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NBA Weekly Power Rankings Week 14

The past week has seen several teams, including some top ones, struggle with consistency, but the Phoenix Suns, who are on a seven-game streak remain the constant. In the middle of all this exciting action, the Atlanta Hawks in the East and the Portland Trail Blazers in the West seem to be bettering their performances.

The past week has seen several teams, including some top ones, struggle with consistency, but the Phoenix Suns, who are on a seven-game streak remain the constant. In the middle of all this exciting action, the Atlanta Hawks in the East and the Portland Trail Blazers in the West seem to be bettering their performances. This week will see some interesting movement in the Eastern Conference as the top three teams all have 17 losses, while the fourth, fifth, and sixth teams all have 19.

1 – Phoenix Suns (Unmoved)

Record: 36-9

The Phoenix Suns have held on to the top spot on the back of a seven-game winning streak this past week. Their squad remains solid with impressive performances from key players like veteran guard Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Mikal Bridges. Their impressive performance has been bolstered by a great in-season acquisition in Congolese center Bismack Biyombo who has been impressive on both ends of the floor.

2 – Golden State Warriors (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 34-13

The Warriors are missing the presence of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, who has missed his last nine three-point attempts, is still shaking his rust off and Stephen Curry continues to struggle with his shot. He was 5-for-26 from 3 over the weekend. Overall, they have held up defensively even without Green, ranking fourth – 106.0 points allowed per 100 possessions over the eight games since he last played.

3 – Memphis Grizzlies (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 32-17

The Grizzlies remain impressive and have just come off their toughest five-game stretch of the season. They won two of them even without Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones. The Grizzlies rank first (for the second straight season) in points in the paint differential (+11.1 per game), second in fast-break points differential (+3.3 per game), and first in second-chance points differential (+5.3 per game).

4 – Miami Heat (Moved up 2 spots)

Record: 30-17

The Miami Heat seem to be playing with the same hunger they had in the Bubble with Jimmy Butler being a hard-nosed leader and Bam Adebayo performing at peak, especially after his return from a 22-game absence. They now rank as the third-best and third-most improved offense in the league, having scored 1.7 more points per 100 possessions than they did last season.

5 – Utah Jazz (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 30-18

The Jazz has had their share of struggles over the past couple of weeks and has lost to teams they would have usually defeated such as the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. They have had both Donovan Mitchell (out the last three games with a concussion) and Rudy Gobert for just two games as they’ve lost seven of their last nine. They are first in offensive rating (116.0), 10th in defensive rating (108.8), third in net rating (+7.2).

6 – Milwaukee Bucks (Moved up 4 spots)

Record: 30-19

The Bucks struggled a little while Jrue Holiday was out, but his return from a six-game absence has seen them pull off three straight wins with impressive victories over Memphis and Chicago in which they held two top-10 offenses to just 100.5 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks have outscored their opponents by 31.9 points per 100 possessions with Holiday and fellow guard George Hill on the floor this season.

7 – Brooklyn Nets (Unmoved)

Record: 29-17

The Nets are one of two teams that are a win away from tying for the top spot in the East. They have gotten off to solid starts even while starting two rookies in Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe, who have played well alongside veteran guard Patty Mills in the last five games. Brooklyn has outscored their opponents by 25.4 points per 100 possessions in 54 total minutes with the two rookies, Mills and James Harden on the floor alongside either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving.

8 – Chicago Bulls (Moved down 3 spots)

Record: 29-17

The Chicago Bulls share the second spot in the East with the Brooklyn Nets, but unfortunately have six of their top 10 guys out of commission with injuries and have lost six of their last seven games, ranking in the bottom five on both ends of the floor over that stretch. DeMar DeRozan has continued to do his thing offensively (27.0 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 58.8%), while Nikola Vucevic has been having a five-year low 48.2% field goal percentage.

9 – Cleveland Cavaliers (Unmoved)

Record: 28-19

The Cleveland Cavaliers is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the East at the moment with a young core and some veteran influence from Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo. A top-four seed is a possibility for them this week and possibly long-term. They potentially have the easiest remaining schedule based on their cumulative winning percentage of .467, 21 of 35 games against teams that are currently at or below .500, among the East’s top six.

10 – Philadelphia 76ers (Unmoved)

Record: 27-19

Joel Emiid is currently having an MVP-worthy season and over the last five weeks (16 games), he’s averaged 33.9 points, shooting 55% from the field and 42% from 3-point range while getting to the line for more than 11 attempts per contest. The 76ers are just a couple of good games from ranking in the top 10, but their defence still isn’t playing at the level that it has in previous seasons. The team still has the opportunity to add some shooting this season as they are 10th in offensive rating (111.0), 11th in defensive rating (108.8), and 10th in net rating (+2.2).

11 – Dallas Mavericks (Unmoved)

Record: 27-20

The Dallas Mavericks have been performing well on both ends of the court, but have been more consistent defensively and have won 11 of their last 13 games, allowing 6.0 fewer points per 100 possessions (99.0) than any other team over those 24 days. They are still searching for offensive consistency, not just from game to game, but also from quarter to quarter.

