NBA Power Rankings: Week 20

By Bryan Power - Covers Expert

Both Memphis and Brooklyn take big steps up this week's Power Rankings, but it's the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder that return as the top two teams in the Association.

NBA Power Rankings

Week 21 Rank Last Week Change Team W-L
Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 no change in rankings 44-17
-14.5 Miami
It was a weird week in NBA with my top three teams (from last week) all losing and the next four all winning. But that won't stop me from keeping the Heat where they've been for most of the last two years - on top.
2 2 no change in rankings 47-17
-13.5 Oklahoma City
The Thunder certainly aren't doing their part in holding up the potential for a 2012 rematch in the NBA Finals. But the win over Houston was big.
3 5 move up in rankings2 45-20
-13.3 L.A. Clippers
They may not have the best record in the league since Jan. 1, but the Clips do have the best point differential in the league right now and are outscoring opponents by 10 points per 100 possessions in 2014.
4 4 no change in rankings 47-16
-13.2 San Antonio
Despite a seven-game win streak and leading the Western Conference, the Spurs actually get passed by the Clippers this week. Sorry, I'd take LA in a potential second-round series right now.
5 6 move up in rankings1 44-20
-13.0 Houston
Though they lost a close one at OKC Tuesday night, it was still an excellent week for the Rockets with wins over Miami, OKC and Portland.
6 3 move down in rankings3 47-17
-12.5 Indiana
Big drop for the Pacers as they are just 8-7 since the All-Star Break and no longer hold the mantle of being the league's top defensive team (Chicago).
7 7 no change in rankings 41-24
-11.5 Golden State
Now 10-2 since the All-Star Break and a season-best 17 games over .500, the Warriors will once again be the team no higher seed wants to face in the opening round of the playoffs.
8 11 move up in rankings3 37-26
-9.5 Memphis
This team is peaking right now and I'm banking on them locking up one of the West's final two playoff spots. The Grizzlies have won seven straight at home.
9 16 move up in rankings7 32-30
-9.4 Brooklyn
I'm finally starting to buy in a little bit, though I still feel this team is somewhat overvalued. But it's hard to ignore the Eastern Conference's best record since Jan 1.
10 9 move down in rankings1 35-27
-9.3 Toronto
It's not so much that the Raptors are slipping, just that some other teams are starting to peak. They still own the best ATS record in the East.
11 8 move down in rankings3 42-22
-9.2 Portland
Sell your stock now on the Blazers before the playoffs. I already have. On the verge of their longest losing streak of the season with a trip to San Antonio on the docket.
12 10 move down in rankings2 32-31
-8.5 Minnesota
The T'wolves will certainly be better than several playoff teams in the Eastern Conference and maybe 1 or 2 in the West as well. But like the rest of us, they'll only be watching on TV.
13 13 no change in rankings 35-29
-8.4 Chicago
Very disappointing showing after rallying to beat the Heat in overtime as the Bulls trailed the Spurs 61-33 at halftime Tuesday - on their home court.
14 12 move down in rankings2 38-27
-8.3 Dallas
Every meaningful player shot below 50 percent in Tuesday's bad loss to the Warriors. It will be a battle between them and the Suns for 8th in the West.
15 14 move down in rankings1 36-27
-8.2 Phoenix
Over their last nine games, the Suns are allowing 112.1 ppg. That is not what we call "playoff basketball."
16 15 move down in rankings1 33-30
-7.0 Washington
The Wizards have won 8 of 10 and their only losses during that stretch have come against Memphis and Miami.
17 17 no change in rankings 30-34
-5.5 Charlotte
Similar to Washington, Charlotte tends to beat the teams they should and lose to those you'd expect them to. This is going to be a playoff team.
18 21 move up in rankings3 25-40
-5.0 New York
Well, here they come again. But is it too late? Conceivably, they should stretch this winning streak to six as their next two games are against Boston and Milwaukee.
19 18 move down in rankings1 27-35
-4.0 Atlanta
With just two wins in the last 16 games, the Hawks' grasp on the final playoff spot grows looser and looser by the day.
20 24 move up in rankings4 26-37
-3.9 New Orleans
Destined to finish last in a tough division, the Pelicans go for a season-high fourth straight win at home vs. Memphis Wednesday night.
21 23 move up in rankings2 25-39
-3.8 Detroit
A terrible road team and they've beaten only two teams with winning record over their last 24 games. So no, the Pistons aren't making the playoffs.
22 19 move down in rankings3 22-42
-3.7 Sacramento
At this time next week, we hopefully won't be discussing how the Kings were the team that finally stopped Philadelphia's losing streak.
23 20 move down in rankings3 24-40
-3.6 Cleveland
An 0-4 SU/ATS start to March is the exclamation point on a very disappointing season in Cleveland. I really hope that Dan Gilbert doesn't seriously believe he can get LeBron back.
24 22 move down in rankings2 27-36
-3.5 Denver
This is a pitiful bunch right now with a 1-8 stretch on the road where they've been outscored by 16 ppg. They've also lost six of seven against the East!
25 25 no change in rankings 22-42
-2.0 Utah
The story is usually the same for these bad teams. The Jazz aren't playing any defense and as a result have lost six of their last seven.
26 26 no change in rankings 22-42
-0.5 L.A. Lakers
Lost by 48 to the Clippers and then beat the Thunder outright (with a loss at Denver in between). That's what the Lakers did this week and I struggle to explain either result.
27 27 no change in rankings 22-42
0.0 Boston
Over the last six games, the Celtics are a respectable 3-3 with two losses to Indiana and another to Golden State. Hey, at least they're trying.
28 28 no change in rankings 19-46
1.2 Orlando
Blowing an 18-point lead at Milwaukee put the Magic in danger of dropping another spot. But since it was on the road, I'll keep them here.
29 29 no change in rankings 13-51
1.5 Milwaukee
The Bucks have 18 games to string together back to back wins, something they have failed to do even once all season.
30 30 no change in rankings 15-48
5.0 Philadelphia
Six weeks without a victory while being outscored by 19 points per game. It's perverse, but it would be great to see them "lose out."
Return to the Current Week's rankings

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.