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Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: Week 24

by Tommy Beer
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @TommyBeer

1. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 60-14
The Rockets captured their 60th victory of the season on Sunday. It’s the first time in franchise history that Houston has reached the 60-win plateau. Also, the Rockets are just the 18th team in NBA history to win 60 of their first 74 games.

2. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 54-20
As if starting guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan weren't difficult enough to deal with, Fred VanVleet has been incredibly effective and efficient off the bench. Over the Raptors last four games, VanVleet is averaging 15.5 points (on 50.0 percent shooting), 4.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 3.8 3-pointers and 1.0 steals.

3. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 54-19
Steph Curry suffered a Grade 2 MCL on Friday, and coach Steve Kerr told reporters over the weekend that "there's no way he's playing in the first round." With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson also dealing with injuries of their own, the Warriors cruising to a second-straight title is no longer a foregone conclusion.

 

4. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 45-28
Portland's victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Sunday night could be a deciding factor in playoff seeding. The win doubled the Blazers lead to two games over OKC in a battle for the three seed in the Western Conference.

 

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5. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 44-29
The roller-coaster Cavs season is once again on an upswing, as Cleveland has won five straight games. The one constant all year has been LeBron James stuffing the stat sheet. Over the Cavaliers last 15 games, King James is averaging 31.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 9.7 assists, while shooting a scorching 56.3 percent from the floor.

6. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 50-23
With Kyrie Irving undergoing a “minimally-invasive procedure” on Saturday to remove a tension wire in his left knee, Terry Rozier is locked into the starting point guard spot and heavy minutes for the rest of the regular season. Rozier put his upside on display Sunday afternoon, when he tallied 33 points (on 12-of-16 shooting), eight 3-pointers, five rebounds, five steals and three assists in a win over the Kings in Sacramento. He is just the third player in NBA history with at least eight 3-pointers and five steals in the same game.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 44-31
Carmelo Anthony struggled again in the fourth quarter of Oklahoma City’s costly loss to the Blazers on Sunday night. Over OKC’s last five games, Melo is averaging 9.8 points while shooting just 34.5 percent from the floor… OKC is 11-2 this season in the 13 games in which Anthony has attempted fewer than 12 shots. The Thunder are 3-6 when Melo attempts 20 field goals or more.

8. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 43-31
The Spurs knocked off the Wizards last Wednesday in San Antonio. It was their 42nd victory of the season, which guarantees they will finish above .500 in 2017-18. Incredibly, this is the 21st consecutive winning season for San Antonio. Yes, they’ve finished above .500 every year since 1997. They are only the fifth team ever in the four major North America sports leagues to accomplish that feat.

9. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 42-30
The Sixers have won six straight on Saturday. With either their next win or the Pistons next loss (whichever comes first), Philadelphia will lock up a spot in the playoff for the first time since 2012. The Process is beginning to bear fruit.

10. Utah Jazz
2017-18 record: 42-32
A crucial aspect of the Jazz turning around their year has been their incredible success away from home over the last two months. Utah won just five of their first 24 road games this season. Since then, the Jazz has won 13 of their last 14 road games. They and are now 18-20 in away games.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 42-32
The Wolves have lost three of their last five games, but face a favorable schedule this week. They play three straight games against teams with losing records. Minnesota hosts the Grizzlies on Monday and the Hawks on Wednesday, before traveling to Dallas to take on the Mavs Friday night… The Timberwolves are 12-17 against the Eastern Conference this season, but 30-15 against the West.

12. New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 record: 43-31
Due to a rescheduled makeup game, the Pelicans played three games in three days last week. It was the only 3-in-3 for any team all season, but New Orleans was able to win all three contests. They beat the Mavs on Tuesday, the Pacers on Wednesday, and the Lakers on Thursday.

13. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 record: 43-31
The Pacers clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Heat on Sunday. It’s their seventh postseason appearance in the last eight years. However, when Indiana traded away Paul George to OKC in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis over the summer, plenty of pundits thought the Pacers were bound for the lottery. Instead, Indiana has a good chance at securing home-court advantage in the first round of the 2018 postseason.

14. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 40-33
The Wiz are just 4-8 over their last 12 games. Fortunately for Washington, it appears John Wall (knee) is nearing a return to action. Wall was able to practice fully, without restrictions, on Saturday. His knee reportedly responded well, and he was able to get in another light workout on Sunday.

15. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 40-33
NBA playoff seeding, much like real estate, is all about location, location, location. The Denver Nuggets are 40-33 this season and are currently in last place in the Northwest Division, and are the ninth seed in the Western Conference (on the outside of the playoff picture looking in). Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards are also 40-33., yet the Wiz are un first place in Southeast Division. They lead Miami by 1.5 games.

16. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 39-34
Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) said he wasn’t 100 percent in his return to the Milwaukee lineup on Sunday, but still was able to finish with 25 points, ten boards, three assists, one steal and three turnovers across 38 minutes in the Bucks victory over San Antonio.

17. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 39-35
The Heat have lost two straight games and are 3-4 over their last seven. In addition, Miami is just 1-11 over their previous 12 away from American Airlines Arena.

18. LA Clippers
2017-18 record: 39-34
The Clippers kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday. Interestingly, the Clips are the only team in the league to beat the top two squads in each conference (Houston, Golden State, Toronto and Boston) this season.

19. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 33-40
The Pistons actually played well last week, winning three of their four games, with their only loss coming in Houston to the Rockets. However, it’s too little, too late for the folks from the Motor City. Detroit still trails the Bucks by 4.5 games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

20. Charlotte Hornets
2017-18 record: 33-41
Over his last two games, Dwight Howard has scored a total of 50 points and ripped down 53 rebounds. D12 has 45 double-doubles this season and leads all active players with 711 career double-doubles.

21. Los Angeles Lakers
2017-18 record: 32-40
Isaiah Thomas (hip) did not play Saturday and will also miss Monday’s game at Detroit. Thomas missed the first three months of the 2017-18 campaign recovering from a labrum tear in his right hip, but had not been sidelined by a hip issue since returning to game action in January.

22. New York Knicks
2017-18 record: 27-47
Eight of the ten Knicks that appeared in Sunday’s victory over the Wizards scored in double-figures. According to Elias Sports research, it’s the first time in over 20 years that New York had at least eight players with a double-digit point total in the same game, since eight players, led by John Starks, did that in a victory over the Kings on Madison Square Garden on November 15, 1997.

23. Sacramento Kings
2017-18 record: 24-50
Buddy Hield has scored at least 16 points in each of the Kings last six games. Over this current stretch, he is averaging 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.3 triples, while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor, 47.6 percent from downtown and 90.9 percent from the charity stripe.

24. Brooklyn Nets
2017-18 record: 23-51
The Nets are the only one of the eight teams with fewer than 25 victories this season actively trying to win each game they play, as they don’t own the rights to their 2018 draft pick (the Cavs have their pick). Yet, Brooklyn hasn’t had much success. The Nets have lost three straight games and close out the season by playing six of their final eight contests on the road.

25. Dallas Mavericks
2017-18 record: 22-51
Like many of the teams at the bottom of the barrel, the Mavs are riding a losing streak. Dallas has lost five in a row. Beginning Tuesday in Sacramento, the Mavs play six of their next eight games on the road.

26. Chicago Bulls
2017-18 record: 24-49
The Bulls have lost five straight and have three more road games upcoming this week, including a trip to Houston on Monday night. Chicago has a chance sneak into the top-five in the lottery if they keep on racking up the losses.

27. Orlando Magic
2017-18 record: 22-51
Aaron Gordon has looked great since returning from a concussion last week. On Saturday, he just missed notching his first career triple-double (29 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) and is averaging 20.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 treys and 1.5 steals over his last four games.

28. Atlanta Hawks
2017-18 record: 21-53
Dennis Schroder injured his left ankle vs. Golden State on Friday and was ruled out of Sunday’s loss to the Rockets. Isaiah Taylor started in place of Schroder on Sunday and finished with 26 points (on 10-of-17 shooting), one rebound, three assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and two turnovers in 32 minutes

29. Memphis Grizzlies
2017-18 record: 19-54
A frustrating and disappointing season in Memphis reached its nadir this past week when the Grizzlies suffered a brutally embarrassing 61-point loss (140-79) to Charlotte on Thursday night. It was the largest losing margin in franchise history, and the 140 points were the most they have ever allowed.

30. Phoenix Suns
2017-18 record: 19-55
Plenty of teams are trying to tank this season, but none have been quite as successful at losing as the Suns. Phoenix is currently riding an 11-game losing streak and is in pole position to land the top pick in the draft lottery.