In the final Power Rankings of the 2018-19 season, the Bucks end the year in the top spot, with the Warriors and Raptors rounding out the top three.
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1. Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo looked to persuade any MVP voters on the fence Thursday night, when he exploded for 45 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes in a win over the Sixers. According to Basketball-Reference, Giannis became the first player in NBA history with at least 45 points, ten boards, five dimes, five blocks and three treys in one game. Oh, and in the process, the Bucks clinched the best overall record in the NBA this season, and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. One other factoid on the Bucks: Head coach Mike Budenholzer became just the seventh NBA coach to win at least 60 games with multiple franchises.
2. Golden State Warriors
Playing their final regular-season game ever at the Oracle Arena on Sunday night, the Warriors beat up the Clippers, 131-104. It was Golden State’s fifth straight victory, and this one locked up the top seed in the Western Conference. The Warriors, are 1,165-770 (.602) all-time in regular-season games at Oracle.
3. Toronto Raptors
Interesting factoid on the Raptors: Toronto is the only NBA team with a different player leading them in scoring (Kawhi Leonard), rebounds (Serge Ibaka), assists (Kyle Lowry) and minutes played (Pascal Siakam).
4. Houston Rockets
In what has been a record-setting offensive season for the Rockets and their MVP-candidate, James Harden, Houston etched their name in the record books once again this weekend. In Sunday’s victory over the Suns, the Rockets knocked down 27 3-pointers, setting a new NBA record for most made trifectas made in a game by a single team.
5. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets decided to rest Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray on Sunday in Portland, and unsurprisingly lost to the Blazers. "We just want to make sure we're healthy, rested and playing as well as we can going in," coach Michael Malone said. Denver finishes the regular by traveling to Utah on Tuesday and hosting Minnesota on Wednesday.
6. Utah Jazz
The Jazz was riding a league-leading seven-game win streak when they arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday. Playing the lowly Lakers, it was assumed that streak would be extended to eight. However, L.A. bested Utah, 113-109. As a result, the Jazz is now two games behind the fourth-seeded Blazers. Utah would need to win it’s final two games, and the Blazers would need to lose their last two in order for the Jazz to jump back into the four slot.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Philly had lost three in a row entering the weekend but knocked off the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday. After notching 52 wins in 2017-18, the Sixers have cracked the 50-win plateau once again this season. The last time they won 50-plus games in back-to-back seasons was all the way back in the mid-1980s.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers inched closer to securing home-court advantage in round one of the playoffs by beating the Nuggets on Sunday. Just as importantly, they welcomed C.J. McCollum (left leg) back into game action. C.J. returned to the starting lineup and tallied nine points, nine rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes.
9. Boston Celtics
Gordon Hayward finally looks to be rounding into form for the Celtics, which is great news for Boston. Over his last eight games, he’s averaging 16.4 points (on 58.5 percent shooting), 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He’s been an X-Factor for the C’s in 2018-19. The Celtics are undefeated (6-0) this season when Hayward scores over 20 points. They are 18-3 this season when he scores 15-plus points.
10. LA Clippers
If I told you before the season that a team would be led in minutes played by a rookie point guard (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) and an unproven sixth-man (Montrezl Harrell), would you have guessed that team could win 47 games in the Western Conference!? Remarkably, the Clippers are the fourth team in history to win over 45 games without a current or former all-star on the roster.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook racked up another triple-double in Sunday’s victory over the Wolves, scoring 27 points, dishing out 15 assists and grabbing ten rebounds. Amazingly, it was Westbrook’s 99th triple-double since the start of the 2016-17 season. Russ has 60 more trip-dubs than LeBron James, who ranks second among all players over the last three seasons.
12. San Antonio Spurs
Incredibly, the Spurs will advance to the postseason for the 22nd consecutive season, but they have no idea who they’ll square off against in the first round. The Spurs, Thunder and Clippers all have 47 wins with just two days left in the regular season, meaning the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture is a jumbled mess.
13. Orlando Magic
Dating back to the end of January, the Magic are 21-9, which is the third-best record in the league behind only the Bucks and Rockets. In addition, the Magic have also posted the best Defensive Rating (104.3) in the league over this 30-game stretch. For whichever team draws them, Orlando won't be a fun first-round matchup.
14. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers momentum is headed in the wrong direction to close out the season. Indiana has lost five of their last seven games, and two straight at home. Early last week, it appeared they had a good shot at securing the No. 4 seed, and home-court advantage in the first round. However, they are now locked into the No. 5 slot.
15. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets had lost seven straight games in Indiana before they beat the Pacers in Indy on Sunday afternoon. It was particularly sweet for Brooklyn, as the victory meant they had clinched a playoff birth. The Nets have come all the way back from league-wide laughing stock following the Kevin Garnett/ Paul Pierce trade, to NBA playoff participants for the first time since 2014-15.