NBA Power Rankings: Week 18By Bryan Power - Covers Expert
Not surprisingly, the Warriors remain on top, but the Clippers have jumped over the Hawks to take over the No. 2 spot this week.
NBA Power Rankings
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The last time we had a team outscore its opponents by 10 or more points per game over the course of an entire season was the 2007-08 NBA Champion Celtics. So the Warriors (+10.6 PPG) are in pretty rarified air and could be a good value taking points Thursday at Cleveland.
What's funny about the Clips is that I think most people think they are among the most overrated teams in the league. The numbers suggest otherwise, even though they remain just a 42.7% ATS proposition at the betting window.
I always thought the Hawks were a lot closer to the "rest of the pack" than they were to catching the Warriors for the top spot and it shows this week as I drop them.
The Mavs have dominated Eastern Conference foes to the tune of 20-5 straight up and 15-9-1 ATS. Too bad then that they're a Western Conference team.
With a comfortable lead for second place in the West, the Grizzlies continue to be an Under machine (Under is 13-2 last 15 games).
They're a top four team in the West right now only because they are in first place in their division, but I'd say most consider Oklahoma City as the superior team in the Northwest at this point of the season.
I admit that it looks odd to still have the Raptors above both the Cavs and Rockets (who just blew them out). A three-game losing streak does drop them however, and I expect they'll fall even further in the weeks to come.
You won't find wild fluctuation in these rankings on a weekly basis, however the Cavs making the biggest jump (three spots) this week does bear mentioning. They've won 17 of 19 and are the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
Charles Barkley doesn't like analytics and ironically analytics aren't that friendly to the team that embraces them the most. Advanced stats say the Rockets are a team likely to be "upset" in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Everyone keeps waiting on the defending champs to really get going, but after losing three straight out of the Break, I don't see the Spurs finishing higher than 7th in the loaded Western Conference.
The news of another Derrick Rose injury is just soul-crushing, unless you're Atlanta, Toronto or Cleveland, whose paths to the Eastern Conference Finals probably got a whole lot easier.
Speaking of injuries, Kevin Durant is out again, which makes me leery of putting the Thunder any higher despite the fact they've now won and covered seven in a row.
You're not getting as much "bang for your Buck" now as Milwaukee has failed to cover in seven of their last eight games. But still, they are the only team in the league besides Golden State and Atlanta to be above 60 percent ATS for the year.
This is a team in complete freefall. The Wizards are just 2-7 (straight up) in February, but the weak East should keep them as a top five seed.
It's absolutely over for the Suns, who are just 1-7 SU this month, including losses to both Minnesota and Boston since the All-Star Break.
We conclude the "it's all over but the shouting" group with the Pelicans, who despite wins over Toronto and Miami aren't a real threat without Anthony Davis.
Now we're into the "challenging for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference" group, which is led by the Pistons, despite the fact they currently would not be a playoff team.
Interestingly, the Pacers have yet to win a game on exactly two days rest. They're 0-8 SU and 0-7-1 ATS in that spot.
Jared Sullinger being out for the year is the final nail in this overachieving team's coffin.
You may be surprised to find out that the Jazz have played .500 ball over their last 30 games, giving up the 4th fewest points per game in the entire league.
Five losses in a row have really hurt and we know they can't count on the front office to do anything right.
The Nets had all the makings of being a seller at the trade deadline, but a couple of wins actually have them back in playoff position (at least temporarily).
One step forward, two steps back. That's how I describe the last week on South Beach with Goran Dragic's arrival followed by Chris Bosh's departure for the rest of the year. The Heat are 28th in scoring, last in rebounding and 28th in assists.
Just two wins since January 14th? Yikes! I still don't know why the Nuggets thought they could be a playoff team coming into the year.
After winning George Karl's debut at home vs. Boston, it was back to the same old Kings the following night as they were blown out by the Clippers.
You cannot deny that this team is playing better since firing Jacque Vaughn. They've won four of six, including three straight.
The Lakers last win in regulation came all the way back on January 9th!
The Knicks are officially challenging Minnesota to see just who is the second worst team in basketball. Phil Jackson has absolutely stolen a paycheck this year.
Favored against Phoenix, now favored against Washington? It seems to me that the T'wolves are getting a little too much respect.
The only team in the league not to be favored a single time all year.
Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.