Power Rankings

NBA Power Rankings: Week 22

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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1. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 52–14
The Rockets finally had their 17-game winning streak snapped in Toronto on Friday night. Then, on Sunday, there were forced to play Dallas without presumptive 2017-18 NBA MVP James Harden due to a sore knee. However, Houston was able to beat the Mavs without Harden, and The Beard is expected to return to the lineup on Monday night when Houston hosts San Antonio.

2. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 49–17
The Raptors sent a message to the rest of the league last Friday when they beat Houston at home. The Raps are for real. Toronto is now riding an eight-game win streak of their own and is a franchise-best 32 games above .500. They’ve also won eight games by at least 25 points this season, which is the most such victories in the NBA.

3. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 51–16
Stephen Curry injured his ankle in Thursday’s win over the Spurs and missed Golden State’s next two games. The Dubs lost both contests; however, those defeats can’t be pinned on Kevin Durant. KD averaged 39.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 5.5 treys and 2.5 blocks.

 

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4. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 40–26
The NBA’s longest current win streak belongs to the Blazers, who have won nine consecutive contests. Portland now has a two-game cushion over the four seed in the Western Conference, as they look to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

5. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 46–21
Some concerning quotes from Kyrie Irving over the weekend, regarding his left knee. “I think that will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does," Irving said. "It’s aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I’m taking the necessary time." Kyrie is expected to sit out all three games the Celtics play this week.

6. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 record: 39–28
Imagine hopping into a time machine and trying to convince someone on the day that Paul George was traded for Victor Oladipo, that the Pacers would have a better record than both the Thunder and the Cavaliers with a month left in the regular season. Welp, just 30 days remain in the 2017-18 campaign, and here we are.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 39–29
The Timberwolves were badly in need of a win when they hosted the Warriors on Sunday afternoon. Karl-Anthony Towns put the Wolves on his back and powered Minny to the victory, snapping their three-game losing streak. Towns scored 14 points in the fourth quarter alone and finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds.

 

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8. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 38–28
After an initial jolt following the trade deadline, Cleveland has come back down to earth. The Cavs, who have lost four of their last six games, still have major issues on the defensive end of the floor. However, Clevelanders got some encouraging news on Monday when it was reported that Kevin Love’s broken hand is “healing well” and that Love could return to the lineup in 2-3 weeks.

9. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 38–29
Dating back to January 25th, since John Wall was sidelined by knee surgery, the Wizards have dished out at least 25 assists in a game 16 times. That’s the most 25-dime games in the NBA over that stretch (two more than the Warriors, who rank second).

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 36–29
The Sixers smashed the Nets on Sunday, 120-97. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Philadelphia hadn’t won a road game by 20-or-more points since a 105–80 victory at Charlotte on March 19, 2012. The Sixers’ run of 251 consecutive away games without a 20-point win more than doubled the both longest such streak in franchise history and the second-longest active streak in the NBA.

11. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 37–29
The Spurs lost in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. They are just 2-8 over their last ten games. And, per Elias Sports research, the defeat in OKC was their 21st road loss of the season, which clinched their first losing road record in a season since 1996-97. San Antonio’s incredible 20-season streak of winning road records was the longest in NBA history. However, Spurs fans got some great news over the weekend, as Kawhi Leonard is reportedly on track to return to the Spurs lineup Thursday vs. New Orleans. They’ll need him in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 39–29
Carmelo Anthony has shot below 48 percent from the floor in each of the Thunder’s last 19 games. Per Basketball-Reference, that’s the longest such streak in the NBA this season. Over this current 19-game stretch, Anthony is averaging 13.8 points, while shooting 35.9 percent from the field.

13. Utah Jazz
2017-18 record: 37-30
Utah’s backcourt was flat-out dominant in their win over the Pelicans on Sunday. Ricky Rubio scored 30 points, grabbed ten rebounds, dished out seven assists and knocked down four 3-pointers. Donovan Mitchell tallied 27 points (including 18 straight during the second half), four assists, three rebounds, three treys and one steal

14. New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 record: 38–28
Anthony Davis has broken a few records and posted some epic stat lines this season, but he did something on Sunday he’d never done before. Anthony Davis recorded his first career triple-double. AD scored 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and blocked ten shots. He also chipped in three assists and three steals.

15. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 37-30
In the first three games after Paul Millsap returned to the starting lineup, Jokic averaged just 7.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists, while shooting 31.8 percent from the floor, 14.3 percent from distance, and 63.6 percent from the stripe. There was some slight concern about Jokic finding his offensive rhythm next to Millsap. Yeah, about that… Over the Nuggets three games since then, Jokic is averaging 25.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists, while shooting 73.7 percent from the field, 70.0 percent from 3-point territory, and 93.3 percent from the free-throw line.

16. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 35-31
The Bucks have struggled since the All-Star break, losing six of their last eight. However, they have a chance to bank a few easy wins this week, as they play the Grizzlies, Magic and Hawks.

17. Los Angeles Clippers
2017-18 record: 36-29
The surprisingly consistent Clippers have won four of their last five, but are about to enter a very difficult stretch in their schedule. L.A. plays nine of their next 11 games away from home.

18. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 36-31
Miami is back on track, having won four of their last five games. They’ve also scored at least 100 points in 11 consecutive contests, which is the third-longest streak in franchise history. In Saturday’s blowout victory over the Wizards, eight different Miami players scored at least 10 points despite logging fewer than 30 minutes. According to Elias Sports research, it’s the first time that’s happened since 1991.

19. Los Angeles Lakers
2017-18 record: 30-36
Julius Randle was dominant in the Lakers win over the Cavs on Sunday night. He scored a career-high 36 points (on 14-of-18 shooting) and added 14 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one steal. The four Cavs starters - other than LeBron James - combined for 35 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and one block.

20. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 30-36
The reeling Pistons are just 3-10 over their last 13 games, and the upcoming schedule won’t do them any favors. Detroit embarks on a six-game West Coast road trip beginning Tuesday.

21. Charlotte Hornets
2017-18 record: 29-38
The Hornets were able to snap a five-game losing skid by beating the Suns on Saturday night. Dwight Howard is averaging 26.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks, while shooting 67.5 percent from the floor and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line over the Hornets last three games.

22. Chicago Bulls
2017-18 record: 23-43
The Bulls got reprimanded by the league for tanking too blatantly last week. As a result, coach Fred Hoiberg has started Robin Lopez in each of Chicago’s previous two contests. However, Lopez has played the first 12 minutes of each game, and then remained on the bench for the final three quarters. It’s a weird time in the NBA experience as teams, and the league, try to navigate around the current rules related to attempts at improving lottery positioning.

23. New York Knicks
2017-18 record: 24-43
The bad news: The Knicks are just 1-15 over their last 16 games. (Since the end of January, they’ve racked up the same number of wins as the Philadelphia Eagles).
The good news: The Knicks are just 1-15 over their last 16 games and have now tied the Bulls in the loss column. New York is slowly but surely increasing their chances of sneaking into a top-seven (or better?) lottery pick. They have two huge games coming up on their current homestand. They host the Mavericks on Tuesday and the Bulls next Monday.

24. Brooklyn Nets
2017-18 record: 21-46
The Nets continue to lose, but D'Angelo Russell has shown some flashes of that promising upside Brooklyn was hoping to see this season. Russell has scored 20-plus points in three of his last six games and is averaging 16.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.7 treys over this six-game stretch.

25. Dallas Mavericks
2017-18 record: 21-46
The Rockets were playing without James Harden on Sunday, but Houston’s starting backcourt still outscored Dallas’ starting backcourt by 44 points. Eric Gordon (26 points) and Chris Paul (24) combined for 50, while Dennis Smith (four) and Yogi Ferrell (two) combined for six points.

26. Sacramento Kings
2017-18 record: 21-46
Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) and De'Aaron Fox (back) returned to action on Sunday in Denver. It didn’t matter. The Nuggets demolished the Kings, 130-104.

27. Orlando Magic
2017-18 record: 20-47
The Magic have lost 11 of their last 13, and are again dealing with significant injury issues. Evan Fournier sprained his left MCL Wednesday night in Los Angeles and may miss the rest of the season. In the same game against the Lakers, Aaron Gordon collided with Julius Randle and was experiencing concussion symptoms afterward. Gordon told reporters that he believes it was merely a migraine headache. However, if it is a concussion, it would be his third since April of 2016.

28. Atlanta Hawks
2017-18 record: 20-47
The shorthanded Hawks were already playing without Dennis Schroder (elbow) and Malcolm Delaney (ankle). Then, in Sunday’s loss to the Bulls, Kent Bazemore sprained right knee, and Jaylen Morris injured his left ankle. The Hawks tank is picking up momentum.

29. Phoenix Suns
2017-18 record: 19-49
The Suns have lost 11 of their last 12 games, and now find themselves 30 games under .500. In addition, they were forced to play Friday without Devin Booker (triceps strain), T.J. Warren (back) and Josh Jackson (knee). Booker told reporters over the weekend that he had trouble raising his arm, which is not usually a good thing for a basketball player.

30. Memphis Grizzlies
2017-18 record: 18-48
The Grizzlies remarkable streak has now reached 17 games. Yes, 17 straight losses for Memphis. It’s the third-longest losing streak in franchise history. The only two longer losing skids (23 and 19 games) came back in 1995-96, during the Grizzlies expansion season in Vancouver.

 


Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/power-rankings/nba-power-rankings-week-22-1