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NBA Power Rankings | Week 24 Kyrie back in Brooklyn, Celtics Top 3, Timberwolves drop

The Boston Celtics have catapulted up the Eastern Conference standings while the Miami Heat have let their hold on the conference slip over the last week.

The Boston Celtics have catapulted up the Eastern Conference standings while the Miami Heat have let their hold on the conference slip over the last week.
Kathryn RileyAFP

The Phoenix Suns secured the top record in the NBA with their win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, while the Grizzlies continue to win even without their super star Ja Morant. The East has a new leader as Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics knocked the Miami Heat off the podium over the last week.

1) Phoenix Suns, 61-14 (1 last week)

3-0 last week. The Suns made it official on Thursday. They are the best team in the regular season this year, and their 140-130 win over the Denver Nuggets secured them home court throughout the playoffs. Devin Booker scored 49 points in the win on the same night Chris Paul returned from a fractured thumb. The Suns seem to be hitting stride at the perfect time with the playoffs lurking.

2) Memphis Grizzlies, 52-23 (2 last week)

3-0 last week. Memphis has wrapped up their spot in the NBA playoffs, but will they be sitting right behind the Suns with the second seed? Ja Morant has an injured knee and may not see any more action until the playoffs start, but Morant doesn’t seem to stressed about missing time before the postseason.

3) Boston Celtics, 47-28 (7 last week)

3-0 last week. The Celtics have had a stratospheric rise to the top of the Eastern Conference. This was a team that was once 18-21, but since then they have lost just seven games in their last 36. Jayson Tatum is in rare form, even for his high standards and there won’t be much surprise that he is in the discussion for MVP.

4) Milwaukee Bucks, 46-28 (5 last week)

2-1 last week. The Bucks may have lost against a Ja Morant-less Grizzlies team, but they are in that cluster of teams looking for the top seed in the East. Getting a healthy Brook Lopez in game shape before the playoffs will be as important for Milwaukee as finishing with the highest possible seed in the conference.

5) Golden State Warriors, 48-27 (4 last week)

1-3 last week. Life without Curry is not treating the Warriors too kindly. They are just 1-5 since Steph was injured against the Celtics, and have lost to lowly teams like the the Magic and the Wizards.

6) Philadelphia 76ers, 46-28 (9 last week)

3-1 last week. Philly had their three game win streak snapped by the Suns, but losing to the Suns is nothing to get to down about. Philly is another one of the teams looking to pounce on the Heat’s slip up over the last week. Embiid will have to be at the MVP level he has been all season to wrap up the one seed in the East.

7) Miami Heat, 47-28, (3 last week)

0-4 last week. Are the wheels starting to fall off in South Beach? We saw emotions boil over between Udonis Haslem, Jimmy Butler and Eric Spoelstra in the Heat’s loss to the Warriors. Miami have quickly dropped down the Eastern Conference and it seems like the season’s long work they built up has been ruined in the course of a week.

8) Dallas Mavericks, 46-29 (10 last week)

3-1 last week. The Mavs split their two games against the Timberwolves as both teams try to distance themselves from the Play-In spots. They made light work of the Rockets and the Jazz to jump Utah in the fourth spot in the East.

9) Utah Jazz, 45-30 (6 last week)

0-4 last week. The Jazz have suddenly gone cold in the most important part of the season. Quin Snyder’s side averaged just over 100 points in the last week, and are plummetting down the standings.

10) Toronto Raptors, 42-32 (13 last week)

2-1 last week. The Raptors are clawing up the standings in East, and it’s in large part because of the Pascal Siakam who has been playing the best basketball of his season over the last two weeks. Their 40 point thumping of the Pacers puts them a game over Cleveland who would be in the Play-In if the season ended today.

11) Denver Nuggets, 44-31 (10 last week)

2-1 last week. Denver is holding on to that sixth spot for dear life after the Timberwolves leapfrogged them in the West for just a moment. Jokic is having a better year than he had when he won the MVP last season, and will need him now more than ever with Jamal Murray looking like he won’t be returning anytime soon.

12) Minnesota Timberwolves, 43-33 (8 last week)

1-3 last week. The T’Wolves have cooled off a bit over the last week after a sensational stretch. They beat the Mavs in one of their two matchups this week, but three losses in their last four has seen them fall back into Play-In position.

13) Chicago Bulls, 43-31 (14 last week)

2-2 last week. Despite the Bulls collapse at the end of last month, they are still only 3.5 games back of the top spot in the East. Zach LeVine is taking the wheel in the Windy City as DeMar DeRozan’s numbers have dipped over the last few days.

