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NBA Power Rankings: Celtics back on top as Warriors, Mavericks make huge leaps, Wolves collect statement wins

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1


Celtics
Guess who’s back? The Celtics are No. 1 again, as Kristaps Porzingis went off in a 3-0 week, averaging 30 points in just under 32 minutes per game. He admitted that Boston could play better, but doesn’t think people should overreact because they “haven’t been beating everybody by 30, like we did at the beginning of the season.” We agree, Zinger. 4 41-12
2


Timberwolves
The Wolves could have been at the top of the rankings were it not for an overtime loss to the Bulls to start the week. They dominated road wins over the Bucks and Clippers to reestablish themselves as the No. 1 team in the West, with the offense doing the heavy lifting for a change. Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns led the way, but Minnesota got plenty of contributions from up and down the lineup in an uplifting week. 4 37-16
3


Cavaliers
The NBA is such a strange place sometimes. Of course the Cavs’ nine-game winning streak would come to an end against a Sixers team without Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. No reason for alarm though, as Cleveland still outscored opponents by 14.3 points per 100 possessions in four games this week. 1 35-17
4


Pelicans
It’s a miracle! The Pelicans have won two straight games in which they scored fewer than 100 points — seemingly impossible in the 2024 NBA. Of course, those two wins came after giving up 139 points in a loss to the Lakers, so things tend to even out. Overall it was a strong 3-1 week for the Pelicans, who showed their postseason potential in a road win over the Clippers. 4 32-22
5


Clippers
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, as last week’s No. 1 Clippers lost to the Pelicans and Wolves this week, with an unconvincing home win over the Pistons in between. The offense, which had been practically unstoppable since December, fell on hard times this week as Kawhi Leonard hit an uncharacteristic shooting slump. It was bound to happen, but this could be one of the first tests of the new-look Clippers’ mental makeup. 4 35-17
6


Suns
The Suns were one Steph Curry miracle bomb away from a perfect week, as they continue to play well with all their stars on the floor. The Kevin Durant-Bradley Beal pairing was particularly effective this week, boasting a net rating of plus-15.5 points per 100 possessions in 86 minutes. 4 31-22
7


Mavericks
A hot stretch from the Mavs was bolstered by a couple of big-man acquisitions at the trade deadline in Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington. The rim-running, shot-blocking Gafford is living the dream next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, averaging 17.5 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in his first two games with the team. Dallas has now won five games in a row, with a 35-point pounding of OKC being the crown jewel of the bunch. 8 31-23
8


Bucks
This was a “see where we stand” week for the Bucks and they came out … all right. They lost convincingly to the Suns and Timberwolves, but followed that up with a blowout win over the Hornets and — more importantly — a dominant victory against the Nuggets. Milwaukee fans will key in on the fact that the defense held two straight opponents under 100 points. We’ll see how long that can last. 5 35-19
9


Thunder
It’s not exactly panic time for OKC, but they’re 4-4 over their last eight games, including a loss to Detroit and a narrow double-overtime win over the Raptors. The defense has slipped considerably over that stretch, allowing 117 points per 100 possessions compared to their stellar season average of 112. 6 36-17
10


Nuggets
Consecutive non-competitive road losses to the Kings and Bucks could sound some alarm bells around Denver, but there’s likely not much reason for panic. The offense mustered only 106 points per 100 possessions in the 1-2 week, mostly due to an ineffective second unit. When Nikola Jokic was on the floor, the Nuggets outscored opponents by over 16 points per 100 possessions in the three games. 6 36-18
11


Knicks
Injuries to Julius Randle and OG Anunoby — not to mention Mitchell Robinson and, now, Isaiah Hartenstein — seem to have caught up to the Knicks, who went 1-3 this week, including a controversial loss to the Rockets on Monday in which the officials later admitted they got the call wrong. Deadline acquisitions Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic were thrown right into the fire, combining to play nearly 50 minutes per game. Meanwhile Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo are carrying the offense, combining to average over 57 points per game this week. 4 33-21
12


Kings
It was a rollercoaster week for the Kings, who were inexplicably blown off their home court by Detroit before bouncing back to beat the Nuggets by 29 two nights later, then lost in OKC on Super Bowl Sunday. Malik Monk is on one of his heaters, averaging 24 points and six assists in fewer than 30 minutes per game this week to bolster his Sixth Man of the Year case. 3 30-22
13


Lakers
The Lakers didn’t make a move at the trade deadline, expressing confidence that their current roster can win a title. Hours after the deadline passed, they received a reminder of just how far away they are in a home loss to Denver. They finished the week on a high note, dropping 139 points in a win over New Orleans. 2 28-26
14


Warriors
The Warriors stayed idle at the trade deadline, and can you blame them? They went 4-0 this week to make it seven wins in their last eight games as Steve Kerr lauds this version of the team as their paragon. The key has been Draymond Green at center, which has unlocked the Jonathan Kuminga-Andrew Wiggins frontcourt that has taken Golden State’s defense from zero to hero. Over the last eight games, the starting lineup of those three, plus Steph Curry and Klay Thompson has outscored opponents by nearly 22 points per 100 possessions. Inserting rookie Brandin Podziemski for Thompson has been even more effective. 5 26-25
15


