NBA Power Rankings: Latest Standings for Every NBA Team

Jimmy SpencerNBA Lead WriterMarch 18, 2013

NBA Power Rankings: Latest Standings for Every NBA Team

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    A deeper understanding of any relationship takes time.

    As the NBA’s 2012-13 regular season moves into its final month, the true identities of teams are just now being revealed.

    Sometimes, it doesn’t look so good. Other times, it looks better.

    The Miami Heat are proving to be unstoppable behind LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to surge even without Kobe Bryant and the New York Knicks' senior home is closing early.

    This week’s rankings shed plenty of light on how each team stands moving into the season’s final days.

     

    All stats used in this week's power rankings are courtesy of the NBA's media portal.

30. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Last Week: 30

    Even the Charlotte Bobcats' home victory against the Boston Celtics wasn't enough to relieve them of the league's worst spot. They were handed double-digit road losses by the Toronto Raptors and Celtics later in the week.

    Hope for the Bobcats' future will be on stage during March Madness.

    The Bobcats could have two lottery picks in the 2013 NBA draft thanks to their league-worst record and the pick of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Portland pick, awarded to Charlotte in the 2011 Gerald Wallace deal, will belong to the Bobcats so long as it's not in the top 12.

    Seeking out potential winners in the tournament to join Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will prove more entertaining than the current Bobcats product.

    Opportunities for victories this week come against Washington, Toronto and Detroit before a sacrifice to the Miami Heat on Sunday.

29. Detroit Pistons

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    Last Week: 26

    The Detroit Pistons will also be monitoring the NCAA tournament while considering the progression of their current youngsters.

    Rookie Kyle Singler is shooting just 35.5 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range in March. Andre Drummond is out with a back injury, and Brandon Knight is day-to-day with an ankle sprain.

    The wheels have fully come off in the Motor City. The Pistons have now dropped eight consecutive games and are losers of 11 of their last 12. Detroit now has the sixth-worst record in the league.

    At 2-12, the Pistons are tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the league's worst record since the All-Star break. As a team, Detroit's plus/minus is minus-13.5 since the break, second-worst to the Bobcats.

28. Orlando Magic

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    Last Week: 27

    It was just a brief illusion.

    After an unparalleled stretch of even play, winning two of four to move up in last week's rankings, the Orlando Magic pulled out three rabbits in this week's losing hat trick.

    Dwight Howard visited with his Los Angeles Lakers and won the game from the free-throw line. Orlando went Hack-a-Dwight, but Howard hit 25-of-39 in a 39-point, 16-rebound performance.

    Later in the rough week, Orlando led the Milwaukee Bucks late into Sunday's game before the Bucks made a 30-12 run toward the finish.

    Learning to finish is a tricky step for young teams, and Orlando is no different.

    The foundation of Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson will one day shine if kept together.

27. New Orleans Hornets

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    Last Week: 23

    While Eric Gordon has returned to the floor, his leadership hasn't made a difference for the New Orleans Hornets.

    In March, Gordon is shooting 42.2 percent from the field while averaging a team-high 16.9 points per game. He is also posting 3.1 assists per game.

    Despite those numbers, New Orleans has lost six of eight this month. The Hornets lost each of their games on last week's road trip against the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Minnesota Timberwolves. They have also lost 11 of their last 14 games and fallen in the rankings. 

    The Hornets conclude the month with a seven-game homestand, of which the first six games are against current playoff teams.

    The slide will continue.

26. Phoenix Suns

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    Last Week: 25

    The Phoenix Suns were in a generous mood last week, and it cost them in the rankings.

    One of the league's worst defensive teams, ranked No. 22 at 100.9 points allowed per game, stepped up its giving even more.

    The Suns lost all four games, allowing 111.3 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting from the field and 50.6 percent from three-point range.

    The Washington Wizards provided the cap on Saturday, winning 127-105, led by Martell Webster's 34 points, three times his average.

    Apparently, the duo of Markieff Morris and Wesley Johnson—who received the most minutes other than Goran Dragic during the four-game stretch—isn't enough to help Phoenix's defense.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Last Week: 29

    The Minnesota Timberwolves still aren't a complete team, but adding back some pieces helped a move up in the rankings, thanks to a 2-2 week that included a win against the West's best, the San Antonio Spurs.

