Dallas beat the Celtics this week, which ended Boston’s brief run at the top of the rankings
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best — or so the saying goes. That’s not always the case in regards to the NBA Power Rankings, as head-to-head matchups don’t always tell the whole story. They did this week, however, as Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks took down last week’s No. 1-ranked Boston Celtics to earn the crown for themselves.
The Mavs had a perfect week, capped by Spencer Dinwiddie’s game-winning 3-pointer to defeat the Brooklyn Nets, who also moved up several spots this week behind monumental scoring efforts from Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Moving back into the top five were the Golden State Warriors, who went 3-1 this week, including a convincing win over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, as they look to climb out of their recent funk.
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All those teams paled in comparison to the Toronto Raptors, however, who were this week’s biggest risers, jumping a whopping 11 spots into the top 10 on the heels of a five-game winning streak. On the opposite side, the Philadelphia 76ers were the biggest fallers after an embarrassing loss to the Nets in one of the most hyped games of the year, followed by another loss to Joel Embiid’s MVP competitor, Nikola Jokic, and the Denver Nuggets.
Here are this week’s NBA Power Rankings, with plenty of movement all around.
*Please keep in mind that our Power Rankings are based on the team’s performance the previous week, not the entire season.
|The Mavs started off their road trip this week with three straight wins, including impressive victories over the Celtics and Nets. Spencer Dinwiddie was the hero against his former Nets, hitting a ridiculous game-winning 3-pointer as time expired on Wednesday night. Luka Doncic was nothing short of spectacular this week, putting up 31 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game on 51/42/85 shooting splits.||5||43-26|
|The Celtics beat the Pistons and Warriors this week, with a three-point loss to Dallas in between. Despite the loss, the Celtics are still one of the hottest teams in the league, sparked by the elite defense that held opponents to 101.8 points per 100 possessions this week. Coming off an incredible scoring run, Jayson Tatum saw more double-teams this week, which forced Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to be more aggressive offensively. While both Tatum and Brown struggled from the field, Smart averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 assists per game on 53/50/92 shooting splits.||1||42-28|
|Devin Booker was back in the mix this week, helping the Suns to three wins in four games while averaging 28.8 points and 7.3 assists on 54/42/83 shooting splits. Mikal Bridges has taken on a larger offensive role with Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson out of the lineup, putting up 20.5 points per game this week on 53 percent 3-point shooting. It truly is “next man up” for the Suns, as Torrey Craig filled in for Jae Crowder in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s win over Houston and put up 21 points and 14 rebounds without missing a shot from the field, 3-point range or the free throw line.||—||56-14|
|The Bucks were blitzed by a clicking Warriors team on Saturday, and then received some good news when Brook Lopez suited up for his first games since the opening week of the season. Lopez averaged 4.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 30 total minutes in wins over the Jazz and Kings, but the numbers are secondary to the impact he’ll make on both ends once he gets back into playing shape. Khris Middleton put up 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on 7-for-10 3-point shooting in the win over Sacramento.||2||44-26|
|Ja Morant averaged 27 points and nine assists for the first two Grizzlies wins this week, then he watched his teammates drop 135 points as he sat out during a win over the Pacers. Memphis is now 13-2 without Morant this season, underscoring its deep, talented, well-coached roster. Adding to the wealth of riches, Dillon Brooks saw his first game action since before Christmas this week, putting up 12.5 points and four assists in two games.||3||48-22|
|Steve Kerr said that the Warriors looked “more like us” this week, with wins over the Nuggets, Bucks and Wizards before a loss to the Celtics which Steph Curry left early due to a foot issue. Golden State will pray he’s OK, as Draymond Green just returned to the lineup after a 31-game absence and looked great in his debut. Klay Thompson scored a season-high 38 points in the win over Milwaukee and Jordan Poole has taken the Warriors offense to a new level recently, averaging 25 points this week on 55/47/80 shooting splits.||5||47-23|
|The red-hot Wolves surprisingly lost to the Magic to start the week, but got right back on the winning track against the Heat, Spurs and Lakers. Karl-Anthony Towns set franchise records with 60 total points and 32 third-quarter points in the win over San Antonio. The Wolves have now won nine of their last 10 games with Towns leading the way. Anthony Edwards, who had just five points in Towns’ 60-point game, scored 27 on 6-for-11 3-point shooting in Wednesday’s win over the Lakers.||2||41-30|