Heat
The Heat have won four of their last six, but they’re going to be without Jimmy Butler through the All-Star break while he deals with a death in the family, and also without Terry Rozier as he recovers from a knee injury. The weight will fall on the shoulders of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, who combined to average 41 points per game this week. 1 28-25
16


76ers
The Sixers may be figuring out how to win without Joel Embiid, beating the Wizards and Cavs in their last two games. Deadline acquisition Buddy Hield has helped tremendously, averaging a team-high 22.3 points and 6.7 assists in three games with Philadelphia on 45% 3-point shooting. 2 32-21
17


Magic
It was a 2-1 week for the Magic, who were led by 28 points, six rebounds and five assists per game from Franz Wagner on 39% 3-point shooting. Orlando has moved into the No. 6 seed, an important spot as it avoids the Play-In Tournament. 5 29-24
18


Pacers
The up-and-down week for the Pacers mirrored the play of floor leader Tyrese Haliburton. The All-Star averaged 20 points on 52% shooting in the two wins, and nine points on 32% shooting in the two losses. It looks like his minutes allotment is getting back up to where it should be after his hamstring injury. 1 30-25
19


Bulls
Here … come … the … Bulls? A 3-1 week has Chicago firmly in the No. 9 spot out East, as the offense exploded to the tune of 122 points per 100 possessions in the four games. Fresh off a non-move at the trade deadline, DeMar DeRozan averaged 30 points for the week on 52/40/90 shooting splits. 3 26-28
20


Jazz
After starting off the week with a solid win over OKC, the Jazz traded three rotation players before the deadline and lost their next two games. Lauri Markkanen averaged 25 points and seven rebounds for the week on pure 56/50/100 shooting splits, but the defense simply wasn’t there, allowing 129 points each to the Suns and the Warriors. — 26-28
21


Hawks
After all the rumors, Dejounte Murray is still a Hawk, and he averaged 25.5 points in the two games he played this week. Meanwhile, Trae Young came back down to Earth, shooting 36% from the field and 27% from 3-point range in a 2-2 week. Onyeka Okongwu is flexing his starting center chops with Clint Capela out, averaging 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and two blocks over the four games. 3 24-30
22


Rockets
The Rockets salvaged a winless week with a controversial victory over the Knicks on Monday. It’s been a mad scramble with Fred VanVleet out, as Dillon Brooks, Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. have all taken a stab at lead ball-handler duties. A silver lining has been an increased run for rookie Amen Thompson, who averaged 10 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this week on 63% shooting (though he missed all three of his 3-point attempts). 1 24-29
23


Nets
Brooklyn went 1-2 this week, but Ben Simmons is slowly making his way back into game shape. He averaged over 20 minutes in the three games, putting up nine points, five assists and four rebounds per contest. — 21-31
24


Raptors
The Raptors were looking solid this week until a startling no-show against the Spurs at home on Monday. Scottie Barnes struggled, shooting just 37% from the field for the week, while deadline acquisition Kelly Olynyk did his native Canada proud with averages of 14 points, 5.5 rebounds and three steals in his first two games as a Raptor. 1 19-35
25


Pistons
How bout those Pistons? Road wins over the Kings and Blazers were followed up by a competitive loss to the Clippers on Saturday. The biggest difference? Detroit scored over 119 points per possessions in the three games, well above their season average of 111.5. 5 8-44
26


Hornets
The Hornets predictably sold off some pieces at the deadline, and are (surprisingly) 2-0 with their new players. Tre Mann was thrust right into the starting point guard role after coming over from OKC, averaging 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in his two games so far. Grant Williams has also made an immediate impact, putting up 18 points and six boards per game on 42% 3-point shooting. 2 12-41
27


Spurs
Like most of the Spurs’ season, there’s no reason to talk about wins and losses when we can talk about Victor freaking Wembanyama. The phenom’s latest accomplishment was becoming the first rookie since 1990 to put up a triple-double with blocks. He tallied 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists in Monday’s win over the Raptors. My, my, my. 1 11-43
28


Trail Blazers
Only two games this week for the Blazers, which were both losses to the Pistons and Pelicans. Jerami Grant — who was not traded prior to the deadline — put up a career-high 49 points in the overtime loss to Detroit. 4 15-37
29


Wizards
The rebuilding Wizards were surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline, only sending out Daniel Gafford to open up more minutes for Marvin Bagley III (kidding … sort of). The players who weren’t traded did more of what they’ve been doing all year — lose. It was an an 0-4 week as Jordan Poole’s nightmarish season continued, averaging 8.3 points in the four games on ghastly 27/25/60 shooting splits. — 9-44
30


Grizzlies
Putting the ball in the basket has been the main issue for the injury-plagued Grizzlies, losing all four games this week while averaging fewer than 109 points per 100 possessions. Only four players — Vince Williams Jr., Santi Aldama, John Konchar and Trey Jemison — played in all four games this week, which tells you everything you need to know about the state of Memphis professional basketball. 3 18-36

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