    Not all news was good, though.

    There's a good chance Kevin Love won't play again this season. The 24-year-old hasn't played since breaking his hand for the second time this year on Jan. 3.

    As reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Love said there hasn't been a clear decision on whether he'll return this season, though he intends to play in the season's final eight to 12 games. Love told the newspaper on March 15:

    The hand is great, my body feels great. It’s going to be a big offseason. Part of coming back [yet this season], you want to give the fans something, but you also want to do something for the team and yourself. You kind of want to see what you have here when you have a full team, and we really haven’t had that yet.

    Two key players returned for the Wolves on Sunday: Nikola Pekovic, who had missed eight consecutive games with an abdominal strain, and Andrei Kirilenko, who missed seven games in a row with a strained calf.

    Both helped in the team's 97-95 home win against New Orleans, strengthening the team's interior defense and rebounding. Additionally, recent bright spot Derrick Williams scored a career-high 28 points in the win.

    Minnesota would like to see how all these pieces, including Love, fit together before it makes substantial decisions this offseason. Pekovic will become a restricted free agent who is likely to be in high demand, and Kirilenko holds a $10.2 million player option.

    A snapshot of the team's abilities with all parties involved—including now-healthy Ricky Rubio and soon-to-be free agent Chase Budinger—will grant Minnesota's front office further direction.

    For now, the Wolves remain a struggling team built on potential.

24. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Last Week: 28

    A winning week never felt so good.

    The Philadelphia 76ers deserve the climb in the rankings, in part due to turnaround play but also because of other lower-ranked teams tanking.

    Entering this past week as losers of 12 of their last 13 games, the 76ers rallied for two wins in three games.

    The lapse came to the Miami Heat, now a standard league loss. The wins weren't easy, as the 76ers beat the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets.

    Thaddeus Young shot 61.1 percent to average 17.7 points during the three-game stretch. Jrue Holiday shot 49 percent and averaged 21 points.

    Doug Collins, who has voiced his displeasure with the lack of energy and will of his players, seemed happy after the recent winning stretch.

    Collins told Jason Wolf of USA Today Sports:

    When you lose, it beats you down. It really does. And I'm really proud of these guys. I thought they really, really have answered the call here and I hope we can continue to play this kind of ball.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Last Week: 21

    The drop was inevitable.

    Kyrie Irving is out, and there's no one there to bail out the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Without its superstar, Cleveland fell to 1-2 this past week and dropped in the rankings.

    The Cavaliers have already suffered through multiple Irving injuries, and the superstar's current shoulder sprain will likely keep him out the remainder of the season. Prior to this recent left AC sprain, the Cavaliers were 4-10 with Irving.

    Irving missed 15 games due to injury in last year's 66-game season. Including the 14 games missed before the shoulder sprain, he could miss up to 33 games this season.

    The team isn't done playing. A surprising effort of 21 points in 23 minutes from reserve guard Wayne Ellington on Saturday kept Cleveland in striking distance in a 119-113 road loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

    As long as Irving stays out, the Cavaliers will keep slipping.

22. Sacramento Kings

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    Last Week: 24

    Let's start here: The Sacramento Kings haven't been that bad of late.

    After dropping to a season-worst 20 games under .500 (19-39) on Feb. 26, the Kings have actually won four of nine games, including this week's 121-79 beatdown of the visiting Chicago Bulls.

    Tyreke Evans has averaged 15.6 points on 51 percent shooting during the nine-game stretch, adding 4.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 16.8 points and 4.8 assists in the nine games.

    Since that Feb. 26 loss, bench production has come from Marcus Thornton, who has scored 17.6 points in just 24.3 minutes a game, and Patrick Patterson, who is averaging 10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 22.9 minutes.

    See, there's some good news in Sacramento—enough to lift the Kings up another two spots in the rankings.

21. Toronto Raptors

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    Last Week: 20

    The Toronto Raptors became the most recent victims of the streaking Miami Heat. But hey, that's one way to get in the headlines.

    Toronto falls back in the rankings, having dropped two of three this week, with its lone win coming against the Charlotte Bobcats.

