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Scott Cullen

TSN.ca Analytics

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A major injury has taken some steam away from the Golden State Warriors, so the San Antonio Spurs have taken over top spot in the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings.

Other teams moving up include the healthy Clippers and the resurgent Heat. The Nuggets, Mavericks and Suns also climbed.

Falling down the rankings, the Grizzlies, Pacers, Bulls and Kings have dropped heading into the stretch run.

1.    SAN ANTONIO SPURS 52-15
THIS WEEK: 1 LAST WEEK: 2

PPG: 106.5 PAPG: 98.5 DIFF: +8.0 
FG%: .473 FG% D: .442 
The Spurs have won 11 of 13 and since they are healthier (with PF LaMarcus Aldridge quickly back from an absence due to heart arrhythmia), they’re currently the top team. First time this season it hasn’t been the Warriors.
Key Injuries: PG Tony Parker (back).

2.    GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 53-14
THIS WEEK: 2 LAST WEEK: 1

PPG: 116.1 PAPG: 105.3 DIFF: +10.8  
FG%: .490 FG% D: .438
With no Kevin Durant, the Warriors are certainly vulnerable, as losing five of eight might attest. Rookie Patrick McCaw has moved into the starting lineup, but he’s shooting 38.1% from the field in March.  
Key Injuries: SF Kevin Durant (knee).

3.    HOUSTON ROCKETS 47-21
THIS WEEK: 3 LAST WEEK: 3

PPG: 115.5 PAPG: 108.1 DIFF: +7.4 
FG%: .463 FG% D: .461 
11-4 in the past 15 games, the Rockets are riding MVP-favourite James Harden, but how about C Clint Capela? He’s averaging 15.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in March. That’ll do.
Key Injuries: None.

4.    CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 44-22
THIS WEEK: 4 LAST WEEK: 4

PPG: 111.0 PAPG: 106.5 DIFF: +4.5 
FG%: .470 FG% D: .454 
A funny thing is happening on the way to the automatic Golden State-Cleveland rematch in the Finals. The Cavs have lost six of the past 10 games and while it might be a swoon during the dog days of the season, the Cavs aren’t a lock for the Finals playing like this.
Key Injuries: PF Kevin Love (knee), SF Kyle Korver (foot).

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Rudy Gobert is a force in the middle for the Jazz.

5.    UTAH JAZZ 43-25
THIS WEEK: 5 LAST WEEK: 6

PPG: 100.7 PAPG: 96.4 DIFF: +4.3 
FG%: .465 FG% D: .441 
Six wins in the past seven games for a Jazz team that has been quietly very good all season. C Rudy Gobert has been an efficient offensive contributor this month, shooting 75% from the field and generating 1.87 points per shot.
Key Injuries: PF Derrick Favors (knee), PG Shelvin Mack (ankle).

6.    BOSTON CELTICS 43-25
THIS WEEK: 6 LAST WEEK: 5

PPG: 107.6 PAPG: 105.1 DIFF: +2.5 
FG%: .454 FG% D: .453 
With a 6-6 record in the past dozen games, the Celtics aren’t in a position to gain rankings ground, but they remain an interesting challenger to Cleveland in the East. Rookie wing Jaylen Brown is taking on a bigger role too, averaging 10.9 points per game on 53.6% shooting in the past 11 games.
Key Injuries: None.

7.    LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS 40-28
THIS WEEK: 7 LAST WEEK: 10

PPG: 107.6 PAPG: 104.8 DIFF: +2.8 
FG%: .469 FG% D: .451 
The Clips are healthy, finally, but they’re also just 5-7 in the past 12 games. They could use more from PF Blake Griffin, who is shooting 43.8% from the field in March.
Key Injuries: None.

8.    WASHINGTON WIZARDS 41-26
THIS WEEK: 8 LAST WEEK: 7

PPG: 109.0 PAPG: 106.9 DIFF: +2.1 
FG%: .475 FG% D: .463 
The Wizards had been super-hot, but they’ve lost back-to-back games (to Minnesota and Dallas) after escaping with OT wins at Portland and Sacramento. Mix in a foot injury for PG John Wall and this could be a crucial point of the season.
Key Injuries: None.

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Norman Powell is taking on a bigger role for the Raptors.

9.    TORONTO RAPTORS 39-28
THIS WEEK: 9 LAST WEEK: 9

PPG: 107.2 PAPG: 103.4 DIFF: +3.8 
FG%: .462 FG% D: .452 
It may not feel like everything is going okay while PG Kyle Lowry is injured, but the Raptors have won six of 10, and they’re getting a look at some others on the perimeter, including Norman Powell (averaging 14.7 points per game in March) and Delon Wright, who has been efficient in a limited, but increasing, role.
Key Injuries: PG Kyle Lowry (wrist), SF DeMarre Carroll (ankle).

