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Monday, 08 April 2013 13:33

NBA Power Rankings: Week 23

Written by 

The Miami Heat sit comfortable atop the NBA Power Rankings as the first team to 60 wins and they remain in the drivers seat for the #1 overall seed for the playoffs. Find out where your team falls below!

Ranking

Team Name

Record

Reasoning

1 Miami Heat 60-16 LeBron James has posted a 31.56 PER so far this season. His second best total (2008-2009, James put up a 31.7 PER) and a number Michael Jordan only eclipsed twice. He's been better than last season. Just plain wow. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder 56-21 A mid-week win over the Spurs gives OKC the inside track for the top-seed in the Western Conference. 3 San Antonio Spurs 57-20 Another Division title is in the books. Now about that home-court advantage for the West. Thanks to the Knicks -- who might take a lesson about not taking a major win streak into the playoffs from last years' Spurs team -- San Antonio is one game ahead of the Thunder in the loss-column. Still, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli must be healthy for them to advance. 4 New York Knicks 50-26 The Knicks are scorching hot and Carmelo Anthony is so hot, he might turn into lava. That was a terrible joke. What's not terrible is how Anthony leads the NBA in scoring at just over 28.4. PPG and became the first (and only other) Knick since Bernard King to score 40+ points in three straight games. 5 Denver Nuggets 53-24 Losing Danillo Gallinari to a season-ending ACL tear is awful news. Not sure how Denver overcomes his loss in the playoffs. 6 L.A. Clippers 51-26 The Clippers clinched their first division title in franchise history and subsequently knocked the Lakers back out of the playoffs for the time being. 7 Memphis Grizzlies 52-25 When the game slows down for the playoffs, there isn't a front court I'd rather have than Zach Randolph (15.4 PPG + 11.2 RPG) and Marc Gasol (14.3 PPG + 7.7 RPG). 8 Indiana Pacers 48-29 The Central Division is theirs and though they've been playing good basketball. Resting up in the 3-seed isn't necessarily a bad idea right now, sitting 2.5 games behind the Knicks. 9 Golden State Warriors 44-33 The all-important race to avoid the Spurs and Thunder is heating up! I really want to see what Golden State can do in the playoffs behind Stephen Curry. From Elias: Stephen Curry scored 18 points on an off-shooting night, but his 15 assists contributed to the Warriors' 111-107 win at Phoenix. It was on February 27 that Curry scored 54 points in a game at New York, so he's now only the second player in Warriors' history -- and remember, this is one of only three franchises, along with the Knicks and the Celtics, that trace their histories back to the NBA's first season, in 1946-47 -- to have a game of 50-plus points and one of 15-plus assists in the same season. Rick Barry had highs of 64 points and 16 assists in the 1973-74 season. 10 Houston Rockets 43-34 Will they score 106.2 PPG (tops in the NBA) in the playoffs? Absolutely not. Will it be fun to watch them try to? Absolutely. 11 Brooklyn Nets 44-32 Because their 7-footer doesn't rebound, Reggie Evans domination on the boards has been critical for the Nets. From Elias: Reggie Evans collected 20 rebounds in the Nets' 105-96 victory over the Bobcats, marking the eighth game this season in which he has produced that many rebounds. That's as many 20-rebound games as the combined total of the next two players on that list: Dwight Howard and Wilson Chandler have each produced four games of 20-plus rebounds. 12 Chicago Bulls 42-34 Derrick Rose might return for the playoffs. The defense is as stingy as ever, but the offense has been abysmal all season long. Chicago is the lowest scoring team in the NBA at 92.7 PPG. 13 Utah Jazz 41-37 Utah has turned it on at just the right time and remain a win ahead of the Lakers for the final spot in the West. Reached five wins in a row -- a season best -- earlier in the week. 14 Atlanta Hawks 42-36 Another team backing into the playoffs. A favorable four-game stretch (as the Knicks will have most likely wrapped up the 2-seed by game #82 for Atlanta) could build some momentum. Probably won't matter if they face Indiana or New York. 15 Boston Celtics 40-37 Kevin Garnett returned after missing eight games to an ankle injury. The offense looked great in his return against a very, very good Wizards defense. They've got a fighter's chance. As CSNNE's Jessicao Camerato tweeted last night, KG is ready for the postseason with guys who have each other's backs. "I know who's willing to fight, who's not going to lay down. I'd take a bunch of fighters over some skill people any day." 16 L.A. Lakers 40-37 Best stat of the season: Dwight Howard has missed more free throws in 2012-2013 than Steve Nash has...in his entire 17-year career. 