NBA Power Rankings Week 3; November 17th, 2014

Posted by Kenneth Teape on Monday, November 17, 2014 with No comments
It is the third week of the NBA Power Rankings, and for the third consecutive week there is a new team sitting atop the rankings. This week we saw some teams ascend back up towards where we originally thought they would be, and some fall a couple of tiers because of it. Where does your favorite team end up this week? Check out the rankings and find out!

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1. Memphis Grizzlies (9-1): They are over .500 for the third time in the franchise’s history, and are rolling. They are currently riding a ridiculous 19 game home winning streak. It will be put to the test right away as the just as hot Rockets come to town Monday night.

2. Golden State Warriors (8-2): The Warriors fall because of a loss to the Spurs, who were on the road and on the second night of a back-to-back. It is a small blip on the radar for the Warriors, who rolled the rest of the week with an exclamation point against a hapless Lakers team, winning 136-115.

3. Houston Rockets (9-1): This is not the Rockets team we saw last season, as they are currently leading the NBA in opponent points per game, giving up only 88.9 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting. The light schedule, playing only two teams thus far over .500, could have something to do with it, as the offense is yet to really get going, scoring only 98.3 points per game.

4. Toronto Raptors (8-2): The Raptors had a tough loss to the Bulls on a rare TNT Thursday night game, which had to be a letdown for followers of the team. They did pick up two victories against the Magic and Jazz for another winning week. We will learn a lot about this Raptors team this week, as they host the Grizzlies Wednesday before embarking on a back-to-back starting with the Bucks at home and traveling to Cleveland Saturday.

5. Chicago Bulls (7-3): The loss to the extremely shorthanded Pacers isn’t the most pressing issue for the Bulls currently. It has to the injury prone Derrick Rose still, who now is dealing with a hamstring injury in addition to the two ankle injuries and always dangerous knees. It is an issue the Bulls will have to deal with as long as Rose is around.

6. Washington Wizards (7-2): It may not be the prettiest display thus far, but the Wizards have been able to get wins even without Bradley Beal. Good news for them, Beal is expected back this week, and just in time for a matchup with the Cavaliers. Praise should be given to Garrett Temple, who filled in admirably for Beal while he was sidelined.

7. San Antonio Spurs (5-4): The Spurs responded basically how you would expect them to once you drop them in power rankings; sweeping a back-to-back against the Clippers and Warriors, both on the road. They continued the California road trip with a decisive victory over the Lakers, in which Kawhi Leonard again showed off, holding Kobe Bryant to 1-14 shooting. A loss to the Kings normally would be disappointing, but the fourth game in five nights is tough for anyone to win.

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8. Portland Trail Blazers (7-3): It was a crazy week in the NBA in terms of scores, and it was all kicked off by the Blazers lighting up of the Nuggets with 84-50 halftime lead. They are currently riding an NBA-high tying four-game winning streak, in large part to a bench that is exceeding expectations, albeit they were low ones.

9. Dallas Mavericks (7-3): The Mavericks delivered beat downs of epic proportions against the 76ers and Timberwolves after coming back from an early 20+ point deficit to the Kings. The Mavericks cannot afford to get complacent, as road games against Charlotte and Washington lead into a cupcake against the Lakers at home. That is when it gets interesting, as Chandler Parsons returns to Houston for the first time in an important game against a playoff team from last season; they are 0-3 thus far against 2014 playoff teams.

10. Los Angeles Clippers (5-3): The Clippers went 1-1 in their short week, and their problems are as evident as ever. Doc Rivers’ hand is being forced, as he has moved perennial Sixth Man of the Year award winner Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup at small forward. They need to find a way to upgrade the position, or they will continue to have early playoff exits and waste more good seasons from Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company.

11. New Orleans Pelicans (5-3): They lost a big-time matchup against the Cavaliers, but responded with a closer than thought win against the Lakers, but a dominating victory over the Timberwolves. How dominating you ask? Franchise record level whooping. The Pelicans set franchise records for points (139), field goals (56), shooting percentage (66.7) and 48-point victory. They were up by as many as 53 points in the fourth quarter, and also tied a franchise record with 15 three-pointers made.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (5-3): Early season start is beginning to be quelled as the Cavaliers have ripped off four-straight wins averaging 119.25 points per game. If they are scoring at that clip, there is no defense that will slow them down. They were lucky to escape Boston with a victory though, as the defense does need work as they surrendered 106.75 points per game.

13. Atlanta Hawks (5-4): A four-game winning streak was halted in excruciating fashion, as the Cavaliers blitzed the Hawks with a 9-9 three-point barrage in the opening quarter, resulting in a 127-94 blowout. Paul Millsap has started to get things going for the Hawks though, as Kyle Korver continues to quietly be more than a three-point specialist.

14. Sacramento Kings (6-4): The win over the Spurs over the weekend was a nice rebound for what could have been a monster week. After opening up 20+ point leads in the first quarter against the Mavericks and Grizzlies, the Kings ended up losing both games. The Grizzlies one was especially excruciating, as a blown assignment allowed for a Courtney Lee alley-oop lay-up at the buzzer to beat them. They did lock up Rudy Gay to a nice contract that is worth $40 million over the next three seasons.