    Rudy Gay led the Raptors in scoring in back-to-back games, with game-highs of 28 against the Bobcats and 27 against the Heat.

    The Raptors are now 2-2 since Andrea Bargnani was lost for the season with an elbow injury on March 8.

    So actually, that's an improvement for the 26-41 Raptors.

20. Washington Wizards

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    Last Week: 21

    The Washington Wizards are headed in the right direction. Since beginning the season 3-23, they are 20-19.

    This past week's three-game winning streak, despite starting the week with a loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers, moves Washington up in the rankings.

    Looking for a nice piece to place beside John Wall and Bradley Beal?

    Take a look at Martell Webster, the former sixth overall pick of the Portland Trail Blazers. He scored a career-high 34 points in Washington's home win against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

    In his last five games, Webster is averaging 21.8 points and hitting 51.1 percent of his three-pointers. The 6'7", 230-pound small forward is a career 39 percent three-point shooter. He has averaged 24.2 minutes and 8.9 points in his eight years in the league.

19. Utah Jazz

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    Last Week: 19

    It's been an ugly drop out of the playoff picture for Utah.

    But since losing seven of eight games from Feb. 23 to March 9 and dropping to the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference, the Jazz bounced back to life a bit.

    Utah won two of three this past week, including home wins against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Detroit Pistons. The loss, per usual, came on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Mo Williams, back and healthy, was good in the team's wins. He had 20 points and six assists in the victory against Detroit and 13 points and six assists in the win against Memphis.

    The Jazz remain one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.

18. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Last Week: 18

    The Portland Trail Blazers began to reveal themselves soon after the New Year.

    After a 20-15 start that concluded with a victory against the defending champion Miami Heat, Portland lost its next six games and has gone 11-19 since then.

    The Trail Blazers won two of three this week, losing at home to the Memphis Grizzlies before defeating the visiting New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons. That was enough to hold on to their spot in the rankings.

    Portland is 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the West's final playoff spot. Due to tough competition down the stretch, the postseason appears to be out of reach.

    But hey, Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard is finishing strong. The Weber State product (don't even check your bracket) is scoring a team-high 23.6 points on 51.5 percent shooting and dishing seven assists per game in March.

17. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Last Week: 16

    It's hard to drop the Milwaukee Bucks after their showing this week.

    Well, not their showing—they lost three of four games—but Larry Sanders':

    Milwaukee's Larry Sanders gets ejected and gives all 3 refs a sarcastic thumbs up. (via @cozsweaters) GIF: ble.ac/ZCq014

    — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 14, 2013

    Though Sanders was fined $50,000 for this incident, he left his imprint on the week.

    The Bucks survived and remain firmly planted into that eighth spot, three games behind the No. 7-seeded Boston Celtics and eight games ahead of the Toronto Raptors.

16. Dallas Mavericks

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    Last Week: 17

    Let's throw away Dirk Nowitzki's first nine games after offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

    That brings us to Jan. 9, a point at which the Dallas Mavericks were 13-23. Since then, the team has gone 18-12.

    The end result is the 11th-best team, or fifth-worst team, in the Western Conference. The Mavericks are currently four games back of the No. 8-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

    If Nowitzki had been healthy all season, this Mavericks team could have made noise in the West.

    Then again, this week featured losses to the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. So maybe it wouldn't have mattered all that much.

    The Mavericks still move up a spot in the rankings, with a road win against the Milwaukee Bucks and a home victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

15. Golden State Warriors

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    Last Week: 15

    The Golden State Warriors have become a guessing game. With each night, there is no telling what the talented yet inexperienced Warriors are capable of showing.

    After dropping six of eight games, the Warriors won three of four last week to remain in the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference, ahead of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.

    On Sunday, the Warriors earned their first victory against the Rockets in four tries this season.

    There's a misconception that the Warriors are a get-out-and-go, three-point-gunning team. Obviously, having one of the league's top three-point shooters, Stephen Curry, has much to do with that.

    The Warriors rank 12th in the NBA in three-point attempts and are ninth in field-goal attempts per game. But when they are playing well, they are getting it done defensively.

    In wins, Golden State allows an average of 94.5 points. But in losses, it gives up 106.6 points.

