January 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM #53086
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
The NBA’s elite teams have begun to pull away from the pack as we near the halfway point of the season, while other clubs have climbed up the ranks as they make look to make some noise towards a playoff run.
Here are the power rankings entering the 13th week of the NBA schedule.
1. Indiana Pacers (32-7): No team has been as dominant as the Pacers this season, as they just won each of the four legs of a four-game homestand by an average margin of 23.3 points. The team is clearly on a mission knowing that they need home court advantage to get past the Heat in the playoffs and the way they’re playing right now, they’ll get it.
2. Miami Heat (29-11): Other outlets have gotten cute and dropped the Heat down their rankings due to some recent road struggles, but let’s not kid ourselves – there’s only one other squad that teams would want to avoid in a playoff series more than the Heat. With that said, they need to figure things out in the frontcourt because Greg Oden isn’t going to be able to cut it into the playoffs, so if there’s any truth to the Andrew Bynum rumors, then that needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
3. San Antonio Spurs (32-9): Tony Parker continues to be hampered by a right shin contusion, so getting him healthy is priority number one at the moment, though we all know Gregg Popovich isn’t afraid to rest his veteran players.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (31-10): With every day that goes by we learn more and more about how valuable Russell Westbrook is to this team. Still, Kevin Durant continues to evolve his game and carry this team through the dull winter months, helping the team to wins in four of their last five.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (31-9): Many have been slow to get behind the young Trail Blazers this season, but they continue to score the basketball at an impressive clip. The team has won five in a row but that streak will be tested early this week with back-to-back games against Houston and Oklahoma City.
6. Los Angeles Clippers (28-14): Darren Collison has filled in nicely for Chris Paul, averaging 15.0 points and 6.1 assists as a starter. The team had won five games in a row prior to Saturday’s loss at Indiana.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (20-19): Maybe this bump is a little premature, but the Grizzlies are back to being what we thought they were at the start of the season, winning five in a row. With defending defensive player of the year Marc Gasol back defending the middle, the Grizzlies are ready to make a run, though getting back into the eighth spot in the West could take a while.
8. Golden State Warriors (26-16): The team remains a little more reliant on the kind of shooting night their guards are having than they probably should be given their solid front court, but they continue to go with what works for them. The addition of Jordan Crawford has looked like a brilliant move thus far as he’s scored 18 points and three assists in less than 29 minutes of action.
9. Houston Rockets (27-15): The Rockets haven’t garnered as much attention as they probably deserved, but that comes with playing in the dynamic Western Conference. Houston has won four of its last five but has a tough slate of games due up in the next 10 days.
10. Toronto Raptors (20-19): The team would probably be a spot higher if not for poor showings last week against the Celtics and Lakers, but they’ve proven that they’re going to hang around after a brilliant trade by Masai Ujiri that saw the team’s most inefficient offensive player leave town and also gave the team legitimate options off the bench.
11. Dallas Mavericks (24-18)
12. Denver Nuggets (20-20)
13. Atlanta Hawks (20-19)
14. Phoenix Suns (23-17)
15. Washington Wizards (19-20)
16. Chicago Bulls (19-20)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21)
18. Brooklyn Nets (16-22)
19. New York Knicks (15-25)
20. Detroit Pistons (17-23)
21. Los Angeles Lakers (16-25)
22. Sacramento Kings (14-25)
23. Charlotte Bobcats (17-25)
24. New Orleans Pelicans (15-24)
25. Cleveland Cavaliers (15-25)
26. Utah Jazz (14-28)
27. Boston Celtics (14-28)
28. Philadelphia 76ers (13-27)
29. Orlando Magic (11-30)
30. Milwaukee Bucks (7-33)
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