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NBA Power Rankings: Week 18

Monday, February 12, 2018

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1. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 42-13
The Rockets are rolling. They have won eight straight games, and 12 of their last 13. Their current 42-13 record is the best mark through the first 55 games of a season in franchise history. Also, Houston is 25-1 when Clint Capela, James Harden, and Chris Paul play together.

2. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 43-13
Steve Kerr won his 250th career game as head coach on Saturday. In the process, he became the fastest coach in NBA history to record 250 victories, needing just 302 games. The previous record holder was Phil Jackson, who notched his 250th win in his 346th game. In fact, Kerr is the fastest coach to 250 W’s in all of the four major North American sports.

3. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 39-16
The Raptors are the only team in the league that rank in the top-five in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Toronto is scoring 110.5 points per 100 possessions, while allowing just 102.6 points per 100 possessions.


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4. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 40-18
The Celtics have lost three of their last four games and now find themselves in second place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Toronto. The race for the top spot in the East could be significant, as the No. 1 seed would likely avoid having to face the Cavs until the Eastern Conference Finals; whereas the No. 2 seed would have to take on Cleveland in the semis (assuming the Cavs stay in the third spot).

5. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 35-24
The Wolves are six games under .500 (12-18) on the road this season. However, they have the second-best home record in the NBA (23-6) and have won 13 straight games in Minnesota.

6. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 35-22
The Spurs have lost three of their last four games, with their only victory coming against the lowly Phoenix Suns. The schedule won’t lighten up for San Antonio, as they play seven of their next ten games on the road. Worse yet, six of those seven road opponents currently have winning records.


7. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 33-22
What a difference a day makes. Last Wednesday morning, the Cavs woke up having lost 13 of their previous 19 contests, including a dismal defeat to the Magic the night before. However, Cleveland beat Minnesota in overtime that evening, courtesy of a LeBron James buzzer-beater. The following afternoon, they overhauled their roster at the deadline, trading for George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. The Cavs demolished the Celtics on Sunday, showing the enticing upside of the newly re-configured and re-energized Cavaliers. However, Cleveland plays 17 games over the first 32 days following the All-Star break, so this group won’t have much time to practice together.

8. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 32-24
Tomas Satoransky took a nasty spill in the Wizards victory over the Bulls on Saturday night. Fortunately, it sounds like he avoided a significant injury. Over Washington’s last five games, Satoransky is averaging 13.8 points, 5.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 64.3 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from 3-point range (10-of-11). He’s also made all five of his free throw attempts.

9. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 31-24
The Bucks lost to the Heat on Friday, but bounced back to beat the Magic on Saturday night. It was the sixth straight win for Milwaukee in the second game of a back-to-back. That’s the longest such winning streak by any team in the league this season. Overall, The Bucks are 9-3 on the back end of back-to-backs.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 32-25
Both Russell Westbrook (ankle) and Carmelo Anthony (ankle) have each missed two consecutive games. OKC plays back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and we should have an update on the status of Melo and Russ by Tuesday morning.

11. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 31-26
Prior to Wednesday, January 31st, only once in the 72-year history of the NBA had a player scored 50-plus points in fewer than 30 minutes. Since that date, both members of the Blazers starting backcourt (Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum) have scored 50 points in fewer than 30 minutes.

12. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 30-26
Nikola Jokic has dished out at least five dimes in 13 of his last 14 games. Over that 14-game stretch, he is averaging 7.1 assists, to go along with 18.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.5 treys and 1.0 steals.

13. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 record: 32-25
Victor Oladipo has been stuffing the stat sheet in grand fashion of late. Over his last four games, ‘Dipo is averaging 29.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.8 treys and 4.0(!) steals. Can’t ask for much more than that.

14. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 28-25
Joel Embiid has recorded a double-double in eight straight games. Two of those games were on the second night of a back-to-back (he’s averaging 26.5 points and 13.0 rebounds on the back end of back-to-backs).

15. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 30-26
The Heat had lost five straight games before beating the Bucks at home on Friday night. However, Miami's next three games are on the road, including a challenging back-to-back (in Toronto and Philadelphia) on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

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