NBA Power Rankings: March 21

Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

By Joe Manganiello and Dave Holcomb

1. San Antonio Spurs:

They haven’t lost since Feb. 21, and are scoring over 116 points per 100 possessions in March. Like it or not, a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals is on the table.

2. Los Angeles Clippers:

The Spurs and Clippers are outscoring opponents by nearly 16 points per 100 possessions this month, but in much different ways. While San Antonio is doing it with their aforementioned ridiculous scoring figures, Los Angeles is winning with their league-high defense – holding opponents to a 94.1 defensive efficiency rating (the next closest team is Memphis at 98.0).

Head coach Doc Rivers has had a tremendous impact on the defensive identity of the Clippers, as last season’s team was consistently overmatched on that end of the floor; five of their six most popular lineups a season ago allowed at least 103 points per 100 possessions, a below-average rate. DeAndre Jordan figures to win the rebounding title, and the Clippers have been in the Top 10 in forcing turnovers all season.

3. Miami Heat:

Yes, Miami has a losing record in March, and remains three games behind Indiana for No. 1 in the East. But the Pacers are not exactly running away with the top seed, and LeBron James has some work left to do if he wants to claim his fifth MVP award – which we all know he does.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder:

With Kevin Durant averaging over 31 points per game this season, fans are actually asking if the MVP candidate needs Russell Westbrook? We look at it this way: Breaking Bad didn’t NEED Jesse, but he made the show better.

5. Indiana Pacers

6. Houston Rockets

7. Golden State Warriors

8. Memphis Grizzlies:

Grit-N-Grind has won a league-high 30 games since Dec. 21, and are an elite defensive team. Memphis had been on the outside of the Western Conference’s Top 8 standings looking in all season before Dallas and Phoenix parted to let them into the game. We’ll see if the Mavs and Suns can come together like butt cheeks, or if one of them will end up out of the playoff picture this spring.

9. Brooklyn Nets

10. Chicago Bulls:

Joakim Noah in March: 14.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 7.8 apg, 2.2 bpg, 53% FG

He and Tom Thibodeau are on a fiery rampage to destroy the Miami Heat dynasty, and nothing – cost cutting moves from their mean-spirited team management, annual season-ending injuries to their MVP point guard, limited offensive abilities – will get in their way. (Until Miami eliminates them in round two of the playoffs, again.)

11. Dallas Mavericks

12. Charlotte Bobcats

13. Toronto Raptors

14. Washington Wizards

15. Portland Trailblazers

16. Phoenix Suns

17. Minnesota Timberwolves

18. New York Knicks:

Is Phil Jackson already the largest sports figure in New York? Ed Burns thinks so, and after watching the Knicks continue their seven-game winning streak against the Pacers, you might be able to convince us.

19. Atlanta Hawks:

The best part about Jeff Teague’s 34-point out burst on Tuesday? Chris Webber and the guys of NBA TV grilling Teague on Wake Forest and his neutral facial expressions. Hilarious!

20. Denver Nuggets:

Aaron Brooks! Back from the dead!!

21. Sacramento Kings:

Sacramento’s three best players combined for 24 points a piece in an overtime victory over Washington on Tuesday. The Rudy Gay trade continues to confuse us, but the nucleus of Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, and Isaiah Thomas isn’t terrible – could be used to assemble a decent team in 2014-15.

22. New Orleans Pelicans:

What happened to Eric Gordon? He entered the 4th quarter of Wednesday’s home game against Toronto at 5:56, and New Orleans had a 93-90 lead. Gordon proceeded to miss a layup, turn the ball over twice, and miss a 24-footer on his last shot attempt at 3:17 – and the Pelicans were outscored 17-7 down the stretch. One of the most overpaid players in the Association – he and Roy Hibbert are making the same salary this season – in his sixth season, Gordon fails to move the needle.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers

24. Los Angeles Lakers

25. Detroit Pistons

26. Boston Celtics

27. Milwaukee Bucks

28. Utah Jazz

29. Orlando Magic:

There hasn’t been a ton to celebrate in Orlando, but how about this: Orlando continues to run away with the JJ Redick/Tobias Harris trade. Harris has scored 20 or more points in 7 of Orlando’s last 13 games. He’s 21, and is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds a game. What’s that? Redick no longer plays for Milwaukee? The Bucks were ripped off?  Yes they were!

30. Philadelphia 76ers

2 Responses to "NBA Power Rankings: March 21"

  1. pgotham   March 21, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    What? Nothing to say about the 76ers?

  2. Joe Manganiello   March 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Momma always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

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