Tommy Beer is back with his latest version of
BasketballNews.com's NBA Power Rankings. To read last week's
version, click here.
The same two names remain at the top of this week's Basketball
News NBA Power Rankings, but there is a bit of a shakeup in the
back half of the top-10, as Cleveland and Memphis continue to win.
1. Golden State Warriors (22-5) ↔️ Last
Stephen Curry couldn't break Ray Allen's all-time three-point
record Monday night in Indiana, but the Warriors were able to walk
away with a 102-100 victory. Steph has a chance to pass Allen on
Tuesday night in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square
Garden, against the team that was one spot away from drafting him:
the New York Knicks.
2. Phoenix Suns (21-5) ↔️ Last Week:
The Suns, playing without Deandre Ayton (non-COVID illness) and
Devin Booker (left hamstring strain), were beaten badly by the
Clippers on Monday night. The Suns still haven't lost consecutive
games since before Halloween.
3. Utah Jazz (19-7) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Jazz, winners of seven consecutive contests — including four
straight on the road — possess the league's longest active winning
streak. Now, Utah returns home, where the team will commence a
string of six straight home games beginning Wednesday. It's longest
homestand this season for the Jazz.
4. Brooklyn Nets (19-8) ⬆️ Last Week:
Kevin Durant poured in an NBA season-high 51
points in the Nets' victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
The NBA's leading scorer, KD is averaging 32.9 points over his last
seven games. But it's also worth noting he is averaging over 40
minutes per game during this current stretch — truly remarkable
considering he is just two years removed from a torn
5. Milwaukee Bucks (18-11) ⬇️ Last Week:
Khris Middleton limped to the locker room in the third quarter
of Monday's loss to the Boston Celtics and could not return. After
the game, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said that Middleton suffered a
hyperextended left knee, but stated that "initially there are
positive indications" about the injury. However, the team will have
a better idea of the severity of the hyperextension after further
6. Chicago Bulls (17-10) ⬇️ Last Week:
The NBA announced Monday that the Chicago Bulls' next two games
(Tuesday's matchup with the Pistons and Thursday's game vs. the
Toronto Raptors) will be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak
within the locker room. Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Troy Brown Jr.,
Coby White, Javonte Green, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo
Dosunmu, Alize Johnson and Stanley Johnson are all currently in the
league's health and safety protocols. These are the first two games
postponed this season. Unfortunately, they may not be last.
7. Memphis Grizzlies (17-11) ⬆️ Last Week:
Despite seeming to fly under the radar, the Grizzlies are one of
the NBA's hottest teams, having won 8 of their last 9 games. This
8-1 surge is especially remarkable when you consider the Grizz are
doing it without Ja Morant, who suffered a left knee injury in late
November. Plenty of credit goes to Tyus Jones, who has been
starting in place of Morant. Over his last seven games, Jones is
averaging 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals. He
has dished out 47 dimes during this stretch while committing just
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (17-12) ⬆️ Last
Kevin Love scored all 23 of his points in the second half of
Monday's win over the Miami Heat to help lead the surging Cavs to
their fourth consecutive victory. Remarkably, the Cavs are now five
games above .500 without LeBron James on their roster for the first
time since December of 2000, when they were 15-10. Yes, incredibly,
it's the first time this century!
9. Miami Heat (16-12) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Heat started their four-game road trip with a dud Monday
night, falling to the Cavs. Miami has three road games left to
close out the week, but after playing in Philly on Wednesday, they
play the two worst teams in the conference (Orlando on Friday and
Detroit on Sunday).
10. Los Angeles Clippers (16-12) ⬆️ Last
The Clips smashed the Suns on Monday night, despite playing
without Paul George (right elbow sprain) and Nicolas Batum (ankle).
Marcus Morris Sr. led the way for L.A., racking up 24 points on 10
of 16 shooting and ripping down a season-high 11 rebounds, two
triples and one assist. We'll see if PG-13 is cleared to play
Wednesday vs. the Jazz.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (15-13) ⬇️ Last
The Sixers were forced to play without Seth Curry (right
shoulder) and center Joel Embiid (rib soreness), and got hammered
by the Grizzlies, 126-91. Memphis led by as much as 36 points in
the final frame. "This is a burn-it film. Throw it away and move on
to the next game," Philly head coach Doc Rivers said after the contest. Philly will
look to bounce back Wednesday when they host the Heat.
12. Charlotte Hornets (15-14) ⬇️ Last Week:
Good news for the Hornets, as LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels and
Mason Plumlee have all been cleared to return from health and
safety protocols. The three players have been assigned to the
Greensboro Swarm for conditioning purposes. Charlotte's next game
is Wednesday vs. the San Antonio Spurs.
13. Washington Wizards (15-13) ⬇️ Last
The slumping Wizards have lost 5 of their last 6 games. Their
only win during this current stretch was against the lowly Pistons
in overtime. Washington hasn't won a game in regulation since Dec.
1, and things won't get any easier for the Wiz in the near future.
Monday's loss in Denver was the first game of a grueling six-game
road trip that includes stops in Utah, Phoenix and Brooklyn.
14. Los Angeles Lakers (15-13) ⬆️ Last
Over in the NFL, 42-year-old Tom Brady has a chance to become
the oldest MVP ever in any pro sport in North America. Not to be
outdone, LeBron James — who will celebrate his 37th birthday later
this month — is averaging 29.8 points, 8.0 assists, 7.3 rebounds
and 2.9 made three-pointers over his last eight games, while
logging more than 39 minutes per contest.