|Miami beat the Cavs and Pistons this week, while losing to the Wolves without Jimmy Butler. Victor Oladipo continued to get his feet wet in two more games this week, averaging 3.5 points in almost 18 minutes per game. Butler, who had been nursing a toe injury, returned for just 18 minutes against the Pistons before leaving with a sprained ankle.||4||46-24|
|Big week for the Raptors, who finished their Western Conference road trip at 5-0 after wins over the Suns, Nuggets, Lakers and Clippers this week. It’s a huge boost in both the standings and morale, as OG Anunoby gets closer to a return. In the meantime, Pascal Siakam has been an absolute animal, averaging 29 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game for the week on 53 percent 3-point shooting. Rookie Scottie Barnes has been excellent as well, putting up 19 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game this week.||11||39-30|
|Kyrie Irving scored 60 points in a game this week. Oh yeah, Kevin Durant also scored 53 points in a game this week. This team is absolutely devastating offensively when they’re whole. They’re vulnerable when they’re not whole, however, as evidenced by their last-second home loss to the Mavs on Wednesday with Irving prohibited from playing. Outside of the Big Two, Bruce Brown has played very well of late, averaging 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists this week.||6||36-34|
|Denver lost to the Warriors and Raptors to start the week, then turned around to beat the 76ers and Wizards. Nikola Jokic won the matchup of potential MVPs against Joel Embiid, notching 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Jokic averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the week, while Bones Hyland put up 16.3 points per game on 52 percent 3-point shooting.||4||42-28|
|The 76ers received a wake-up call this week, being blown out by the Nets, barely surviving against the Magic, then losing to the Nuggets before beating the Cavs on Wednesday. Philly fans are hoping that James Harden’s no-show against his former team was merely a blip on the radar, and not a portent of things to come this postseason. Joel Embiid continued his push for MVP, averaging 32.8 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists this week on 57 percent 3-point shooting.||7||42-26|
|The Jazz beat the Kings and Bulls this week, while losing to the Spurs and Bucks. Donovan Mitchell averaged 28.8 points and 6.3 assists for the week, while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. He went off for 37 points on 9 of 15 3-point shooting in the win over Chicago. Jordan Clarkson set a new career high with 45 points in the win over Sacramento, and averaged 24 points for the week.||3||43-26|
|The struggles continue for the Bulls, who scored just 104.7 points per 100 possessions in a 1-2 week. The bright spot was the return of Alex Caruso, who has already made a tremendous defensive impact in three games back from a broken wrist. Zach LaVine has been in and out of the lineup with an ongoing knee issue, but he averaged 30 points in the two games he played this week on 41 percent 3-point shooting.||2||41-28|
|Charlotte put together a modest three-game win streak with victories over the Pelicans, Thunder and Hawks this week. Terry Rozier kept up his incredible offensive performance, averaging 24.3 points and 4.7 assists this week on 55/45/80 shooting splits. Miles Bridges also caught fire, averaging 23.7 points this week on 61 percent 3-point shooting.||4||35-35|
|The Hawks rattled off a quick three-game winning streak to start the week before Wednesday’s loss the Hornets, who were able to bottle up Trae Young after he’d averaged 46.5 points over his last two games. De’Andre Hunter also stepped up, averaging 17 points on 48 percent 3-pointers with John Collins missing three games this week.||1||34-35|
|The banged-up Cavs just aren’t equipped to handle top-tier teams right now, as losses to the Heat, Bulls and 76ers this week would indicate. They did manage to beat the Clippers in overtime, however, with Evan Mobley scoring a career-high 30 points. Darius Garland struggled from the field this week as one of the team’s only offensive shot creators, but still put up 23.8 points and 9.3 assists per game.||4||39-30|
|The Clippers’ only win this week came against the Pistons, with losses to the Hawks, Cavs and Raptors. They’re almost always competitive, but the Clippers have just run out of firepower recently. Marcus Morris averaged 22 points in three games, while Ivica Zubac continues to have a strong March, putting up 16 points, 12 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this week.||4||36-36|
|The Knicks went 1-2 this week, but the losses were by four to the Grizzlies and by three to the Nets before they beat the Blazers by 30. Julius Randle led the team with 27.3 points per game, to go along with 8.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists, while RJ Barrett continued his strong season by averaging 26 points per game this week. The standings may not show it, but the Knicks are certainly playing more inspired basketball these days.||2||29-40|
