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Betting On Hoops? Cappers Picks NBA Power Rankings

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 21st week of the NBA schedule.

1. San Antonio Spurs (50-16)

Never doubt the power of the Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs have won 10 games in a row with no end in sight. The team won five of those games on road. They get a couple days off to start the week before a visit with the Lakers.

2. Los Angeles Clippers (48-20)

We feared what the Clippers could do with a healthy Chris Paul, and now we’re seeing them take over. The Clippers have 11 wins in a row entering play on Monday, and have the top home record in the Western Conference. Blake Griffin continues to score at will, and it doesn’t appear anyone is going to figure out how to stop him.

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3. Indiana Pacers (49-17)

The Pacers appear to be coming out on the other side of a rough stretch of games, winning three straight. The addition of Andrew Bynum is looking genius right now, as he’s provided a much needed boost, averaging 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his first two games with the team.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (48-18)

There’s trouble in paradise against. The return of Russell Westbrook appears to have killed the team’s chemistry, though the absence of Kendrick Perkins is surely a factor in the team’s recent struggles. The news that Westbrook will be moved in and out of the lineup makes their chemistry concerns even more of an issue.

5. Houston Rockets (44-22)

They would be a spot higher on this list if the Thunder didn’t have their number. The Rockets appeared to be poised for a strong run before hitting a three-game snag, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see them turn things around sooner than later.

6. Miami Heat (45-19)

Ignoring the issue the team has at center isn’t going to fly anymore, particularly with a playoff date with Indiana seeming more and more likely. LeBron James is clearly prepared to carry this team, but there’s going to come a time when someone else is going to have to step up, and it’s getting harder to imagine a member of his supporting cast converting to a reliable second option.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (39-27)

The Grizzlies continue to climb the West rankings on the back of their strong play since getting healthy. The team’s 20-14 home record leaves a lot to be desired, though only two teams in the Association have a better road record. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph form a menacing presence in the middle, and Mike Conley has really come into his own. No team wants to draw the Grizzlies in the first round.
8. Chicago Bulls (37-29)

The Bulls can prove that they have really figured things out this week with a pair of tough games against the Thunder and Pacers. They’ll need to take them to complete their ascent to the third spot in the East if they hope to catch the Raptors. Joakim Noah has really taken his game to another level in recent weeks despite dealing with injuries.

9. Golden State Warriors (42-26)

The Warriors have really picked up their play away from home, winning 15 of their past 21 road games, but they’re surely happy to see that they get their next five at home, where they are 21-11. They’ll open that stretch with a pair of cupcake games against Orlando and Milwaukee, then get San Antonio.

10. Toronto Raptors (37-28)

The Raptors continue to roll along, thanks largely to their improved play at home. After being able to coast through much of the early part of the season, the team is now seeing some opponents vie for its position near the top of the East. After taking multiple knees to the head near the end of Sunday’s game, Kyle Lowry’s injury could derail the team.

11. Portland Trail Blazers (43-24)
12. Dallas Mavericks (40-27)
13. Phoenix Suns (38-28)
14. Brooklyn Nets (33-31)
15. Washington Wizards (35-31)
16. Charlotte Bobcats (33-34)
17. New York Knicks
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (33-32)
19. New Orleans Pelicans (27-39)
20. Denver Nuggets (29-37)
21. Atlanta Hawks (29-35)
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (25-41)
23. Sacramento Kings (23-44)
24. Boston Celtics (22-45)
25. Detroit Pistons (25-41)
26. Los Angeles Lakers (22-44)
27. Utah Jazz (22-45)
28. Orlando Magic (19-48)
29. Milwaukee Bucks (13-54)
30. Philadelphia 76ers (15-51)


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