NBA Power Rankings: Week 20

By Mike Lundin - Covers Expert

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to hold the top spot of this weeks Power Rankings. The L.A. Clippers made the biggest move this week, jumping up seven spots. The New Orleans Pelicans suffered the biggest drop, down seven spots. With the playoffs getting closer and closer, expect things to continue to shake-up week-to-week!

NBA Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 same 51-17
(40-25-3)
-9.7 Milwaukee
It’s that time of the year when the top teams ease off the gas pedal and start to conserve energy for the playoffs. Milwaukee has split its last six games with a loss to the Suns mixed in, but it is in good company.
2 2 same 45-21
(27-39-1)
-9.5 Golden State
… as the Warriors took a tumble against ... the same Phoenix team on Sunday. Golden State has won only two of its last six and while I doubt those results are much of concern, a potential Steve Kerr/Draymond Green bust-up might be a different story.
3 3 same 48-20
(29-39-0)
-9.1 Toronto
The Raptors have much like Milwaukee split their last six games. Unlike the two teams ahead of them in the power ranking they’ve not lost to the Suns, but started the week with a 25-point loss at Cleveland.
4 4 same 42-25
(31-35-2)
-8.8 Houston
The Rockets must be crowned the hottest team in the NBA as they enter Wednesday night’s matchup with the Warriors on a nine-game winning streak. They’ve improved on the defensive end big time and have contained several high-scoring opponents during that stretch.
5 12 up 7 39-30
(40-29-0)
-7.4 L.A. Clippers
The Clip Show is making some noise and had won five on the bounce before taking a 21-point home loss to Portland Tuesday night. They beat the Thunder and the Celtics by a combined 33 points during that winning streak and look more and more like team for the playoffs.
6 6 same 41-26
(38-29-0)
-7.2 Portland
Eight wins in 11 games have allowed Portland to catch up with OKC for 2nd-place in the division, and it might even be eyeing first place with Denver in a rut.
7 5 down 2 44-22
(36-30-0)
-7.1 Denver
The Nuggets had lost four of five before finally coming through with a big outing and beating Minnesota by 26 points on Tuesday. Just one game behind Golden State for the best record in the West but took a 17-point beating in Oakland last Friday.
8 13 up 5 39-29
(37-30-1)
-5.9 San Antonio
The Spurs are white hot with six straight wins including triumphs over Detroit, OKC, Denver and Milwaukee. Might extend the winning streak to 10 in a row with the next four games at home.
9 7 down 2 43-25
(32-36-0)
-5.2 Philadelphia
Philly has answered a two-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Indiana and Cleveland. Joel Embiid is back from injury and might fuel a strong finish to the regular season.
10 9 down 1 41-27
(34-33-1)
-4.7 Boston
Boston failed to complete the sweep of a four-game trip on the west coast as it took a 25-point beating at LA Clippers Monday night. The trip was still a big success with triumphs at Golden State, Sacramento and LA Lakers.
11 8 down 3 41-26
(36-32-0)
-3.5 Oklahoma City
OKC will return home from a 2-2 road trip on which it picked up a big win at Portland. Still a pathetic 2-9 ATS through its last 11 games while Russell Westbrook is distracted fighting with opposing teams fans.
12 10 down 2 43-25
(34-34-0)
-3.4 Indiana
Indiana put an end to a two-game skid with a tight win over New York last time out. Still failed to cover the spread as it has done in six of its last eight games. The Pacers still have plenty to play for as they battle Philadelphia for the third seed in the East.
13 11 down 2 37-29
(34-31-2)
-3.4 Utah
Back-to-back losses against OKC and Memphis have seen Utah fall to the eighth seed in the West. Still four games ahead of Sacramento who’s the closest team on the other side of the bubble, but would need to go on a run to close the door.
14 14 same 34-32
(33-32-2)
-3.1 Detroit
Detroit put up just 75 points in a loss at Brooklyn on Monday, but it is still one of the hottest teams in the league with 12 wins in 15 games.
15 17 up 2 36-33
(37-33-0)
-1.4 Brooklyn
Four wins in a row for the Nets have seen them overtake Detroit for sixth place in the East. They really needed those wins with a gruesome seven-game road trip on deck.
16 15 down 1 33-33
(38-27-1)
-0.6 Sacramento
Only two wins through their last seven games and a postseason berth getting further and further away. Don’t expect much from the Kings this week with visits to Boston and Philadelphia Thursday/Friday.
17 18 up 1 31-35
(36-31-0)
1.1 Miami
The current 8th-seed Miami had reeled off four straight wins before taking a 21-point beating by Toronto on Sunday. Well, that’s not a game the Heat were supposed to win, but beating current 7th-seed Detroit Wednesday night would be huge.
18 19 up 1 30-37
(30-36-1)
2.7 Charlotte
The Hornets are slumping at the wrong time. Need to figure things out ASAP with matchups at Washington and Miami up next.
19 21 up 2 32-36
(34-34-0)
3.3 Minnesota
The Wolves had won three of four prior to a knockout loss at Denver Tuesday night. Six games out of a playoff spot and unlikely to be able to make a run at the playoff spots with a banged up squad.
20 20 same 31-37
(35-33-1)
3.8 Orlando
Orlando is 1-3 through its last four games despite closing all but one of those as a favorite. Still just one game behind the Heat who are top of the division and ½-game ahead of Charlotte.
21 24 up 3 28-39
(33-35-0)
4.3 Washington
Good times (well as good as they get) for the Wizards with four wins in seven games. Only 3 ½ game out of a playoff spot but three division-rivals in Miami, Orlando and Charlotte stand in the way.
22 25 up 3 28-40
(32-37-0)
5.1 Memphis
Three wins in a row and five in seven games for the Grizzlies. Shouldn’t they be tanking though?
23 16 down 7 30-40
(33-36-1)
5.5 New Orleans
Four straight defeats for the Pels with 127+ points surrendered in each of the last three. Not surprisingly also 0-4 ATS through that stretch.
24 27 up 3 23-45
(34-35-0)
5.7 Atlanta
The Hawks are just one game under .500 through their last 12 games and a solid 10-2 ATS during that stretch.
25 22 down 3 31-36
(27-38-2)
6.5 L.A. Lakers
The Lakers season has gone from bad to worse. Ended a five-game losing streak with a rout of the Bulls at Chicago last time out, but too little to late. Also note that Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram both have been shut down for the remainder of the season.
26 23 down 3 27-40
(37-29-1)
7.1 Dallas
Dallas is a hot mess with 11 losses through 12 games. Luka Doncic is the only bright spot, but he hasn’t looked right in recent games.
27 29 up 2 16-52
(31-38-0)
7.4 Phoenix
What a run for the Suns! Five wins in seven games and came from behind to beat both Milwaukee and Golden State.
28 28 same 17-51
(32-35-1)
7.5 Cleveland
The Cavs have picked up a few Ws here and there in recent weeks. Solid 6-8 with Kevin Love in the lineup this season.
29 26 down 3 19-50
(30-38-1)
8.7 Chicago
The Bulls were on a nice run winning five of six games but have followed that up with a 1-5 run, and not covering the spread in any of the losses.
30 30 same 13-55
(28-39-1)
9.9 New York
The Knickerbockers just can’t do anything right, and owner James Dolan suspending fans from MSG for suggesting he should sell the team. Yeah I’m pretty sure he has not heard it for the last time.

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.

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