10.    OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 38-29
THIS WEEK: 10 LAST WEEK: 11

PPG: 106.6 PAPG: 106.2 DIFF: +0.4 
FG%: .452 FG% D: .460 
Doug McDermott hasn’t really added the shooting threat that the Thunder might have hoped, but Taj Gibson has been a solid addition to the big rotation. Still, the Thunder have had Russell Westbrook averaging 27.7 field goal attempts in March, even while shooting just 39.7% from the field, and that limits their upside.
Key Injuries: None.

11.    MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 38-30
THIS WEEK: 11 LAST WEEK: 8

PPG: 101.3 PAPG: 100.6 DIFF: +0.7 
FG%: .435 FG% D: .443 
The Grizz had lost five straight before back-to-back wins, and their bigs – notably Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph – are struggling a bit, both averaging under 1.10 points per shot this month.
Key Injuries: SF Chandler Parsons (knee).

12.    MIAMI HEAT 33-35
THIS WEEK: 12 LAST WEEK: 18

PPG: 102.6 PAPG: 101.8 DIFF: +0.8 
FG%: .453 FG% D: .447 
Miami’s turnaround is one of the most remarkable stories in the NBA. After starting the year 11-30, they have gone 22-5 and their bench brigade led by Wayne Ellington, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson has been impressive – all three have averaged better than 12 points per game in March.
Key Injuries: None.

13.    ATLANTA HAWKS 37-30
THIS WEEK: 13 LAST WEEK: 12

PPG: 103.9 PAPG: 104.4 DIFF: -0.5 
FG%: .457 FG% D: .447 
6-8 in the past 14 games, the Hawks’ lack of depth is an issue, though they have to be hoping that recently-signed PG Jose Calderon can be a useful part of the rotation down the stretch.
Key Injuries: None.

14.    MILWAUKEE BUCKS 33-34
THIS WEEK: 14 LAST WEEK: 16

PPG: 104.8 PAPG: 104.3 DIFF: +0.5 
FG%: .477 FG% D: .458 
Seven wins in the past eight games has pushed the Bucks back into playoff position. The presence of Khris Middleton, averaging 14.2 points per game since coming back from injury, has helped.
Key Injuries: SF Jabari Parker (knee).

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Nikola Jokic has turned into a star, suddenly, for the Nuggets.

15.    DENVER NUGGETS 32-35
THIS WEEK: 15 LAST WEEK: 20

PPG: 111.0 PAPG: 110.7 DIFF: +0.3
FG%: .467 FG% D: .478 
Six wins in the past eight games keeps the Nuggets in a playoff spot, and the star turn by C Nikola Jokic does make them an intriguing underdog if they can play any kind of D in the postseason.
Key Injuries: PF Kenneth Faried (back).

16.    DETROIT PISTONS 33-35
THIS WEEK: 16 LAST WEEK: 14

PPG: 101.9 PAPG: 102.4 DIFF: -0.5 
FG%: .453 FG% D: .461 
The Pistons aren’t particularly efficient, but there might be an easy enough way to improve upon that – give leading scorer Tobias Harris more looks offensively. The Pistons’ five starters are all averaging between 11.9 and 13.1 field goal attempts per game, like they all need to take equal turns, and that’s not how it works.
Key Injuries: None.

17.    INDIANA PACERS 35-33
THIS WEEK: 17 LAST WEEK: 13

PPG: 104.3 PAPG: 104.9 DIFF: -0.6 
FG%: .464 FG% D: .448 
The Pacers have six wins in the past 17 games, basically because they don’t have anyone providing an offensive complement to Paul George
Key Injuries: None.

18.    MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 28-39
THIS WEEK: 18 LAST WEEK: 19

PPG: 104.9 PAPG: 104.9 DIFF: 0.0 
FG%: .465 FG% D: .468 
The Timberwolves may not be able to make up the four-game gap that would get them into the playoffs, but they have won seven of 11 and are competitive enough to cause some problems down the stretch.
Key Injuries: G Zach LaVine (knee).

19.    CHARLOTTE HORNETS 29-39
THIS WEEK: 19 LAST WEEK: 17

PPG: 104.9 PAPG: 104.4 DIFF: +0.5 
FG%: .440 FG% D: .451 
6-18 in the past 24 games, the Hornets are fading. The three players with the most field goal attempts per game in March – Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky – are all averaging 1.16 points or fewer per shot. That’s a red flag.
Key Injuries: PG Ramon Sessions (knee).
 

