NBA Power Rankings: How Surging Thunder Reshape Top 5

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IApril 2, 2012

It's been a season of consistency for the Oklahoma City Thunder. All they do is go about their business and keep winning.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder are the second-highest scoring team in the NBA and have saved the some of their best performances for the biggest moments of the season. The Thunder have been playing their best basketball of the season as the playoffs near.

But how will yesterday's dominant win over Chicago impact today's power rankings? Can the Thunder finally overtake the Bulls for the top spot overall?

You bet. Let's take a look at where each team currently ranks.


1. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-12)

It's been six wins in a row for Oklahoma City, and in that span, they've defeated the Clippers, Heat, Lakers and Bulls.

In the process, Durant is making his case to bring home the MVP award as well. Right now, the Thunder claim the top spot in our power rankings, and they could be well on their way to being the last team standing at the end of the NBA season as well.


2. Chicago Bulls (42-12)

Sure, the Bulls haven't had Derrick Rose for the past 10 games, but they've won seven of those and have gone an impressive 14-6 without the reigning MVP in the lineup. Not having Rose in the lineup isn't why they lost to the Thunder. They just got beat up.


3  San Antonio Spurs (36-14)

No team in the NBA is hotter than the Spurs, as San Antonio has won 10 of their past 11 games and seven in a row.


4. Miami Heat (37-14)

LeBron James hasn't reached his 26.5 PPG scoring average in the past eight games, and the Heat are only 5-3 in that span, including all three losses coming in the last five games, with all losses coming by double-digits.


5. Boston Celtics (30-22)

The Celtics make the huge jump all the way up to No. 5 today after another impressive win, this time over Miami. They've won five straight and seven of eight, and the switch of Kevin Garnett to the center spot has meant a world of difference.


6. Los Angeles Lakers (33-20)

Who can figure out Kobe Bryant and this Lakers team? They've been the model of inconsistency all season, and it looks like that will continue throughout the postseason. Andrew Bynum's ankle sprain has to cause some concern in the short-term.


7. Indiana Pacers (31-21)

The Pacers salvaged a split in Texas over the weekend with a much-needed overtime win over the Rockets after a tough loss against the Spurs on Saturday.


8. New York Knicks (27-26)

When will the injuries catch up to the Knicks? Eventually, it will take its toll; with both Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire out of the lineup, the Knicks depth will be tested. They did rebound from only their second loss under Mike Woodson to beat the Cavs easily on Saturday.


9. Dallas Mavericks (30-23)

The defending champs aren't out of contention yet, winning seven of their past 10, eight of which have been against teams currently in the playoffs. They are playing their best basketball at the right time.


10. Los Angeles Clippers (31-21)

The Clippers have turned things around and probably saved head coach's Vinny Del Negro's job for the time being, putting together a five-game win streak.


11. Orlando Magic (32-21)

What Magic team will show up on a nightly basis? This team could still be a factor in the Eastern Conference, but they don't show the heart necessary to be a champion.


12. Atlanta Hawks (31-23)

The Hawks are hanging in there and got good news, as Al Horford has started to do strength work. There's still a chance he could return for the postseason.


13. Memphis Grizzlies (28-22)

Memphis has won three of four after a three-game losing streak last week. Up next is a rematch of last season's thrilling seven-game series when the Grizzlies take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.


14. Philadelphia 76ers (29-23)

The Sixers have been slumping and have Miami up next. For the first time this season, they aren't in first place in the Atlantic Division.


15. Denver Nuggets (29-24)

Denver's back in the playoff mix after a win over the Magic in which Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo both topped the 20-point mark for only the fourth time this season. If they can get hot and get Danillo Galinari back healthy, the Nuggets could be a tough out.


16. Houston Rockets (28-25)

Houston is holding on by the skin of their teeth and needs to put together a win streak after splitting their past 10 games.


17. Utah Jazz (27-26)

The Jazz have lost three straight and are now a game out of the No. 8 seed, but they have Portland and Phoenix up next to try and get back into the mix.


18. Phoenix Suns (26-26)

The Suns snapped a two-game skid with a win over New Orleans and must get hot to get into the playoffs. Sacramento and a big game against Utah are next up for Phoenix.


19. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-29)

The Wolves have lost 10 of 14. Boy, do they miss Ricky Rubio, as the playoffs now seem like an afterthought.


20. Portland Trail Blazers (25-28)

The Blazers haven't been terrible since the trade deadline, when they made three deals and fired Nate McMillan, going 5-5 over their past 10 games.


21. Milwaukee Bucks (24-28)

The Bucks still have an outside shot of catching the Knicks for the No. 8 seed, but they have to start putting together win streaks. The schedule favors them, though, with Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte up next. 


22. Golden State Warriors (20-31)

Wonder if Mark Jackson misses the television booth yet, as the Warriors have dropped five straight games.


23. Detroit Pistons (19-33)

The Pistons have actually put together some wins during the last week, winning three of four, but they did come against Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte.


24. New Jersey Nets (19-35)

The Nets are in the middle of a three-game win streak and have won four of five overall. Despite looking uninterested at times, Deron Williams is playing at a very high level.


25. Sacramento Kings (18-34)

The Kings have won only once over their last six attempts. They are going to have to figure out how to win someday.


26. New Orleans Hornets (13-40)

It's been a rough go for the Hornets, losing five of six, but they at least compete on most nights.


27. Toronto Raptors (18-35)

The Raptors have won four of the past 10, but it's back to the lottery for Toronto.


28. Cleveland Cavaliers (17-33)

Cleveland isn't very good and have lost 10 of 11, including their last seven in a row.


29. Washington Wizards (12-40)

Washington beat Philadelphia last week, otherwise known as a winning streak in the nation's capital.


30. Charlotte Bobcats (7-43)

Seven straight losses and counting for the Bobcats, who have more interest in tonight's NCAA Championship Game than anything they are going to do the rest of the season on the court. 


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