Weeks Eighteen & Ninteen NBA Power Ratings
(Dated: March 2 - March 16, 2009)
*Records as of Sunday, March 1, 2009
1. Los Angeles Lakers (48-11) - The Lakers remain at the top of rankings with their 48-11 overall mark. Los Angeles was defeated by Denver on Friday night 90-79. Those 79 points was the lowest scoring output for the Lakers in 2009. The Lakers continue to hold a large lead over the Suns in the Pacific Division, and also a comfortable lead over San Antonio in the Western Conference. Kobe Bryant’s scoring average as creped up to close to 28 points per game, and Pau Gasol is closing in on 10 rebounds per game, with 9.4. The Lakers will play at Phoenix on Sunday, before hosting both Memphis and Minnesota for games at the Staples Center, before heading back onto the road for games at Portland, Houston and San Antonio.
2. Boston Celtics (47-13) - At 47-13, and the defending champions the Boston Celtics made a move to improve the team. The Celtics signed Stephon Marbury to play the role as back up point guard to Rajon Rondo. Marbury scored six points in a 12-0 run to knock off Indiana on Friday night. The Celtics continue to blast the rest of the Atlantic Division with their 17 game lead over Philadelphia and 20 over New Jersey. The Celtics remain at #2, just behind Los Angeles, and just ahead of both Cleveland and Orlando. Boston will remain without star Kevin Garnett until mid March at the earliest. Garnett has been sidelined with a right knee strain. Paul Pierce leads the team scoring 20.0 points per game, while Rajon Rondo is dishing out 8.5 assists per game. Boston will host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, and then play at New Jersey on Wednesday. Boston will then come back home to play a tough stretch with Cleveland and Orlando coming in on March 8th and 10th, before heading to Miami on March 11th.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (45-12) - The Cleveland Cavaliers quickly erased any memories they had of the blowout defeat they took Thursday night in Houston. Cleveland went to San Antonio the next night and knocked off the Spurs 97-86 behind LeBron James’ 30 points and 14 rebounds. On the season, LBJ is scoring 28.4 points, grabbing 7.4 rebounds, and passing for 7 assists per game. Cleveland remains # 3; just behind the Lakers and Celtics, but also barely ahead of Orlando. Ben Wallace will miss 4-6 weeks for Cleveland with a fractured right fibula. The Cavs hope to get Wallace back just after Easter. Cleveland will continue their four game road trip on Sunday, as they play at Atlanta, and finish the trip Monday at Miami. The Cavs will play one quick home game against the Bucks, before the match up at Boston on Friday night.
4. Orlando Magic (43-16) - The Magic took an eight point loss Friday night at home to the Detroit Pistons, but quickly bounced back Saturday with a 106-100 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic and their 43-16 mark remain as the #4 ranked team. The Magic are getting 21.1 points and 14.2 rebounds per game from Superman Dwight Howard. Howard is also shooting a robust 57.2% from the field. The Magic continue to enjoy a hefty lead over Atlanta and Miami with 9.5 and 11.5 game leads respectively. Orlando will play two straight games at home on Tuesday and Friday as the Suns and Nets come to town. After the brief home stand, the Magic will travel to Boston and Detroit for back-to-back games. On Wednesday March 11th the Celtics will host the Chicago Bulls.
5. Denver Nuggets (39-20) - The Denver Nuggets have jumped the San Antonio Spurs and have moved up from #6 to #5. The Nuggets have won two straight games, including an eleven point home win over the Lakers on Friday night. Chauncey Billups leads Denver in scoring with 18.5 points per game, while Nene Hilario is leading in rebounds with nearly 8 per game. Billups also leads the team in assists per game, free throw percentage, and 3-point percentage. The Nuggets have a busy next two weeks, as they will play eight games in 14 days. The Nuggets will take on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, and Detroit Pistons on Tuesday both on the road. Denver will then play back to back nights hosting the Portland Trailblazers and then going to Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz. A road game at Sacramento on March 8th, will lead into four straight home games with Houston, Oklahoma City, Clippers and Nets.
