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PBT Power Rankings: Tell me again how the Spurs are too old….

Mar 10, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT

Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker AP

With a number of top teams stumbling — Oklahoma City, Miami, Indiana — it is the Spurs who have gotten healthy and looked good going 6-0 since the end of the rodeo trip. The West now dominates the top of the rankings, the Sixers are looking to set records at the bottom.

source:  1. Spurs (46-16, Last week No. 3). They get fully healthy and have rattled off six wins in a row since the end of the rodeo road tip, including a signature win over Miami. In their last five games San Antonio’s offense is 4 points per 100 possessions better than their season average, their defense 2 points per 100 better. Bottom line, they look like the contender Spurs again and the only question is whether they can continue to defend this well.

source:  2. Clippers (44-20, LW 5). Which team has the highest net efficiency rating (differential between points scored and points allowed per 100 possessions)? The Clippers and Thunder are tied at +7.7 per 100. That stat is also a very good indicator of who wins in the playoffs, although the Clippers inflated that number with some blowouts. They have won seven in a row, but the differential number suggests they are at least knocking on that door of contender status.

source:  3. Rockets (44-19, LW 6). We said the Rockets would get tested this week. Well, they beat the Heat, Pacers and Trail Blazers. That’s pretty much acing your test. More to come with the Thunder, Bulls and Heat on the road this week, but the fact is Houston has looked like a legit contender the past week. James Harden averaged 30.3 ppg in those three big wins last week. He’s pretty good.

source:  4. Heat (43-17, LW No. 1). LeBron James had tough shooting nights against the Spurs and Bulls, and that has a lot less to do with what jersey he was wearing and a lot more to do with Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard being in his jersey. He got some help from Wade but Heat need more help, and more LeBron attacking and not settling for jumpers.

source:  5. Thunder (46-17, LW 4).. Two losses this week to the Lakers and Suns, two teams that try to beat you with their guard play and tempo. It’s not an accident both of those Thunder losses came with Thabo Sefalosha sidelined, they need him back and they need generally improved perimeter defense. Good test Tuesday against a hot Rockets team.

source:  6. Pacers (46-17, LW 2). Why the slump? In their last 5 games they have allowed 111.6 points per 100 possessions — 16 more than their season average. This team does not have the offense to cover its defense taking a night off. Despite slump they officially clinched a playoff berth last week.

source:  7. Bulls (35-28, LW 9). Bulls fans want Joakim Noah to get some MVP votes, and while he’s not getting one of the top two spots on the ballot, his play leading the Bulls this season has to merit consideration for the fourth or fifth slot on the ballot. The Bulls showed against the Heat Sunday why nobody wants to play them in the postseason.

source:  8. Warriors (40-24, LW 10). Of the four teams fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the West they are in the best position — the softest schedule and the most home games. When their jumpers fall they can beat anyone, as they did with the Pacers (10-of-20 from three), when they don’t they can fall to anyone.

source:  9. Grizzlies (36-26, LW 8).  As we broke down last week, it really comes down to the Grizzlies needing to get past the Suns in the West — and they have, the two teams are tied now with 20 games to go. To get the playoff spot Memphis needs some big wins on the road — after Portland Tuesday 4-of-5 and 10-of-14 are away from the good barbecue or Memphis.

source:  10. Mavericks (37-26, LW 11). They are just one game ahead of the Grizzlies and Suns, which is why that wins over Portland and Indiana mattered (and the loss to Denver hurt). They have a heavy home schedule the rest of the way, which bodes well for them making the playoffs.

source:  11. Suns (36-26, LW 12). They lost to the Clippers and Warriors but picked up a big win over the Thunder. They are tied with Memphis and have a tough schedule ahead — 3-of-4 on the road this week including at the Clippers — and they need to find a way to get wins because the Grizzlies are hot.

source:  12. Trail Blazers (42-20, LW 7). The road losses to Dallas and Houston were tough last week, but you can explain those… that loss at home to the Lakers? Not a good sign. Tough road stretch this week at the Grizzlies and Spurs.

source:  13. Wizards (33-29, LW 13). Don’t look now, but the Wizards have played good defense since the All-Star Break. Combine that with nights of hot shooting — hello Trevor Ariza — and a soft schedule and you get wins. More interesting tests this week against the Heat and Nets.

