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NBA Power Rankings: West teams battle Celtics for top spot


The NBA Power Rankings are selected by a panel of theScore's basketball editors.

This week, we're taking stock of matters with a month and a half left in the 2023-24 campaign.

1. Boston Celtics (46-12)

Previous: 1

Sure, the Celtics have won nine straight, but they haven't beaten a team with a top-seven NBA record since Jan. 10, going 0-3 against those squads over that span.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (41-17)

Previous: 3

The team needed a player like Gordon Hayward for its upcoming postseason run. Providing positional versatility and a veteran presence for a relatively young squad, Hayward will be useful for the grind of the playoffs.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (42-17)

Previous: 2

No two-man pairing with at least 300 minutes together has a better defensive rating than the Rudy Gobert-Naz Reid combo (94.5). With 548 shared minutes, keeping those two together has been pivotal in Minnesota quieting teams.

4. Denver Nuggets (40-19)

Previous: 5

The Nuggets have cooked teams inside the 3-point line lately. A league-high 56.4% of their February points are on 2-pointers, while they rank 27th in percentage of points from beyond the arc (30%).

5. Los Angeles Clippers (37-20)

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

Previous: 4

The Clippers have cooled off since their red-hot January, going just 6-5 with a negative net rating in February. Wednesday's collapse against the Lakers hurts, but at least they have a snazzy rebrand upcoming.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-20)

Previous: 6

Cleveland can thank Max Strus for helping it hold on to the No. 2 spot in the East, keeping Milwaukee at bay. His bonkers fourth quarter Tuesday versus Dallas culminated in an insane half-court game-winner.

7. Milwaukee Bucks (38-21)

Previous: 8

Is anyone going to remember Doc Rivers' slow start if the Bucks can play like they did while beating the full-strength Timberwolves on the road? Milwaukee has a title ceiling if it can unlock that level consistently.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (35-25)

Previous: 10

The Pelicans are 8-4 in February and making a push for home-court advantage. Since Feb. 1, New Orleans is second in the league in steals (8.3) and has the sixth-best defensive rating (112.4).

9. New York Knicks (35-24)

Previous: 7

Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks have provided exactly what the Knicks needed: 3-point shooting. While Burks is still adjusting, Bogdanovic is knocking down a scorching 43.6% of his shots from deep.

10. Dallas Mavericks (34-25)

Ron Jenkins / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous: 11

The Mavericks gave Doncic two play-finishers at the trade deadline in P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford. Since Feb. 8, Dallas has the ninth-best true shooting percentage in the league (59.4%).

11. Phoenix Suns (34-24)

Previous: 9

The Suns' Big Three has lived up to its billing now that they have a decent sample size together, outscoring opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions when all three are on the floor.

12. Miami Heat (33-25)

Previous: 15

Miami is riding a five-game winning streak. During that stretch, the Heat have the third-best defensive rating in the league and have held their opponents to under 100 points three times.

13. Sacramento Kings (33-25)

Previous: 12

Good luck understanding the Kings' February. Despite beating the Nuggets twice and notching a victory over the Clippers, they also lost at home to the Pistons. A bottom-10 defensive rating in the month probably doesn't help.

14. Orlando Magic (33-26)

Previous: 16

After many counted out the Magic during an ice-cold January, Orlando's won seven of its 10 games in February, putting the team in a decent position to compete for a top-six seed in the East.

15. Golden State Warriors (30-27)

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous: 18

The Warriors have won 11 of their last 14, but don't let that fool you: Seven of those wins were against teams currently outside the playoff picture, and two were against a shorthanded 76ers squad.

16. Philadelphia 76ers (33-25)

Previous: 13

Since Joel Embiid's last outing on Jan. 30, the 76ers have gone 4-8 - falling to sixth in the East standings. Sitting a hair above the play-in bracket, Philadelphia has to pull it together to avoid a lost season.

17. Indiana Pacers (34-26)

Previous: 14

Pascal Siakam has fit in seamlessly with the Pacers. Since arriving in Indiana, he's knocking down 39.3% of his 3-pointers, a drastic improvement from the 31.7% he was shooting from deep in Toronto.

18. Los Angeles Lakers (32-28)

Previous: 17

The Lakers can't ask for much more from Anthony Davis. Despite his injury history, the 30-year-old has missed just four games all season while playing some of the best two-way basketball of his career.

19. Chicago Bulls (28-31)

Previous: 20

The Bulls are play-in bound for a second straight season largely due to their dominance over the league's other sub-.500 teams: They're 14-2 in those outings, with both defeats at the hands of the Pistons.

20. Atlanta Hawks (26-32)

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous: 22

Trae Young being out the next month means it's unlikely the Hawks make the playoffs this season. Atlanta has a 16.5% chance of reaching the postseason, ranking 10th in the Eastern Conference.

21. Utah Jazz (27-32)

Previous: 19

Selling at the deadline gives the Jazz a shot to keep their upcoming first-rounder. Utah will have to send the Thunder their pick this season if it falls outside the top 10.

22. Houston Rockets (25-33)

Previous: 21

The Rockets might have realistic play-in aspirations were it not for their horrid form away from the Toyota Center. Their 5-22 road record ranks second-worst in the league, only better than the 5-25 Pistons.

23. Toronto Raptors (22-37)

Previous: 25

The Raptors pieced together a season-best three-game winning streak, and rookie Gradey Dick has made an impact, averaging 12.5 points across his last six games while shooting 54.2% from deep on 24 attempts.

24. Memphis Grizzlies (20-39)

Previous: 24

The shorthanded Grizzlies are 2-11 in their last 13 games and haven't given fans much to cheer about with a 7-22 record at home, an abnormal mark compared to their 13-17 road record.

25. Brooklyn Nets (22-36)

David Berding / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Previous: 23

The Jacque Vaughn era ended with a 50-point defeat in Boston. New head coach Kevin Ollie then debuted with a 28-point loss in Toronto, punctuated by 46 fast-break points from the hosts. The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

26. San Antonio Spurs (11-48)

Previous: 26

Other than Victor Wembanyama's sensational rookie campaign, there hasn't been much in the way of positives for a Spurs team that's won just one of its last 13 games.

27. Charlotte Hornets (15-43)

Previous: 27

Since the trade deadline, the revamped Hornets have played some of their best ball - winning five of their last seven contests. A strong finish to the season would be a refreshing change in Charlotte.

28. Portland Trail Blazers (15-42)

Previous: 28

In a truly abysmal display last Sunday, the Blazers lost 93-80 to the lowly Hornets and went 3-of-32 (9.4%) from deep. They now own the two lowest-scoring outings this season (scored 77 versus OKC in January).

29. Detroit Pistons (9-49)

Previous: 29

Despite an otherwise putrid season, the Pistons' acquisition of Simone Fontecchio seems to be paying off. Over seven contests with Detroit, he's averaging 15.1 points - including 42.2% shooting from deep.

30. Washington Wizards (9-49)

Previous: 30

The Wizards have lost 12 straight as part of a 3-24 skid and are nearing the franchise-record losing streak (16). They also have four of the five worst plus-minus marks in the league, with Kyle Kuzma ranking dead last (minus-482).

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