6. San Antonio Spurs (39-18) - The Spurs fall one position from #5 to #6, with the Denver Nuggets bypassing them. San Antonio is 39-18, and in first place in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference. The Spurs lead Houston by 3 games and New Orleans and Dallas by 4 and 4.5 respectively. Tim Duncan has missed this last three games with right quadriceps tendinitis, and will be listed as day-to-day. Duncan is the Spurs leading scorer at 20.7 points and leading rebounder at 10.7 per game. San Antonio will play their next three games on the road, starting on Sunday at Portland, and then at the Clippers and Mavericks, before coming back home for four straight; Washington, Phoenix, Charlotte, Los Angeles Lakers.
7. Houston Rockets (37-22) - The Rockets come in at #7, two up from their position last week at #9. Houston is 37-22, good enough for fourth overall in the Western Conference, and second in the Southwest Division. The Rockets trail San Antonio by three games for the top spot. Yao Ming and his 19.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game lead Houston. Ming is also shooting 54.7% from the field. The Rockets are without Tracy McGrady for the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. Houston’s six game winning streak was halted Saturday night by the Chicago Bulls, in a 105-102 defeat. The Rockets will take on the Timberwolves on the road Sunday evening, followed by a home game with Toronto, road game at Utah, followed by home games with Phoenix and Memphis next weekend.
8. Portland Trailblazers (36-22) - The Portland Trailblazers fall one position from #7 to #8. The Trailblazers trail Denver by 2.5 games in the Northwest Division, just ½ game ahead of Utah for second place. Overall, in the Western Conference, Portland sits at fifth place and would start the playoffs on the road at Houston, if the playoffs started today. Brandon Roy leads the team in points and assists, with 22.6 points per game, and 5.2 assists per game. Joel Przybilla is leading the team in rebounding at 8.1 per game. Portland snapped their two game losing streak on Friday night with a 20 point win at Minnesota. The Trailblazers will play their next two games at home, as they host San Antonio on Sunday and the Pacers on Wednesday. Portland will then play at Denver on March 5th, followed by two more home games with Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers.
9. New Orleans Hornets (35-22) - The New Orleans Hornets come in at #9, one spot up from their # 10 last week. The Hornets have won three straight games, and made their way to just four games back of San Antonio in the Southwest Division. Overall, the Hornets are tied with Utah for the sixth position overall in the Western Conference. The Hornets have struggled this season on the road, with just a 14-13 mark. Chris Paul leads the Hornets in scoring, assists, field goal percentage and steals. Paul is scoring 21.5 points per game, and dishing out 11 assists per game. He is also shooting nearly 50% from the field. New Orleans will play two straight games on the road this week, starting Sunday at New Jersey, and then moving to Philadelphia on Monday. After the brief road trip the Hornets will come home to host Dallas and Oklahoma City, before heading back on the road starting in Atlanta on March 9th.
10. Utah Jazz (36-23) - The Utah Jazz are the hottest team in the National Basketball Association, winners of seven straight games. The Jazz with that hot streak have moved into the top ten, from #12 last week. Utah is 26-6 at home, but just 10-17 when playing on the road. The Jazz, despite the seven straight wins are still in third place in the Northwest Division, trailing Denver by three games, and the Trailblazers by just 0.5 game. Utah will look to extend their winning streak against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. After that, Houston and Denver will come to Salt Lake City. Starting March 8th, the Jazz will play a five game road trip with games in Toronto, Indiana, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando.
11. Dallas Mavericks (35-23) - The Dallas Mavericks have fallen to fourth place in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, and eighth overall in the Western Conference. They have also dropped three spots from #8 to #11 in the power rankings. Dallas, despite dropping is 6-4 in their last ten games, and has won their last two games; Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. Dirk Nowitzski is scoring 25.2 points per game and ripping down 8.3 rebounds per game for Dallas. He is also shooting 47.2% from the field and 90.4% from the free throw line. Dallas will host Toronto on Sunday, then head to Oklahoma City on Monday. A home game with San Antonio on Wednesday, then play at New Orleans on Thursday and at home with Washington on Saturday will make for an extremely busy week for the Mavericks.
