Just to clarify, the NBA All-Star Weekend wasn’t the only thing to take place since our last power ranking, so I’m taking a look at how every team ranks before the second half of the NBA season officially commences. SPOILER: If your favourite team isn’t the Miami Heat, you will probably hate me. Have it at, folks.
1. Miami Heat (2)
Number one spot in the Eastern Conference. Best player in the league. MVP. Seven-game winning streak. Not a bad way to come out of the All-Star break. The Miami Heat have all of those things at their disposal, but what pushed them over the Spurs was a convincing road victory against their 2012 Finals doormat, the Oklahoma City Thunder. LeBron’s insane streak of scoring 500 points on 700% shooting came to an end, but it’s likely to be followed by another, just as numerically perplexing stretch.
2. San Antonio Spurs (1)
The Spurs have lost just one game this entire month. They played just once this week, barely managing a victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers. A Dion Waiters presumably sealed San Antonio’s fate until Kawli Leonard decided to play the part of the hero and nailed a game-winning three-pointer.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (3)
Despite the re-emergence of the Clippers, and the Thunder losing two straight games this week, their position hasn’t change. Especially when you consider just how dangerous this Thunder team can be when it wants to. An inconvenient truth for Thunder fans, though: The Heat proved this week that if the Thunder remain as the same iso-friendly team they were last June, the result’s won’t be to different come this season’s playoffs.
4. Los Angeles Clippers (5)
A healthy Chris Paul is a beautiful thing. For the Clippers, overall health in general is a beautiful thing. With everyone on the roster ready to go, including Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups, this team has a chance to knock one of the top three off in coming weeks.
5. New York Knicks (6)
The Knicks played just once this week, in a loss to the Toronto Raptors. Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay both managed to remind NBA fans why they’re not in that upper-upper echelon of players in the process. Regardless of this, the Knicks managed to move up a spot thanks to the slipping Denver Nuggets.
6. Denver Nuggets (5)
Well, we knew it would happen at some point. It was fitting that the clash of winning streaks – the Boston, Denver match up, that is – would turn in to a triple overtime affair. What wasn’t fitting however, was that with the inclusion of that game, the Nuggets dropped three straight. Denver’s continuing woes on the road proved to be why they were left out of the top five this week.
7. Indiana Pacers (8)
The Pacers bounced back against the Bobcats, after dropping two straight home games… In other news, Danny Granger should be back in the line-up soon. Also, Paul George completed the worst three-point contest showing in history this Saturday.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (7)
The Grizzlies played just once this past week, pulling out a victory against the lowly Sacramento Kings. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this. What worries me about the future of this team is that, per Basketball Reference, all of their best line-ups this season have featured Rudy Gay.
9. Boston Celtics (11)
Since Rajon Rondo went down, the C’s have lost just one game, beckoning more and more “are they better without Rondo?” questions. Bill Simmons’ even revisited the Ewing theory. In completely undramatic fashion, they dropped a game to the Bobcats after coming away victorious in their triple-OT affair against Denver. They went on to defeat the Bulls in possibly the ugliest two-playoff-teams-that-are-kinda-sorta-rivals-are-facing-off-tonight game of this season. That and some rest is not a bad way to start the second half of the season.
10. Houston Rockets (9)
The Rockets went 1-1 this week, defeating the Warriors yet again and taking a loss to the Clippers. Defensive continues to be an issue for them, as Los Angeles scored 46 (yes, you read that right) points against them in the first quarter. Not the first half, the first quarter. The Rockets would rally, but it wouldn’t be enough.
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