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Turns out that Seth Curry can ball, too.

20.    DALLAS MAVERICKS 29-38
THIS WEEK: 20 LAST WEEK: 23

PPG: 98.3 PAPG: 99.9 DIFF: -1.6 
FG%: .443 FG% D: .467 
7-3 in the past 10 games, the Mavericks have climbed to within three games of a playoff spot, and their starting backcourt these days is Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry, both of whom are playing well. Would have been pretty good odds against both starting in the NBA this season.
Key Injuries: None.

21.    PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 30-37
THIS WEEK: 21 LAST WEEK: 20

PPG: 108.1PAPG: 110.2 DIFF: -2.1 
FG%: .459 FG% D: .456 
The Blazers have one regulation loss in the past eight games, and C Jusuf Nurkic has made an impact, averaging 14.6 points, 10.3 boards and 2.3 blocks per game in those eight games.
Key Injuries: SG Evan Turner (hand), PF Ed Davis (shoulder).

22.    CHICAGO BULLS 32-36
THIS WEEK: 22 LAST WEEK: 16

PPG:  PAPG:   DIFF:  
FG%:   FG% D:  
The Bulls have dropped six of seven and Dwyane Wade’s elbow injury should keep him out at least until the playoffs, if the Bulls even make up the deficit to get there. 
Key Injuries: SG Dwyane Wade (elbow).

23.    NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 27-41
THIS WEEK: 23 LAST WEEK: 25

PPG: 103.0 PAPG: 105.9 DIFF: -2.9 
FG%: .445 FG% D: .446
A 4-4 record in February is a little encouraging, but it hasn’t been a seamless adjustment for C DeMarcus Cousins; he’s shooting 39.4% from the field this month.
Key Injuries: None.

24.    SACRAMENTO KINGS 27-41
THIS WEEK: 24 LAST WEEK: 21

PPG: 103.1PAPG: 106.1 DIFF: -3.0 
FG%: .458 FG% D: .462 
Had lost eight straight games before back-to-back wins (against Orlando and Phoenix). The next Steph Curry, Buddy Hield, is averaging 13.5 points per game for Sacramento, but he is nailing 48.1% of his threes, so that’s encouraging.
Key Injuries: SF Rudy Gay (Achilles).

25.    NEW YORK KNICKS 27-41
THIS WEEK: 25 LAST WEEK: 24

PPG: 105.2 PAPG: 108.4 DIFF: -3.2 
FG%: .447 FG% D: .452 
The Knicks have five wins in the past 17 games, and it’s hard to see an easy fix to this mess, especially with the notion that 32-year-old Carmelo Anthony is the centre piece to build around. 
Key Injuries: C Joakim Noah (hamstring).

26.    PHOENIX SUNS 22-46
THIS WEEK: 26 LAST WEEK: 29

PPG: 107.5 PAPG: 112.5 DIFF: -5.0 
FG%: .452 FG% D: .469 
4-4 in the past eight games, the Suns have had strong perimeter play all along, but they’re getting some work inside from rookie Marquese Chriss and Alan Williams; the latter is averaging 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in the past 11.
Key Injuries: None.

27.    PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 27-43
THIS WEEK: 27 LAST WEEK: 26

PPG: 102.1 PAPG: 108.1DIFF: -6.0 
FG%: .442 FG% D: .460 
The Sixers have won two of the past 10 games, against the Knicks and Lakers, two teams that aren’t exactly at the peak of their powers. Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor are getting lots of looks as part of the decimated lineup.
Key Injuries: C Joel Embiid (knee), G Jerryd Bayless (wrist).

28.    ORLANDO MAGIC 24-44
THIS WEEK: 28 LAST WEEK: 28

PPG: 99.9 PAPG: 106.3 DIFF: +6.4 
FG%: .441 FG% D: .465 
Boxing Day was the last time the Magic put together back-to-back wins, and they are 4-12 in the past 16 games, so they’re settling into this spot rather comfortably. 
Key Injuries: None.

29.    LOS ANGELES LAKERS 20-48
THIS WEEK: 29 LAST WEEK: 27

PPG: 104.4 PAPG: 111.8 DIFF: -7.4 
FG%: .446 FG% D: .482 
Losing 11 of 12, the Lakers are in full tank mode. They’ve made a strong move to have the second-best odds at the lottery.
Key Injuries: None.

30.    BROOKLYN NETS 12-54
THIS WEEK: 30 LAST WEEK: 30

PPG: 105.7 PAPG: 114.2 DIFF: -8.5 
FG%: .445 FG% D: .463
Three wins in the past eight games is a major accomplishment for this team. 
Key Injuries: None.

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca