s clearly played well enough to earn a big deal, but which team will commit longterm to him?
24. New York Knicks (28-43) Last week: 25 – Carmelo Anthony did not play in Sunday’s game because he’s still dealing with a migraine headache. Hey ‘Melo, migraine headaches and Knicks basketball go together like peanut butter and jelly.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (22-48) Last Week: 26 – Give it up for the Wolves, who went toe to toe with the Warriors on Monday. They’re obviously not in the same stratosphere as Golden State right now, but name me a team with a brighter future than the Wolves?
26. New Orleans Pelicans (26-43) Last week: 24 – Anthony Davis’ season is over after a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a left knee injury. He’ll finish the year averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. You won’t find a quieter season with those stats.
27. Phoenix Suns (19-51) Last week: 27 – Rookie Devin Booker is averaging 21.4 points in March, including two games of 30-plus points. The kid is already scoring way ahead of his time. That’s the type of player you can build around.
28. Brooklyn Nets (19-50) Last week: 28 – Bojan Bogdanovic dropped 44 points against the 76ers last week, and that has to be the most random 40-point night of the season… decade?
29. Los Angeles Lakers (14-55) Last week: 29 – The Lakers lost to the Suns at home Friday night with Kobe Bryant missing the game. So in other words, it was the most pointless game of the NBA season.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (9-62) Last week: 30 – Will copy and paste last week’s entry: The 76ers need to win just ONE more game to hit double digits. You can do it, guys!