It seems appropriate to take part in the star break with the Warriors at the top of the Power rankings, but it seems that slot machines 2 to 7 could be shuffled in any order every week and it would not be wrong these teams are all essentially same. Programming Note: Given that the league is on vacation for a week around the star break and that there is only a handful of games left here next Wednesday, the NBC NBA Power ranking will take a week off, then come back in two weeks.
1. Warriors (41-15, No. 2 last week). All discussions on Golden State naturally relate to their stars. This Sunday will be the fourth year in a row. Golden State will have at least three All-Stars. The last team to do this was the Celtics when JFK was president in 1960-1963. However, the addition of the DeMarcus Cousins to the starting lineup gave the second unit a boost with the game of Kevon Looney, who brings some athleticism around the rim to the team. Everything is at stake for the Warriors, who have won five straight victories and 16 out of 17.
2. Bucks (42-14, LW 1). The teams who suffer their worst loss of the season – like Milwaukee against Saturday against Orlando – do not keep the first place in the standings, but do not read too much in this game. The defeat was due to the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo was absent for the night and that the rest of the team had also taken him away. The recovery of Nikola Mirotic fits perfectly to Mike Budenholzers' system in Milwaukee – the Bucks shoot more than three of any team from the east, but are in the middle of the pack in accuracy, they need what Mirotic brings to the table. They will get it once it's in good health and will go into the mix. What could be Wednesday night against Indiana (he is close), otherwise certainly not after the All-Star break.
3. Raptors (42-16, LW 5). Nick Nurse and the Raptors still have trouble understanding, but Marc Gasol with the second unit in Toronto is very promising. The winner of Kawhi Leonard's game against Brooklyn dominated the highlights (with good reason, look at it below), but the Raptors started at five with Serge Ibaka in the paint was -4 at that game. However, some of the formations with Marc Gasol at the elbow / midpost as the offensive pivot surrounded by athletes and shooters – Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby – had solid runs that allowed the Raptors to win the victory and have shown real promise. The kind of promise with which it will be difficult to match the playoffs. The pickup Jeremy Lin should help mitigate the loss of Fred VanVleet for a few weeks (thumb injury).
4. Thunder (37-19, LW 6). Paul George is preparing a season that will allow him to win the votes of the most useful player – Damian Lillard earned this trophy after the Thunder beat the Blazers Monday night – but this also fueled the series of 11 wins out of 12 won by OKC is a three-point shot. The Thunder hits 44.1% of its 31.3 attempts per night beyond the arc in the last twelve games, the highest percentage of the NBA over this stretch. As a comparison, the Thunder are a 35% team of three over the season (on the same number of attempts). Jerami Grant cuts everything down and is a big part of that.
5. Celtics (35-21, LW 3). Gordon Hayward has his legs back, he attacks the rim and closes the shots much more often, and his legs are under his sweater. In his last 10 games, he has taken 46.5% of his shots in the paint, and on average he has an average of 11.8 points per game on 50% total shooting and 42.3% against three. That includes 26 points against the Sixers in a winning statement on Tuesday night. The Celtics needed this win to get rid of the two ugly defeats against the Los Angeles teams, but against an East foe (and without Kyrie Irving), the Celtics looked like the team with whom we we were waiting to lead East this season.
6. 76ers (36-20, LW 7). The addition of Tobias Harris to the starting lineup in Philadelphia with Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid have worked very well so far. After three games, the score was +21 in 53 minutes, which included a 14-7 win over Denver at the end of the game, which allowed Philadelphia to win. However, as shown by the loss against the Celtics on Tuesday, the question will be which bench behind these five players can bring (even with Brett Brown staggering some of his stars). In the last three games, the Sixers have a total of +6 with liners that are not the starters (and the bench units were -7 against Boston).
7. Nuggets (38-18, LW 4). Denver lost three straight games on the road, which is no coincidence if Paul Millsap's three games were out. Their defense is undone without him to do the dirty work and the little things. He came back against Miami at home, Denver wins. The Nuggets are perhaps the most qualified team for a place in series in the West, also very crowded. It's hard to imagine that they will make 2.5 games on Golden State for the first seed, but they have a five-piece cushion on the top five seed (Rockets). Denver will have its field of play in the first round, the team just wants to stay in 2/3 places (and avoid the other side of the range where it meets Golden State in the second round).
8. Pacers (38-19, LW 12). This team is not abandoning its plans to have the advantage of the field in the first round of the playoffs without a fight, as the Pacers have won six straight victories (against a tricky competition, but still). Give a lot of credit to coach Nate McMillan. Wesley Matthews is a good pickup in the market, he's sort of a Victor Oladipo-lite able to play the same roles and adapt to the balanced attack that has made the Pacers such a tough team to beat this season ( and this lack of a weak link will also make them menacing in the playoffs, Indiana will not be an easy exit).
