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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks, Heat showing they are title contenders as 76ers, Jazz flop

Chinmay Vaidya updates his 2022 NBA power rankings.

Dallas Mavericks v Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Fiserv Forum on April 03, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

We’ve reached the final week of a long, grueling 2021-22 NBA regular season filled with plenty of twists and turns. There was the hot start from the Golden State Warriors, followed by a steady ascent from the Phoenix Suns. The league’s health and safety protocols were overwhelmed in the winter months, but eventually the surge subsided. The Boston Celtics made an amazing switch with 32 games left and have the look of a contender. And the Los Angeles Lakers continue to flounder in what is one of the worst seasons for the storied franchise.

In the final regular season edition of the power rankings, it’s best to look at which teams have set themselves up for playoff success. The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks jump out as obvious contenders with impressive stretches lately. Since their four-game losing streak, Heat have knocked off the red-hot Celtics and the feisty Chicago Bulls en route to nearly locking up the East’s No. 1 seed. The Bucks had big wins over the 76ers and Nets to show why they’re still considered by many to be the favorites to win it all.

Philadelphia has not had a good week. The loss to Milwaukee was bad enough, but to follow it up with a loss to the Detroit Pistons compounded problems. The 76ers have failed to meet massive expectations before and with James Harden in town, there are no more excuses this season. On the flip side, the Utah Jazz have been underwhelming after capturing the West’s No. 1 seed a year ago. Utah is 2-6 in the last eight games with the wins coming against the Knicks and Lakers. Not exactly the type of momentum you want with the playoffs approaching.

Here’s a look at the full power rankings.

NBA Power Rankings

Rank Team Previous Rank
Rank Team Previous Rank
1 Phoenix Suns 1
2 Miami Heat 2
3 Milwaukee Bucks 7
4 Boston Celtics 4
5 Memphis Grizzlies 5
6 Golden State Warriors 6
7 Dallas Mavericks 8
8 Denver Nuggets 11
9 Philadelphia 76ers 3
10 Chicago Bulls 10
11 Toronto Raptors 13
12 Utah Jazz 9
13 Brooklyn Nets 14
14 Minnesota Timberwolves 12
15 Cleveland Cavaliers 15
16 Atlanta Hawks 17
17 Los Angeles Clippers 18
18 Charlotte Hornets 16
19 New Orleans Pelicans 19
20 Washington Wizards 21
21 New York Knicks 20
22 San Antonio Spurs 22
23 Los Angeles Lakers 23
24 Sacramento Kings 25
25 Indiana Pacers 24
26 Detroit Pistons 27
27 Orlando Magic 28
28 Portland Trail Blazers 26
29 Oklahoma City Thunder 29
30 Houston Rockets 30