1. Milwaukee Bucks
This week: MIL 129-108 PHX, NOP 108-120 MIL, MIL 112-101 PHI, ORL 95-112 MIL
Last week’s rank: 1
An undefeated week for the Bucks sees them stay atop the power rankings, it would probably take a winless week to knock them off of the top spot. None of these games were that close, and this Bucks team is still the beast of the east. So far, they aren’t missing Malcolm Brogdon that much as George Hill has been playing decent ball and the overall depth and consistency of this team is impressive.
2. Toronto Raptors
This week: TOR 129-102 CHI, POR 119-118 IND, IND 106-115 TOR, BKN 118-119 TOR
Last week’s rank: 3
The Raptors continued their incredibly hot streak this week with wins that included two great games against eastern rival Indiana. They played the Pacers in back-to-back games and won both games in classic, gritty fashion. In their second meeting of the week, Kyle Lowry went out injured and the Raptors didn’t miss a beat, this is a testament to the quality this squad has. Toronto is here to compete for the title, not to just fill out the playoff bracket.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
This week: LAL 129-102 SAS, LAL 111-121 HOU, GSW 120-125 LAL
Last week’s ranking: 2
It was an up and down week for the Lakers. They comfortably breezed past the Spurs but then got torn apart down the stretch against a Rockets team without a power forward or center. The Rockets are so small that James Harden took the tip-off for them. This game was incredible, a team of the Lakers size really shouldn’t have an excuse to not score every time down the court, but it was like they forgot how to make post-entry passes and power dribbles. The Lakers are now only 3.5 games ahead of the Clippers in the standing, the West is heating up.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
This week: LAC 118-106 MIN, LAC 108-105 SAS, LAC 128-111 MIA, MIN 142-115 LAC
Last week’s ranking: 6
This was a great week for the Clippers, closing the gap on their city rivals always makes it a good week. The trade deadline came and went, and the Clippers picked up Marcus Morris Sr. from the Knicks, this addition really strengthens them on both ends of the court. The Clippers are getting ready for an assault on the league for the rest of the season and if they continue with this form they’ll be the top of the West sooner rather than later.
5. Denver Nuggets
This week: DET 128-123 DEN, DEN 127-99 POR, UTA 95-98 DEN, PHX 108-117 DEN
Last week’s ranking: 4
This Denver team seemingly can’t lose to good teams, this week they beat a Trailblazers team that’s been on fire and a Utah team that is right next to them in the standings. Somehow the Nuggets team continues to fly under the radar, but they are one of the most consistent teams in the association. Losses like the one against Detroit are rare and Denver is going to be a real threat in the playoffs.
6. Boston Celtics
This week: ATL 123-115 BOS, BOS 116-100 ORL, BOS 112-107 ATL
Last week’s ranking: 5
The Jayson Tatum hype is real and very well deserved. In his three games this week he scored 28, 33 and 32 while shooting over 45% from deep in all three games. Tatum is now averaging over 22 points per games, which is impressive considering how well balanced this Celtics team is. Even though they didn’t play any real playoff teams this week they still took care of business. As their schedule ramps up down the stretch they need wins against every sub. 500 team they play.
7. Miami Heat
This week: MIA 137-106 PHI, LAC 128-111 MIA, SAC 105-97 MIA
Last week’s rank: 7
Safe to say Miami’s west coast road trip got off to a rocky start. Back-to-back loses to end this week against the Clippers and Kings see the Heat drop 3.5 games back of the Raptors. The Heat are also now two games back of the Celtics, hopefully for them, their new additions will get them back to winning ways soon. Jimmy Butler dropped 38 points in 29 minutes against the 76ers. It’s the Heat’s tactics and more performances like this from Butler that would do them a lot of good down the stretch
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
This week: OKC 109-103 CLE, OKC 108-101 DET
Last week’s rank: HM
Even though they only played two games this week, and both were against subpar teams, the Thunder continue to show their quality. At the start of the season this team’s issue was their inability to close out close games, now they can’t lose them. The Thunder have now surged their way to sixth place to shock the league. They passed the Dallas Mavericks as OKC have only lost one of their ten games. If they keep up this pace, they’re going to be a serious threat to some teams at the end of the season.
9. Utah Jazz
This week: UTA 95-98 DEN, UTA 117-114 POR
Last week’s rank: HM
Utah have recovered from their recent slide with a great win against Portland. Some may say they got lucky because the refs missed a last minute goaltend that would’ve tied the game, but that doesn’t take away from how well the Jazz played. This is a well-balanced team that can grind out wins against anyone. Their starting five is among the toughest to play against in the NBA and they set the tone for this gritty team.
10. Houston Rockets
This week: HOU 117-109 NOP, HOU 125-110 CHA, LAL 111-121 HOU, PHX 127-91 HOU
Last week’s rank: 9
Aside from getting completely blown out by the Suns, this was a great week from the Rockets. Clinical victories against the Pelican and Hornets started their week off on the right note. Their small ball lineup made their debut against the Lakers and they kept the game close all the way and then blew them out in the last bit of the fourth quarter. The Rockets are now only three games off of the third seed.
11. Indiana Pacers
12. Memphis Grizzlies
13. Portland Trailblazers
14. Philadelphia 76ers
Riley Fussell is a Journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada. Riley is originally from a small town on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, he is a passionate writer that takes interest in nearly all sports, but especially Basketball. Riley played Basketball all through high school and being from the west coast he was able to watch two games nearly every night. He is a big fan of the Toronto Raptors even though Damian Lillard is his favourite player to watch.