9. Rockets (33-23, LW 9). Iman Shumpert and, to a lesser extent, James Ennis (at Long Beach State!) Could play a crucial role in the Houston playoffs. The offensive is not the issue, not with James Harden's over 30-point series at 30 and over. The challenge often discussed is on the defensive side, where the Rockets were among the top 10 of the season and have continued in the last 10 games. Shumpert had a resurgence in Sacramento. Few people have seen coming, and Ennis is long and athletic. The Rockets need them to start and disrupt some quality scorers in the final stretch.
10. Jazz (32-25, LW 11). Utah may not have landed Mike Conley at the trade deadline (he will still be available this summer), but they added depth to the job with Raul Neto and took the road back to action . Utah has now left the star formation – but Rudy Gobert should have been in Charlotte. Last Saturday, Gobert took on Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge and earned 21 points on 8 out of 10 shots, as well as capturing 13 boards and blocking a few shots, while keeping Aldridge 15 points on 16 shots. Gobert took the beating personally.
11. Trail Blazers (33-23, LW 8). It was only three games (and Portland lost two), but Rodney Hood did well as a trade resumption, averaging 10.3 points per game on 68.4% of the shots and a 55.6% victory against three. Obviously, he will not continue shooting at this rate, but he is an additional threat and that's what Portland was counting on. I also like the end of the Skal Labissière dice, I have the impression that there is a solid player if they develop it.
12. Kings (30-26, LW 14). Harrison Barnes looks like a guy who is always trying to find his form – and his teammates do the same – after two mediocre matches. A little training time during the break from the stars should help, and expect coach Dave Joerger to search Rick Carlisle's game book for some of the things that Barnes loved in Dallas (and who took over many of Nowitzki's old sets). At the time of writing, the Kings are the eighth-seeded Western and are in last place in the playoffs, with percentage points ahead of the Clippers (it's a virtual draw). LeBron and the Lakers score 2.5 games back, but the Kings are also just 1.5 points behind Spurs and Jazz (6/7).
13. Lawn mowers (31-27, LW 13). Los Angeles scored 3-3 on their Grammy journey, but in each of the victories, the team was dragged by more than 20 points and came back to steal the win. Tobias Harris was a sign that the Clippers were planning to drop their pursuit in the playoffs, but Avery Bradley was traded against Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green is the other way around. Bradley was not great in Los Angeles and the team picked up some quality spinners. Even if they can still miss the playoffs, this team will be competitive and will not let it down.
14. Spurs (33-24, LW 10). The Spurs were fired from the bull to start the Rodeo road trip, losing four in a row until they barely beat the Grizzlies on Tuesday (the road trip still has three games against the East). after the All-Star break). The problem in San Antonio continues to be related to defense. The Spurs awarded 118.8 points for 100 possessions, the second worst NBA performance in the last 10 games. Magically, the defense will not improve after the All-Star break, the Spurs will have to make their way to the playoffs.
15. Fillets (29-29, LW 15). D'Angelo Russell will be the first All-Star of the Nets since Joe Johnson when he will be on the field on Sunday, a good redemption coup for a guy, Magic Johnson said that he was not a leader so that & # 039; He was pushing Russell to the door (to cover the Timofey Mozgov Contract, but this resulted in a high price for LA). What the Nets need is Russell to help them quickly change the game – the Nets lost 5 of 6, dropped to .500 and no longer look like a playoff lock (they are only 2.5 matches the nine-seed heat).
16. Pistons (26-29, 22). The Pistons have won four straight victories and 5 out of 6 to return to the playoff game (the Pistons are currently the eighth seeded in the East, one more than Miami and a 1.5-over lead). Orlando). The reason for the good game of recent times is nothing exotic – Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson have played well together and have stood out in this series. This is the big trio of Detroit and the team is leaving.
17. Hornets (27-29, LW 16). Kemba Walker deserves his turn in the spotlight this weekend as a Hornets starter in his hometown when the All-Star Game takes place in Charlotte. It was amazing to see the Hornets – who were fighting for the playoffs and impressing Walker so that he remains as a free agent next summer – hold on to the trade deadline. They were in the mix but missed Marc Gasol and could do nothing else. There are rumors that Walker was unhappy with the lack of activity, we'll see if that translates into July.
18. Mavericks (26-30, LW 20). To add to the legend of Luka Doncic: In the last three minutes of games to less than three points this season, Doncic shot 16 out of 29 (55.2%), including 5 out of 11 (45.5%). He is already engaged. Although he is not in the main match of the stars on Saturday (fans would have voted him as a starter), he is the favorite to be the most useful player of the rising stars on Friday, then will participate in the competition of the competitions. Saturday. The NBA will beat him as much as possible.
19. Magic (26-32, LW 23). Orlando is back in the playoffs after winning four straight wins and 6 out of 7 – the Magic are only 1.5 games from last place in the playoffs in the East. In the last seven games, the Magic have won with the defense, blocking the teams and limiting them to one point per possession (which led to a net score of +11.6 in those matches.) What does it look like? Kind of defense? Watch Jonathan Isaac block John Collins three times over a possession.
