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Week 18 NBA Power Rankings
1. Phoenix Suns (46-10) (-)
Things are starting to get boring with the Suns atop the power rankings. They just keep winning–and I can’t really blame them. They have the second-highest scoring offense in all of the NBA, averaging just one-tenth of a point less than the Charlotte Hornets so far this season. The three-piece tandem of Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker is one of the strongest in the NBA, and continues to dominate the rest of the league as we approach the all-star break.
2. Golden State Warriors (42-15) (-)
The pieces of the Warriors puzzle are finally starting to come together–Klay Thompson is fresh off a 33-point outing, and Draymond Green and James Wisemen are showing some great improvement in their injury rehab. We’ll get a real stress test from this Warriors team in the coming weeks, seeing as how they play 6 of their next 8 games on the road.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (40-18) (-)
The Grizzlies continue to prove their ability–they are ranked fourth in scoring, first in rebounds, and seventh in rebounds on the season so far, and show no signs of slowing down. They’ve won 8 of their last 10, and are on a five-game win streak. Sportsbooks aren’t showing the Grizzlies the same amount of love I am, seeing as how the BetMGM sportsbook currently has them at +2500 odds to win the championship.
4. Miami Heat (37-20) (+2)
The Heat have been clinging on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the past few weeks, but are still just at +550 odds to finish the season there. BetMGM sportsbook favors the Nets, Sixers, and Bucks over the Heat, but Miami has won seven of their last ten and are currently on a five-game win streak. Bam Adebayo is a huge reason for the Heat’s success, as he’s averaging almost 24 points and 11 rebounds per game in February.
5. Milwaukee Bucks (35-22) (-1)
The modicum of consistency, proving their strengths, blah blah blah. I say the same thing about the Bucks EVERY WEEK. So I’m going to change things up this time around.
'Buck' is the term used to describe a male deer. They are the only deer that grow antlers, and there are over 60 species of deer across the country. They are preyed upon by bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions, and they are incredibly good swimmers.
That was fun, right?
6. Philadelphia 76ers (34-22) (-1)
Expect the Sixers to skyrocket in the coming weeks. I think the combination of Embiid and Harden is going to be almost unstoppable, and should be one of the most dynamic offensive attacks in the NBA. The future odds reflect my opinion, currently sitting at +700 to win the Championship (after being +1400 just before the trade).
7. Chicago Bulls (36-21) (+1)
I think I’m going to start being nice to the Bulls again. I was the first sportswriter to rank the Bulls NUMBER ONE–but how do they repay me? They start to lose. And lose. And Lose. BUT, they’re back now. The Bulls have won three straight, and 6 of their last 10. DeMar DeRozan is continuing to have the best season of his career, averaging almost 28 points per game.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (35-22) (-1)
The Cavs are still one of my dark horse NBA teams, and I’ve even double-downed on my future bet for them to win the Championship. They are a young team with lots to prove, so they have the perfect formula for making a late-season run.
9. Utah Jazz (35-21) (+4)
They’re back! The Jazz are on a FIVE GAME win streak right now, after losing 11 of their last 13. They seem to be out of their injury-riddled funk, and Rudy Gobert should capitalize that exit from injury land when he returns from his calf injury.
10. Boston Celtics (33-25) (+4)
I think this is the Celtic's first appearance in the top-10, and it’s well deserved. They’ve won their last eight games, and have posted an incredible 20-10 record at home.
Here's how the rest of the league lines up:
11. Dallas Mavericks (33-24) (-2)
12. Denver Nuggets (31-25) (-)
13. Toronto Raptors (31-24) (-2)
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (30-27) (-)
15. Charlotte Hornets (29-29) (-)
16. Brooklyn Nets (29-27) (-)
17. Los Angeles Clippers (28-30) (+1)
18. Atlanta Hawks (26-30) (-1)
19. Los Angeles Lakers (26-31) (-)
20. Washington Wizards (25-30) (+1)
21. Portland Trail Blazers (23-34) (+3)
22. New Orleans Pelicans (22-34) (-2)
23. San Antonio Spurs (22-34) (-1)
24. New York Knicks (25-32) (-1)
25. Sacramento Kings (22-36) (-)
26. Indianapolis Pacers (19-39) (-)
27. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-39) (+1)
28. Orlando Magic (13-45) (-1)
29. Houston Rockets (15-40) (-)
30. Detroit Pistons (12-44) (-)