Tommy Beer is back with his latest version of
BasketballNews.com's NBA Power Rankings. To read last week's
version, click here.
The Denver Nuggets are red-hot, thanks primarily to the
MVP-caliber play of Nikola Jokic, while the Brooklyn Nets have gone
ice-cold, losing 11 of their past 17 games.
1. Phoenix Suns (40-9) ↔️ Last Week:
With their victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night,
the Suns became the first team in the league to reach the 40-win
plateau. In the process, they guaranteed themselves the Western
Conference's best record going into the All-Star break, which means
head coach Monty Williams will coach the West in Cleveland later
this month. And as valuable as soon-to-be All-Stars
such as Chris Paul and Devin Booker have been this year,
Phoenix has received surprisingly solid contributions from
mid-season signing Bismack Biyombo, who is averaging 14.1 points
and 10.4 rebounds over the Suns' last seven games. Phoenix is
undefeated, a perfect 12-0, in the 12 games Biyombo has appeared in
2. Golden State Warriors (38-13) ↔️ Last
Steph Curry had been ice cold (at least by his standards) over
the first 15 games the Warriors played in January and the first
three quarters of Golden State's game vs. the Houston Rockets on
Monday night. But in the final frame, Steph played like Steph,
scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Warriors to
their sixth consecutive win. "We've seen Steph do that a million
times," head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. "It was bound to
happen even though it's been a couple of weeks or whatever. Not
surprising, but fun to see him shake free and have a game like he
3. Memphis Grizzlies (35-18) ↔️ Last Week:
Ja Morant poured in 37 points and Desmond Bane scored a
career-high 34, but it wasn't enough to knock off the Philadelphia
76ers on the road Monday night. Remarkably, it was the seventh
straight game with at least 30 points for Morant. That's the
longest such streak in Grizzlies franchise history. During this
seven-game span, Ja is averaging 35.4 points (while shooting over
50%), 7.3 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 three-pointers.
4. Philadelphia 76ers (31-19) ⬆️ Last Week:
With MVP-contender Joel Embiid resting Monday night vs.
Memphis, the Sixers needed Andre Drummond and the rest of the squad
to step up. And that's just what they got. Drummond racked up 16
points and 23 rebounds, Tobias Harris scored 31 and Tyrese Maxey
pumped in a season-high with 33 points to go along with 8 assists,
4 blocks and 3 assists in the impressive overtime win over the
5. Miami Heat (32-19) ⬇️ Last Week:
Miami was extremely shorthanded in its loss to the Boston
Celtics on Monday, forced to play without Jimmy Butler (toe), P.J.
Tucker (knee) and point guard Kyle Lowry (personal). The Heat, who
still have five contests left on their arduous six-game road trip,
plays in Toronto on Tuesday, the second night of a back-to-back.
6. Chicago Bulls (31-18) ⬆️ Last Week:
The NBA announced last week that DeMar DeRozan will be a starter
in this year's All-Star game. It's the first time a Bull has been a
starter since 2017, and will mark DeRozan's fifth appearance as an
All-Star. On the season, he's averaging 26.4 points per game (his
highest scoring average since 2016-17) and is the only player in
the league averaging over 25.0 points while making less than one
three-pointer per contest.
7. Denver Nuggets (28-21) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Nuggets are rolling right now. They've won five consecutive
contests (tied for their longest winning streak this season),
including starting their current six-game road trip with four
straight victories. During this five-game streak, Nikola Jokic is
somehow averaging a triple-double (27.0 points, 12.4 rebounds and
10.0 assists) despite logging fewer than 33 minutes a night.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-20) ⬇️ Last
The Cavs were embarrassed Sunday in Detroit and were missing
Darius Garland due to a sore lower back on Monday, but Brandon
Goodwin stepped in and stepped up, finishing with a career-high 21
points in a win over the Pelicans. Cleveland trailed by 10 points
in the final frame, but came back to secure a much-needed victory
over New Orleans.