12 – Charlotte Hornets (Unmoved)

Record: 26-11

The Charlotte Hornets have won seven of their last eight games and have ranked second defensively – 102.6 points allowed per 100 possessions over that stretch, which included three wins over teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers which have top-10 offenses.

13 – Denver Nuggets (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 24-21

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic had a great week, pulling off four-straight triple-doubles, but the Denver Nuggets are struggling especially with him off the floor, and over the past four games, only the Orlando Magic bench has been worse than Denver’s.

14 – Boston Celtics (Moved up 3 spots)

Record: 24-24

The Boston Celtics continue with their consistency issues, but things might get better as the reunited starting line-up of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams III, has outscored its opponents by 17.8 points per 100 possessions, the second-best mark among 32 line-ups in the league that has played at least 150 total minutes.

15 – Minnesota Timberwolves (Moved up 4 spots)

Record: 23-23

But the Timberwolves offense has been rather impressive over the last three weeks, scoring a league-best 119.3 points per 100 possessions as they’ve won seven of their last 10 games. They rank as both the league’s fifth-most improved team on offense – having scored 0.6 more points per 100 possessions than they did last season) and its fifth most improved team on defence – having allowed 5.6 fewer per 100.

16 – New York Knicks (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 23-25

The Knicks sit below .500 at the moment and they can’t seem to build winning momentum, they are 5-5 in their last 10 clashes. New York is 24th in offensive rating but they fair better in defensive rating, they sit in 13th.

17 – Los Angeles Lakers (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 23-24

The Lakers have a similar form problem to the Knicks as they’re struggling to string a series of wins together. LeBron James has been sensational though, he’s 2nd in the NBA in points per game. But the Lakers are still battling on offense, even with James firing, they are 23rd in the league in offensive rating.

18 – Washington Wizards (Moved down 2 spots)

Record: 23-24

The Wizards have hit a slump again over the last week and have lost three games in a row. With their offense and defence middle of the road compared to their rivals they will need to start scoring more to course correct.

19 – Los Angeles Clippers (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 23-25

It’s been rough for the Clippers ever since they lost Paul George to injury. But Tyronn Lue’s team is still hanging tough. Scoring is their Achilles heel, but they’ll take pride in their defensive rating which is 6th in the NBA.

20 – Toronto Raptors (Moved down 7 spots)

Record: 22-22

A team with a .500 record is hard to be critical of but Toronto will be eager to do better. The Raptors are 12th in the offensive rating which is positive but their defensive rating is 18th and will need to be worked on.

21 – Atlanta Hawks (Unmoved)

Record: 21-25

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team with a larger gap between their offensive rating and defensive rating than Atlanta. The Hawks are red-hot when it comes to scoring, 2nd in the NBA in offensive rating. But they are ice-cold on defence, 27th in defensive rating. Trae Young is having another fantastic season, he’s 5th in points per game and 3rd in assists per game. His teammates need to step up.

22 – Portland Trail Blazers (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 20-26

Portland has also struggled with injuries with both of their stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both having missed time. Dame is out for the foreseeable future but CJ is back. That has given the Trail Blazers a lift. They have won six of their last 10 games. Their defence is still the pits though.

23 – New Orleans Pelicans (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 18-28

After the horrid start to the season, the Pelicans are showing signs of life. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and are on a two-game winning streak. New Orleans are still missing Zion Williamson but they’ve seen Brandon Ingram step up. He’s been out hurt with an ankle issue recently, but they have still managed to win.

24 – Indiana Pacers (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 17-30

The Pacers moved up in the rankings after their impressive one-two punch of victories over the Lakers and the Warriors on their West Coast road trip. They are far off where they want to be but will take heart in their offensive rating which is 14th in the league.

25 – San Antonio Spurs (Moved down 2 spots)

Record: 17-30

The Spurs continue to tread water in the league with only two wins over their last ten outings. Dejounte Murray is the bright spot in this team and he is 4th in the NBA in assists per game. The struggle continues.

26 – Sacramento Kings (Moved down 4 spots)

Record: 18-30

Sacramento keeps yo-yoing up and down these rankings. The Kings are on a three-game skid and have only claimed two victories in their last 10 games. Bad defence is hampering the Kings as they slide further down the Western Conference standings.

27 – Houston Rockets (Moved up 1 spot)

Record: 14-33

The Rockets might not have many wins this season but they’ve been more competitive over the last few weeks than in previous months. They are 16th in the league in points per game.

28 – Oklahoma City Thunder (Moved down 1 spot)

Record: 14-33

Oklahoma City has been playing their young players with mixed results all season. They’ve lost six on the trot. However, this is a team for whom winning isn’t everything. They haven’t done much of that this term, only winning 14 of their 47 games. The young players are gaining a lot of experience though.

29 – Detroit Pistons (Unmoved)

Record: 11-35

The Pistons rebuild is definitely in full swing with the team second last in the Eastern Conference. Detroit will take heart from the performances of No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham who leads all rookies in scoring and is 2nd in assists per game amongst the first years.

30 – Orlando Magic (Unmoved)

Record: 9-39

The Magic have struggled more than many expected and they haven’t reached double-digit victories this season. They have one win in their last 10 games. With Orlando’s rebuild also in full swing, most observers will feel that at least Franz Wagner is showing why he was drafted so high.

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