source:  14. Raptors (34-26, LW 14). While we talk about how well the Wizards, Nets and Bulls are playing they are all looking up at a Raptors team that is 8-2 in their last 10 and has the easiest schedule the rest of the way out. Hard to see the Nets making up four games and taking the Atlantic from them, but the Bulls are one game back for the three seed. Nets, Grizzlies and Suns on the docket this week, which should be a good test.

source:  15. Nets (31-30, LW 16). Kevin Garnett is barely playing right now — the Nets are down to two of the six All-Stars they had before the season — yet they keep on winning. If they have any dreams of an Atlantic Division crown they need to beat Toronto this week, then a couple big games against Heat and Wizards on the road will be tests.

source:  16 . Timberwolves (31-31, LW 15). When the Timberwolves get their starting five on the court — Ricky Rubio, Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic — they are +11.7 per 48 minutes. Get into their bench and it’s a mess. That’s not good enough to make the playoffs in the West, and Minnesota is all but mathematically out of that race.

source:  17. Bobcats (29-34, LW 17). They probably can’t do it, but the goal in Charlotte has to be to make up the three games on the Nets and get out of the seven seed in the first round to avoid Miami/Indiana. That said, the way Charlotte defends they will make one of the big two work for the first round playoff win.

source:  18. Nuggets (27-35, LW 22). Ty Lawson is back and not so coincidentally the Nuggets are playing much better ball — they are playing at a much faster pace and are scoring 18 points per 100 possessions better. Basically they are an offensive team that tries to outscore you and just might, which makes them fun to watch if nothing else.

source:  19. Kings (22-40, LW 23). After their last game coach Mike Malone ripped his team for “selfish play” and DeMarcus Cousins (28 and 20 in that contest) agreed. This is a team of guys mostly playing for their next contract and it’s not is Sacramento. Still, on any give night this team is very dangerous.

source:  20. Knicks (24-40, LW 26). Winners of three in a row… no, the playoffs are not happening (they are not making up the 3.5 games back they are now). Phil Jackson, that looks like it’s happening and for all the potential pitfalls if he can just provide the franchise some direction it helps. Until Dolan jumps in to “help” again.

source:  21. Lakers (22-42, LW 21). Let me echo what @jonesonNBA was saying on twitter after the Lakers beat the Thunder Sunday — go ahead and slam Mike D’Antoni if you want, but look around the league at how much his coaching system has influenced other teams. If you don’t think you can win a title that way, I suggest you go back and watch the Heat again.

source:  22. Pelicans (26-37, LW 25). Anthony Davis just continues to put up monster numbers — 32 and 17 against the Nuggets. You know what we media types actually root for? Teams to be good in cities where we like to visit and spend time. Along those lines I am looking forward to the Pelicans taking big leaps forward in the coming years.

source:  23. Cavaliers (24-40, LW 18). Losers of four in a row and now the schedule gets tough — Phoenix, Golden State and the Clippers start a run of 10 against the NBA’s top 10. This stretch always made a late playoff push by the Cavaliers unlikely. Sorry Dan, it was the truth before the Luol Deng trade.

source:  24. Hawks (26-35, LW 19). Losers of six in a row, if the Pistons weren’t terrible the Hawks would be out of the playoffs by now. Yet the worst news of the week was the end of Kyle Korver’s streak of games with a made three, dead at an NBA record 127.

source:  25. Pistons (24-39, LW 20). They have lost three in a row and just looked terrible doing it. NBA Irony of the week: Brandon Jennings says the rest of the Pistons do not hold themselves accountable.

source:  26. Jazz (22-41, LW 24). They would have gone winless on a just-completed six game road trip through the East, but they lucked out with the final game of the trip in Philly. Trey Burke continues to learn hard lessons about adjusting to life in the NBA, but that’s what this season is for in Salt Lake City.

source:  27. Celtics (21-41, LW 28). Spoiler alert — Boston knocked off Brooklyn and Detroit last week, not exactly helping the playoff hopes for those teams (Nets of moving up, Pistons of just making it). This week the Pacers, Knicks and Suns are up on the Celtics spoiler list.

source:  28. Magic (19-45, LW 27). Their offense is playing decently, which is a surprise since pretty much everyone you can name and a few guys you can’t are out.

source:  29. Bucks (12-50, LW 29). All the losing is clearly wearing on the Bucks, as Ersan Ilyasova and O.J. Mayo were suspended last week for throwing punches in games. At least they are showing a little fight.

source:  30. 76ers (15-47, LW 30). They have winnable games against the Knicks and Kings to start the week, then after that things get difficult. Lose those to and an NBA record 27 consecutive losses is a real possibility.