9. Milwaukee Bucks (31-21) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Bucks lost 2 of the 3 games they played last week, and their
only victory was a home win over the struggling New York Knicks.
Sunday's loss to the Nuggets in Milwaukee was particularly
disheartening, as Denver humiliated the home team 136-100. The
Bucks will look to get back on track Tuesday in
10. Dallas Mavericks (29-22) ↔️ Last Week:
The Mavs had won 3 of 4 (and 7 of 9) before suffering a
disappointing loss to the Magic in Orlando on Sunday. The defeat
can't be pinned on Luka Doncic, who stuffed the stat sheet with 34
points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the 43rd triple-double
of his career, moving him into a tie for 10th-most triple-doubles
in NBA history, which is incredible considering the kid is just 22
11. Utah Jazz (30-21) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Jazz, who have lost 9 of their last 11 games, received
devastating news Monday. The team confirmed that Joe Ingles will
miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season (and a chunk of the
2022-23 season) after an MRI revealed he tore the ACL in his left
knee. Ingles, who was the runner-up to teammate Jordan Clarkson for
the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award last season, is in the final
year of a $13 million contract.
12. Brooklyn Nets (29-20) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Nets have lost four games in a row, and things don't get any
easier moving forward; they have four games left on their West
Coast road swing, which resumes Tuesday night in Phoenix. In the 17
games they've played dating back to Dec. 30, Brooklyn is just 6-11.
That's the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference, behind
only the Magic and Indiana Pacers.
13. Charlotte Hornets (28-23) ↔️ Last Week:
The Hornets are 2-3 over their past five games, and even in
their wins, they have been porous defensively. The Hornets allowed
their opponents to score at least 113 points in each of those five
14. Toronto Raptors (25-23) ⬇️ Last Week:
The Raps have registered two extremely impressive victories over
the past few days. On Saturday, they outlasted the Heat in an epic
three-overtime slugfest in Miami, and then beat the red-hot Hawks
in Atlanta on Monday night.
15. Boston Celtics (27-25) ⬆️ Last Week:
The C's took advantage of a banged-up Heat team Monday, beating
Miami by 30 points. It was Boston's fourth victory in their last
five games. Jaylen Brown is averaging 29.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and
3.5 made treys over his last four contests.
16. Atlanta Hawks (24-26) ⬆️ Last Week:
Playing without Trae Young, who was sidelined by a right
shoulder contusion he suffered on Sunday, the Hawks had their
seven-game winning streak snapped Monday night. Delon Wright was
inserted into the starting lineup but struggled, shooting just 1 of
7 en route to 4 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-25) ⬇️ Last
After losing back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday (at
Golden State and Phoenix), Karl-Anthony Towns got the Wolves back
on track Sunday, erupting for 31 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists
(vs. just a single turnover) and 2 steals in the Timberwolves
20-point victory over the Jazz. It was KAT's second career
triple-double. Jaden McDaniels also chipped in 22 points (on
perfect 9 of 9 shooting), 4 assists and 3 treys in 27 minutes off
18. Los Angeles Lakers (24-27) ⬇️ Last
It was reported over the weekend that LeBron James underwent an
MRI that revealed general swelling in his knee. James has missed
each of the Lakers' past three contests due to the injury and is
expected to miss more. With L.A. having lost each of the three
games LeBron sat out last week, it will be very interesting to see
if the team can stay around .500.
19. Los Angeles Clippers (26-27) ⬆️ Last
On Monday, the Clippers wrapped an eight-game road swing with a
loss to the Pacers in Indiana; however, the Clippers went a
respectable 4-4 on the trip. They now return home to host the
Lakers and Bucks later this week before embarking on another
three-game road trip.
20. Washington Wizards (23-26) ⬇️ Last
The Wizards are riding a five-game losing streak and are staring
down the barrel of a brutal back-to-back. They have to play the
Bucks in Milwaukee on Tuesday and the surging Sixers in Philly on
Wednesday. Oh, and the Wiz will be without their best player,
Bradley Beal, who is nursing a sprained left wrist.
