NBA

March 11, 2019, 8:58 pm

Power Rankings: Has Oracle stopped being scary?

The Warriors are dropping games all over the schedule, including at home to the Suns, Celtics and Rockets. Has Golden State stopped being scary? And are teams walking into Oracle with confidence? We consider it in this week's Power Rankings.

Power Rankings: Has Oracle stopped being scary?
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We are astir a calendar month away from the playoffs so I hope all body is at the ready for a truly aggravated next four weeks.

As some teams come to the realisation that their time period will be dressed on April 10, others are inactive active to see the posttime period and at least four more games until summer.

This seems like the clean time of the year to be obnoxiously componentless astir what is active on with all body.

In this week’s Power Rankings, I’ll use five words to explicate what’s on with all team at this component in the time period. To make sure none of the jokes go over anybody’s head and the becoming intricacies of each state of affairs are becomingly componented out, I’ll elaborate on why each set of five words was chosen for a team.

Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

30. Knicks | Last Week: 0-4 | Overall: 13-54 | Previous Ranking: 30

James, this is your hill?

This is what happens when you tell James Dolan to sell the Knicks pic.twitter.com/AIeJ70G8GQ

— PinPoint (@SportsPinPoint) March 10, 2019

James Dolan gets a lot of crap from a lot of different directions. Not all of it is fair. But throwing people out of MSG whenever he can is not the way to make people want to be nicer to him.

I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have people in the stands and media and former players of the team asking for him to sell his family business. It would get to anybody after a while.

But you know what else should have angered James Dolan to the component where he has to throw people out of the Garden? Watching the Knicks play basketball during his tenure as owner. Sure, some of the criticism toward Dolan is misguided and or unnecessarily rude. And to a certain extent, that should not be tolerated. But at the component where one of the best time periods in the last 20 years involves the team having the worst record in the league, maybe you should give spectators a little bit more leeway when they want to vent astir the billionaire who only seems somewhat interested in giving them a fun team to watch.

Dolan isn’t active anywhere anytime soon, and yelling at him to sell the squad isn’t active to expedite that process in the slightest. But active forward, maybe Dolan could lighten up with the expulsions and bans from the stadium. Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk.

29. Cavaliers | Last Week: 0-2 | Overall: 16-50 | Previous Ranking: 26

Does Tristan even hoop now?

I’m honestly impressed that Thompson hasn’t played a game since Jan. 16 but is inactive the only Cavalier who has been mentioned by national media since J.R. Smith went away. I’m sure he would rather not be mentioned by the people who are talking astir him, but all press is good press.

28. Lakers | Last Week: 0-3 | Overall: 30-36 | Previous Ranking: 27

Playoff intensity, activated. Just kidding.

So, year one of the LeBron era in L.A. is wrapping up in the worst way possible. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are injured and a loss to the Clippers was the final nail in the coffin of this team’s playoff hopes. But at least LeBron passed Jordan on the scoring list. That was actually truly awesome. It’s just a shame it had to happen during the darkest part of the time period.

27. Mavericks | Last Week: 0-4 | Overall: 27-39 | Previous Ranking: 22

Can Luka hold off Trae?

The Mavericks have lost 10 of their last 11 after getting to 26-29. Far from ideal.

With all the losing, and the Hawks playing some of their most amusing ball of the time period right now, there’s a chance Luka Doncic loses his stronghold on Rookie of the Year. So this last calendar month should be dedicated to getting Dirk past Wilt on the scoring list and locking up Luka’s rookie honor. It’s all this team has left.

26. Bulls | Last Week: 1-3 | Overall: 19-49 | Previous Ranking: 25

Maybe Otto is the answer.

Since trading for Otto Porter the Bulls have gone 7-7. In the 12 games Porter has played for Chicago, the team is 7-5 and he is averaging 18.3 components while shooting 49.2% from three. The Bulls have gotten the most out of their state of affairs since acquiring Porter and changing coaches.

25. Suns | Last Week: 3-1 | Overall: 16-52 | Previous Ranking: 29

Time to let them hang.