  1. ufools - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Bring it on Clipper haters!!!

    • strictlythedanks - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      its on ufool

    • spursareold - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      OK. I hate the Clippers.

  2. johnnycashklug - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    how are the bull so much higher than the raptors.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Because they are playing better ball right now.

  3. 25yearindyfan - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Pacers fan here…

    They should be ranked no higher than 9th ever. They have proven to be incapable of winning against offensively motivated western conference opponents. Any of the 8 playoff contenders from the west would route Indiana in a 7 game series.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      Don’t be so glum! You have a great team that’s likely to stay competitive for many years. And it wasn’t even that long ego when Indiana had completely different players who also were competitive at the top level.

  4. unxpexted1 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    The spurs being old is such a myth. Only Manu and Tim are old, Parker is just now turning thirty and the rest of the guys that play are always young. Spurs always do a good job of surrounding their veterans with young talent. That’s what seems to be the problem with the Lakers the past years until now, was always a bunch of old guys a no young talent sprinkled in

    • pudgalvin - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Yeah, but those two are old as hell. And they’re still probably their 2nd and 3rd best players.

      • spursareold - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Ginobili has probably slipped behind both Kawhi and Diaw to 5th, tbh. He’s showing his age much more than Tim is.

        The Spurs are a machine. They’re one of the few teams that can consistently generate layups in the half court offense. It’s a pleasure to watch them on a near nightly basis, and I will miss their basketball excellence when this bunch is gone.

      • apkyletexas - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Duncan might still be their second best player, but Leonard is starting to breathe down his neck. Manu is only about their third option off the bench now, although he’s been doing well with his opportunities lately.

    • azarkhan - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      I realize Zen Spur is their defensive ace, but if San Antonio is going to get back to the Finals, Kawhi Leonard has to get more involved in the offense. Although he is shooting over .500, he averages less than 10 attempts a game. Saturday against Orlando he took 5 shots. In the playoffs against the top teams in the West, that won’t be enough.

  5. pukpokito - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Love the header….haha..goes back to an old saying from our basketball elders that the ball is round(on how anything is possible).Interesting how everyone is positioning themselves now and who is playimng well and creating momentum.It’s that time of the season.

  6. johnnycashklug - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    American website are for the most part biased against the raptors. I think part of the problem is most of the people writing these articles have watched them play little too not at all. The raptors are 28 and 14 since the rudy gay trade. They have a lot of young talented players that are fun to watch. Plus there is the added bonus of getting to watch DeMar (9th in the league in scoring) and T-Ross (The Boss) throw down every game. And yet the wizards are ranked higher?

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Wizards are 8-2 in their last 10 against tougher competition. They are playing better right now IMHO. And I want to see the Raptors do well, but also know third best in the East this season is a hollow title.

  7. mungman69 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    The Suxers will need about 4 lottery picks to move into the playoffs.

  8. adoombray - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Why are you responding to a question nobody is asking? The Spurs were a blown substitution away from a title last year. Put Duncan in to get that rebound and Ray Allen never gets that corner 3.

    Nobody thinks the spurs are too old.

    • savvybynature - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      Kurt wrote 3-4 years ago that the Spurs were too old and that their title window was closed, so he likes to pretend that everyone else said/thought that too so he doesn’t feel/look so ridiculous.

  9. jibriw85 - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    The Spurs are old indeed, but they are probably the smartest players in the NBA. The older the wiser. – J

  10. ProBasketballPundit - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    I wonder what a 3-year power ranking would look like, including last year and speculating on next season’s success or failure. Can we put a pin in the Knicks at #30 for now? I know they made the playoffs last season but they are likely to be historically bad next season.

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