NBA Power Rankings – Devin Booker, Anthony Davis amongst stars stepping up massive

It’s crunch time within the NBA common season, as gamers on contenders battle by late-season fatigue to place their groups in the most effective place doable for the playoffs.

The Eastern Conference is at present a three-team race on the high between the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, with the younger postseason hopefuls of the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets a tier beneath.

The Denver Nuggets are the clear-cut favourite within the West in the meanwhile, with the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies nonetheless competing for the highest seed. But behind them is a nine-team race for the remaining playoff and play-in spots.

Missing from that race are NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who’re each rehabbing accidents and hope to return in time for the playoffs. But fortunate for James’ Los Angeles Lakers and Durant’s Phoenix Suns, Anthony Davis and Devin Booker are doing simply sufficient to make up for the absences of their famous person teammates. The Lakers hopped into the 9-seed final week and blew out the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday after spending many of the season exterior the play-in image, whereas the Suns are nonetheless holding onto the 4-seed and need to a minimum of declare home-court benefit for the primary spherical of the playoffs.

Note: Throughout the common season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk) is rating all 30 groups from high to backside, taking inventory of which groups are enjoying the most effective basketball and which groups are wanting most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2022-23 file: 50-19
Previous rating: 1

The Bucks already personal the most effective file within the league, they usually grew to become the primary crew to clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday night time due to a win over the Suns. But the most effective information of the week has been the subsequent step for Khris Middleton. He has began the previous 4 video games that he is performed in, and on Monday, he scored 31 factors and picked up 9 assists in his first 30-point efficiency since March 16, 2022. — Collier

2. Boston Celtics
2022-23 file: 47-22
Previous rating: 3

Monday’s loss to Houston was the newest severe signal of concern for Boston because the All-Star break. Over these 10 video games, the Celtics are a .500 crew that has ranked thirteenth in offense and seventeenth in protection. It’s protected to say that will not be adequate to get them again to the NBA Finals. — Bontemps

3. Philadelphia 76ers
2022-23 file: 45-22
Previous rating: 4

The Sixers want to enhance their protection; they’re twenty second in defensive ranking because the All-Star break. But the very fact Philadelphia ranks second in offense has allowed it to go 7-3 to start the second-half schedule — a stretch that was the league’s most tough, per ESPN’s BPI. With solely a few extra residence video games this month, it is not getting simpler anytime quickly. — Bontemps

4. Denver Nuggets
2022-23 file: 46-23
Previous rating: 2

The Nuggets have hit a tough patch for what appears like the primary time all season. They’ve dropped 4 straight for the primary time, together with a 21-point loss to Chicago, and their bench is struggling. They’ve constructed cushion for themselves within the standings, however this isn’t the time to lose steam. — Andrews

5. Cleveland Cavaliers
2022-23 file: 44-27
Previous rating: 5

With Darius Garland out for 2 of Cleveland’s previous three video games on account of a quad damage, Caris LeVert caught a rhythm within the beginning lineup. LeVert, who has been up and down in his time with the Cavs, has averaged 17.7 factors on 50% taking pictures in his previous three video games, with Cleveland going 2-1. — McMenamin

6. Sacramento Kings
2022-23 file: 40-27
Previous rating: 8

The Kings lastly secured 40 wins for the primary time since 2006. That fan over the summer time who predicted that is someplace shining as shiny because the laser beam exterior Golden 1 Center. Sacramento’s protection wants to enhance if the Kings wish to make a run within the playoffs. But if they’ll simply preserve outscoring their opponents, they is likely to be OK. — Andrews

7. Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 file: 41-26
Previous rating: 9

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Desmond Bane has dished out a minimum of 5 assists in 5 straight video games for the primary time in his profession, in response to ESPN Stats & Information information. That run coincides with Ja Morant’s absence, which has pressured Bane to imagine considerably extra facilitating duties. “It’s been an adjustment, for sure, but I definitely enjoy the opportunity,” mentioned Bane, who has averaged 21.2 factors and 6.4 assists within the five-game stretch. — MacMahon

8. Phoenix Suns
2022-23 file: 37-32
Previous rating: 6

It was a tough week for the Suns. First, throughout layup strains earlier than what was presupposed to be his residence debut with the franchise, Kevin Durant suffered a freak ankle damage that may sideline him for weeks. Then they misplaced three video games in a row, together with two straight to the earlier two league champs: Golden State and Milwaukee. The Warriors jumped on the Suns early, main by 22 factors after the primary quarter, whereas the Bucks killed them late, outscoring the Suns by 11 within the fourth in a recreation Phoenix misplaced by 12. — McMenamin

9. New York Knicks
2022-23 file: 41-30
Previous rating: 7

With a win at Portland on Tuesday night time, New York wrapped up a grueling stretch because the All-Star Break that noticed them take a West Coast journey and play 11 video games with out getting greater than a day without work in between any of them. Now, the Knicks come residence and get three days off earlier than internet hosting West-leading Denver on Saturday, as they attempt to wrest fifth place within the East away from the crosstown-rival Nets. — Bontemps

