NBA Power Rankings: Warriors fall hard, land outside Top 5
From 30 to 1
Welcome to this week’s version of the NBA Power Rankings, whence we can see the playoffs coming into view and, surprise of surprises, we also find the 2016 NBA Finalists wrinkling their noses, scratching their heads and going to L.
30) Knicks (26-41)
This space was reserved for the Nets. And then they beat you. Be gone.
29) Nets (12-53)
Oh, the history . . . Rucker Park . . . The Garden . . . Willis and Walt. And, somehow, here in March 2017, you guys, the “Nots,” are the kings of New York.
28) Kings (25-41)
The bad news is you’ve lost eight in a row. The worse news is you’re going to exceed 50 losses for the seventh time in nine seasons. The good news is the Magic are next. So we’re saying there’s a chance.
27) Lakers (20-46)
Welcome to the NBA, Rob Pelinka. We hear you have many fences to mend. Good luck. If you play it right, you and Magic and this team will retake Hollywood within three years.
26) 76ers (24-42)
Joel should’ve been Rookie of the Year, Dario, who probably will win RoY and Ben will be the front-runner next season. You’re awful, but you play hard. Do that next year, and, if healthy, you’ll approach .500.
25) Magic (24-43)
The good: You’re getting the Kings, who know you can beat. The bad: You lost by 40 . . . to the Hornets. The ugly: Watching you fellas try to score.
24) Suns (22-45)
Youth Movement is in full effect, two 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old in the starting lineup. We get it. It’s about your future. Meanwhile, hope all is well, Big Tyson, on extended absence for personal reasons.
23) Hornets (29-37)
What happened here? You’re 19-14 through your first 33 games, 10-23 over your last 33. Yo, Cliffie, as your seat blazes, remember this quote by Jed York: “You don’t dismiss owners.”
22) Bulls (31-35)
We’d feel for you, D-Wade, but you’re at home and the checks keep cashing. You knew what was up with his roster. Your playoff hopes are aflame.
21) Pelicans (26-40)
Boogie on the bench in the final nine minutes of a tight game that, thanks to The Brow, you found a way. Well, you asked for this. If nothing else, you know without doubt which man is your horse.
20) Mavericks (28-37)
You’re sniffing the 8-seed, huh? We don’t think you’ll get there, but we admire the comeback. Congrats, Dirk, on getting to 30K. You’ve been great forever and you don’t always get your due. Well done.
19) Timberwolves (27-38)
If Ricky Rubio keeps playing like this, besting CP and Steph in back-to-back games, the 10-seed is yours. Sorry, Thibs.
18) Heat (32-35)
The league’s best record (21-5) over the past two months has put you squarely in the playoff race. And it has put Coach Spo in any conversation regarding Coach of the Year. The Godfather upstairs sighs.
17) Trail Blazers (29-36)
It appears Nurk Fever is most harmful to opponents. You boys were quiet for so long, and now we hear your footsteps. Winning five of six gets attention. Good to see you back in the picture.
16) Grizzlies (36-30)
Five straight losses. Through three quarters against ATL the other night, none of you had reached double figures. Your D has gone to sleep. The Grindhouse these days looks like a doghouse.
15) Nuggets (31-35)
The Emmanuel Mudiay experiment may be over, but The Joker rolls on, flashing serious game. Still, we see the blood from your fingernails as you try to keep your grip on that 8-seed. A month is a long time.
14) Pacers (34-32)
You haven’t won two in a row in five weeks. And you’re still hanging around. You’ve become the Houston Texans of the NBA, good enough to get in the way but too mediocre to go anywhere.
13) Pistons (33-33)
Well, look who’s getting after it, winning four of five and seven of 10. Guess who fired up the troops? Marcus Morris, dropping expletives, telling the boys to show up or go back into the locker room. Will this last?
12) Bucks (32-33)
We’d been waiting for y’all. We’d seen the nasty D and the athleticism. But we wondered if you’d fall when Jabari went down. Nope. You’ve regrouped. Your six-game win streak shows us something.
11) Hawks (37-29)
Dwight sits, and you beat the Griz by 17. Coincidence? We think not. Three straight wins, and now your chests are out, as if you’re a real threat. Reserve those golf courses for the first week of May.
10) Clippers (40-26)
You’ve won four of five, which suggests you’re putting the broken pieces back together. So maybe that “clear the air” meeting was productive. The road back to the 4-seed begins by beating Utah Monday night.
9) Raptors (38-28)
Stocky Kyle is not a legit point guard. But you’re struggling without him, most recently when you boys recorded seven assists in a game. Seven! Can’t blame the new guys, Serge and P.J., for that.
8) Thunder (37-29)
That Spurs-Jazz double W was niiiice. But we’re not giving Russ the MVP. Not yet. We will give him another award right now: MFA, Most Ferocious Athlete. That applies to any sport, on any planet.
7) Jazz (41-25)
The injury bug is biting again. G-Hill and Slo-Mo Joe get back, but Derrick’s knee (again) and Rudy’s leg are achy. We like that you’re giving Joe minutes at the 4. But the road beckons. Will you thrive, survive or take a dive?
6) Warriors (52-14)
Klay is cool, but Steph is looking hard for his shot and Dray’s is missing, too. This is how you fellas stumbled into your first three-game skid in nearly 40 months. Home cooking never sounded so good, eh?
5) Celtics (42-25)
You’re scary when you remember how good you are. After a 2-3 roadie that included a win in Oakland, you’re glad to be back home. But what’s up with The Wave at TD Garden? Not a cosmopolitan move.
4) Cavaliers (43-22)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re still the champs. But four losses in five games is a tailspin. It won’t go away until you guard somebody. You’re Clevelan right now. No D. You’re wounded and maybe slightly bored, but sheesh.
3) Wizards (41-24)
Your five-game win streak may seem modest, but it’s the longest of any playoff lock. And, yes, we saw how that missed call on Kieff in OT gifted you a win in Portland.
2) Rockets (46-21)
Big win over the LeBrons, another triple-double for The Beard, who’s up to 16. But treys are down, averaging 40.7 over the past four games. Yo, Mike D, remind them that the goal is 50 per game. Fifty. Carry on.
1) Spurs (51-14)
Don’t know if you’ll stay here, but you’ve earned it. For that, you should thank MVP-level Kawhi. How long before Patty the Gael gets more minutes than Tony P? As for LMA, we wish you good health.