14. Chicago Bulls

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    Last Week: 12

    No, Derrick Rose did not come back. Neither did the Chicago Bulls, who split a road pair against the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors this week and slipped again in the rankings.

    That Sacramento loss wasn't just your grandma's slap of the wrist; it was a 121-79 disaster to one of the league's worst teams. It marked the Bulls' fourth loss in five games before they bounced back with a much-needed win at Golden State.

    The Bulls return home this week for three games versus the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers.

    Chicago has fallen to a No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Atlanta Hawks.

    It still remains unclear when or if Rose will return.

13. Atlanta Hawks

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    Last Week: 14

    The Atlanta Hawks moved ahead this week in both the standings and the rankings. With three wins, they moved ahead of the Chicago Bulls.

    After opening the week with a loss at the Miami Heat, the Hawks won three straight to move into the Eastern Conference's No. 5 spot. That snapped a three-game losing streak that began with losses to the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.

    The Hawks aren't just playing spoiler. Atlanta is just a game away from the Nets for the fourth spot in the East and within striking distance (three games) of the No. 2-seeded Indiana Pacers.

12. Houston Rockets

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    Last Week: 13

    The up-and-down Houston Rockets have found consistency in March, winning five of eight games.

    But Sunday's loss to the Golden State Warriors was a missed opportunity to move into the Western Conference's sixth spot. The talented but young Rockets won their first two games this week, defeating the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves.

    In each of Houston's seven wins since the All-Star break, James Harden and Jeremy Lin each recorded fewer than three turnovers per game. In the wins, Harden has averaged 26.9 points on 47.5 percent shooting and 6.9 assists, and Lin 17.4 points on 50 percent shooting and 6.4 assists.

    In the five losses, Harden scores more (27.8 points) on a lower 44 percent shooting and commits 4.6 turnovers. In those same games, Lin averages 11.8 points on 43.6 percent shooting and 2.8 turnovers.

    The Rockets will go as far as this tandem takes them.

11. New York Knicks

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    Last Week: 7

    Mike Woodson went from a Coach of the Year candidate for turning around the Knicks to a potential fall guy for the team's recent failures.

    What a difference the loss of a superstar can make.

    In fairness, Knicks fans had been questioning Woodson's decision-making—last-second play calls and playing guys with injuries—long before the recent injuries and decline in overall play.

    The Knicks lost four games last week on their current five-game trip that concludes Monday at the Utah Jazz. The slide slips New York four spots in the rankings.

    After having lost more than two consecutive games just once this season, the Knicks have now lost four straight on two occasions in just over a month. They also lost four in a row on both sides of the All-Star break from Feb. 10-22.

    It's been ugly for the Knicks, who are still managing to hang on to the No. 3 seed in the East, one game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets.

    It's unclear when they will get some relief.

    After surgery on his right knee, Amar'e Stoudemire won't be back until the playoffs—and even then, he likely won't be at full strength in the first or second round.

    Making matters worse for the Knicks is the day-to-day knee issues of superstar Carmelo Anthony, who hasn't played healthy, or well, since hurting his knee against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 4.

    Anthony tried to return in the Knicks' blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets on March 13, but he left early in the third quarter after shooting 3-of-12 from the field.

    Tyson Chandler was the third Knicks star out in Sunday's loss, listed as day-to-day with a bruised left knee.

    It's not a healthy situation for the down-and-out Knicks.

10. Brooklyn Nets

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    Last Week: 9

    The Brooklyn Nets are doing just enough.

    P.J. Carlesimo's guys are sneaking up on the second seed in the East as both the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks struggle.

    It's not that the Nets are high-flying their way into a second-place finish, but they are playing mediocre enough (5-5 in their last 10 games) to climb within two games of Indiana.

    Losses in two of three this week, including at home against Atlanta on Sunday, drop Brooklyn a spot in the rankings.

    The team's only win came without Joe Johnson, who missed the game against New Orleans with a bruised left heel. He played well in the losses, though, combining for 38 points while shooting 7-of-13 from three-point range in the two games. Deron Williams averaged 22 points and 11.3 assists in the three games.

    The Nets begin a season-long, eight-game road trip on Monday in Detroit. It swings out West before ending at the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 3.

