Jonas Nader

Power Rankings

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NBA Power Rankings: Week 25

Monday, April 10, 2017


1.) Warriors (66-14) Previous rank: 1

 

The Warriors have won 14 straight games which is the longest streak of the 2016-17 season, and most of the games weren’t close either — they have an average winning margin of +15.8 in that span. They also became the first team ever to win 65+ games in three straight seasons. Oh, and that Kevin Durant guy is healthy again just in time for the playoffs. The Warriors will take on the Blazers in the first round.

 

 

2.) Spurs (61-19) Previous rank: 2

 

This season is the first time ever in history that two teams have won both 30+ games at home and 30+ games on the road (Spurs, Warriors), and you have to think that the Spurs are the only realistic roadblock for the Warriors to get to the finals. I’ve been giving a lot of love to Kawhi Leonard all season and he’s certainly in the MVP discussion, but I thought this stat on Pau Gasol was crazy — he’s on pace to have the best 3-point percentage of any player in a single season in NBA history with a minimum of 50 attempts. (h/t @AirlessJordan). They will need Pau at his best in the first round against his brother Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies. 

 

 

3.) Rockets (54-26) Previous rank: 4

 

The MVP debate this season is already wild enough as it is, and while the MVP will be voted on before the playoffs, you have to love that the two leading candidates in James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be matched up in the first round. Does Harden think he can win the award? He thinks Houston’s record is his best case. "I think that's the most important thing. I thought winning is what this is about -- period," Harden said "I'm not going to get in-depth with all that, but I thought winning was the most important thing. If you set your team up in a position to have a chance, at the ultimate goal, that's the most important thing."

 

 

4.) Raptors (50-31) Previous rank: 5

 

The Raptors locked up a top-3 seed this week with a win over the Knicks on Sunday, and they have now won 50 games in a season for just the second time in franchise history. DeMar DeRozan also made a bit of history, passing Vince Carter for the most 30-point games (31) in a single season.

 

 

5.) Celtics (51-29) Previous rank: 3

 

With two games remaining in the season, the Celtics and Cavaliers have the same record, but Cleveland holds the tiebreaker. These two teams met up in Boston in Apr. 5 and it wasn’t exactly close, as the Cavaliers easily beat them by 23 points. If the Celtics want to have a prayer against Cleveland, they will need to secure the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage. On a lighter note, Marcus Smart became the first player ever to record seven assists, six steals, five 3-pointers and two blocks in a single game (h/t Sean Grande).

 

 

6.) Clippers (49-31) Previous rank: 9

 

The Clippers are heating up just in time for the playoffs and are currently riding a five-game winning streak. They have the same record as the Jazz, but if both teams win their last two games, the Clippers will clinch the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round vs. Utah because they own the tiebreaker.

 

 

7.) Jazz (49-31) Previous rank: 7

 

The Jazz have the same record as the Clippers, but Los Angeles owns the tiebreaker and Utah’s next two opponents are the Warriors and Spurs… Rudy Gobert would make an All-NBA team if it was up to me in addition to the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and he just became the 12th player in NBA history with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks in a single season.

 

 

8.) Cavaliers (51-29) Previous rank: 6

 

The Cavaliers hold the tiebreaker over Boston, but it looks like they could care less about the No. 1 seed — they are expected to rest LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving vs. the Heat on Monday. Despite losing two games in a row, LeBron made it clear that he will have his team ready to go for the playoffs. ”We'll be ready. Yup. We'll be ready when it get here," James said. "We still have some things to do with two games left, but yeah, we'll be ready.” 

 

 

9.) Wizards (48-32) Previous rank: 8

 

With two games to go, coach Scott Brooks said he’s going to start limiting the minutes of his first unit with an eye towards the playoffs. "I'm going to do what's best for our team, not what's best for our record,” he said. With the Wizards locking up the No. 4 seed, they will take on the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. 

 

 

10.) Thunder (46-34) Previous rank: 11

 

Russell Westbrook made history on Sunday when he broke Oscar Robertson’s single-season record with his 42nd triple-double. Not only did he triple-double vs. the Nuggets, but he also dropped 50 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer from wayyyyyy downtown. Westbrook has three 50+ point triple-doubles this season which is more than any other player in NBA history has in their career. He’s also the only player other than Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double over the course of a season. 

 

 

11.) Blazers (40-40) Previous rank: 10

 

 

Damian Lillard broke the franchise record when he scored 59 points vs. the Jazz on Saturday, and with a Denver loss the following day, the Blazers are officially the No. 8 seed in the West and will take on the Warriors in the first round. “Biggest accomplishment of my career,’’ Lillard said of reaching the postseason. “Lot of fingers were pointed at me from the outside when we struggled, and people said a lot of things about me. I didn’t make excuses or cry about it. I said I would be better and I would man up – and I did just that. Now we stay locked in and go try to shock the world.’’

 

12.) Hawks (42-38) Previous rank: 20

 

The Hawks are suddenly hot again with three straight wins over the Celtics and Cavaliers (twice), but their comeback win against Cleveland on Sunday was special — they erased a 26-point deficit in the fourth quarter! As it stands right now, the Hawks are 1.0 game ahead of the Bucks for the No. 5 seed and are looking at a matchup with the Wizards in the first round.

 

 

13.) Bucks (41-39) Previous rank: 12

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo will become the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, and he also helped the Bucks clinch a playoff spot this week. Milwaukee hasn't won a playoff series since 2000-01 which is the longest active drought in the NBA, but they have an excellent chance to snap that streak with the Greek Freak running the show.

 

14.) Heat (39-41) Previous rank: 15

 

Hassan Whiteside saved Miami’s season when he blocked Bradley Beal’s 3-point attempt on Saturday, but the Heat still need a lot to happen in their favor for them to reach the postseason — they need to win their final two games and will need the Pacers or the Bulls to drop a game. Their next two games aren’t ideal, as they face the Cavaliers on Monday and have a rematch with the Wizards on Wednesday.

 

15.) Pacers (40-40) Previous rank: 19

 

The Pacers control their own destiny and are guaranteed a playoff spot if they win their next two games against the 76ers and Hawks. Paul George has been putting the team on his back, and while he has 13 career games with 37+ points, five of those games have come within the last 24 days.

 

 


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