14) Cleveland Cavaliers, 41-33 (12 last week)

0-3 last week. The Cavs have been overtaken by the Raptors for their direct playoff spot after dropping three straight. Darius Garland will need some help with Jarrett Allen out with a broken.

15) Charlotte Hornets, 39-36 (17 last week)

3-1 last week. The Hornets will be locked in a tussle with the Nets and the Cavs for the seven and eight spots in the East the rest of the way. Finishing nine or ten will mean you have to win two games in the Play-In to make the playoffs.

16) Brooklyn Nets, 39-36 (15 last week)

2-2 last week. The Nets finally got the news they had been desperate to hear all season long. Kyrie Irving will be allowed to play in his home stadium after New York lifted it’s mandate for unvaccinated people. Irving back in Brooklyn means trouble for the East, but the Hornets got the best of the Nets on Sunday night.

17) Atlanta Hawks, 37-37 (19 last week)

2-1 last week. The Hawks are hanging to that 10th spot in the East, and barring disaster they should be in to the Play-In. The way things are going in Atlanta it looks like the Hawks are going to have to win two games to get to the playoffs.

18) Los Angeles Clippers, 36-39 (16 last week)

0-2 last week. For as hot as the Clippers were to start the month of March, they have had quite the fall from grace. They have lost their last five and eight of their last ten. Luckily for the Clips, the Pelicans and the Lakers continue to lose while means the eighth spot in the West looks like it’s all theirs.

19) New Orleans Pelicans, 32-43 (18 last week)

2-2 last week. The Pelicans won what is most likely to be the opening game in the Play-In tournament in the West on Sunday night when they beat the Lakers 116-108.

20) San Antonio Spurs, 30-44 (23 last week)

2-0 last week. The Spurs crushed the Trail Blazers and squeaked by the Pelicans last week to close within a game of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gregg Popovich’s team looks like they are on the ascendancy and could pounce on the wounded Lakers in the final few games of the season.

21) Los Angeles Lakers, 31-43 (20 last week)

1-2 last week. LeBron James twisted his ankle in the Pelicans game, and it is “feeling horrible.” He has been the only one showing up for the Lakers since Anthony Davis went down with his injury in mid January. The Lakers not making the Play-In is suddenly a real possibility after losing seven of their last ten.

22) New York Knicks, 33-42 (21 last week)

3-1 last week. New York look like it’s giving one final push for the playoffs after winning three straight, but even if they win their last seven games, they would need the Hawks lose almost all of their remaining games.

23) Washington Wizards, 32-42 (22 last week)

2-2 last week. Kyle Kuzma won’t be playing for the Wizards anymore this season after suffering a knee injury which means all the attention will be turned on Kristaps Porzingis. With the post season out of reach, the Latvian will use this rest of the season to become more of a presence on in the nations capital.

24) Sacramento Kings, 27-48 (26 last week)

2-0 last week. The Kings have won two in a row and before that, took the top seeded Suns to overtime eventually losing by three. Davion Mitchell has been a bright spot for the the Kings over the last couple games. He is posting 23.5 points and eight assists in Sacramento’s last two wins.

25) Portland Trail Blazers, 27-47 (24 last year)

The Blazers have been shockingly bad since the restart. They have won just two games since the All-Star Break and will not be getting Damian Lillard back before the season is done. The big question is will they get him back next year?

26) Indiana Pacers, 25-50 (25 last week)

The Pacers aren’t just losing games in the final portion of the season. They are getting crushed. The Raptors beat them by 40, and the Grizzlies downed them by 30 in the game before that. The post season is out of the question for the Pacers, but one thing that is being questioned is the pride of this team after their last few performances.

27) Orlando Magic, 20-55 (28 last week)

The Magic are capable of getting some sneaky wins against good teams, like they did against the Warriors on Tuesday night, but then lay duds like they did in Wednesday’s loss against the Thunder in OKC.

28) Oklahoma City Thunder, 21-53 (29 last week last week)

1-2 last week. The good news for the Thunder over the last week was that they won a game. OKC has won just one of their last ten, and have to be asking themselves “when will it end.”

29) Houston Rockets, 20-55 (30 last week)

3-1 last week. It’s much too late for the Rockets to save their season, but it looks like they have been saving the best for last after winning three of their last four.

30) Detroit Pistons, 20-55 (27 last week)

1-3 last week. The Pistons have lost eight of their last ten, but they are keeping games close. In seven of those eight games they have been within ten points, they are just having trouble closing games out.