Skip to content

NBA Power Rankings: The streak is dead, the Heat not so much…

Apr 1, 2013, 3:01 PM EDT

350x-1 AP

Only two more power rankings after this, so we are starting to turn our view toward the playoffs. Which still feel like the Heat then everyone else.

source:  1. Heat (58-15, last week ranked No. 1). A gutty performance by the Chicago Bulls ended the Heat win streak at 27. But that was a one-time performance, not something the Bulls could replicate. It would make a great NCAA Tournament upset. The question is who is going to beat the Heat four out of seven games? Anyone?

source:  2. Thunder (54-20, LW 5). We know what the Thunder are going to get from Kevin Durant every night. Same with Russell Westbrook. The question heading into the playoffs is what about Kevin Martin? He needs to start showing up every night — beginning Thursday in the big showdown with the Spurs.

source:
3. Spurs (55-18, LW 3). They will be without Manu Ginobili for a few weeks and maybe even the start of the playoffs due to a hamstring injury. The loss Sunday to a shorthanded Heat shows how much they would miss him come the postseason against an elite team. Short-term question is can they hold on to top spot in West?

source:  4. Pacers (47-27, LW 7). Won four games in a row including a tough Texas two step at Houston and Dallas last week, which gives them seven wins in their last eight. They are finding a playoff groove, too. Big tests against the Clippers and Thunder this week.

source:  5. Knicks (46-26, LW 9). They have an eight-game win streak that comes as they go with a lot of two point-guard lineups (which they used a lot at the start of the Season with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd). Looks like they may get Tyson Chandler back for the Heat showdown on Tuesday.

source:  6. Nuggets (50-24, LW 2). The stumbled after the Hornets snapped their winning streak but they can’t stumble much longer — they have a half game lead over Memphis (tied in the loss column) and one game over the Clippers (a game back in losses) in the fight for the three seed. Get the three spot and it is much easier for them to advance out of the first round.

source:  7. Grizzlies (49-24, LW 4). Marc Gasol is back but this is a team that needs to find it’s playoff groove — they are 5-5 in their last 10. Zach Randolph has been scoring less and they haven’t been great on the road. This week they have three road games including the Blazers and Lakers.

source:  8. Clippers (49-25, LW 6). They went 1-3 on a road trip last week and are another team you watch going to the playoffs and think they are good but not playing at their peak. Do you think Vinny Del Negro can give them the Xs and Os they need (especially when Chris Paul sits)? Can he inspire them?

source:  9. Nets (42-31, LW 8). The Nets are 4-3 on a big road trip that ends Wednesday in Cleveland. Looks more and more like they will host Chicago or Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs — series that wouldn’t shock me if they went either way.

source:  10. Rockets (40-33, LW 10). They went 2-2 in a brutal week (beat Spurs and Clippers, lost to Pacers and Grizzlies) and now look like a playoff lock with some softer games ahead. This is a team that still needs some pieces, but this season has been a nice first step forward.

source:  11. Warriors (42-32, LW 13). For some franchises, just making the NBA playoffs isn’t enough. Golden State isn’t there yet. Breaking out of the shadow of the Cohen era, this is going to be big. The Warriors are 7-3 in their last 10, and while inconsistent at times (you see the loss to the Kings?) just getting into the dance is something to celebrate.

source:  12. Celtics (38-35, LW 12). If they are going to be the seven seed in the East — which looks likely — who do you think they would rather face: New York or Indiana? I’m rooting for the Knicks matchup, but just because that’s a more feisty rivalry.

source:  13. Hawks (41-33, LW 14). Coach Larry Drew ripped Josh Smith’s shot selection last week. What took him so long?

source:  14. Bulls (40-32, LW 15). They ended the Heat’s win streak and have won four-of-five without Joakim Noah in the lineup. They are not going to go far in the playoffs, but they will not be an easy out.

source:  15. Mavericks (36-37, LW 16). If they can get to .500 Tuesday night with a win over the Lakers it will mean much more than just getting to shave the beards, it will be a huge boost for their playoffs hopes. And the good news is the Lakers are just retiring Shaquille O’Neal’s number, they don’t have to play against him.

source:  16. Jazz (38-36, LW 20). They have won four in a row and they hold on to the eighth playoff spot in the West. They have five of their remaining eight at home and four are against current playoff teams.

source:  17. Lakers (38-36, LW 11). Their battle for the playoffs is really up hill now — while they have seven of their last eight at home but six games remain against West playoff teams. As it has been all season with the Lakers, it comes down to their defense. Which remains shaky and isn’t helped by Metta World Peace being out.

source:  18. Bucks (35-37, LW 17). Their hopes of catching Boston for the seven seed in the East — and avoiding Miami in the first round — have died with some average play in recent weeks. So they should revel in making the playoffs before what will be a tumultuous offseason.

source:  19. Wizards (27-46, LW 19). The Wizards have set a goal to end the season — close the three-game gap they are behind the 76ers and finish with the nine seed. And it’s pretty reasonable.