15. Boston Celtics (14-14) ⬇️ Last Week:
Jayson Tatum poured in 42 points Monday in Boston's victory over
Milwaukee. Tatum was joined by his fellow Celtic star, Jaylen
Brown, who returned to action after missing five games with a right
hamstring injury and chipped in 19 points for Boston.
16. Denver Nuggets (14-13) ⬆️ Last Week:
Nikola Jokic was ejected from Monday's win over the Wizards
after being hit with two technical fouls, but not before he tallied
28 points, 19 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals in 31 minutes. Over
Denver's last six games, Jokic is averaging a mind-boggling 28.8
points (on 60% shooting), 13.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists in just
33.3 minutes per contest.
17. Dallas Mavericks (14-13) ⬇️ Last Week:
Kristaps Porzingis was dominant in Dallas' victory over the
Hornets Monday. Playing without Luka Doncic, who is expected to
miss multiple games due to left ankle soreness, KP shouldered the
load vs. Charlotte, tallying 24 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Mavs host LeBron and the Lakers on Wednesday.
18. Atlanta Hawks (13-14) ⬇️ Last Week:
Despite a 41-point, 9-assist performance from Trae Young, the
Hawks blew a 19-point second-half lead Monday night in a bitterly
disappointing home loss to the Houston Rockets. Atlanta has 4 four
of its last 5 games and has lost five straight at home.
19. Toronto Raptors (13-14) ⬆️ Last Week:
After a disappointing and inconsistent start to the season,
Chris Boucher is starting to turn it around for Toronto. Over the
Raps past four games, Boucher is averaging 14.0 points (while
shooting 56.8%) to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in
just 22 minutes a night.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-15) ↔️ Last
The Timberwolves welcomed back D'Angelo Russell to the lineup
Sunday night in Portland after the point guard had missed three
straight games due to a right ankle injury, and ended their
five-game losing skid by beating the Portland Trail Blazers.
Minnesota travels to Denver on Wednesday and then returns home to
take on the Lakers.
21. Indiana Pacers (12-17) ⬆️ Last Week:
Monday, the NBA announced Domantas Sabonis as the Eastern
Conference Player of the Week after averaging a team-high 25.0
points (on 75% shooting!) and 10.3 rebounds per game, to go along
with 6.0 assists per game, as the Pacers went 3-0.
22. New York Knicks (12-15) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Knicks were forced to play Sunday vs. Milwaukee without RJ
Barrett and Obi Toppin (who both missed the game because they are
in the league's health and safety protocols), and Julius Randle and
Evan Fournier combined for just 14 points. Unsurprisingly, the
Knicks fell to the defending champs. It was New York's third
straight defeat. The silver lining for New York was Quentin Grimes'
performance in his first career start. Grimes poured in 27 points
and knocked down seven three-pointers, the most ever by a Knicks
23. San Antonio Spurs (10-16) ⬆️ Last Week:
Dejounte Murray recorded his fourth triple-double of the season
in Sunday's victory over the Pels. Murray has been playing
extremely well over the past month, averaging 18.0 points, 9.0
rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 1.9 steals.
24. Portland Trail Blazers (11-16) ⬇️ Last
Damian Lillard (lower abdominal tendinopathy) returned to action
Sunday night and tallied 24 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, but
it wasn't enough to get the Blazers back on track. Portland has now
lost five games in a row and 8 of their 9 nine. And things don't
get any easier for Portland this week, as they host the Suns on
Tuesday night and take on the Grizzlies this Wednesday on the
back-end of a back-to-back.
25. Houston Rockets (9-18) ⬆️ Last Week:
After having their seven-game win streak snapped last week, the
Rockets got back in the win column Monday in Atlanta. Houston is
8-2 over their last 10 games, which is tied for the best record in
the league over that stretch.
26. Sacramento Kings (11-17) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Kings went 0-3 in their recently-completed three-game road
trip. Sacramento coach Alvin Gentry told reporters that his players held a
closed-door meeting after Monday's embarrassing blowout loss to the
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (8-18) ↔️ Last
Luguentz Dort, who has been one of the bright spots during a
disappointing OKC season, sprained his left ankle in Sunday's loss
to the Mavericks. Over the Thunder's previous 15 games, Dort was
averaging 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 made treys per
28. New Orleans Pelicans (8-21) ↔️ Last
Just when it seemed the Pels' 2021-22 season couldn't get any
more depressing, it was reported on Saturday that Zion
Williamson "continues to experience soreness in his
surgically-repaired right foot and is likely to be shut down from
basketball activities for the time being," and that Williamson's
bone "has not healed the way the team expected and he will take
some time off before proceeding." It appears there is now a
possibility that Zion doesn't log a single minute all season.
29. Orlando Magic (5-23) ↔️ Last Week:
The Magic lost each of the five games they played on their
recently completed five-game road trip, but Cole Anthony refuses to
slow down. Over the three games Orlando played last week, Anthony
averaged a whopping 25.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 5.0
made three-pointers while shooting 53.6% from downtown.
30. Detroit Pistons (4-22) ↔️ Last Week:
It was revealed over the weekend that Jerami Grant suffered torn
ligaments in his right thumb and will be out indefinitely. However,
according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Grant is "one of the
most sought-after players in a potential trade, with the Lakers and
Trail Blazers among the teams pursuing the Pistons versatile
forward." Shams adds that Grant's injury "is not expected to impact
his trade market, as "dozens of teams call the Detroit front office
about Grant each week, and sources said the team is open to a
possible deal." Our own Evan Sidery looked at possible destinations for Grant
on Monday night.