10. Golden State Warriors
2022-23 file: 36-33
Previous rating: 10

The Warriors are a conundrum. They are actually good at residence — closing out a good, time beyond regulation contest with a victory over the Bucks and almost blowing out the Suns. They’re play at residence is not their downside. It’s anyplace that is not Chase Center that’s the subject. The Warriors have received simply seven video games on the highway. Seven of their remaining 13 tilts are away video games. If they wish to stay out of the play-in — and make an precise postseason run — they’ve to determine how one can get wins away from San Francisco. — Andrews

11. Brooklyn Nets
2022-23 file: 39-30
Previous rating: 13

Mikal Bridges simply retains rising into extra of a star throughout his time with the Nets. He had 34 factors in 47 minutes throughout Friday’s time beyond regulation win versus the Timberwolves and posted one other 34 factors in Tuesday’s loss to the Thunder. His recreation continues to develop as the times go by in Brooklyn. — Friedell

12. LA Clippers
2022-23 file: 36-33
Previous rating: 15

Ten days in the past, the Clippers have been on the verge of a disastrous loss to Memphis earlier than Kawhi Leonard and Paul George got here to the rescue with a dominant fourth quarter. Now, they experience right into a rematch with the defending champion Warriors on a three-game successful streak, trying to reestablish themselves as contenders. Leonard is again to his pre-ACL-injury type, and George says he’s feeling more healthy. Russell Westbrook and the opposite new gamers are getting comfy as Ty Lue waits for Norman Powell to return from a shoulder damage to solidify his rotation. — Youngmisuk

13. Miami Heat
2022-23 file: 37-33
Previous rating: 11

Jimmy Butler is within the midst of the most effective post-All-Star-break stretch of his profession. He is averaging 26.6 factors, 6.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in March and continues to make massive performs when Miami wants them. The 33-year-old six-time All-Star must get some extra constant assist from his teammates down the stretch so as to get the Heat out of the play-in event. — Friedell

14. Dallas Mavericks
2022-23 file: 34-35
Previous rating: 14

“No one is dying,” coach Jason Kidd mentioned Monday night time after the Mavs’ ninth loss in 12 video games dropped them to below .500. That’s not precisely the type of vibes the Mavs hoped for after they made the Kyrie Irving commerce. A sliver of excellent information: There is hope that Irving (foot) and Luka Doncic (thigh) can return this week. Josh Green averaged 22 factors, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists within the two video games the All-Stars missed. — MacMahon

15. Minnesota Timberwolves
2022-23 file: 35-34
Previous rating: 12

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Minnesota’s protection has been wanting actually good, however its scoring — or lack thereof — has been problematic. Anthony Edwards averaged 32 factors within the Timberwolves’ two video games final week, however he did not get a lot assistance on the offensive finish. — Andrews

16. Los Angeles Lakers
2022-23 file: 34-35
Previous rating: 18

The Lakers’ recreation towards New Orleans on Tuesday was large on a few fronts: They got here into the night time with similar data and with L.A. up 2-1 within the season collection. The Lakers confirmed up, main by as many as 40, to go up a recreation on New Orleans and win a possible tiebreaker state of affairs. “We control our own destiny,” Anthony Davis mentioned afterward of L.A.’s postseason probabilities. “We got to keep winning basketball games.” — McMenamin

17. Oklahoma City Thunder
2022-23 file: 34-35
Previous rating: 23

Josh Giddey picked up his fourth triple-double of the season by placing up 15 factors, 13 rebounds and 10 assists towards the Nets on Tuesday night time. That’s the eighth triple-double of Giddey’s younger profession. And it is now the second most of any participant age 20 or youthful in NBA historical past. Giddey handed Magic Johnson (seven) on Tuesday, and he trails solely Luka Doncic, who had 21 triple-doubles earlier than turning 21. — Lopez

18. Atlanta Hawks
2022-23 file: 34-35
Previous rating: 16

Trae Young had 17 factors and 11 assists within the first half towards Boston on Saturday, the third time this season he has registered a minimum of 15 factors and 10 assists in a half. The remainder of the NBA mixed has accomplished it thrice. Young completed with 35 factors and 13 assists, giving him 30 profession video games with 35 factors and 10 assists. He is simply the seventh participant to succeed in that mark in NBA historical past. He additionally handed Tim Hardaway (120) along with his 121st recreation of 20 factors and 10 assists; solely Oscar Robertson (217) had extra in a participant’s first 5 seasons. — Lopez

19. New Orleans Pelicans
2022-23 file: 33-36
Previous rating: 20

The inconsistency of the Pelicans was on full show up to now week. After beating the Mavericks by seven final Wednesday, the Pelicans had two days off and adopted that up with a face-plant towards the Thunder, shedding by 14. The very subsequent night time, New Orleans took benefit of a Damian Lillard-less Trail Blazers squad and received by 17. However, Tuesday night time’s contest towards the Lakers noticed the crew down by a franchise-record 35 factors at halftime in what ended up being a 123-108 L.A. triumph.


