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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks reclaim the throne

Stan Son updates his 2021-22 NBA power rankings.

New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champions and do not need to prove anything in the regular season. With 15 games left, and the top seed for the Eastern Conference still up for grabs, it looks like the Bucks have begun to make their move. They’ve won their last six games with three impressive wins over Miami, Chicago and Phoenix.

The Boston Celtics are the little engine that could. Written off as true contenders for much of the season, they’ve continued to grind their way up the standings. The calling card has been the defense, as they are first in defensive rating, but the offense has ticked up to 14th-best. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can go for 40 points on any given night. They took care of Memphis by 13 points three games ago.

The Golden State Warriors continue to tumble down the rankings. They’ve lost nine of their last 12 games. Losing to the Lakers right now constitutes an automatic drop of three spots in the rankings. On the season, they are second in defensive rating, but over this recent stretch, they are 24th.

The Chicago Bulls also tumble as their record against the top teams is no bueno. Against MIA, PHI, MIL, BOS, CLE, PHX, GS, MEM, DAL and DEN, their record is a combined 5-17. While they have no problems scoring, the 21st defensive rating is an issue. They’ve lost five of the last six with the only win coming against the Pistons. Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee and Philadelphia all were victorious over Chicago.

The Portland Trail Blazers fall the furthest down the rankings, dropping seven spots. They’ve lost six straight and have the worst offensive and defensive ratings over that span. The 92.9 offensive rating is far below the second-worst at 102.6. They have scored fewer than 90 points in two of those games and went over 100 only once. All six of their opponents scored at least 120 points with two over 130. Anfernee Simons, who garners a usage rate of over 30%, missed two games. Here’s the starting lineup from Wednesday’s contest: Drew Eubanks, Elijah Hughes, Brandon Williams, Josh Hart and CJ Elleby. Well, okay then. I really should drop them lower. Maybe next week.

NBA Power Rankings: Week 24

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

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