21. New York Knicks (24-27) ⬇️ Last Week:
On Monday, the Knicks snapped a three-game losing skid by
beating the Sacramento Kings in MSG. Quentin Grimes chipped in 14
points off the bench in the victory and played very well on the
defensive end. The rookie is averaging more than 24 minutes a night
over New York's last four games, as he has secured a spot in coach
Tom Thibodeau's rotation due to his impressive, all-around skill
22. Portland Trail Blazers (21-30) ↔️
Last Week: 22
Larry Nance Jr. has been sidelined since Jan. 6 due to right
knee inflammation, but head coach Chauncey Billups told reporters
over the weekend that Nance "is progressing every day" and "getting
better." However, Billups said there is still no firm timeline for
23. New Orleans Pelicans (18-32) ↔️
Last Week: 23
Brandon Ingram has been sidelined five straight games due to a
right ankle sprain, and the Pelicans have lost each of the last
four contests he's missed. There is a possibility he returns to
action Tuesday night when New Orleans travels to Detroit.
24. San Antonio Spurs (19-32) ⬆️ Last Week:
Despite playing without Derrick White (rest), Dejounte Murray
(left knee contusion) and Jakob Poeltl (low back soreness) Sunday
in Phoenix, the Spurs hung tough with the Suns. In fact, they had a
12-point lead in the fourth quarter before Phoenix sprinted past
them at the finish. Murray has been playing at an incredibly high
level this month, averaging 22.9 points, 10.1 assists and 9.4
rebounds over his previous 10 games.
25. Indiana Pacers (19-33) ⬇️ Last Week:
Domantas Sabonis entered the COVID-19 health and safety
protocols on Monday afternoon. However, the Pacers were still able
to beat the Clippers that night, thanks mainly to a breakout
performance from rookie Isaiah Jackson. With Goga Bitadze (foot)
and Oshae Brissett (right ankle soreness) also sidelined, Jackson
made his first career start and responded with 26 points, 10
rebounds and 2 blocks.
26. Sacramento Kings (18-34) ⬇️ Last
The Kings have lost seven in a row, and Monday's loss to the
Knicks in New York was their 12th straight defeat on the road. It's
been two months since their last road victory, which came on Dec.
1. De'Aaron Fox (sore left ankle) has missed each of Sacramento's
last four games, but head coach Alvin Gentry said Monday that Fox
is "feeling much better" and is "not concerned" about the injury
being a long-term issue.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
(15-34) ⬆️ Last Week:
Thunder fans got some bad news over the weekend when it was
announced that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who suffered a right ankle
sprain Friday against the Pacers, will be out at least through the
28. Detroit Pistons (12-37) ↔️ Last Week:
Cade Cunningham missed all 10 of his field-goal attempts and was
scoreless in the first half of Sunday's game vs. the Cavs. However,
Cunningham put the Pistons on his back after halftime, scoring 19
points over the final two quarters to lead Detroit to an impressive
victory over Cleveland. He finished the win with 10 rebounds, 10
assists (vs. just 2 turnovers) and 3 steals.
29. Orlando Magic (11-40) ⬆️ Last Week:
The Magic have won 3 of their last 4, with two of their most
impressive victories of the season coming on successive Sundays
(wins over the Bulls and Mavs). Franz Wagner poured in 18 points to
help beat Dallas, including the clutch layup in the final minute.
Over his last five games, Wagner is averaging 19.2 points and 4.0
assists while shooting a scorching 61.3% from the floor, 41.7% from
downtown and 93.8% from the free-throw line
30. Houston Rockets (14-36) ⬇️ Last Week:
Christian Wood did his part, tallying 24 points, 13 rebounds, 2
assists, 2 steals, and a block on Monday vs. Warriors, but it
wasn't enough to knock off Golden State. The Rockets' loss to the
Warriors was Houston's fourth consecutive defeat and their 11th in
a row at home.
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