NBA power rankings: Nets remain No. 1

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The last week in the NBA has been all about runs. The Clippers won and covered four straight, the Jazz put together a 4-0 SU stretch and the Nuggets and Pelicans are starting to gain momentum. But runs come in the form of losing streaks as well. Milwaukee dropped three of four last week and failed to cover in any of them, and Chicago has been disappointing despite the additions at the trade deadline.

 

One team that has been in excellent form is Charlotte, which has an opportunity this week to clinch the Over on its win total. Despite all that, we still have the same team on top of our rankings.

 

1. Brooklyn Nets (1)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/1-3 ATS

The biggest blemish for Brooklyn was a blowout in Utah as a 13.5-point underdog that James Harden, Kyrie Irving and others missed. The Nets’ power rating seems to be at its peak, though, and its 1-3 ATS week points to that. How much should we read into the Nets getting into tussles with Detroit and Minnesota?

 

2. Philadelphia 76ers (3)

Week recap: 2-1 SU/2-1 ATS

Philadelphia remains steady with a winning week both SU and ATS, but some warning signs are developing. In their wins over the Warriors and Lakers, the 76ers averaged just 1.085 points per possession but allowed just 1.0 point per possession on defense. How sustainable is that style? The Clippers exposed them a bit in the Sixers’ 122-112 loss.

 

3. Phoenix Suns (4)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/2-2 ATS

Phoenix grabbed two really solid wins over Miami and Charlotte, but its offense was somewhat clunky. The Suns averaged just 1.051 points per possession and shot just 17 of 75 (22.6%) from deep. Logical assumption is two poor shooting nights, with winnable games against Atlanta, Chicago and Oklahoma City on the horizon.

 

4. Utah Jazz (5)

Week recap: 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS

Blowing out Brooklyn and covering 13.5 points was a great way to start the week. The big news is the sudden re-emergence of Utah’s stout defense, which had been missing. The Jazz allowed just 96.8 points every 100 possessions after allowing 111.9 over three games the previous week.

 

5. Los Angeles Clippers (6)

Week recap: 4-0 SU/4-0 ATS

The Clippers continued their winning ways with an unblemished week, covering by an average of 17.25 points per game. They shot 47.2% on 31.8 3-point attempts per game and averaged 123.7 points every 100 possessions. Terrance Mann was great in the final three games, averaging 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds.

 

6. Milwaukee Bucks (2)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS

Sure, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a game, but the Bucks were still 1-2 SU/0-3 ATS when he played. It’s a short sample size, but their 119.8 defensive rating is alarming, and opponents shot 44.2% on 43.0 3-pointers per game. Their perimeter defense has been a problem all season, but it’s because they’re “trying new things” on defense.

 

7. Denver Nuggets (10)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/3-1 ATS

Denver’s loss to Toronto is such an odd one, but it was the only low point for the Nuggets last week. They handled the Magic, got a big revenge win over the Pelicans and beat the Hawks comfortably. Denver leads the league in offensive efficiency since the beginning of March (119.9) and has averaged at least 1.1 points per possession in nine straight games.

 

8. Dallas Mavericks (7)

Week recap: 2-2 SU/2-2 ATS

Luka Doncic missed both losses, and Dallas covered in the two games he played. The Mavericks get bumped a spot only due to Denver’s fantastic week. The Mavericks have a -4.1 net rating when Doncic is off the floor this season, and every bit of that showed in last week’s losses.

 

9. Los Angeles Lakers (8)

Week recap: 2-2 SU/1-3 ATS

The market is still somewhat high on Los Angeles despite the absence of LeBron James. The Lakers’ lone cover was a win over Cleveland, but the market got overzealous, making them seven-point favorites over Orlando. Five of six games, including the game in which James was injured, have gone Under the total.

 

10. Miami Heat (9)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS

Miami found a bit of its offense, but its four opponents averaged 115.5 points every 100 possessions, and that led to another losing week. The biggest positive was the team’s 36.7% shooting from deep over these four games, as shooting has been a massive issue all year.

11. Boston Celtics (11)

Week recap: 2-2 SU/3-1 ATS

Boston retains its spot after a pretty average week. The Celtics covered their first three games, putting together impressive performances in a split with Milwaukee. However, their 24th-ranked rim defense was exposed again by the Pelicans, who went 16 of 23 in a win Monday.

 

12. Portland Trail Blazers (12)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/2-2 ATS

After losing their first game of the week against James Harden and Brooklyn, the Trail Blazers won three straight against Miami, Orlando and Toronto. Norm Powell made his debut, and Jusuf Nurkic came back from injury. Three of four games went Over the total for Portland, something we should get used to.

 

13. Memphis Grizzlies (13)

Week recap: 2-2 SU/3-1 ATS

Another solid week for Memphis against the number has the Grizzlies at 6-2 ATS in their last eight games. Last week they played at the third-highest pace in the league (104.13), and that has been a big reason behind their current 5-0 run to the Over.

 

14. New York Knicks (15)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/3-1 ATS

New York had an incredible week. Not only did the Knicks win and cover 75% of their games, they threw a 17-point comeback over Washington into the mix. They averaged only 109.2 points every 100 possessions on offense, but when you give only 104.6, you can get away with the 21st-ranked offense in the league.