20. Utah Jazz
2022-23 file: 33-36
Previous rating: 19

Rookie massive man Walker Kessler leads the league in blocks (3.8 per recreation) and ranks fourth in rebounding (12.6) because the All-Star break. Kessler is also averaging 11.3 factors and taking pictures 76.9% from the ground within the eight video games that he has performed because the break. — MacMahon

21. Toronto Raptors
2022-23 file: 33-36
Previous rating: 17

Toronto picked up a much-needed win at residence towards Denver on Tuesday night time, nevertheless it nonetheless sits in ninth place within the East with lower than a month to go within the common season. For a crew that is been ready for months to place an prolonged run collectively, now would not be a nasty time to start out. — Bontemps

22. Chicago Bulls
2022-23 file: 31-36
Previous rating: 25

After successful back-to-back video games, the Bulls have moved again into tenth place within the East. Chicago’s grip on the ultimate spot of the play-in event shall be examined, nevertheless, contemplating its subsequent 5 video games are towards groups preventing to remain within the high six of their convention — Sacramento, Minnesota, Miami and Philly (twice). — Collier

23. Washington Wizards
2022-23 file: 32-37
Previous rating: 22

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Washington acquired a must-win towards the Pistons due to Bradley Beal’s 36 factors, seven assists and 6 rebounds. The downside for the Wizards is that the one crew they have been in a position to beat up to now 12 days has been the lowly Pistons. The Wiz have dropped 5 of seven video games, with two of these important losses to Atlanta. And the subsequent two contests solely get more durable towards the Cavs and Kings. — Youngmisuk

24. Portland Trail Blazers
2022-23 file: 31-38
Previous rating: 21

The Blazers are going within the mistaken path and sinking out of play-in rivalry quick. They misplaced their fourth straight recreation to New York with out Jalen Brunson, they usually have dropped 9 of their previous 12. While Anfernee Simons returned lately, Damian Lillard goes to wish extra assist. Portland faces the Celtics subsequent and has two video games towards the Clippers, two towards Sacramento and conferences with Minnesota, Memphis and Golden State in its remaining 13 tilts. — Youngmisuk

25. Indiana Pacers
2022-23 file: 31-38
Previous rating: 24

Tyrese Haliburton has missed the previous two video games with a bruised left knee, and the Pacers have struggled all season when their All-Star has been unavailable. Indiana is 3-12 with out Haliburton within the lineup. — Collier

26. Orlando Magic
2022-23 file: 28-41
Previous rating: 26

Wendell Carter Jr. has put collectively two stable performances in a row after lacking three video games final week due to a hip damage. He made some massive performs in Saturday’s time beyond regulation win versus the Heat, scoring 27 factors and grabbing 11 rebounds in 42 minutes. He racked up one other double-double with 16 factors and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs. — Friedell

27. Charlotte Hornets
2022-23 file: 22-49
Previous rating: 27

Terry Rozier continues to place up some good numbers because the Hornets limp to the end line. The veteran guard is averaging 23.4 factors, 7.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds over his previous 5 outings. — Friedell

28. San Antonio Spurs
2022-23 file: 18-50
Previous rating: 29

When the Spurs defeated the Nuggets on Friday night time, it was one of many greatest upset wins of the season, in response to Caesars Sportsbook. The Spurs have been 12.5-point underdogs to the top-seeded Nuggets and got here away with a 128-120 triumph. San Antonio is also chargeable for the marketing campaign’s largest upset victory as 13.5-point underdogs to Philadelphia on Oct. 22. Against Denver, it was the primary time this season the Spurs received after trailing by 15 factors or extra; they’d misplaced their earlier 35 video games when trailing by a minimum of 15. — Lopez

29. Houston Rockets
2022-23 file: 16-52
Previous rating: 30

Rookie Jabari Smith Jr. is within the midst of by far the most effective stretch of his younger profession. He had one 20-point, 10-rebound efficiency this season earlier than his present streak of three in a row. Smith, 19, is the youngest participant in league historical past with three straight 20/10 video games. He has shot 61.4% from the ground and 62.5% from 3-point vary throughout that span, highlighted by a 9 of 11 total efficiency in Monday’s upset of the Celtics. — MacMahon

30. Detroit Pistons
2022-23 file: 16-54
Previous rating: 28

The Pistons picked up their first win in almost a month with a call over Indiana this week to snap an 11-game skid — earlier than shedding to the Wizards on the second night time of a back-to-back. — Collier