    Brooklyn is 16-14 on the road, so this stretch may prove pivotal in playoff seeding.

9. Boston Celtics

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    Last Week: 10

    The Boston Celtics could be the team to end the Miami Heat's streak.

    The Heat play the second game of a back-to-back in Boston on Monday, and the veteran tandem of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce might be enough to stop Miami's obliteration of the league.

    While it's not 22 straight, the Celtics have won seven of their last nine games. Pierce is leading the Celtics during that stretch, averaging 20.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.

    The Celtics move ahead of the Brooklyn Nets in the rankings, as no other team ahead of them not named Miami has a winning record in its last 10 games.

    Boston trails the No. 2-seeded Indiana Pacers by 3.5 games with 17 games remaining. That's not insurmountable.

8. Indiana Pacers

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    Last Week: 8

    The Indiana Pacers are playing a weak game of tug of war with the New York Knicks for best-man status to the Miami Heat, though it appears the Knicks have already fallen down.

    As the Heat have rallied off 22 wins in a row, the next three teams in the East—Indiana, New York and Brooklyn—have lost seven straight games combined. Indiana is one game ahead of the Knicks.

    The Pacers' 1-2 week meant staying put in the standings, only because comparable contenders also played poorly.

    Indiana's week began at home with an epic blowout of the Minnesota Timberwolves before disappointing losses at home to the Los Angeles Lakers sans Kobe Bryant and at the Philadelphia 76ers.

    In the loss to the 76ers, Roy Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds, but allowed Philadelphia's Spencer Hawes to play like Kevin Garnett. Hawes went for 18 points, eight assists and career highs of 16 rebounds and seven blocks.

    While Paul George remains stellar, the Pacers will need to work in Danny Granger, who is still considered week-to-week with his knee injury.

    Second place in the Eastern Conference is gaining more importance, especially if the Pacers hope to avoid a first-round matchup against the No. 6-seeded Boston Celtics.

    The Pacers should be able to establish a lead at the No. 2 spot early this week with games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, but tests will come later in the week with the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.

7. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Last Week: 11

    Even without Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers are moving up into the top 10 of the rankings.

    The Lakers are 11-3 since the All-Star break and maintain a hold on the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

    After Bryant went down with a sprained ankle in a loss at the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers won at the Indiana Pacers and home against the Sacramento Kings. Bryant played just 12 minutes of hobbled basketball before waving the white flag in Indiana, but the Lakers still won behind 20 points and 12 rebounds from Dwight Howard.

    Howard is averaging 16.9 points, 14.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks since the All-Star Game.

    Against the Sacramento Kings at home on Sunday, Bryant didn't bother to give it a go, but Antawn Jamison gave Los Angeles 27 points and nine rebounds off the bench in the win.

    The Lakers are now a season-best four games over .500 and still pose a threat to jump over both the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors for the West's No. 6 seed. The surging Lakers trail the Warriors by two games and Houston by just half a game.

    How does a first-round battle against the Los Angeles Clippers sound?

6. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Last Week: 4

    The Los Angeles Clippers have faced three Western Conference playoff teams this month and lost to all of them.

    The darling of the first half remains in a fight with the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets for a top-four spot in the Western Conference.

    The Clippers played just twice this week, both at home, where they lost to the Grizzlies and beat the crumbling New York Knicks. During that time, both Denver and Memphis climbed past the Clippers in the rankings.

    But there's not too much reason to worry so long as Chris Paul is on the floor. Since missing 12 of 14 games in January and February with knee issues, Paul has been consistent since his return. For the month, he's averaging 18.7 points and 10.4 assists per game while shooting 50.5 percent from the field.

    Paul is driving this Clippers show, even though the more emphatic highlights still come from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

    Griffin is getting stronger as the season progresses. He has increased his scoring average to 18.6 points on 54.9 percent shooting and is pulling down 8.7 rebounds a game.

    Jordan's production has been far less consistent. He managed just two shots and two rebounds in last week's home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Last Week: 5

    The Memphis Grizzlies joined the crowded party of losers in Denver with a road loss to the Nuggets this week. It's a happening bash.

    But attending that same party in Utah against the Jazz was lame.