The Suns are in the midst of their best stretch of the time period, active 5-2 in their last seven. After wins over the Bucks and Warriors last week and with Deandre Ayton continuing to improve throughout the time period, opposing teams aren’t as happy to see Phoenix on the schedule as they were back in January.

24. Wizards | Last Week: 1-2 | Overall: 27-39 | Previous Ranking: 24

“Bradley and Bobby” sounds fun.

Since Bobby Portis arrived in Washington, he is the only Wizard not named Bradley Beal to lead the team in scoring. With John Wall on the shelf for a full year at least, Bradley and Bobby make up the duo the Wizards will rely on if they want to make the end of this time period entertaining, and get back in the playoffs next time period.

23. Pelicans | Last Week: 1-3 | Overall: 30-39 | Previous Ranking: 21

This is how it ends.

With Anthony Davis just taking up space on the bench until he finally gets a new team in the offtime period. And with Jrue Holiday currently banged up. The Pelicans will now be without both of their All-Stars for the second half of most games during the next week.

It just feels weird. Players have requested trades before, but this has a different level of ominousness around it.

Monday’s win in Utah featured an impressive fourth quarter comeback that gave Pelicans fans something to enjoy while also reminding them astir how useless this time period ended up being.

Overcoming a double-digit deficit on the road against one of the league’s hottest teams should be a big moment for any team. Instead, it just comes off as odd that New Orleans came out victorious against a playoff team and it makes more people question what went wrong for the Jazz that night than what went right for the Pelicans.

Part of what’s active right for New Orleans is that the defense has been doing better compared to the rest of the league of recent. While the league average for scoring has gone up, the Pelicans are one of few teams that have seen its defensive rating improve since the start of 2019.

And it’s that type of improvement, similar to the game against Utah and the growth of Frank Jackson, that makes this time period even more sad and gray. It isn’t until after we are sure that Anthony Davis needs to go in the summer and this team won’t make the playoffs that it decides to get better and remind us of why we thought it could be a fun playoff squad this time period.

22. Grizzlies | Last Week: 3-0 | Overall: 28-40 | Previous Ranking: 28

They will make you work.

It’s been a while since the Grizzlies had a week like this. Over their last seven games, Memphis is 5-2 and the two losses are by a combined six components. Ask the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Magic if teams competing for the playoffs should expect to get a win over the Grizzlies right now.

21. Hornets | Last Week: 1-2 | Overall: 30-36 | Previous Ranking: 19

Slowly but steadily slipping away.

Charlotte has dropped to 10th in the East standings and there’s a good chance that is where this team finishes. The Hornets have gone 4-10 after improving to .500 at 26-26 on Feb. 2. and now they’ll enter the meat of a four-game road trip as they continue to slide.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

20. Hawks | Last Week: 1-3 | Overall: 23-45 | Previous Ranking: 20

Trae is our new leader.

Trae Young: 23 PTS, 11 AST, 10 REB in 29 MINS
1st @ATLHawks rookie w/ a triple-double! @TheTraeYoung's best games so far
49 PTS, 16 AST, 8 REB
36 PTS, 10 AST
36 PTS, 8 AST
35 PTS, 11 AST
30 PTS, 10 AST
25 PTS, 17 AST
24 PTS, 15 AST
22 PTS, 14 ASTpic.twitter.com/lk0HWeE4nW

— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 10, 2019

Trae Young from the bench pic.twitter.com/4CxlVEEEK3

— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) March 10, 2019

Trae Young has been one of the best scorers in the league since the break. He’s averaging more than 26 components and shooting above 41% from three during those 10 games. There might be too much ground to make up, but Young is at least active to give voters something to think astir when it’s time to pick Rookie of the Year.

Young has proved his worth as a passer from the second this time period started, but his poor shooting at the onset left it open for debate just how lethal of a player he could be. His freshman year at Oklahoma gave people hope he could be the league’s next Steph, but a poor finish to the year affirmed the possibility that maybe people would catch on to him, and his shot, and shot selection in particular, would not translate well to the pros. But his three-component percentage has risen from the doldrums to a moderately respectful 33% for the year after he started getting hot in February. Now seems like a good time to think Trae Young might have what it takes to become an All-Star at this level if not a superstar.

