NBA Power Rankings: Warriors, Spurs and Cavs finish on top - Metro US

NBA Power Rankings: Warriors, Spurs and Cavs finish on top

The Warriors only real challenge -- if you can call it that -- could be the Spurs if
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1. Golden State Warriors (72-9) Last week: 1

The Warriors have wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA after a season in which they were the best team from wire to wire. Now, can they finish with the best record of all-time?

2. San Antonio Spurs (65-15) Last week: 2

Who knows if the Spurs have what it takes to take down the Warriors in the playoffs, but I know Gregg Popovich and his veterans love being under the radar. If a team that finishes with 65-plus wins can be under the radar.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-24) Last week: 3

After back-to-back losses to the Pacers and Bulls, the Cavs needed a nice win over the Hawks to a) clinch top seed in the East, and b) go into the playoffs on a high note.

4. Los Angeles Clippers (52-28) Last week: 6

The Clippers have won five straight games, and four with Blake Griffin. They were winning without him – which is impressive in and of itself – but getting Griffin back for the playoffs could make for a very fun second round against the Warriors.

5. Toronto Raptors (54-26) Last week: 5

There was some doubt as to whether DeMarre Carroll would return this season. Well, he did last week and that’s huge news for a Raptors team looking to make a deep playoff return.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder (55-26) Last week: 4

Nothing like a game against the Lakers to right a few wrongs. Still, having lost three of their last five games (with one left against a Spurs team that will probably rest half their team) isn’t how to go into the playoffs.

7. Atlanta Hawks (48-33) Last week: 7

A 15-point loss to the Cavs is a bit of a hit to their confidence but recent wins over the Celtics and Raptor have to have these guys feeling good. They’re a proven team.

8. Miami Heat (47-33) Last week: 9

This Heat team just lurks and lurks and then BAM they could actually end up as the No. 3 seed if they win their final two games. Hassan Whiteside is back in the starting lineup. Not many opponents who want to face him for seven straight games.

9. Charlotte Hornets (47-34) Last week: 10

Credit where it’s due: The Hornets went into Boston and beat up on a Celtics team considered by many to be better than them. Jeremy Lin took it to another level. Perhaps there’s room for Linsanity in the playoffs.

10. Boston Celtics (47-34) Last week: 8

Losses to the Hawks and Hornets are a bad look when you consider these are the games they needed to win in order to ensure a No. 3 or No. 4 seed. If they win Wednesday, they’re the No. 4 seed.

11. Portland Trailblazers (43-38) Last week: 11

What Terry Stotts has done in Portland after losing so many key players last season makes him a serious contender for Coach of the Year. Getting past the first round would be even crazier.

12. Indiana Pacers (43-37) Last week: 12

The Pacers will finish either as the No. 7 or No. 8 seed – not a seed any playoff team wants. But Indy does have Paul George, and did beat the Cavs last week. Who knows?

13. Detroit Pistons (43-37) Last week: 14

Congrats to the Pistons, who are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09. They’re 9-3 over their last 12 games. That’s how you take matters into your own hands.

14. Dallas Mavericks (42-39) Last week: 16

When the going got tough, Dirk Nowitzki got going! That’s what he’s done his entire career and that’s why Mark Cuban is so loyal to him.

15. Houston Rockets (40-41) Last week: 15

It’s been a whacky season for the Rockets, so of course it’s going to come down to their final game of the season. Win against Sacramento and they’re in. But this IS the Rockets, so who knows.

16. Utah Jazz (40-41) Last week: 13

The Jazz made a little late-season run towards the playoffs, but they’ve lost three of their last four, including one to a Clippers team that rested all their stars. That one could be the difference, folks.

17. Memphis Grizzlies (42-38) Last week: 17

I admire the Grizzlies’ fight despite all the injuries they’ve sustained this season, but I can’t help but imagine they have enough left in the tank to win a playoff series.

18. Chicago Bulls (41-40) Last week: 18

There are a handful of teams that could go through some serious shakeups over the offseason, and you have to think the Bulls are one of those teams. This team dealt with injuries, but it also sounds like some internal issues as well.

19. Washington Wizards (40-41) Last week: 19

Wizards coach Randy Wittman is expected to be fired as soon as the regular season ends, and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise. He had a roster much more talented than a .500 team. He also may have cost them Kevin Durant?

20. Orlando Magic (35-46) Last week: 22

Good on the Magic for finishing the season relatively strong and not tanking. But they certainly didn’t help their lottery odds and draft position by doing so.

21. Denver Nuggets (33-48) Last week: 21

It looks like Nikola Jokic was a real steal for the Nuggets as the 41st pick in the NBA Draft in 2014. In his first NBA season, he’s proving to be on of the top rookies, averaging 9.8 points and 6.9 rebounds.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (33-48) Last week: 20

After seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo in person last week, I can confirm that he is indeed a freak. He along with Jabari Parker should make for an extremely fun duo for a while. Unless Jason Kidd gets in the way.

23. Sacramento Kings (33-48) Last week: 23

Curry – Seth Curry, that is – just dropped 20 points and 15 assists on the Suns. Does that mean Steph Curry would have scored 60 points and dished out 45 assists?

24. New York Knicks (32-49) Last week: 24

The Mets are 2-4, which means all the criticism is on them and officially off the Knicks for the summer.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-53) Last Week: 25

Karl-Anthony Towns is your lock for this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year. If they put every NBA player into the draft, he’d probably go in the Top 10. Stud.

26. New Orleans Pelicans (30-51) Last week: 26

Struggling to find anything constructive to say about the Pelicans. But I think that pretty much sums of their season.

27. Phoenix Suns (22-59) Last week: 28

Devin Booker became the fourth-youngest player to reach 1,000 points behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. I’d say that’s pretty good company to be in.

28. Brooklyn Nets (21-60) Last week: 27

The Nets will be an interesting team to watch this offseason. They won’t be an interesting team to watch in the NBA Draft, though, because they traded their picks.

29. Los Angeles Lakers (16-65) Last week: 29

Kobe Bryant says goodbye to the NBA this week in the final game of his career. Obviously, he’s an all-time great. They don’t make players like him anymore, and he’ll be missed.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (10-70) Last week: 30

Congrats to the Philadelphia 76ers! Double-digit wins!

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