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NBA Power Rankings: Leonard, Spurs go toe-to-toe with Warriors

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NBA Power Rankings: Leonard, Spurs go toe-to-toe with Warriors

The San Antonio Spurs made a statement on Saturday.

In their 87-79 victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors, they used a steady dose of small ball, defensive prowess and Kawhi Leonard at his very best.

The Spurs' franchise player went for 18 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, making plays on both ends of the floor. The Warriors are the team to beat until they're knocked off, but this week Leonard has the Spurs on top after an impressive home victory.

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (2) 59-10 Kawhi Leonard was phenomenal in Saturday's win over the Warriors. If the Spurs are going to knock off the defending champs, it'll be because of No. 2.
(1) 62-7 Looking for a silver lining from Saturday's loss? Stephen Curry went 1-for-12 from deep, the Dubs shot 38% and still had a chance to win in San Antonio down the stretch.
(3) 49-20 49 wins, the top spot in the East and the fourth best point differential in the NBA. And yet, so many issues under Tyronn Lue. They're just a game up on Toronto now.
4 (4) 48-21 Not quite ready to dub them the East's best team, but they're getting closer. Kyle Lowry won Eastern Conference Player of the Week, averaging 27.2 points and 6.8 assists as the Raptors went 4-1.
5 (5) 48-22 Four straight victories, three against playoff teams (and one against the Sixers) and a healthy Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant? San Antonio and Golden State get today's headline, but OKC is right there.
6 (7) 41-29 Five straight W's have them ahead of the pack in the race for the No. 3 seed. Still, arguably the East's hottest team has work to do, with two games left against both Cleveland and Toronto and one against Boston.
7 (8) 40-29 Talk about a statement maker. Miami drubbed LeBron James and the Cavaliers by 21 on Sunday, with five players scoring 16 or more points. Cleveland doesn't want any part of this team in May.
8 (6) 43-26 Losers in six of nine, they can all but kiss goodbye catching Oklahoma City for the No. 3 seed. That means a date with Golden State in Round 2, presuming the Clips advance that far. Paging Blake Griffin.
9 (10) 39-30 Another step forward for the Hornets, who earn an impressive road victory against Miami and are now just 1.5 games behind Atlanta for the No. 3 seed in the East. They remain red-hot.
10 (9) 40-30 This recent skid has dropped Brad Stevens' group all the way down to No. 5 in the East. With Toronto at home and a West Coast trip upcoming, things aren't getting any easier, plus Jae Crowder (ankle) remains out.
11 (11) 40-30 In a season ravaged with injury it was pretty awesome to see Zach Randolph log his first career triple-double in an impressive win over the Clippers. Z-Bo's about all that's holding Memphis together right now.
12 (13) 36-33 They go 1-2 at home against Boston (W), Toronto (L) and Oklahoma City (L). But now the schedule opens up, and they should distance themselves from Detroit and Chicago. Thirteen of their final 16 games are against teams at or below .500.
13 (15) 35-35 Wednesday's tilt against Utah will be the only game until Apr. 7 against an opponent below .500. Put another way? They need that one and then hope for a .500 mark in that six-game stretch.
14 (12) 36-35 Playing 11 of 13 on the road was daunting, and they've now lost four of their last six against stellar competition. They should be playoff-bound still, but a win over Dallas on Wednesday would ease some nerves in Portland.
15 (16) 35-33 Here's where the Bulls will make or break their playoff chances. They're 2-0 to start a six-game stretch against teams all below .500. After that, the schedule gets real tough to finish the year.
16 (14) 36-34 If Detroit is going to make a run at the No. 8 seed, Reggie Jackson needs to be more efficient. He's shooting just 41 percent from the field in March, and just 25.5 percent from deep.
17 (21) 34-35 It'll be tough for them to catch the Pistons or Bulls for the No. 8 seed (basketball-reference has them at 11.7% playoff odds) but reeling off four straight wins, including W's over both those teams, was a good start.
18 (19) 35-35 Dirk Nowitzki turned the clock back and dropped a 40-point afternoon on the Blazers in an OT victory. It was huge for playoff positioning, and the two teams will meet again Wednesday in Oregon.
19 (17) 34-36 They've now won five of six (and importantly won both games Gordon Hayward sat out, including over Cleveland) and sit a game back of the Rockets and Mavericks, plus 1.5 back of the Blazers.
20 (18) 30-40 Jabari Parker has increased his scoring in each month this season. Better than that, post-ACL surgery? He's averaged 37.3 and 36.2 minutes the last two months, respectively. He's back.
21 (24) 27-42 The good with the bad with DeMarcus Cousins. He bumped a Madison Square Garden security guard (the bad) in the midst of going for 24 points and 20 rebounds in a road win over the Knicks (good).
22 (20) 29-41 A rough start to the road trip, losing at Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. But seven players scored in double figures in an impressive victory over the Hornets. D.J. Augustin led the way off the bench with 24, continuing his hot stretch.
23 (22) 29-40 Victor Oladipo appears intent on finishing out his 2015-16 campaign strong, averaging 22.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last 11 games. His 45-point outing against the Cavs was a career-high.
24 (23) 26-43 Anthony Davis was shut down for the year, and he revealed Monday that he's been playing with a torn labrum for three years. Years. Davis will have missed 68 games the first four seasons of his NBA career. Not great.
25 (25) 22-47 When Karl-Anthony Towns is named NBA Rookie of the Year, it'll mark the first time since 1974 the same team won back-to-back ROYs (Andrew Wiggins, 2015). The Buffalo Braces did it with Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio.
26 (26) 28-43 He's had a remarkable rookie season, but Kristaps Porzingis appears to have hit a wall: 12.9 points, 33.7% FG in 27.3 minutes. The Knicks have lost eight of 11, which hasn't helped.
27 (27) 19-50 Forget it was at home against the Sixers. Bojan Bogdanovic's 44-point effort was pretty remarkable considering he only made four 3-pointers. He followed it up with 26 against the Bulls. Signs of hope for the future for the Nets.
28 (29) 19-50 Brandon Knight's return has helped the Suns go 2-3, far better than the 4-17 record they touted with him out. Then again, that could hurt them when it comes time to pick ping-pong balls.
29 (28) 14-55 A sneaky "good" loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. They're now five games up on the Suns and Nets for the second worst record in the NBA. They appear closer to keeping that first round pick.
30 (30) 9-61 Hollis Thompson has given the Sixers a bright spot on the wing with Robert Covington out, averaging 15.8 points and 2.5 triples in his last four games. He's someone who could stick looking to their future.

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

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USA TODAY

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

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USA TODAY

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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