NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James Dominates, But Are The Miami Heat Numero Uno?

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Feb. 1, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) drives to the net around Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson (2) during the second half at Barclays Center. Nets won 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

11. Boston Celtics

The Celtics’ have been the main source of curiosity for NBA fans since Rajon Rondo’s season ended with a torn ACL. After holding the Denver Nuggets off in 3OT this Sunday, their seven-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats. Considering how Rondo is one of the premier defenders and passers in the NBA, it’s astonishing that Boston has been better in both these aspects in his absence. Regardless of what happens, this is likely the C’s last hurrah. It’s nice to see them going out with a bang.

12. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls, taking on likely playoff teams, have gone 1-3 this week while Joakim Noah is still visibly hurting. I say visible because he’s still visible on the court for over 35 minutes per night. They’re still dawning the best record in their division though, and Derrick Rose should be back within weeks.

13. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets have gone just .500 this month, but they did manage to pull out an impressive Williams-less victory against the Indiana Pacers yesterday night. Unfortunately however, Brook Lopez was still the only bright spot.

14. Utah Jazz

Going 1-3 over the past week, the Jazz are struggling to stay in playoff contention. All the while, the trade deadline looms and Al Jefferson’s future with the team remains in question.

Feb 7, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett (5) puts up a shot during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Banknorth Garden. The Boston Celtics won 116-95. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

With a tough game against the Thunder coming up, the Jazz either have to pick it up or risk falling into NBA hell.

15. Atlanta Hawks

Despite the on-going trade rumors, the Hawks have managed to go 2-2 this week. While Josh Smith’s days with Atlanta seem numbered, his play hasn’t faltered. In a victory against the Mavs last night, he scored 26 points, including four three-pointers. While he’s probably better off staying within the perimeter, it can’t hurt too much to see his long distance bombs occasionally meet the bottom of the net.

16. Los Angeles Lakers

Well, the Lakers are still looking a lot better than they have for the majority of the season, but with the loss of Pau Gasol, they’re going to be hard pressed to make a playoff run.

17. Portland Trail Blazers

Heading to Miami tomorrow night in an effort to put a halt to a three-game losing streak, the Blazers playoff hopes are slowly but surely dwindling away. After dropping a game to the Magic, which ended a 12-game losing streak for them, things are looking dim. Things aren’t all bad for Portland though. I mean, they’ve got Damian Lillard and a pretty solid starting five.

18. Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks may be six games under .500, and the team may not shave again until November, but the month of February has treated them better than expected. They’ve gone 3-2 and Dirk is finally healthy even though their playoff hopes are close to shot.

19. Philadelphia 76ers

After feasting on low-level lottery teams for a couple of games, the 76ers got their butts handed to them by the Clippers and Pacers, who were more than happy to provide them with a dose of reality. With Bynum’s debut being pretty much unknown and the Celtics’ racking up wins, it’s looking like Philly will settle into the lottery this season.

20. Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are the worst-ranked playoff team on the list. Appropriately, the also have the worst record of any team currently slotted to make the playoffs. They’ve got a pretty comfortable cushion as they’re 3 games ahead of the 76er’s but their four game slide can’t continue, especially against teams like Detroit and Washington, as ramped up as they might be. The Bucks and 76ers are facing off this Tuesday, battling for the “I’m not as mediocre as you are” title to go with the 8th playoff spot in the east.

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Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lake, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota TImberwolves, NBA, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Sacramento Kingss, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Raptorss, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

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  • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

    Rondo, Sullinger, and now Barbosa. Ugh, you can’t help but feel awful for the Celtics. And I agree with you, the Bobcats aren’t the league’s laughingstock, especially since they have such a deep backcourt. Now if only they can get a big man to pair up with Mullens…

  • akennedy13

    I am curious to the logic that puts the Spurs ahead of the Heat but the Heat ahead of the Thunder. This is sometimes tricky with NBA Power Rankings. Are they based on which team is the best or the team with the best chance to win a title. That’s different because you can easily argue that the Spurs have been the best team over the course of an entire season the last three seasons but have no rings to show for it.

    If you’re putting the Spurs ahead of the Thunder then I think you have to put OKC ahead of the Heat by the same logic. The Thunder have had a better season and have been better offensively and defensively and against tougher competition.

    We will have a better answer to Heat vs. Thunder Thursday night though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bdr1981 Brett David Roberts

    The Rockets are not the 9th best team, nor are the Bulls the 12th. Houston’s defense is far too weak to be considered a top-10 team, and though they have a great collection of talent they are also too young (NBA’s youngest team) and have little chance of winning more than a game or two in the first round this year against a top seed opponent.

    The Bulls are playing phenomenal basketball despite having been riddled by injuries. Carlos Boozer is playing the best ball he has since he left Utah, and Nate Robinson (who will serve as a third stringer when Derrick Rose returns) just won player of the week. Jimmy Butler gives the Bulls one more great rotation player and defensive stopper. I can see No. 12 now in the rankings, almost, but they should be around 8-10, and after Rose returns, likely top-5.

    Basically, flip-flop the Rockets and Bulls and you have a pretty solid set of power rankings in my opinion. Well done.

  • cpatty

    I could nitpick, but all in all liked the column. I don’t see the Bucks as a worse team than the 76ers, but that is opinion.

  • Ian Denchasy

    Clippers at number five behind Denver? You’ve lost your ever lovin’ mind! With the full squad back, they should be at at LEAST fourth. Clips barely lost to Boston last week with players hurt while Denver lost at full strength.

    • akennedy13

      I think the Clippers will start to rise soon but you can’t deny how awesome Denver has been lately.

  • Ben Mehic

    Would’ve liked to see Philly ranked a little lower, perhaps even lower than Washington. The Wizards have won four consecutive games, which include games over the Knicks, Clippers, Nets, and the Bucks.

  • http://twitter.com/Chuck_tastic Charlie Livingston

    Bulls behind the Celtics? I don’t know about that. Even without Derrick in the lineup they’ve still posted a better record than Boston and the Celtics just lost their best player. Granted, they’ve rallied in his absence but that’s mostly in their own gym. Other than that, not too bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Ajamie/21103247 Stephen Ajamie

    I gotta agree with the Spurs as the top team at this moment. As a Pacers fan, I know how they’ve handled our team. Beating the Bulls without their own big three is saying something as well. The Heat are probably up there as the second best team with the way they’ve taken care of business. I thought they might have hit that wall as far as focus, but with the way they’ve played that doesn’t look like it’s coming.

    My Pacers are right there in the top ten, and in the closest divisional race, I will wonder how they come out after the All Star Break with Danny Granger back. If he can get off to a good start, then this team will look just as good as last season. We saw that they gave the Heat all they could handle, and maybe they give them even more come playoff time.

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