|The Spurs upset the Jazz to start the week (which gave Gregg Popovich sole possession of first place on the all-time NBA coaching wins list) then beat the Thunder, while losing to the Pacers and Wolves. They gave up 60 points to Karl-Anthony Towns in the loss to Minnesota, almost as much as San Antonio’s top two scorers combined. Dejounte Murray’s numbers are bordering on obscene, averaging 27.7 points, 9.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 steals in three games this week. Lonnie Walker IV hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds against OKC, and averaged 18.3 points for the week on 40 percent from behind the arc.||5||27-43|
|The Pelicans kept sputtering along without Brandon Ingram, going 1-2 this week with a win over the Rockets. Fortunately CJ McCollum returned this week, putting up 21 points in Tuesday’s loss to the Suns, but the heat that New Orleans was generating leading into the break has dissipated. Pressed into extra playing time, rookie Trey Murphy III scored a career-high 32 points on 7-for-12 3-point shooting in a loss to the Hornets.||3||28-41|
|The Kings lost to the Jazz and the Bucks, with a solid win over the Bulls in between. They allowed an average of 134.5 points in the losses, but clamped down to give up just 103 to Chicago. De’Aaron Fox has been excellent offensively, averaging 32 points and eight assists this week, while Domantas Sabonis returned to the lineup to put up 22 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists in two games.||1||25-46|
|LeBron James started off the Lakers’ week on a high note, dropping 50 points for the second time in three games in a win over the Wizards. But things went downhill rapidly from there, barely putting up a fight in losses to the Suns, Raptors and Wolves. The offense is pretty much hopeless unless James goes ballistic, and the defense seems lost beyond repair. Russell Westbrook shot 37 percent from the field this week and got clowned by opponents on more than one occasion. Things aren’t great in L.A. — the understatement of the century — but there is at least still hope that Anthony Davis could return for a potential play-in game.||1||29-40|
|The Magic started off the week with an impressive win over the red-hot Timberwolves, then forced overtime in a loss to the 76ers before allowing 150 points to the Nets, including 60 to Kyrie Irving alone. Wendell Carter Jr. averaged 20.3 points and 10 rebounds for the week, and he’s registered double-doubles in nine of his last 11 games. Cole Anthony averaged 17.7 points, six rebounds and 5.3 assists on 44 percent 3-point shooting.||3||18-52|
|The Pacers beat the Spurs this week before losses to the Hawks and Grizzlies. Indiana allowed over 130 points in each of the losses, a troubling defensive trend that’s carried through basically the entire season. Duane Washington Jr. continues to be a pleasant surprise, averaging 18 points this week on 50 percent 3-point shooting, while Tyrese Haliburton led the charge with 16 points and 9.3 assists per game on 46 percent 3-point shooting.||3||23-47|
|The Blazers were in line for another winless week, but Josh Hart had to go and mess it all up with a career-high 44 points in a win over the Wizards. Despite its best efforts, Portland is well within striking distance of one of the final two play-in spots, though it certainly seems like the ship is headed in the opposite direction. Trendon Watford has been a great story of the late-season tankathon, and he averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks this week on 52 percent shooting.||4||26-42|
|Ugly week for the Wizards, who gave up an average of 126 points in losses to the Lakers, Blazers, Warriors and Nuggets. Kristaps Porzingis is having a tough time settling in offensively, averaging 18.3 points in three games this week on just 42 percent shooting, including 1 for 10 from 3-point range. Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each put up 15 points per game this week, but it wasn’t nearly enough with Washington’s porous defense.||6||29-39|
|The Pistons’ hot streak came to an end this week with losses to three tough opponents: the Celtics, Clippers and Heat. Cade Cunningham missed the loss to Miami due to illness, but continued his impressive post-All-Star break production by averaging 25 points, 8.5 rebounds and eight assists in the other two games. Marvin Bagley has looked good since coming over from Sacramento, putting up 16 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this week on 60 percent shooting.||4||18-51|
|Three more losses this week bring OKC’s streak to seven games, with no end in sight — though it did take a game-winning 3-pointer from Lonnie Walker for the Spurs to beat them on Wednesday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the only reason the Thunder have at least been competitive recently, averaging 32.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists this week on 57 percent shooting. Darius Bazley is also going through a hot stretch, putting up 26.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this week on 42 percent 3-point shooting.||—||20-49|
|The Rockets lost three more games this week, none of which were particularly close. The offense has gone ice cold, with Jalen Green leading the way with 16.7 points per game this week on 51/46/80 shooting splits. Christian Wood averaged a double-double in two games this week, but overall Houston has gotten back to usual after two wins last week.||4||17-52|