12. Phoenix Suns (33-25) - The Phoenix Suns at #14 would be on the outside looking in, if the playoffs were to start today. The Suns at 32-25 trail Dallas by two full games for the final spot. The Suns are second in the Pacific Division, trailing the Lakers by 14.5 games. Phoenix is 6-4 in their last ten games, coming off a 20 point win over Toronto in which Shaquille O’Neal scored 45 points. The Suns will take on the Lakers on Sunday before taking the road for a four game road trip at Orlando, Miami, Houston and San Antonio. After the road trip, the Suns will play three straight home games with Dallas, Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Top scorer A’mare Stoudemire continues to be out with an eye injury. Stoudemire is scoring 21.4 points per game.
13. Atlanta Hawks (33-25) - The Atlanta Hawks drop from #11 to #13, after going just 5-5 in their last ten games. Currently, the Hawks are fourth in the Eastern Conference standings just two games ahead of Miami. If the playoffs started today the Hawks would host the Heat in the first round. Atlanta trails Orlando by 9.5 games in the Southeast Division. The Hawks snapped their three game losing streak on Friday with a 91-83 win over Miami. Joe Johnson leads Atlanta in scoring with 21.4 points per game, and also assists with just over 6 per game. The Hawks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, before heading on the road for three straight games at Washington, New York and Charlotte. After the road trip the Hawks will host Detroit on March 7th.
14. Miami Heat (31-27) - Miami moves up one position from #14 to #13. Dwyane Wade and his 29 points and 7.5 assists per game lead Miami. Udonis Haslem leads the team in rebounding and field goal percentage at 8.4 and 51.4%. The Heat are fifth in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Hawks by two full games. Miami will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday and Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, before traveling to Toronto and Cleveland, and then coming back home to host the Chicago Bulls on March 9th.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (29-29) - Philadelphia had finally climbed above .500, but then dropped back to the mark with a six-point loss at home to Orlando on Saturday. The 76ers are in second place in the Atlantic Division, but trail Boston by 17 full games. Philadelphia sits at sixth overall in the Eastern Conference, and would start the postseason on the road at Orlando. Philadelphia trails Miami for the fifth position, by just two games. The 76ers are led in scoring by Andre Iguodala and his 17.8 points per game. Philadelphia will host New Orleans on Monday, and then take several days off before traveling to Memphis and Oklahoma City on March 7th and 8th. After that, Philadelphia will play three straight home games with Toronto, Chicago and Miami. The 76ers moved up one position from #16 to # 15.
16. Detroit Pistons (28-29) - The Pistons are 2-8 in their last ten games, but may have righted the ship somewhat with their eight point win at Orlando on Friday night. The road doesn’t get any easier for Detroit, as they travel to Boston on Sunday and host Denver on Tuesday. Following those games, the Pistons host Golden State, travel to Atlanta and then play Orlando again, this time at home. The Pistons fall one more spot from #15 to # 16. Detroit still sits in second place in the Central Division, leading Milwaukee by 1.5 games, and also for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. Allen Iverson leads the team in scoring with 18 points per game, but has missed the last few games with back stiffness.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (29-33) - The Milwaukee Bucks are holding onto the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. If the playoffs started today, Milwaukee would play at Boston in a best of seven series, as they lead the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets by one game for the final spot. The Bucks remain at #17, the same position they held last week. Milwaukee is scoring 99.7 points per game, and also allowing 99.7. Richard Jefferson leads the team in scoring with 18.3 points per game, while Charlie Villanueva leads in rebounding at 6.6 per game. The Bucks are coming off a 109-93 win over Washington that snapped a brief two game losing streak. Milwaukee will host New Jersey on Tuesday, followed by games at Cleveland and Chicago. The Bucks will then host Golden State on March 7th and the Knicks on March 10th.