source:  20. 76ers (30-43, LW 25). They still officially say they can still catch the Bucks for the eight seed and make the playoffs. I still officially say my next car can be a Maserati Spyder convertible. About the same odds.

source:  21. Trail Blazers (33-40, LW 18). Some teams look like they have folded the tents and are just playing out the string. Portland would be in that category, having dropped four in a row.

source:  22. Timberwolves (26-46, LW 21). Stat of the season for the Wolves, courtesy John Schuhmann at NBA.com: Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio have played a total of 13 minutes together this season. Over three games. And you wonder why they are 20 games below .500.

source:  23. Kings (27-47, LW 22). Despite the turmoil around the team off the court (which could come to a head this week in New York when the two sides pitch deals to a committee of owners) the Kings have played fairly well since the All-Star break.

source:  24. Hornets (26-48, LW 23). Not only did they snap the Nuggets 15-game win streak, they did it without Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez. There are moments you can see hope with this team.

source:  25. Raptors (27-46, LW 26). The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft — Andrew Wiggins — is Canadian. Just trying to give Toronto basketball fans north of the border some positive news.

source:  26. Suns (23-51, LW 24). They have lost six in a row and dropped to the bottom of the West, with a big off-season shakeup seeming likely. The only “good” news is the bottom of the West still has a lot of teams below them in the East.

source:  27. Pistons (24-50, LW 29). Andre Drummond is back. Usually I would say don’t rush a guy back but any time he can get on the court next to Greg Monroe just helps build for the future. It’s a good thing.

source:  28. Cavaliers (22-50, LW 27). Well, they got Kyrie Irving back. Not that it helped them get a win — their losing streak is now up to eight.

source:  29. Bobcats (17-56, LW 28). Not even the recent strong play of Gerald Henderson can help them much with three games against Eastern Conference playoff teams this week.

source:  30. Magic (19-55, LW 30). They are on the road for four games this week and they are 8-28 on the season away from Orlando. So, this should go well.

  1. elcapitanfiscal - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I still say heat vs spur finals, what do you guys think?

    Kinda hope the spurs get to the finals, cause i feel its going to be lebron vs durant n the finals the next 5 or so years..

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      going out on a limb are ya?

      hahahahahahaah

    • elcapitanfiscal - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Lol a miami fan attempting to be condescending..

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    These rankings are on point (obviously only the Top 7 or 8 matter).

    Spurs are not built for a long postseason. We’ll see about the Heat. People have got to stop handing off titles to teams before they’re earned.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      yea we’ll leave the handing off of titles to the refs right?

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        As far as 2006 and 2012 are concerned, yes.

      • southbeachtalent - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        of course.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 1, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        2010.

      • miamatt - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

        Don’t you know, @southbeachtalent? The Knicks have never gotten the benefit of a questionable call. Neither has any team in the league, outside of Miami. Until the Heat came around, champions never caught a single break.

  3. asublimeday - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Lol a miami fan attempting to be condescending..
    —–

    This.

  4. asublimeday - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Bulls will shock the world and knock the heat out. They are so far in lebron’s head it’s hilarious.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Bulls, Knicks, Celtics, Pacers: all have done well against the Heat in regular season. LeBron plays 35-38 minutes in regular season. As does Wade. Those guys aren’t spending 20% of playoff games sitting next to Juwon Howard.. In the playoffs, LeBron’s playing 46 of 48, mark it down.

      The other night in Chicago, not one Heat starter played 40 minutes. 3 Chicago starters did and the 4th played 39. I understand injuries thinned the Bulls ‘ bench but you get the point.

      LeBron’s the MVP for a reason. It’s because he’s the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: literally.

      Also, teams that play the Heat in regular season are playing like its a playoff game. Once they get to the playoffs, they have nowhere else to go. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, the Heat play very hard in the regular season, but in the playoffs they go to eleven. Nobody else, except OKC, can go to eleven. That’s why OKC is winning the West.

  5. 4thquartermagic - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Not buying the Spurs.

    After sweeping the first 2 rounds last year then getting demolished by the Thunder, how do they expect to do better this year?

    They had the advantage of being an old team during the lock-out shortened season. How are they better now that everyone is one year older and wearing down? (case and point Manu Ginobli)

    • savvybynature - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      They lost in 6 games. Demolished? All the losses were close with the exception of one.

      How are they better? Let’s see: Splitter gets more minutes and is improved. Danny Green and Leonard are better. Duncan has been better all season. The defense has improved by leaps and bounds.

      Are the Thunder better? Well, they lost Harden, so no.

      Not saying you are wrong, but I think it would be a good series that either team could win.

      • 4thquartermagic - Apr 1, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        Fair points. I agree the Thunder are a worse regular season team then they were last year. Playoffs are a different animal so we’ll see.

        Also, father time is undefeated. Spurs best players best days are far behind them, I don’t see them surviving a full season and playoff run with no gimmies after the first round.

  6. southbeachtalent - Apr 1, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Seems as if we have a few posters who haven’t grasped the meaning of condescending yet.

