Here’s a look at the Saving the Skyhook Power Rankings for the week:
1. Chicago Bulls
|Last Week:||Wizards (W), Nets (W), Pacers (L)|
The Bulls continue to come on strong, led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose (24.9 PPG, 7.8 APG on the season). The Bulls have held their opponents under 85 points seven times in the month of march and have won eight of their last ten.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
|Last Week:||Magic (W), Wolves (W), Blazers (W)|
The Lakers are currently rolling on a four game winning streak and heading into a week of winnable games. While the Lakers are still 6.5 games out of the 1 seed, it appears that their annual tradition of waking up in March is on schedule.
3. Miami Heat
|Last Week:||Spurs (W), Thunder (L), Hawks (W), Nuggets (W)|
Last week’s loss to the Thunder once again exposed potential weak spots in the Heat game. Still, it’s hard to argue with a team that looks to be back on track, having won five of their last six (three of whom feature margin of victories greater than 20 points).
4. San Antonio Spurs
|Last Week:||Heat (L), Mavs (W), Bobcats (W)|
The Spurs took a bit of a hit after a crushing loss to the Heat this week. Still, this team owns a 6.5 game lead on the Lakers for the number one seed and are cruising along to earning home court advantage through the playoffs (and the Finals).
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
|Last Week:||Wiz (W), Heat (W), Bobcats (W), Raptors (L)|
The big test of their last week was the Miami Heat, and they met the challenge. The addition of Kendrick Perkins looks to have had an immediate and positive affect, as Perk looks to be mentoring the younger guys on how to play hard nosed, Celtic defense. The Thunder continue to be the Western Conference wild card team heading into the Playoffs.
6. Boston Celtics
|Last Week:||Nets (L), Pacers (W), Rockets (L), Hornets (W)|
It’s not just that they lost to the Nets, its that they looked really bad doing so. There are rumors a’float that Rajon Rondo may be in a bit of a slump, and if true, it’s affecting the entire offense. The Celtics will be fine, I’m sure, but something seems to be bothering them at the moment.
7. Orlando Magic
|Last Week:||Lakers (L), Bucks (W), Nuggets (W)|
The Magic will face the Knicks twice and the Bulls one more time this year. Outside of that, they look primed to notch up plenty of wins down the stretch. The Playoff landscape in the East is an interesting one, with the one – four seeds currently going to Boston, Chicago, Miami and Orlando. If you’re the Magic, you tell me which of those other three teams you’d prefer to face in the second round.
8. Dallas Mavericks
|Last Week:||Blazers (L), Warriors (W), Spurs (L), Warriors (W)|
Starting on January 19th, the Mavericks went on a 17-3 tear through the West. They’ve come back to earth in March (6-5), but remain one of the most potent teams in the West. They’re currently tied with Miami with the 2nd best team shooting percentage in the league (.477%). The Mavericks will head off on a six game road trip on Saturday, but look to end the season strong.
9. Denver Nuggets
|Last Week:||Hornets (W), Hawks (W), Magic (L), Heat (L)|
The Nuggets have been rolling since the departure of Carmelo Anthony, and has carved their way to the 5th seed in the West. The Nuggets are 9-4 and playing some exciting ball. No one seems to know exactly how to play this team, since not even the Nuggets know what they’re going to be doing night-to-night. Fun times in Denver.
10. Houston Rockets
|Last Week:||Suns (W), Bobcats (W), Celtics (W), Jazz (W)|
The Rockets have been a team on the rise, having gone 11-3 since the All-Star break. They’ve been averaging 106.9 PPG in that stretch, and have been keeping their opponent to 99.2. This is a team currently on the outside of the playoff picture, but if they keep things up, they could easily get in as a seven or eight seed and cause some trouble for one of those other Texas teams.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
|Last Week:||Mavs (W), Cavs (W), 76ers (W), Lakers (L)|
The Blazers will have a rough go of their final 12 games. They’ll be facing the Spurs and Thunder twice along with the Mavericks and the Lakers. Still, their currently the 6th seed the in West, and look to be playing as well as they’ve been all year.
12. Memphis Grizzles
|Last Week:||Clippers (W), Knicks (L), Pacers (W)|
The Grizzles were on a great little spurt in Jan/Feb (21-13), but have cooled down somewhat in March. They’re currently the 8th seed in the West and heading into an interesting stretch drive. They face the Celtics, Bulls and Spurs in the next week, but have a very winnable schedule from there.
13. New Orleans Hornets
|Last Week:||Nuggets (L), Suns (W), Celtics (L)|
The Hornets are still 9 games over .500 and are currently the seventh seed in the West. They’ll need to do battle with the Grizzles, Jazz, Suns and Rockets for their slot, but they continue to play decent ball. Their ability to make the playoffs should depend on their ability to win on the road (currently 16-20).
14. Phoenix Suns
|Last Week:||Rockets (L), Hornets (L), Warriors (W), Clippers (W)|
All told, it was a mediocre week for them, but the Suns continue to hang around in the battle for the playoffs. Expect to see some late season Steve Nash-y goodness down the stretch.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
|Last Week:||Jazz (L), Clippers (W), Kings (W), Blazers (L)|
The New York Knicks were vying for this spot in the list, but since the Knicks have lost 5 of their last 6, the Suns round out the top fifteen. Philly is clinging to a .500 season (36-34) and are currently the sixth seed in the East. Still, they went 8 for 10 from the middle of February to the second week of March, and will play eight of their final twelve games at home.
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