17 Dallas Mavericks 38-39 Too little, too late. 2.5 games behind Utah with just five left. Yes, Dallas is every bit as good right now, but it simply took too long to round into proper form. Another year of Dirk Nowitzki's prime gone. You can argue that he's not in his prime, but had the Mavericks gotten into the postseason, he could've carried them. How many more years will he be able to do that. One? 18 Milwaukee Bucks 37-39 First time in the playoffs in three seasons. Still the only playoff team with a losing record. I'd be surprised if they don't lose to the Heat by double digits in four straight games. 19 Washington Wizards 29-48 Now 24-20 since John Wall returned and they are the 5th-most efficient defense according to John Hollinger's ratings. In his last 10 games, Wall has averaged 25.6 PPG (on 44.6% shooting), 8 APG, 5.5 RPG. 20 Portland Trail Blazers 33-44 The wheels have come off in Portland and the lack of a bench finally caught up to this team. 21 Phiadelphia 76ers 31-45 Will he stay or will he go? It was a major risk bringing in Andrew Bynum. He hasn't suited up and though I think it would be rude to bounce after a team showed this much faith in you (especially if you're the one piece they need to contend in the weaker conference), I don't necessarily blame him after seeing what his soon-to-be-former teammates have done. 22 Minnesota Timberwolves 29-47 Congratulations to Rick Adelman who became the eighth coach to win 1,000 games in NBA history. 23 Toronto Raptors 29-48 After Rudy Gay started off his Raptors tenure so strong (one 20+-point game after another), he's come back down to Earth. Rudy Gay endured one of the poorest shooting nights of his career on Saturday against the Bucks. He finished the game just 1-of-10 from the field. It's the third time in his career he's made just 1 shot or less on at least 10 attempts from the field. It is however, the second time it's happened since joining the Raptors mid-season. 24 New Orleans Hornets 27-50 Is Eric Gordon on the move? He might not be the future but at this point, his trade value has been greatly diminished. 25 Sacramento Kings 27-50 Through all the mess this season, the Kings are averaging 99.9 PPG, 10th best in the NBA. The reason for their poor record; Sacramento allows 104.7 PPG, worst in the NBA. 26 Detroit Pistons 26-52 Not much to smile about but Detroit ended an 18-game losing streak to Chicago. 27 Cleveland Cavaliers 24-52 Tristan Thompson had a massive game to lead the Cavs over the Celtics. He set career highs in points (29) and rebounds (17). From Elias: Tristan Thompson scored 29 points and pulled down 17 rebounds in the Cavaliers' win at Boston. He was the first player in more than a decade to reach each of those statistical levels in a regular-season game against the Celtics. The last man to do that had been Shaquille O'Neal, who totaled 48 points and 20 rebounds for the Lakers in a win over the Celtics at Staples Center in March 2003. 28 Charlotte Bobcats 18-59 Call me crazy, but I think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been as good as advertised. He was an extremely versatile player in a relatively weak draft. I think he was worth the #2 pick in some ways. 29 Orlando Magic 19-59 From Elias: Tobias Harris scored 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds, three steals and three blocks in the Magic's win over the Wizards. Harris, at age 20, was the youngest NBA player to produce a 30/10 (points/rebounds) game with at least three steals and three or more blocks sinceLeBron James did that when he was 19 years old in November 2004. 30 Phoenix Suns 23-54 Nine losses in a row and a ton of holes to fix this off-season.