NBA Power Rankings: This Week’s Top Ten NBA Clubs

Here’s my latest NBA Power Rankings for HeadlineMiami.com! Let me know what you think. Let’s debate! And don’t forget to check out HeadlineMiami.com for the latest on all things Miami, FL!

This week in the NBA would’ve been about the Denver Nuggets, winners of 15 straight games, including an impressive 10-point victory in Oklahoma City. Too bad for the Mile High Ballers that the Miami Heat keep streaking along. Miami fought back from a 13 point deficit in the fourth quarter in Boston to win, only to follow that effort with an epic 27-point second half comeback against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This week also saw Marc Gasol lost to injury and inexplicable losses by the Lakers, and those facts, coupled with the sudden surge of the Dallas Mavericks, have brought a new sense of intrigue to the Western Conference playoff picture. Speaking of California basketball, Sacramento continues to fight for the Kings, with a recent deal to finance a new arena in the Cowbell Kingdom that might possible keep the Kings from being stolen away in the night.

As the path to the playoffs heats up, here are the Top Ten teams in the NBA according to HeadlineMiami.com for the week of March 25th to March 31st.

NBA power rankings1. Miami Heat (55-14) Winners of 26 consecutive games

The Miami Heat kept things interesting this week. Many people felt the game in Boston signaled the end to the streak, and when the team was down by 13 in the fourth quarter that all seemed true, but the LeBron James and the Heat responded with an improbable comeback. That improbable comeback was only the appetizer, though, as the Heat spotted the Cavaliers 27 points in the 3rd quarter before storming back to win the game. LeBron James dominated the competition again this week, earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for averaging 30.8 points, 10 assists and 8.8 rebounds for last week. Miami hits the road this week, with contests in Orlando, Chicago and New Orleans before an epic showdown in San Antonio.

NBA power rankings2. San Antonio Spurs (53-17) Winners of seven of ten

The San Antonio Spurs held on to the second spot of Headline Miami’s Top Ten after winning two of three this week. Their only loss? To the Houston Rockets and James Harden’s beard. The beard buried a game-winner against Pop’s pros, spoiling a mini-four game winning streak by the Spurs. Tony Parker has returned and showed no ill-affects of the ankle injury, averaging 22.5 points and 6 assists in his two games this week. San Antonio trails the Miami Heat by 2.5 games for the best record in the NBA, and this week presents a challenging home stand against upper echelon playoff squads, the Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers and Miami Heat. By the end of the week, the Spurs might very well be known as streak busters.

NBA power rankings3. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-19) Winners of seven of ten

If the Thunder don’t start putting together wins against some of the better teams out there, people might find the defending Western Conference champs vulnerable. Since the start of February, the Thunder are just 5-6 against playoff-bound teams, including recent losses in Memphis and at home to Denver. The offense stagnated some this week, until a 58 point second half binge against the Portland Trailblazers. KD and co need a course correction this week, and look for them to do so against Washington at home, then on the road against Minnesota and Milwaukee.

NBA power rankings4. Denver Nuggets (49-22) Winners of 15 consecutive games

Things in the Mile High City are looking up. If not for the Miami Heat’s historic run, this week’s NBA narrative would certainly have been pushed by the play of the Nuggets. Denver is tied with Miami with the best home record in the NBA at 32-3, but their biggest wins this week came away from the Pepsi Center. An impressive 10-point win in Oklahoma City followed a dramatic 119-118 victory in Chicago. The Nuggets came home to squeak one out against the 76ers before handling the Kings. Their 15-game run has vaulted up the Western Conference standings, up to the #3 seed. Denver holds a 0.5 game lead on the LA Clippers and a 1.0 game lead on Memphis. Denver takes their 15-game streak and 17-19 road record to New Orleans (a team with recent wins against Memphis and Boston), before a marquee match-up in San Antonio. Denver returns home to face Brooklyn later in the week.

NBA power rankings5. Memphis Grizzlies (47-22) Winners of seven of ten

Despite the 110-106 win against Boston last Saturday, Memphis heads hung low when news of Marc Gasol’s injury disseminated. Gasol suffered an abdominal tear during the win and will be out indefinitely for the Grizzlies. Gasol is second on the team in scoring, rebounding and assisting, and is the team’s leading shot blocker. Much of the offense runs through Gasol, who is one of the league’s best passing big men. How the team responds to the devastating news is yet to be seen, but they’ll need to gather themselves quickly. This week holds road games in Washington and New York, then a home game against Houston, before ending on the road in Minnesota.

