NBA Power Rank Week 19:
My apologies for getting the week 19’s ranking out so late, suffice to say it was a hectic week for me with many great new Space City Scoop team additions to our roster. With all these amazing writers on board it provides us with the ability to get our pre and post game analysis up on a more timely basis now and there will be weekly columns to look forward to in addition to ongoing Rockets news.
To that end, I give you last week’s ranks and a simple top 10 list from me since I’ll be bringing a more detailed version to you for week 20 in a couple of days.
The National Lists:
NBA.com John Schuhmann:The man’s opinion who most people rely on drops the Rockets one this week to fifth.
USA Today: The panel keeps the Rockets in place at fourth.
Yahoo.com: Finally Marc J. Spears held fast keeping the Rockets in third for the second consecutive week.
Enough time has past since the break for teams to have regained their rhythm and flow as they prepare for the final run to the end of the regular season. Notably several teams seemed to suffer from the extended break which has translated in early favorites falling off their previous standards. We’re also getting to witness some younger teams stake a claim at the bottom seeds or play spoiler to the top seeds.
1. Golden State Warriors: Number one defense and number 2 offense STILL, what more do I need to say. (remain first)
2. Portland Trail Blazers: Despite losing Wesley Matthews (honestly was there anything worse than seeing how frustrated and sad he was about getting hurt) the team seems to have garnered strength from his loss and while other teams are either faltering or dealing with adversity, theirs only seems to serve to make them stronger. (Last week fourth)
3. Houston Rockets: The squad dealt with a very tough week that saw them drop in the standings all via strange circumstances. First they had to play the East’s best team without their MVP James Harden who was suspended for his overtly vicious kick on the crowned king of the Association. Somehow with their top 2 players out of the line-up the Rockets managed to lead for 90% of the game only to lose in the dying moments of the fourth. The very next night they looked to be headed for a victory over Memphis or at the very least overtime when “the no call” occurred which allowed Memphis to win the game with no time remaining on the clock. Though the Rockets managed to win the next two it’s little comfort for a squad that knows they very well could have been won all 4 and have overtaken the Grizzlies for second. (last week second)
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Luck played more of a part in their week than most teams as the call allowed them to win and tie the series versus Houston which could ultimately translate in to them winning the division. Both Zach Randolph and Mike Conley haven’t appeared at 100% so I anticipate some rest days on the horizon for both as the Grind House prepares for the post season. (last week third)
5. Atlanta Hawks: Might seem incorrect to rank them as low as fifth, but my gut keeps telling me they’ll be in trouble in the post season as soon as they face a tall agile front court. Unfortunately for the Hawks that might happen as early as the first round versus Indiana! (remain fifth)
6. San Antonio Spurs: I told you not to count them out! And lo and behold here they come. (unranked)
7. Oklahoma City Thunder: There in a full on battle for the last seed in the West and if Russell Westbrook has anything to say about it they’ll get it and then win their first round. I’m beyond superlatives to describe what he’s been doing and so happy he’s finally getting recognized for the super star he has always been. When Durant returns they’ll be an adjustment period with the new teammates, but would you bet against Westbrook making it happen at this point? I wouldn’t (last week six)
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Despite winning everyone except LeBron James or Cleveland fans have become more than annoyed with the bias they receive on the court on a nightly basis. Even more irksome is the fact James commits a push off foul on every team he plays countless times a night without ever getting called for it. And now we’ve got to hear about how he isn’t getting enough calls from his coach! Really? Sure he’s an amazing athlete and arguably the best in the NBA, but his dog and pony show is becoming tiresome. (last week seven)
9. New Orleans Pelicans: It just has to be said, they’ve weathered more than their share of injury woes this season with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson (coincidentally their best 3 players) out for multiple games and yet they refuse to stop fighting for the eighth seed. Something tells me they won’t get it, but it just felt right to include them in my top 10 at least once this season. (last week unseeded)
10. Indiana Pacers: Yeah I could have put the East’s third seeded Raptors or fourth seeded Bulls here (and of note: I do think both these teams will figure out their current malaise), but the Pacers have been the real hottest team in the East even more so than the Hawks or Cavs. It’s all defense based so major kudo’s to Frank Vogel for keeping his team dialed in.
That wraps it up for the week, I’ll have a more detailed version in the week 20 ratings.
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