  7. jameskocian - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    I know it’s unlikely. Improbable. But not impossible…

    The Bucks have played the Heat well the last couple of years. Sure, the Heat will ratchet it up when the postseason comes, but it’s the “we can flip the switch” mentality that burned them with the Bulls last week.

    Further, who would’ve ever thought the 76′ers would advance past the 1st round last year? Yes, it was due to the DRose injury, but you just never know.

    The Bucks have a LOT of cohesion issues that need to be solidified in a (very) short time. The odds are stacked against them.

    But, the Bucks might be brazen enough to embrace the challenge and actually defy the odds.

    I’d love to see it. I’m hoping for it.

    Hey, Goliath scoffed at David, too.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Definetly could happen, but in a 7 game series where the line ups are compressed very unlikely.

      • jameskocian - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        Agreed. Sad for us Bucks fans, but very true.

        We need the perfect storm of breaks.

        Now let me get back to my day dreaming….
        :)

    • miamatt - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      It’s true the Bucks have given the Heat some unexpected fits over the past few years.

      But major upsets just don’t happen in a seven game series, outside of injuries to superstar players.

      The “flip the switch” mentaility you speak of is largely a media creation. I could just as easily make a case Miami takes an Ali “rope-a-dope” approach to many games- give us your best shot, expend your energy and adrenaline, and then, just when you think you’ve reached the top of the mountain, just when you exhale, you get shoved off into a ditch.

      In any case, even if we accept “flip the switch”, that equates to a team stealing one game, not a series. We saw against the Pacers, Celtics, and Thunder last year what happens when teams get Miami’s attention. For my money I think this will prove to be the best Heat team yet, and their best basketball still lies ahead.

      • jameskocian - Apr 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        Actually the ‘flip the switch’ isn’t a mentality I was referring to. It’s a quote from D-Wade before the Bulls game.

  8. kyzslew77 - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Heat streak ends: they stay #1. Nuggets streak ends, then the next game, they come within a point of beating the Spurs in San Antonio. They drop four spots, including behind two eastern conference teams that would barely make the playoffs in the West. Got it.

  9. phillyphannn83 - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Sixers are 3 games up on the Wizards with 9/10 of the season played and you STILL think the Wiz are better??? You even have them and the Sixers above Portland. Yeah theyve lost 4 straight but do you really think that trend will continue?? Do you really think thats an indication of their whole season?? One 4 game streak?? Put down the crack pipe. Oh and by the way, 9th place does not receive a “seed” its called 9th place. Only playoff teams are “seeded.” Sometimes you really make me laugh Kurt.

  10. savvybynature - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Well, that’s it Bulls fans. You will never beat the Heat again. Ever. Helin has pronounced it so.

  11. jimeejohnson - Apr 1, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Either there are less really great teams in the league nowadays or the Heat are one of the best teams ever…or, a little of both. The only guys in LeBron’s league are Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Dirk Nowitzki has been playing very well, lately. Kobe is always going to be Kobe. The mighty Lakers and Celtics have fallen but it’s not over till it’s over. Thunder are practically unbeatable when they play up to their potential. Knicks-Miami would be a hard fought series. Bulls aren’t winning jack without Derrick Rose, but when he comes back, the Bulls will again compete for the title. Noah’s a beast, and the Bulls play the old fashioned way. The Heat are still the favorite to win it all, again.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      April Fools! Grizzlies all the way! Yeah, right. Who knows. I care.

  12. bringin1234 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    you should be kicked in the junk for saying “Chicago Bulls ended the Heat win streak at 27. But that was a one-time performance, not something the Bulls could replicate.”

    you realize the Bulls are 2-0 against Miami this year? between this and Florios mock draft version 1, it makes me question the writers knowledge.

    while the heat have been the team people hate to face in the playoffs…. dont make such a bold incorrect statement. Its been replicated twice this season.

  13. mungman69 - Apr 2, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    All the Sixers can catch…oh well.

  14. asublimeday - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Bulls, Knicks, Celtics, Pacers: all have done well against the Heat in regular season. LeBron plays 35-38 minutes in regular season. As does Wade. Those guys aren’t spending 20% of playoff games sitting next to Juwon Howard.. In the playoffs, LeBron’s playing 46 of 48, mark it down.

    The other night in Chicago, not one Heat starter played 40 minutes. 3 Chicago starters did and the 4th played 39. I understand injuries thinned the Bulls ‘ bench but you get the point.

    LeBron’s the MVP for a reason. It’s because he’s the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: literally.

    Also, teams that play the Heat in regular season are playing like its a playoff game. Once they get to the playoffs, they have nowhere else to go. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, the Heat play very hard in the regular season, but in the playoffs they go to eleven. Nobody else, except OKC, can go to eleven. That’s why OKC is winning the West.
    ——–

    Bulls had four STARTERS out. Watch basketball.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Stephenson goes elsewhere for his future
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (4590)
  2. A. Wiggins (3427)
  3. L. James (3426)
  4. E. Bledsoe (3172)
  5. R. Allen (2979)
  1. K. Bryant (2919)
  2. C. Boozer (2851)
  3. L. Stephenson (2789)
  4. D. Rose (2782)
  5. K. Marshall (2379)