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15. Phoenix Suns (5-5): Their homestand ended on a sour note, as they lost to the Hornets rather handedly. Things didn’t get any better over the weekend, as the Clippers blew them out of the Staples Center. That was the first game in a lengthy road trip that will last six games in total and will keep them away from U.S. Airways Center for almost two weeks. The last five games of the trip will be a trip through the Eastern Conference with games in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Indiana this week.

16. Miami Heat (5-5): It was a rough week for the Heat, as they were unable to carry the momentum from their win in Dallas over for the week. They went 0-3, losing to the Pacers, Hawks and Bucks, teams they should be able to handle. The big problem is Dwyane Wade, who missed the last two games of the week and is considered day-to-day and a game-time decision at best for their matchup early in the week.

17. Milwaukee Bucks (5-5): Another impressive win this week on the road against the Heat. Through 10 games Jason Kidd has done a solid job, and he’s making the most of the pieces he has. Brandon Knight’s improved play coupled with a top-two defense is enough to get this team to .500. A big matchup this week in terms of theatrics as the Bucks visit the Nets Wednesday. Two back-to-back sets will test this team.

18. Indiana Pacers  (4-7): It was a surprisingly strong week for the Pacers, who continue to pull out improbable performances as shorthanded as any team not named the Thunder. Wins against the Jazz, at Miami and at Chicago lost some of its shine with a home blowout loss at the hands of the Nuggets, but it was a successful week nonetheless. In a short week, Lance Stephenson’s homecoming makes for the biggest news.

19. Charlotte Hornets (4-6): Lance Stephenson is still struggling to find his shot, as he is shooting an underwhelming 37.5 percent from the field. He is leading the team in rebounding and assists though, which is a plus. Let’s see if he can turn things around scoring wise as he makes his first visit back to Indiana to play the Pacers.

20. Brooklyn Nets (4-5): Joe Johnson made some waves saying that the wins in the season for the Nets don’t mean much as they played inferior opponents. They have to pass the ball more Johnson said. He was right, but also fell victim to trying to play hero ball as the Nets went 0-3 on their west coast trip. The Suns loss was tough, as they were up by as many as 19 points in the first half, but their offense failed them in the second half as the Suns came all the way back and won by eight.

21. Boston Celtics (3-5): It was a slow week for the Celtics, who played only two games. A blowout loss at home against the Thunder looked to be turned around with a victory over the Cavaliers later in the week. Alas it wasn’t meant to happen, as the Celtics blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.

22. Orlando Magic (4-7): The injury bug just can’t get enough of the young Magic. As soon as Victor Oladipo returns, rookie forward Aaron Gordon is sidelined with a broken foot. It is a tough break for the Magic, who are 4-3 after starting the season with four straight losses.

23. Utah Jazz (4-7): Another buzzer beater against the Knicks saved the Jazz from a winless week. It is already the second buzzer beater victory for the Jazz this season, as Trey Burke’s heroics against the Knicks followed up Gordon Hayward’s against the Cavaliers just nine days earlier.

24. Detroit Pistons (3-7): The struggles of Andre Drummond thus far are surprising. What could be more surprising is the play of Brandon Jennings. It was thought D.J. Augustin would eventually supplant him as the starter, but if he continues putting up 16.2 points, 6.0 assists and a 23.6 PER he’ll safely be in the starting lineup night in and night out.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
25. New York Knicks (3-8): The Knicks were finally able to end their lengthy losing streak with a victory over the Denver Nuggets Sunday afternoon. More encouraging, Carmelo Anthony looks to be finding his footing offensively, scoring 74 points on 26-40 shooting the last two games. Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani are also expected to beginning practicing this week.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-8): Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can’t return soon enough for the Thunder. They had a rough week, going 1-3 and losing to the Bucks, Pistons and Rockets. Sunday’s loss to the Rockets was especially rough, as they fell 69-65. It’s arguable that Durant and Westbrook could have beaten that total by themselves.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (2-7): Currently riding the longest losing streak in the NBA by a team not named the 76ers. Can’t say Ricky Rubio would have helped much this past week, as the Timberwolves surrendered 127.6 points per game this week, giving up 131 and 139 to the Pelicans and Mavericks respectively. That has a hand in the T’Wolves giving up the most points per game in the NBA thus far this season.

28. Denver Nuggets (2-7): A blowout victory over the Pacers was sandwiched by two shellackings at the hands of the Trail Blazers and Knicks. It got really ugly against the Knicks, as they didn’t make a basket the whole quarter until the final buzzer. Shaw’s seat is getting hotter, if that was even possible.

29. Los Angeles Lakers (1-9): If there is another game like Sunday, they will no longer be known as the Lakers and instead called the Los Angeles Kobes. The Warriors thumped them, 136-115 as the Lakers were embarrassed. Kobe Bryant, who only played in the first three quarters, scored 44 points on 34 shot attempts. He just isn’t getting any help.

30. Philadelphia 76ers  (0-9): Michael Carter-Williams returned to the lineup right in time for one of the worst defeats in the history of the NBA. The 76ers got destroyed by the Mavericks 123-70, as they were down 73-29 at halftime. They showed a lot of heart the next night though, falling one point short to the Houston Rockets. The tank is in.