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NBA Power Rankings (4.1): Miami Asserts Their Dominance By Beating NBA’s Second-Best Team

Ranking the NBA from worst to first…

30. Charlotte Bobcats (17-56)
Last week: 30, –
They still aren’t that good at basketball. But at least Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been good lately.

29. Orlando Magic (19-55)
Last week: 29, –
I’m not sure how much we should buy into Tobias Harris yet. But averaging 26 points in three games last week is impressive no matter what.

28. Detroit Pistons (24-50)
Last week: 26, -2
The Pistons sure are good at tanking. With a bad last few weeks, they could be looking at a bottom-three lottery pick.

27. New Orleans Hornets (26-48)
Last week: 28, +1
They played great on Tuesday and snapped the Nuggets’ 15-game win streak. With the continued development of Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, this team will look nice in a couple years.

26. Phoenix Suns (23-51)
Last week: 25, -1
The Suns may not be winning much, but they are competing every night and have beaten some good teams in the last month. I’m still not sold on their young core going forward, though.

25. Philadelphia 76ers (30-43)
Last week: 27, +2
Poor Sixers fans. Just when practically everyone thought the Sixers would lose out the regular season, the team pulls out a 4-1 week and seems destined for the ninth seed. Too bad.

24. Toronto Raptors (27-46)
Last week: 24, –
The Raptors have an easy week coming up against Detroit, Washington, Minnesota and Milwaukee. It’s too bad they are basically eliminated from the playoff picture.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50)
Last week: 20, -3
I don’t understand why Kyrie Irving is coming back. Nothing good can come from his return. Hopefully he doesn’t break everything.

22. Sacramento Kings (27-47)
Last week: 23, +1
For every other team already eliminated from the playoffs, wins at this point in the season are negatives as they hurt lottery chances. But for the Kings, wins at this point seem necessary for fan support and to look pretty to potential buyers. I really hope they can stay in Sacramento.

21. Washington Wizards (27-46)
Last week: 21, –
John Wall has been playing great and it is because he consistently gets to the line. In three games last week, Wall averaged 17 free throw attempts and if he can keep that up, then he’ll be a force in this league for a while.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (26-46)
Last week: 22, +2
They beat the Thunder. That’s neat. I’m super excited to see them healthy next year.

19. Portland Trail Blazers (33-40)
Last week: 16, -3
The Trail Blazers schedule was difficult last week and they went 0-4. Right now their only goal should be to finish the season without suffering a major injury.

18. Milwaukee Bucks (35-37)
Last week: 18, –
Brandon Jennings is upset about not playing in recent fourth quarters. Maybe he would play more if he was better at basketball.

17. Dallas Mavericks (36-37)
Last week: 17, -1
The Mavericks have played well lately and sneaked their way back into the playoff race. But it may be difficult for them to jump both the Jazz and Lakers in just eight games.

16. Boston Celtics (38-35)
Last week: 15, -1
Thanks to the Bucks playing horribly, the Celtics shouldn’t be worried about falling to the dreaded No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

15. Utah Jazz (38-36)
Last week: 19, +4
Look at the Jazz! After a 4-1 week they have reclaimed the eighth seed from the Lakers thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker and they now control their own destiny. These final eight regular season games should be exciting.

14. L.A. Lakers (38-36)
Last week: 14, –
The Lakers have lost control of the eighth seed and have a difficult week coming up with games against Dallas and Memphis. Los Angeles’ fear of missing the playoffs appears to be a very real possibility and boy would that be awkward.

13. Houston Rockets (40-33)
Last week: 11, -2
Houston has a semi-comfortable lead on the seventh seed. But with the Thunder being the probable No. 2 seed, a fall to eight may not be the worst thing for the Rockets as the Spurs would be a better matchup.

12. Golden State Warriors (42-32)
Last week: 10, -2
The Warriors don’t have too many difficult regular season games remaining. So with a good week next week, they may be able to afford the luxury of rest before the playoffs.

11. Chicago Bulls (40-32)
Last week: 12, +1
Snapping the Heat’s 27-game win streak is reason enough for a jump in the rankings. I’m excited for a possible Knicks-Bulls first round matchup.

10. Atlanta Hawks (41-33)
Last week: 9, -1
They’ve beaten the teams they’re supposed to lately. But losses against the Pacers and Celtics are disheartening.

9. New York Knicks (46-26)
Last week: 13, +4
The Knicks have been playing much better lately, but it hasn’t exactly been against the elites of the league.

8. Brooklyn Nets (42-31)
Last week: 8, –
No matter how many games the Nets win, I still don’t think they’ll make it to the second round of the playoffs. I just don’t see it.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (49-24)
Last week: 7, –
The Grizzlies losing streak was snapped this weekend with an impressive win over Houston. If their frontcourt can stay healthy, then they’ll be a definite force in the playoffs.

6. Indiana Pacers (47-27)
Last week: 6, –
The Pacers are the only legitimate threat to the Heat in the playoffs. But even so, I don’t think they’ll win more than two games against Miami. The Eastern Conference Playoffs will probably be pretty quick.

5. L.A. Clippers (49-25)
Last week: 5, –
I think the No. 4 seed could be a better position for the Clippers than the three. They matchup better with the Grizzlies and they wouldn’t have to face the Thunder until the Western Conference Finals if the standings stay the same.

4. Denver Nuggets (50-24)
Last week: 2, -2
This is arguably an unfair drop. But it’s difficult placing the Nuggets ahead of the Thunder and Spurs without an active win streak. I still like them as a sleeper pick to win the West, though.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (54-20)
Last week: 4, +1
At some point the Thunder should decide how much they care about obtaining the No. 1 seed, because rest and health could be more important down the stretch.

2. San Antonio Spurs (55-18)
Last week: 3, +1
The Spurs loss yesterday at home against a depleted Heat team is a little worrisome. But I expect that it will ignite San Antonio even more in the final few weeks.

1. Miami Heat (58-15)
Last week: 1, –
Well, their streak was snapped at 27 games in Chicago. But their win yesterday in San Antonio without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade may have been their most impressive victory in months.

Which team in the West will lock in the No. 3 seed between Memphis, Denver and the Clippers?

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