NBA Power Rankings: Few first-half surprises in the league

NBA Power Rankings: Few first-half surprises in the league

BOSTON -- The midway point of the season is upon us with very few surprises at the top.

The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the East a year ago. With most of their core guys back, they remain at the top. And Giannis Antetokounmpo remains a strong contender to repeat as league MVP.

Chances are good that the road to the NBA Finals in the Western Conference will go through Los Angeles with both the Lakers and the Clippers among the top teams.

While those are the front-runners, there’s a bunch of teams bringing up the rear.

In addition to the usual cellar-dwellers, you can add the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors to the mix of bad teams this season.

But the second half of the season will be even more exciting with key players such as Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson returning to action to help their respective teams make a strong playoff push.

The first half of the season was good on many fronts, with the second half shaping up to be even stronger.

Click here for A. Sherrod Blakely's full NBA power rankings

NBA Power Rankings: Celtics hit a speed bump after losing streak

NBA Power Rankings: Celtics hit a speed bump after losing streak

BOSTON — When it comes to power rankings, the best teams are able to manage runs of success as well as stretches of not-so-great play. 

Aside from the Milwaukee Bucks, just about every team in the NBA has strung together at least three or more consecutive losses, like the Celtics did last week.

And with that trio of defeats, the Celtics have taken a slight step back in the standings behind the Miami Heat, who now have a slim ½-game lead over them for the No. 2 spot in the East. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Remember, it was only a week ago that the “What’s wrong with the Lakers” alarm was sounded when they lost four in a row, only for LeBron James and company to bounce back with wins in their last eight games. Indeed, the road to NBA success is a bumpy excursion that’s nearing the halfway point of its conclusion.

And with each day drawing us all closer to its end, it also provides some much-needed clarity as to who will be among the last teams standing when all is said and done. 

Here are the latest NBC Sports Boston Power Rankings full of teams looking to charge ahead and finish out the season with a strong surge in the second half of the season, whether that’s making a playoff push or better positioning themselves for a shot at the top overall pick in next June’s NBA draft. 

(Games played through Jan. 12)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Bulls-Celtics, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

NBA Power Rankings: Who starts 2020 at the top of the heap?

NBA Power Rankings: Who starts 2020 at the top of the heap?

A new decade is officially upon us, but this NBA season is looking a lot like those of the past 10 years. 

LeBron James is playing for one of the league’s best teams. James Harden is racking up video game-like numbers and his team is still coming up short of being elite. 

There’s an International sensation taking the world by storm in Dallas. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

That consistency exists in our Power Rankings as well, with very little movement near the front of the pack. But hey, it’s a new year and a new decade where stars can come from anywhere in the NBA … like Milwaukee.

With that said, here are NBC Sports Boston’s latest NBA Power Rankings.

Click here for the gallery.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Hawks, which tips off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Tommy have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.