The NBA power rankings are out for Week 15 of the 2011-2012 NBA season, and the San Antonio Spurs currently hold the top spot in the rankings. Let's take a look at where everyone else falls in the standings.
1. San Antonio Spurs (40-15)
Sure, they lost in Utah, but the 11 straight wins is hard to ignore. I'll have to keep the Spurs at the very top of the NBA power rankings for now.
2. Miami Heat (40-15)
The Heat continue to take care of business at home, knocking off the 76ers and Thunder last week. What's most impressive is their league-best 24-3 home record.
3. Chicago Bulls (43-14)
The Bulls have lost three of their last four. What's worse is that they failed to win in New York on a night when they got Derrick Rose back after missing 12 straight games due to injury.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (42-15)
After wins against the Heat, Lakers and Bulls in week 14, the Thunder lost three in a row (vs. Memphis, at Miami, at Indiana). They're still an elite team, but their recent stumble has cost them the No. 1 seed in the West, handing it over to the San Antonio Spurs for now.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (34-23)
Winning eight of their last 10 games, the Clippers have earned the No. 5 spot in this week's power rankings, and the top spot among the NBA outside of the Big Four. Their No. 1 goal right now? Win their first divisional title and send the Lakers home sulking.
6. Indiana Pacers (35-22)
The Pacers put together four respectable wins before a miserable home loss to the Celtics. Still, this team is looking solid right now and may be the best Pacers team since Reggie Miller wore a jersey.
7. Los Angeles Lakers (36-22)
Everyone in L.A. must be asking this question: How long will Kobe Bryant last this season? The 16-year veteran has carried his team to the playoffs year after year, but with a cross-town rival that can realistically win the division now, the Lakers' domination days may soon be over.
8. Boston Celtics (32-24)
Can the likes of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen go all the way before their contracts end this season and they likely part ways? They're holding strong, but saying that they'll get past the Bulls and Heat is far-fetched.
9. Atlanta Hawks (34-23)
The Hawks continue to play good basketball and be in the mix of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. What's most impressive is their 10-3 divisional record, second best in the league only to the Chicago Bulls.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (33-23)
Winning eight of their last 10 games, the Grizzlies are currently holding onto the five seed in the West. However, Memphis has not played well against the better teams in the league and is only 21-20 against Western Conference teams.
11. Houston Rockets (32-25)
The Rockets recently won at Chicago and at the LA Lakers, statements that say they can compete with anyone in the NBA. Now if only they could get Kevin Martin back in the lineup.
12. Orlando Magic (34-23)
Dwight Howard is a beast, averaging over 20 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. The five-game losing streak hurt, but there are more pertinent things to worry about right now. I wonder what will take Howard down first, back spasms or the media gossip?
13. Denver Nuggets (31-26)
After a tumultuous season of losing Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets now lost their star center Nene. However, Denver has still found a way to win and be in the playoff race. The Nuggets are only one game ahead of Phoenix for the eight seed in the West, but only 2.5 games behind Memphis for the five seed.
14. New York Knicks (29-27)
Linsanity is over. Finally. Anyone? Now Melo can take control of his team and lead it to the playoffs. He's averaged more than 31 points over the past five games. Seeding is going to be of ultimate importance, as no one wants to face Chicago or Miami in the first round. A six seed is doable here.
15. Dallas Mavericks (31-26)
Only winning four of their last 10, the Mavs are plummeting their way out of a playoff spot. There's no way to measure how the Lamar Odom drama has affected the team this year, but now that Odom and the Mavs have agreed to part ways, Mark Cuban can hope to see his team start playing like the champions of last year.
16. Milwaukee Bucks (28-29)
The addition of Monta Ellis has worked out even better than Milwaukee imagined. The Bucks went from being a sub-.500 team to a playoff contender, going 9-5 since adding Ellis to their lineup.
17. Phoenix Suns (30-27)
Winning five of their last six, the Suns are making a serious run for the playoffs. They're only trailing Denver by one game for the final spot in the West.
18. Utah Jazz (30-28)
Losing five of their past eight games has put them in a tough position to make the playoffs. Beating the Spurs at home is a good starting place to get back on track. Nonetheless, their 9-20 road record is not a recipe to make the playoffs.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (29-27)
The 76ers are currently holding off Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the East. On the other hand, Milwaukee is playing great basketball and Philadelphia has lost its last four games. It looks like their hopes to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years may be in jeopardy.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (27-31)
The countless injuries to Greg Oden and the unexpected retirement of Brandon Roy finally seem to be catching up to the Trail Blazers. It looks like they'll miss the playoffs for the first time in four years.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (25-33)
In early March, the Wolves were in the midst of the playoff race, but since then they have lost 14 of their last 18 games and six in a row. Playoff dreams fade with each passing day. Where is Kevin Love?
22. New Jersey Nets (21-37)
The Nets have won six of their past 10 games, mostly due to the outstanding play of Deron Williams. I'm sure Dwight Howard is wishing right now he could be in Jersey with one of the best point guards in the league.
23. Detroit Pistons (21-36)
The Pistons aren't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but losing streaks aren't going to help them. The good ol' days are over and the sub-.500 days are a regularity.
24. Golden State Warriors (22-34)
The Warriors were 18-21 before Ellis left. Since then they've gone 4-13 and have been sliding down the power rankings ever since.
25. Toronto Raptors (20-38)
The Raptors have lost three in a row and are 18 games below .500. They also have the most ugly jerseys (camouflage) in the history of the NBA.
26. Sacramento Kings (19-38)
The Kings' season has been one of streaks—winning three games here and then losing five games there. They're currently on a four-game losing streak, so that has to end soon, right?
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (18-36)
The Cavs have lost nine of their last 10 games. During that stretch they lost to Phoenix by 25, Milwaukee by 37 and San Antonio by 35 (all at home). It looks like the LeBron James hangover is still in full effect.
28. New Orleans Hornets (15-42)
I wonder if David Stern is rethinking the trade he denied in the offseason that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers and brought Kevin Martin and Luis Scola of the Rockets to New Orleans?
29. Washington Wizards (13-44)
I don't know what's worse: losing five in a row or having to beat the Bobcats to end your losing streak. What I do know is the only thing the Wizards have to look forward to is a top pick in this summer's draft. They currently hold the second to last spot in the NBA power rankings.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (7-48)
Twelve straight losses. The question here is, even though the 2011-2012 NBA season was cut short by 16 games, would the Bobcats still hold the record if they fail to reach the NBA record-low of 10 wins?
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