18. New Jersey Nets (26-32) - The Nets remain at #18 with their 26-32 overall record. The Nets are tied with Chicago, one game back of the Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. New Jersey has won their last two games; wins over Philadelphia and Chicago. Devin Harris and his 22.3 points per game lead the Nets. Harris scored 42 points in the 111-99 win over the Bulls, which followed his half court buzzer beater to lead the Nets over Philadelphia. The Nets will host New Orleans on Sunday, followed by a road game at Milwaukee on Tuesday. A home game with Boston, road game at Orlando and home game with New York will round out the week of play for New Jersey.
19. Chicago Bulls (27-33) - The Chicago Bulls remain at #19, with their 26-33 mark. The Bulls are coming off a 105-102 win over Houston, using 22 points from rookie Derrick Rose. The Bulls got bad news in that game as Luol Deng went down with a stress fracture in his right tibia. Deng could be out the remainder of the season. Ben Gordon leads Chicago in scoring with 20.5, while Joakim Noah leads the team in rebounding at 7 per game. The Bulls will play at Charlotte on Tuesday, and then host Golden State and Milwaukee, before heading back on the road with trips at Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia.
20. New York Knicks (24-35) - The Knicks are running out of time to make a charge at a playoff position. Losers of three straight games, the Knicks have fallen to 22.5 games back in the Atlantic, and also 3.5 back of Milwaukee for the eighth playoff position. New York stays at #20, despite their 3-7 record in their last ten games. The Knicks are 7-21 when playing on the road this season. New York is led in scoring by Nate Robinson and his 17.6 points per game, and rebounding by David Lee at 11.9 per game. The Knicks will host Atlanta and Charlotte for two straight, before heading on the road at New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland.
21. Charlotte Bobcats (25-35) - The Charlotte Bobcats are slowly but surely trying to make their way into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Winners of three straight games, Charlotte has climbed to within three games of the final playoff position. The Bobcats are 25-35 overall, 18.5 games back of the Magic in the Southeast Division. Charlotte remains at #21 overall. The Bobcats are led in scoring and rebounding by Emeka Okafor with 14.1 and 10.7 per game. The Bobcats will host the Bulls and Hawks this week, before playing at New York and San Antonio, before coming back to host the Rockets on Friday March 13th.
22. Indiana Pacers (25-36) - The Indiana Pacers are in fifth place in the Central Division, and 12th overall in the Eastern Conference with their 25-36 record. The Pacers are 5-5 in their last ten games this season. Indiana’s major problem has been playing on the road, as they are 7-25 in road games. The Pacers remain at #22, right behind Charlotte, and just ahead of Toronto. The Pacers are led in scoring by Danny Granger with 25 per game. Granger appears to be out for the remainder of the season with a torn tendon in his right foot. Mike Dunleavy is now also missing action, and possibly for the season with a right knee injury. The Pacers will host Denver on Sunday, and then play three straight games on the road; at Sacramento, Portland and Los Angeles (Clippers).
23. Toronto Raptors (23-37) - At 23-37, the Toronto Raptors sit five games back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff position. Toronto has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA, as preseason predictions had them finishing as high as #5 in the conference. The Raptors remain #23, ahead of Golden State and Minnesota, but trailing Indiana. The Raptors are coming off a 133-113 loss at Phoenix, in which snapped their two game winning streak. Toronto will play two straight road games, starting Sunday at Dallas, and finishing Tuesday at Houston. The Raptors will then come back home and host Miami on March 6th and Utah on March 8th.