NBA power rankings6. Los Angeles Clippers (48-22) Winners of six of ten

Lob City might have some of the top highlight reel plays this season, but the Clips need to get down to the business of winning if they want to ascend Headline Miami’s Top Ten. Los Angeles is just 17-13 in their last 30 games, and the long winning streak is but a distance memory. Nice wins this week against an improving Brooklyn Nets team and a middling Philadelphia 76ers team came after an inexplicable loss to Sacramento. The Clips stand 0.5 games behind Denver for the #3 seed, and hold just a 0.5 game margin on Memphis for the #4 seed. This week will present an opportunity for Lob City to test its playoff mettle, with a road trip through Dallas, New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston.

NBA Power Rankings7. Brooklyn Nets (41-29) Winners of seven of ten

The extended Western road swing has been good so far for the boys in black. Brooklyn won convincingly in Detroit and Dallas, before a tough loss in LA to the Clippers. They bounced back with a hard-fought victory in Phoenix, playing without one of their leaders in Joe Johnson. By winning three of four to start the trip, the Nets have kept the Knicks and Pacers in their sights. With New York suddenly heating up again, Brooklyn will need to finish their trip successfully to stay close, as they currently trail in the standings by 2.0 games. The road trip continues in Portland, Denver and Utah this week.

NBA power rankings8. Indiana Pacers (43-27) 5-5 in their last ten

The Pacers have hit a rough stretch. A post-All-Star break plateau has the Pacers idling at 5-5 over their last ten, and losing David West for a period of time looked to spell disaster, but Tyler Hasbrough averaged 15.3 and 10.8 boards in four starts last week, picking up three double-doubles, and helped get those wheels moving again. Indiana won three of four this week, but its lone loss came at the hands of the playoff-bound Bulls. The Pacers look to continue to speed ahead of the Eastern Conference pack with a home game against the Hawks, before a road swing that will take them through Houston, Dallas and Phoenix. The injury bug will have to lighten its sting soon though, as Danny Granger, George Hill, Lance Stephenson and David West all remain sidelined these days.

NBA Power Rankings9. Houston Rockets (39-31) Winners of seven of ten, including three in a row

James Harden and his beard will be disrespected by the Headline Miami Power Rankings no more. The Clutch City crew debuts at #9, and they’ve earned that distinction over the last several days. After dominant wins against Utah and Cleveland, Houston thrust itself into the playoff conversation with a heart-pounding victory over the San Antonio Spurs. James Harden and his beard earned the Western Conference player of the week award after they averaged 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals this week. The recent winning has helped create a 3.0 game cushion over the Lakers, and has crept them within 0.5 games of Golden State for the #6 seed. A home game against Indiana comes before a road tilt in Memphis. The Rockets close the week with a home match-up against the Clippers.

NBA power rankings10. Los Angeles Lakers (36-34) Winners of six of ten

The Headline Miami Top Ten might be a little generous with this ranking of the LA Lakers, especially after a horrific loss at home to the injury-plagued Washington Wizards, but what’s a list without some debate? The Black Mamba returned from his recent ankle injury to help build an 18-point second half lead, only to watch said lead evaporate. Former Laker Trevor Ariza scored 25, and Kobe missed a pair of potential game-tying shots. It was their second consecutive terrible loss, as they started the week with an inexplicable drubbing at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. Before this recent skid, however, LA had won six of seven. This week takes the Lake Show on the road, with an important contest in Golden State, then games in Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento. The Lakers will need to heat up, as the Dallas Mavericks have suddenly thrust themselves into the playoff picture after winning seven of their last ten games. LA holds a 2.0 game lead on both Dallas and Utah for the #8 seed out West.

Up Next? New York Knicks (42-26), winners of four straight; Chicago Bulls (38-31), winners of two straight; and Dallas Mavericks (34-36), winners of seven of ten.

Out this week? Boston Celtics (36-33), losers of four straight.

NBA Power Rankings (Top Ten)

This is a post normally reserved for the site HeadlineMiami.com, but I thought I’d share some of my Sports writing with my blogging peeps.

