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Betting On Hoops? Cappers Picks NBA Power Rankings Week 23

2014 NBA Handicapping

There is precious little time remaining for teams to jockey for playoff positioning. Things are tight from top to bottom in the West, and the East is getting far more competitive through the middle of the standings, making every remaining game especially important. [ad-4468020]

Here are the power rankings entering the 23rd week of the NBA schedule.

1. San Antonio Spurs (57-16)

The Spurs are just rolling along, winning 17 games in a row. That’s with the team’s veterans getting some rest, so don’t expect their play to take a dip come playoff time. The team can score with anyone, and has also surrendered the fourth-fewest points in the association on a per-game basis.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (54-19)

Oklahoma City’s back on the winning track after a rough patch. Keeping Russell Westbrook healthy and in a position to play regularly without limitation in the playoffs has to be the team’s main goal down the stretch. Meanwhile, star forward Kevin Durant is nearing one of Michael Jordan’s records, having scored 25-plus points in 38 consecutive games.

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With two more such games, he’ll have set the all-time record.

3. Los Angeles Clippers (52-22)

The Clippers have wins in 15 of their last 17 games. Blake Griffin is playing at another level, and if he can make it through the playoffs healthy, the Clippers will be a tough out, Ever since Chris Paul returned, the Clippers have been a force to be reckoned with in the West, and there’s no end in sight.

4. Indiana Pacers (52-22)

The Pacers have really struggled of late, with David West even going so far as to say that the team has hit rock bottom. Having clinched a playoff spot and a division title as early as they did, it isn’t surprising to see the team get somewhat complacent. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before they turn things around.

5. Houston Rockets (49-23)

The Rockets appeared to be poised to go on a serious run, but that just never came to fruition. Even still, the Rockets really started to figure things out since inserting Dwight Howard into the lineup. Houston can certainly score with the best of them, though they’ll need to tighten things up at the defensive end if they’re going to live up to their potential.

6. Miami Heat (50-22)

The Heat have been dealing with a slew of injuries, and they’ll need to get that issue resolved if the team is going to defend their crown. As good as LeBron James has been, he won’t be able to win it all on his own. Getting Dwyane Wade healthy in time for the playoffs needs to be the team’s No. 1 priority the rest of the way.

7. Chicago Bulls (41-32)

The Bulls have cooled off following a really hot stretch, though the fan base has to be happy to see that the team is in a position to be competitive in the postseason even without Derrick Rose. The team’s schedule lightens up down the stretch as they look to clinch home field advantage in the first round of the postseason.
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8. Memphis Grizzlies (43-30)

The team is still fighting for a playoff spot, but after a really rough start to the season that was caused by injury, the team has been solid. With their two bigs in the lineup, the Grizzlies have been a very different team, one which no one wants to draw in the first round of the postseason.

9. Brooklyn Nets (39-33)

The Nets have really turned things around since a terrible start to the season, and they have been picking up wins in bunches. The team has been as healthy as they’ve been all season, and with a veteran roster, they’ll be a tough out in the postseason.

10. Toronto Raptors (42-31)

The Raptors hit a bit of a rough patch, though they seem to have come out of it. Whether that’s true or not will be decided this week when they take on the Heat, Rockets, and Pacers. Guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have really found picked things up for the team in the scoring department, though they’ll need to play better in the first three quarters of games and stop relying on fourth quarter comebacks.

11. Golden State Warriors (45-28)
12. Portland Trail Blazers (48-27)
13. Phoenix Suns (44-30)
14. Dallas Mavericks (44-30)
15. Washington Wizards (38-35)
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (36-36)
17. Charlotte Bobcats (35-38)
18. New York Knicks (31-43)
19. New Orleans Pelicans (32-41)
20. Denver Nuggets (32-41)
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (30-45)
22. Los Angeles Lakers (25-48)
23. Sacramento Kings (25-48)
24. Atlanta Hawks (31-41)
25. Detroit Pistons (26-47)
26. Boston Celtics (23-50)
27. Utah Jazz (23-51)
28. Orlando Magic (21-53)
29. Milwaukee Bucks (14-59)
30. Philadelphia 76ers (16-57)

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