    Underrated point guard Mike Conley is playing through a sprained wrist, but has been an unheralded factor for Memphis. In March, Conley is averaging 15.7 points and 7.8 assists per game. For the season, he is averaging 2.3 steals per game.

    Last week's four-game road trip opened with wins against the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers before ending with the back-to-back losses in Denver and Utah.

    Memphis is in a battle for the third or fourth seed with the Clippers and Nuggets. The Grizzlies have nine road games remaining, but six of those come against lottery teams.

    It won't be easy holding off the streaking Nuggets, though.

4. Denver Nuggets

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    Last Week: 6

    If LeBron James and Kevin Durant didn't exist, Ty Lawson would be an educated pick for Most Valuable Player this season.

    The team that seemed irrelevantly prosperous because it didn't have a superstar has found its "good enough."

    Lawson is leading the team that everyone would be discussing if it weren't for the Miami Heat's 22-game winning streak led by the guy that everyone's always talking about, LeBron James.

    The Nuggets have earned 11 consecutive victories behind Lawson, who is averaging 19.8 points and 6.5 assists per game during the streak.

    And if you want a guy who has always bordered on superstar, Andre Iguodala continues to thrive with an average of 11.9 points, 7.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game in the past 11.

    Though the wins against the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks were expected, the Nuggets also took care of the visiting Memphis Grizzlies this week.

    Denver is 30-3 at home, tied with the Heat for the best home record.

    However, while four of the team's 11 consecutive wins have come on the road, it's important to note those wins were against losing teams: the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats.

    Still, the Nuggets sit in a virtual tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for first-round, home-court advantage in the West.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Last Week: 3

    Despite being the Western Conference's runner-up here in the rankings, the Oklahoma City Thunder still have to be considered the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

    That's kind of weird, huh?

    It's like knowing the girl you're dating is good for now, but she's not the one you'll marry.

    The Thunder offer a much higher ceiling than the Spurs—in theory.

    With superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, it's difficult to ignore the proactive Thunder. In March, Durant is averaging 26.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, and Westbrook is averaging 25.3, 5.7 and 5.9.

    It's hard to bet against that tandem.

    Still, the Spurs have won two of three over the Thunder this season, and they won this past week in San Antonio.

    Despite that loss, the Thunder rallied for consecutive wins against the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks.

    Things get tighter again, as Oklahoma City hosts the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday before traveling to play Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

2. San Antonio Spurs

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    Last Week: 2

    As the Oklahoma City Thunder have realized, the San Antonio Spurs aren't going anywhere.

    After another week without superstar point guard Tony Parker, the Spurs still have the Western Conference's best record.

    The week included a win against the runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder and a strange road blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tim Duncan is averaging 19.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.71 blocks in March.

    The Spurs have won five of seven without Parker, who is out for an estimated two more weeks with a sprained left ankle.

    The March 1 injury against the Sacramento Kings originally placed Parker out for a month, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News on Thursday that Parker could be ahead of schedule.

    He’s doing fine. I guess he’s on schedule. Two weeks is (Friday). Initially they told us four weeks probably. I don’t think it will be quite that long. I don’t know if I’m being too hopeful, but I think it will be shorter than four weeks.

    San Antonio isn't ready to relinquish home-court advantage.

1. Miami Heat

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    Last Week: 1

    There's one way to give regular-season dominance a storyline.

    Win 22 in a row.

    The streak that began on Feb. 3 in Toronto continued on Sunday. The Miami Heat tied the NBA's second-longest winning streak, owned by Yao Ming's 2007-08 Houston Rockets, with a 108-91 victory at the Toronto Raptors.

    At a time that is supposed to be the most grueling stretch of schedule heading into the playoffs, the Heat are not relaxing or slowing down. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are each performing at a high level. If one is having a rough night, the other two step up.

    It isn't easy to be this consistent, but the league's best team is making wins look simple. The all-time record of consecutive wins is 33, owned by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain's 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

    During its win streak, Miami is shooting a league-best 50.8 percent and scoring 105 points per game.

    The reigning champs keep their top spot.

     

    Jimmy Spencer is an NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him at @JimmySpencerNBA on Twitter.