NBA Power Rankings
NBA Power Rankings (Top Ten) March 11-March 17

This week in the NBA was one to remember. We saw the continued dominance of the Miami Heat stretching their winning streak to a league-season-high 18 games—including LeBron James hitting his first game-winner in a Heat uniform. We saw Deron Williams set a new NBA record with nine first-half three-pointers. We saw the travelling circus from Los Angeles finally sneak into the playoff picture out West. And we saw not one, but two incredible alley-oops from Lob City—first a between the legs flip from Jamal Crawford for a Blake Griffin power windmill that would’ve been the play of the year—until…a Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan extravaganza that left the carnage of Brandon Knight sprawled in its wake.

This week also saw the slide of the Atlanta Hawks from the Headline Miami Power Rankings top ten. With five losses in their last six games, and the only win coming against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks are no longer list worthy. The team is lucky they aren’t sliding from the Eastern Conference playoff picture entirely, as the field of eight is basically set and only seeding yet to be determined. Barring only a miraculous run from the likes of Toronto, the Hawks are in the playoffs. But if they don’t stop their slide, they’ll face the Miami Heat in the first round, a team they haven’t beaten all season long.

This week we’ll go from top to bottom.


NBA Power Rankings1. Miami Heat
(47-14) 18 straight wins
The Heat burned up another batch of opponents this week, in a variety of styles. After a tussle with Minnesota continued the streak, Miami submitted lackluster performances against sub-.500 opponents from Orlando and Philadelphia. LeBron James hit his first game-winner as a member of the Heat, with a lay-up in the final seconds against the Magic to win 97-96. Miami then adjusted its sights to the only team they had yet to beat this season, the Indiana Pacers. The Heat dominated the game against the Pacers, and proved yet again they can win playing multiple styles. Miami’s docket shows a home game against the fading Atlanta Hawks, before hitting the road for match-ups in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Toronto. The Heat might very well bring a 22-game winning streak into a big match-up next week in Boston.

NBA Power Rankings2. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-16) Five straight wins
Kevin Durant and the Thunder treated their rowdy home crowd to a few entertaining games this week. A pair of playoff-atmosphere games resulted in the dismantling of the Los Angeles Lakers, then the outlasting of the Boston Celtics. OKC sandwiched an easy win in Charlotte and a dramatic win in New York between those two home match-ups. This week, the Thunder enter a huge! game in San Antonio. OKC trails the Spurs by just one game in the Western Conference standings, and despite the game being held in the shadow of the Alamo, San Antonio enters without one of its top guns as Tony Parker remains sidelined. Oklahoma City then returns home for contests against the Utah Jazz, who have slid out of the West playoff picture, and the hapless Orlando Magic. OKC could end the week as the top team out West.

NBA Power Rankings3. San Antonio Spurs (48-15) Winners of seven of 10
Despite losing Tony Parker, the Spurs had more than enough to annihilate the Chicago Bulls this week. Unfortunately, the Portland Trailblazers came to town after that with likely Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard in tow. Lillard made the Spurs really miss Parker, as the rookie poured in 35 points and dished nine assists. Newly-acquired Blazer Eric Maynor also torched the Spurs PGs for 20 off the bench. It’ll be interesting to see how San Antonio deals with the mercurial Russell Westbrook, in their marquee matchup with the Thunder this week. The Spurs are also set to play in Minnesota, then home against Dallas and Cleveland this week. Only time will tell if Pop and co can fend off the Thunder and the hard-charging Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA Power Rankings4. Memphis Grizzlies (42-19) Winners of 12 of 13
The Griz move up one spot on our Headline Miami rankings with yet another stellar week. Had Memphis not visited Miami last week, the blue bears might be in the midst of a franchise-record run. As it is, with wins against New Orleans, Cleveland, and Portland this week, Memphis continued their accent up the Conference standings. The Grizzlies stand just one game behind the Clippers for the #3 seed, four games behind Oklahoma City for the #2 seed, and five games behind San Antonio for the #1 seed. If they can survive the difficult road trip, don’t be surprised if Memphis can secure a higher seed. The Griz travel to Lob City this week for a big-time matchup against the Clippers. The challenging road trip will also take them to Portland, Denver and Utah.