20. Lakers (28-29, LW 17). The Lakers have scored twice in the Grammys 2 to 4 in road games, 2 or 3 games played by LeBron James since his return, and the loss to Atlanta Tuesday night was a blow to the belly . It's not rocket science to understand what happened, the Lakers defense collapsed – during the trip, the team gave up 119.7 points for 100 possessions (for comparison, the Cavs have the worse defense of the NBA for the season, with 116.3). . Missing Lonzo Ball does not help, but it's much bigger, much more systemic than that. Los Angeles defense earlier in the season was respectable (for a 30-match stretch, they allowed less than 105 percent), but it was decentralized, which could land Luke Walton in hot water after the season .
21. Timberwolves (26-30, LW 18). Timberwolves' opportunity to play in the playoffs seems to be in favor of the Dodo after the team lost 6 of 8, including every game of a three-game trip against impassable teams (Memphis, Orlando and Nova Scotia). Orléans). Ryan Saunders (who succeeded Tom Thibodeau as coach) played 7-0 against Minnesota, and the fact that this team failed to qualify for the playoffs does not look like to give a good idea of his chances of retaining this position in the long term.
22. Heat (25-30, LW 19). The road was not favorable for Miami, who moved away from a playoff spot as the team had a 1-3 record on a car trip and a total of 6 out of 7. Miami has realized the current situation and its transaction times have been limited: it has saved more than $ 8 million against the luxury tax for the team. Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow could still win more minutes, we'll see if they can be consistent and do anything with this extra race.
23. Pelicans (25-33, LW 21). Is it really better for the Pelicans and the league to play against Anthony Davis, unhappy with the match – who scored three points on a shot on 9 on Tuesday night against Orlando, before tearing his teammates after the match? Although the league has fined the Pelicans $ 100,000, the game is "only" $ 2.4 million, it is not a foolish sum on the NBA. I do not blame the Pelicans for not accepting the Laker affair on the deadline (I am in the camp who think it will still be there in July if the Pels want it) but it has created a delicate situation for this team , where everyone seems to have mentally verified.
24. Assistants (24-33, LW 24). The trade with Otto Porter was to break this contract and save money in the long run, if Bobby Portis became a player in the long-term rotation for Washington. Bradley Beal will be spending part of the All-Star weekend answering questions about whether he wants an exchange and how much he does not support John Wall, but he will still receive a lot of money. love of other All-Stars. Some who would like to have them in their team in the future.
25. Grizzlies (23-35, LW 26). There was a lot of eyebrows around the league that Memphis had not traded Mike Conley before the deadline, keeping his price so high that Utah and others refused to shoot. Will the market be better for him this summer? The goal of Memphis is now to retain his pick in the upcoming draft – he is protected in the top 8 and the Grizzlies have the sixth record in the league's worst league. Even with the new lottery odds, keep this position and there is only a 3.8% chance that they will fall back enough to lose the choice this season (which would be good with Boston, this choice is more valuable as token).
26. Hawks (19-38, LW 25). If your memories of Trae Young are his struggles at the beginning of the season, you must watch him again. In Young's last 10 games, he averaged 21.8 points per game for 15.6 shots per night, 42% on three, and 8.8 assists per night. We are also starting to see a real chemistry between him and John Collins. Young is confident, watch him go directly to LeBron in the final two minutes of a tight game on Tuesday – and get the and-1.
27. Bulls (13-44, LW 27). I do not fear Otto Porter's bet on the trading deadline. Of course, the Bulls are going to pay $ 46.7 million for their starting wings next season (Porter and Zach LaVine, and the season goes up afterwards), but it's still a construction team and they are not married in the long run. Combine these two with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., then add a leader (Kris Dunn is fine but there will be better options available) and Chicago will have a respectable list
28. Jumpers (12-45, LW 28). I like what Cleveland has done around the trading deadline (and throughout the season), taking steps to add repechage selections and start rebuilding. Kevin Love will probably be there next summer, but with his salary and injury history, it will not be easy to find a team willing to part ways. The other thing about all Cavaliers trades this season: it does not make it easy for this team.
29. Suns (11-47, LW 29). I do not mind the idea of trading for Tyler Johnson and see if he can play next to Devin Booker, a little experience for the rest of the season. That said, it's hard to say as much about a team that has lost 14 straight games, with the exception of their first two games after the break (Cleveland and Atlanta) gives them a chance to break that series.
30. Knicks (10-46, LW 30). The Knicks have lost 17 straight games, but at least Dennis Smith Jr. has become a distraction. The goalkeeper has averaged 17.4 points per game since coming to Dallas, although he only fires 21% to three and that he has a terrible percentage of 47 shots (well below the average league). For his part, DeAndre Jordan and he have a little chemistry.