19. Timberwolves | Last Week: 3-1 | Overall: 32-35 | Previous Ranking: 23

KAT’s astir to get PAID.

Since returning from a near fatal car accident, Karl-Anthony Towns has been a man amongst boys. He’s gone for 40 three times since missing the first two games of his career. And that dominance paired with Anthony Davis being sat down the stretch could easily be what gets Towns onto third team All-NBA. And that means his contract extension will be much more lucrative as he becomes eligible to take advantage of the Rose Rule. He should probably take AD out to dinner if this does happen.

18. Magic | Last Week: 1-2 | Overall: 31-37 | Previous Ranking: 17

Google at your own risk.

If the Magic make the playoffs, Evan Fournier is active to be a big reason why. His scoring has gone up since February and he’s shooting just below 50% from three five games into March. His last two games though, have been disapcomponenting at best. But he’s got three opponents this week that should give him the chance to get back on track.

17. Heat | Last Week: 3-1 | Overall: 31-35 | Previous Ranking: 18

Avoided getting swept by Hawks.

Miami is now holding down the eight seed and a big part of that is starting off last week with a win over the Hawks. The subsequent win over the Hornets will likely be more significant if Miami does make the posttime period, but avoiding a sweep against the division’s worst team has to be good for the mind at this time of the time period.

16. Kings | Last Week: 2-1 | Overall: 33-32 | Previous Ranking: 13

Not now. Not like this.

Despite having a winning record this week, the Kings lost ground on the eighth seed and appear to be looking more and more like the lottery team with the best record. There is inactive hope for Sacramento to reach the posttime period, but for the sake of my heart, I’m active to avoid holding onto that dream and will instead just hope the squad finishes above .500. Even if the Clippers keep them out the playoffs, this time period was inactive fun.

15. Pacers | Last Week: 1-2 | Overall: 42-25 | Previous Ranking: 11

No Dipo? More Bojan, please.

Without Victor Oladipo, the Pacers have gotten additional contributions from all body across the board. But Bojan Bogdanovic has been the guy who’s taken over the bulk of the scoring responsibilities. If Bogdanovic has an extra gear left in him, Indiana will at least give us another seven-game first-round series this playoffs. If he has anything more, he could be the reason the Celtics or Sixers spend the whole offtime period angry.

14. Nets | Last Week: 3-0 | Overall: 35-33 | Previous Ranking: 14

Reversing sail at right time.

This time last week, the Nets had lost nine of their last 13 games. Now? They are winners of five of their last eight just ahead of a pivotal meeting with the Pistons. It’s probably also a big plus that Spencer Dinwiddie is coming off back-to-back 20-component games.

13. Spurs | Last Week: 3-0 | Overall: 38-29 | Previous Ranking: 15

What if they get Denver?

Michael Malone is likely active to be the only playoff coach in the West who hasn’t won a playoff series. It would be a real shame if he had to play the coach with the second-best playoff winning-percentage of all time. Especially considering how hot Gregg Popovich’s team has been the last two weeks while gearing up for the playoff push.

12. Celtics | Last Week: 3-0 | Overall: 41-26 | Previous Ranking: 16

Does anybody understand this team?

Since this tweet, Gordon Hayward has shot 24-for-34, put up 30 in Oracle and hit a game-winner in Sacramento. Apparently, all this team needed was a cross-country flight to get its head on right. That, and for one of its All-Stars to add more than 11 components per game.

GORDON HAYWARD HANGS AND WINS IT FOR THE @CELTICS! #CUSRISE pic.twitter.com/8njkqP7IxQ

— NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2019

11. Pistons |  Last Week: 3-0 | Overall: 34-31 | Previous Ranking: 12

Ish. Ish! Ish? Ish!? ISH!

Ish Smith shows off the handle!

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