24. Golden State Warriors (20-38) - The Golden State Warriors begin the list of seven teams that appear to have no shot at a playoff position. With 24 games remaining, the Warriors trail Dallas by 15 games for the eighth and final spot. Golden State sits in third lace in the Pacific Division, 27.5 games back of the Lakers. Golden State remains at #24, despite losing two straight games; Clippers and Bobcats. Stephen Jackson leads the Warriors in scoring, putting up 21.1 points per game, while Andris Biedrins leads in rebounding with 11.6 and field goal percentage at 56.9%. The Warriors will host the Utah Jazz on Sunday, and then play four straight road games; at Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-40) - At 18-40, the Timberwolves are 17 games behind for the final playoff position. The Timberwolves remain #25 overall in the power rankings. The Timberwolves have lost five straight games, and are just 1-9 in their last ten games. Al Jefferson leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 23.1 and 11 per game, but will miss the rest of the season with a torn right ACL. Minnesota will host Houston on Sunday, and Golden State on Tuesday, before traveling to the Lakers and Trailblazers later in the week.
26. Memphis Grizzles (15-42) - With 25 games left in the Grizzles season, they trail Dallas by 20 games. It appears Memphis will be playing the final two months of the season with very little to play for. The Grizzles remain at #26 overall, barely sliding ahead of the Clippers and Wizards. Memphis has lost seven straight games, and are just 2-8 in there last ten games. That losing streak is the longest current losing streak in the NBA. The Grizzles are in last place in the loaded Southwest Division, trailing San Antonio by 24.5 games. Memphis is led in scoring by rookie O.J. Mayo. Mayo is scoring 19.2 points per game, and also shooting 87.7% from the free throw line. Memphis will play four of their next five games on the road, starting Tuesday at the Lakers, then Clippers- before coming home to host Philadelphia, before heading back on the road at Houston and Minnesota.
27. Los Angeles Clippers (15-45) - The Clippers have just over 20 games remaining in the 2008-2009 season, a season that was an extreme disappointment. In those final 20 games, the Clippers will be battling with a few other teams for the worst record in the NBA, and possibly a number one draft choice. The Clippers did move up one spot from #28 to #27, despite only winning four of their last ten. The Clippers trail Dallas by 21 games for the final playoff position in the Western Conference. Los Angeles trails their city rival the Lakers by 33.5 games in the Pacific Division. The Clippers are led in scoring by Al Thornton and his 16.8 points per game. The Clippers will play four straight home games this week; San Antonio, Memphis, Indiana and Cleveland.
28. Washington Wizards (14-45) - The Washington Wizards have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, at 14-45. They are 13.5 games behind Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Wizards are 0-12 when playing against divisional foes this season, and 4-24 when playing on the road. Washington is led in scoring by Antawn Jamison and his 21.5 points per game. Washington is coming off a 109-93 loss on the road Sunday at Milwaukee. Washington will host Atlanta on Monday before playing four straight road games; at Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Dallas and Minnesota.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (14-45) - At 14-45, the Thunder are 21.5 games behind the Mavericks for that eighth and final spot. The Thunder moved down two positions in the power rankings from #27 to #29, winning just three of their last ten games. The Thunder are led in scoring by second year player Kevin Durant, who is scoring 26 points per game on 48.7% shooting. The Thunder are coming off a 99-92 win on the road at Memphis Saturday night. Oklahoma City will host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, in rematch of Friday’s 110-108 loss on the road. After Dallas leaves town the Washington Wizards come to town for a March 4th battle. Oklahoma City will then travel to New Orleans on March 7th and host Philadelphia on March 8th.
30. Sacramento Kings (13-48) - The Kings come in as the worst team in the National Basketball Association. Their 13-48 record makes them mathematically eliminated from any playoff chances. The Kings are two games behind Oklahoma City for the worst record, in which would give them the best chance for the #1 draft pick in the 2009 draft. The Kings are led in scoring by Beno Udrih, with 10.9 per game. The Kings are coming off a 102-89 loss at Utah on Saturday, which came one night after an eight point home win over the Clippers. The Kings will play four straight home games this week, starting Tuesday with Indiana, and then seeing Denver, Oklahoma City and Cleveland come to town.