NBA Power Rankings: Warriors holding it down; Cavs not in Top 5
From 30 to 1...
Welcome to this week’s version of the Power Rankings, which may not look like a busted NCAA Tournament bracket but surely feels like one.
30) Knicks (27-46)
You’ve lost your last six. You want to go home. If the NBA had any heart, it would spare us the gratuitous wretchedness and grant you that wish.
29 Suns (22-52)
Hey, D-Book, we see you and your 70. Good for you, bad for hoops. BTW: Going younger than some NCAA Tournament teams is fine. We get it. But leave the carnival tricks to the Globetrotters.
28) Clippers (44-31)
You’re a melting mess. This spot was reserved for the Kings until you gagged away an 18-point lead in the final five minutes to the Kangz. Don’t bother to check the mirror. We’ll let you know when you’re real.
27) Magic (27-46)
You’re dreadful. Period. But we see you, Elfrid -- and not just because of the hair. Four triple-doubles in a month deserves serious props. Kudos.
26) 76ers (27-46)
There is but one reason to watch you these days, and his name is Dario Saric. You have found yourselves a potential All-Star. Please keep him healthy.
25) Lakers (21-52)
You’re in a tough spot, Coach Luke, trying to develop good habits while knowing every win works against you. Young Brandon’s achy knee makes it easier, we suppose.
24) Nets (16-57)
You have the worst record in the NBA, yet it has been two months since you lost to a team out of the playoff picture. Your effort is truly commendable.
23) Kings (28-45)
Fantastic comeback, down 18 in the fourth to beat the Clips at Staples. For that, we give you more love than you had earned. Well, that and Buddy.
22) Timberwolves (28-44)
Ahh, Pups. Your brief appearance in the race for No. 8 was nice and then you vanished in a cloud of defeats, six in a row. It’s sunset in ‘Sota.
21) Pistons (34-39)
We never bought your act, Reggie Jax, and now Coach Stan is bailing on you. Meanwhile, it seems most everybody is bailing on Coach Stan. To which we say: Happy golfing to the miserable, mirthless lot of you.
20) Mavericks (31-41)
Lose to the Warriors, beat the Clips, lose to the Raps. We call that 0-3. Only 17 days until you’re diving headfirst into pitchers of house margaritas.
19) Hornets (33-40)
Fall out of the playoff picture, and then make a valiant effort to get back in. We’ve seen that script before. It’s profoundly pointless, a false rally. Go home. But we love Kemba. Free Kemba!
18) Hawks (37-36)
No Millsap, no Bazemore and no Sefolosha. No wonder you’re reeling, losing your last seven. Your benign irrelevance has reached another level.
17) Pelicans (31-42)
With playoff pressure trending down, you go into Denver, which is playing for something, and win by 25. You’ve won six of your last eight. You seem to do pretty well when Boogie is sitting. Hmm.
16) Bulls (35-39)
Every time we count you out, you come back for more. More punishment. That’s the beauty of Rajon, right? Bruh’s too stubborn to do what’s right, but too ornery to quit.
15 Grizzlies (40-33)
Admit it, Griz, you really want to play “Shirts vs. Skins,” at all times, with you as the Skins. Love your mental toughness, but we both know where this is headed. May 1. The backyard. Rub the ribs and fire up the smoker.
14) Heat (35-38)
We actually hope you get into the playoffs, because you know how to render superior teams unrecognizable. Five more wins ought to do it.
13) Pacers (37-36)
Ladies and gentlemen, these are the Pacers, Indy’s best and a sleep-inducing ad campaign for making the first-round of the playoffs best-of-five. Better yet, best-of-three.
12) Nuggets (35-38)
Ooh, wow and ouch. You lose at home to the Pels, lose your grip on the No. 8 seed and now you must go to Portland with your manhood on the line. And your last five opponents have averaged 115.8 points. Good luck.
11) Trail Blazers (35-38)
Winning 11 of your last 14, this is one serious push you boys are making behind Dame, CJ and The Nurk. You smell like a blend of playoff musk and fir trees. And now the raging Ducks are adding a pinch of inspiration.
10) Thunder (41-31)
Oh, Russ. It’s you against KD and Steph and the world. You need six triple-doubles in the final 10 games to surpass Oscar. We think you will.
9) Bucks (37-36)
We know you want to keep this a secret, but we have to tell: You’re better without Jabari. A lot of it is Khris getting his rhythm/conditioning, but most of it is real defense. You are not fun to play.
8) Jazz (44-29)
You’re closing in on homecourt advantage in the first round, yet you lose four of five. We’re onto you. You see where the Clips are, and you want them.
7) Raptors (44-29)
We figured bringing in PJ and Serge would make you better. It took a while, but it’s starting to show. You now have, at five games, the longest win streak in the East.
6) Cavaliers (47-25)
While Griff was upstairs playing roster roulette, he forgot that not all additions are good additions. He’s seeing the results; 8-9 since the trade deadline. We feel for Coach Ty, who is trying to make the personnel stew palatable.
5) Wizards (45-28)
That win over the Cavs has you smelling yourselves. You should, since LeBron has been your bully. What caught our eye was Johnny Wall’s insistence in resistance. He fought, so everyone fought. Nice.
4) Celtics (48-26)
You’ve won four straight and finally inched into a virtual tie with the Cavs in the East. We’ve always believed in you, but vindication is not quite nigh. For that, you’ll need to heed Coach Brad’s pleas for defense. That means you, too, I.T.
3) Rockets (51-22)
The Bearded Wonder continues to amaze, hoisting only 15 shots while you put 137 points on OKC. You’ve hit 130 11 times, the most by any team since 1992-93. You dare teams to duel. I would, too, with that firepower.
2) Spurs (56-16)
We see you, Kawhi, pulling up next to Russ for a second-place tie in the MVP race, at least from our angle. Congrats on owning, at 20 seasons, the longest active streak of postseason appearances across the four major sports.
1) Warriors (59-14)
You own homecourt advantage should you reach The Finals. You’ve won seven in a row. We’re trying to find someone who is playing poorly, and we’re coming up empty. KD could be back next week. Good luck hiding the grin.