NBA Power Rankings: Lay of the Land Heading Down the Stretch

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NBA Power Rankings: Lay of the Land Heading Down the Stretch
Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

Gravity isn't just something that wins Oscars and works against blues singers. It's also a force that has a way of pulling NBA teams toward their destiny, particularly during the final month or so of the regular season.

On the one hand, it's played a part in long winning streaks for the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs and boosted the Memphis Grizzlies, the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls in their respective playoff pushes.

On the other hand, it's worn on the Indiana Pacers' once-impenetrable defense, pushed the Portland Trail Blazers into disarray and dragged the Phoenix Suns out of the postseason picture.

Not to mention what it's wrought upon the Philadelphia 76ers, the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz at the very bottom of the barrel in 2013-14.

To be sure, there's much more at play here than just some vague energy with a scientific name. Every team's circumstances are peculiar and change from week to week, as do these here power rankings.

But in pro basketball, teams tend to show their true colors this time of year, often in extreme ways. Those with championship hopes rise well above the rest, while those headed in the other direction tend to fall off the wagon completely.

Read on to see who's gone which way in this week's power rankings.

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