NBA Power Rankings5. Los Angeles Clippers (45-20) Winners of seven of ten; Assaulters of the Rim
If for no other reason than the pure joy of watching DeAndre Jordan savage Brandon Knight in super-slow-mo, this team would be in the top five this week. But they also graced the basketball gods with another offering, a under-the-legs alley-oop finished with a power windmill. While some might say Lob City is all flash and no substance, the Clippers have kept pace in a tight Western Conference. Dominant efforts this week against Detroit (which still has flags at half-mast for the passing of Brandon Knight) and Milwaukee split a tough loss in Denver. A huge matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies awaits the dunkin’ Clips, then another marquee opponent arrives in the New York Knicks. This week will go a long way in telling if this team has what it takes to remain in the conversation out West.

NBA Power Rankings6. Indiana Pacers (39-24) Winners of seven of ten
Indiana entered a showcase game against the Miami Heat confident in their ability to control the flow and pace of the contest. As it turns out, the Heat did all the controlling and when it was all said and done, the Pacers dropped two spots on the Headline Miami list. The Pacers have lost three of their last four against current playoff teams, and this week will go a long way to deciding if they could secure home court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. At present, they are 1.5 games behind the New York Knicks, and this week presents a pair of winnable home games against Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers before travelling to lowly Philadelphia.

NBA Power Rankings7. Denver Nuggets (42-22) Winners of eight straight
Denver cruised through the week well under the NBA radar. Dominant wins against Minnesota, Sacramento and Atlanta were impressive, but perhaps the most impressive was a 107-92 dismantling of the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s noteworthy that all these contests came in the Mile High city, where the Nuggets sport the league’s second-best home record at 28-3. Unfortunately for Denver, they may have capped out their playoff position at the #5 seed, which means the sub.500 road squad that they are (14-19) will have to win a road playoff tilt to advance. At the moment, Denver sits 1.5 games behind #4 seed Memphis, but the only hotter Western team besides the Nuggets are the Grizzlies. Denver travels to woeful Phoenix, before returning to the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center for games against the New York Knicks and a big game against the aforementioned Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA Power Rankings8. New York Knicks (38-22) Winners of six of ten
Bad news resounded in New York this week, as the team learned they will be without former All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire for as many as six weeks due to a left knee injury. The Knicks picked up mice wins this week against Utah, and in Detroit and Cleveland, but they dropped a heart-breaking at home to Oklahoma City. New York hopes to secure that #2 seed in the East with a good stretch run, but the team faces a daunting West-coast road swing through several playoff-bound clubs. Games in Golden State, Denver, and Portland and in Los Angeles against the Clippers will test the mettle of this Eastern Conference contender.

NBA Power Rankings9. Brooklyn Nets (37-26) Winners of six of ten, and three straight overall
New-comers to the Headline Miami power rankings, the Brooklyn Nets were the East’s forgotten club. Deron Williams thrust the Nets back into the national conversation with a record-breaking shooting display. Williams buried nine first-half threes against the Washington Wizards this week, setting a new NBA record. The week also saw the Nets trounce the Charlotte Bobcats and dominate the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks on the road. Brooklyn might see their winning streak swell to six this week, with games in Philadelphia, then home tilts against New Orleans and Atlanta. Don’t be surprised if the Nets overtake the Knicks should the Big Apple Big Brothers stumble out West, as the Nets are just 2.5 games behind the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead.

NBA Power Rankings10. Los Angeles Lakers (33-31) Winners of eight of ten, and three straight overall
Don’t look now, but things are getting a little brighter out in Hollywood. Despite a tough loss to start the week in Oklahoma City, the Lakers ran off three straight wins this week, including a stunning comeback in New Orleans where the Black Mamba and co ended the game on a 20-0 run. A hard fought win against the always pesky Raptors, and the downing of the suddenly struggling Bulls wrapped up the week. LA looks to improve its playoff positioning this week on the road, as the Lakers travel to Orlando, Atlanta and Indiana before coming home to face Sacramento. LA sits one game behind Houston and two games behind Golden State, so it’s not inconceivable the once sputtering Showtime could ascend as high as the #6 seed, perhaps setting up a juicy LA v LA playoff matchup.

Off the List? Atlanta. The Hawks have lost five of six, and probably should’ve pushed the reset button and dealt Josh Smith. The Hawks won’t plummet out of the playoffs, but they find themselves squarely in the #8 seed.

Best of the Rest? Boston (34-28), Houston (34-30) and Milwaukee (32-29) are all knocking on the Headline Miami Power Rankings Top Ten door with their play of late.

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