 

15. Charlotte Hornets (16)

Week recap: 2-1 SU/3-0 ATS

The betting market really overreacted to the loss of LaMelo Ball, and that watered-down power rating allowed Charlotte to cover every number last week. My colleague, Wes Reynolds, made a brilliant point Tuesday, pointing out the Hornets’ slow pace since Ball’s injury. Last week they finished 26th in pace (95.03) despite ranking 13th in that category for the season (100.12).

 

16. Atlanta Hawks (14)

Week recap: 1-2 SU/1-2 ATS

I have been pretty skeptical of Atlanta’s resurgence on defense, and sure enough last week the Hawks were torched for 119.0 points every 100 possessions. Their offense still posted an offensive rating of 115.6, and three of their last four games have gone Over the total as a result.

 

17. New Orleans Pelicans (20)

Week recap: 3-1 SU/3-1 ATS

The Pelicans are rolling — and actually improving on defense. New Orleans gave up just 113.2 points per 100 possessions last week, and its offense has been rolling to the tune of 119.6 points per 100 possessions. Zion Williamson averaged 33.0 points per game on 66.2% shooting over his last four games.

 

18. Indiana Pacers (19)

Week recap: 2-1 SU/1-2 ATS

It was a quiet week against lesser competition for Indiana. The Pacers faced Detroit, Dallas without Luka Doncic and Washington, outscoring them by 5.8 points every 100 possessions. Indiana has a tenuous hold on a play-in spot, but a 4-2 spurt makes the ground slightly firmer.

 

19. Golden State Warriors (18)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS

Steph Curry finally returned from a bruised tailbone, and the Warriors dropped 1.202 points per possession in a win over Chicago. Golden State is outscored by 11.0 points every 100 possessions without Curry on the floor, but they outscore the competition by 2.8 points with him. This might be the time to play on Golden State, as its power rating is pretty low.

 

20. San Antonio Spurs (17)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS

San Antonio was on my list of teams to play against in the second half, and that has started to come to fruition. The Spurs gave up 117.9 points every 100 possessions last week while managing 106.9 over that stretch. How bad does it get for a team that is 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS in its last six games?

 

21. Sacramento Kings (24)

Week recap: 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS

What is with the Jekyll and Hyde nature of this team? Sacramento led the league in offensive efficiency last week (123.8) and outscored its opponents by 10.4 points every 100 possessions. Its defense still gave up a 113.4 rating, so it’s clear this surge will not last long.

 

22. Chicago Bulls (22)

Week recap: 0-3 SU/0-3 ATS

This has been a pretty disappointing week for Chicago. Not only did the Bulls fail to win or cover, but their offense was dreadful despite the debut of Nikola Vucevic. The Bulls averaged just 101.0 points every 100 possessions, and Unders are now 8-2 in the last 10 games. With their offensive talent that is sure to flip on its head, right?

 

23. Toronto Raptors (21)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS

Toronto had one gasp left on the night before the trade deadline but then went 0-3 SU and ATS in the final three games of the week. In the three games since dealing Norm Powell, the Raptors averaged just 109.2 points every 100 possessions. Will offense be an issue for the rest of the season?

 

24. Detroit Pistons (25)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/3-1 ATS

The betting market continues to be somewhat too low on Detroit. Three covers last week gave the Pistons a solid 25-19-2 ATS mark this season. Detroit was outscored by just 2.3 points every 100 possessions last week thanks to an average defense that ranked higher than 14 other teams for the week.

 

25. Washington Wizards (26)

Week recap: 2-2 SU/2-2 ATS

Washington continues to be overly reliant on extreme Russell Westbrook performances. Westbrook has 57 points, 29 rebounds and 35 assists over his last two games, but the team is just 1-1 SU and ATS in those games. However, the Wizards’ offense has averaged an inefficient 105.0 points every 100 possessions.

 

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (23)

Week recap: 0-3 SU/0-3 ATS

Oklahoma City wants to develop young players, so the Thunder traded George Hill and shut down Al Horford for the season. The Thunder’s blatant tank job is working as they went winless and were outscored by 15.4 points every 100 possessions.

 

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (27)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS

It is tempting to drop Minnesota after a lackluster week. The Timberwolves’ only win was due to a 22-0 run to steal one from Houston. Their offense averaged 105.7 points every 100 possessions, which is way too low for a team with the Timberwolves’ offensive talent.

 

28. Cleveland Cavaliers (28)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS

Cleveland might have stolen one from Chicago, but three straight losses while being held to under 100 points in each is a pretty poor week. The Cavaliers averaged less than a point per possession last week, and there seems to be no improvement on the horizon.

 

29. Orlando Magic (29)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/3-1 ATS

The betting market was too strong on the power rating adjustment for the Magic after the trade deadline, and the best example was closing + 7 against the Lakers without LeBron James. After stealing a win Tuesday night, this team is 3-0 ATS since the trade deadline.

 

30. Houston Rockets (30)

Week recap: 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS

Houston got itself a win and a cover last week yet again, but there is nothing overwhelmingly positive to report. The Rockets’ last two games have gone Over the total, and their offensive efficiency showed a flash against Minnesota. Could this offense be getting better?

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