2014 NBA power rankings: Heat streak to top

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Five straight wins for the Heat, including a dominant revenge win over the Thunder and an impressive victory over the Bulls without LeBron James.

1. Miami Heat (40-14, Last week: 3)

The two-time defending champs are currently playing at a championship level, having won five straight. That includes a dominant victory over the Thunder, which featured LeBron James bleeding his own blood:

More on the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops

2. Indiana Pacers (42-13, Last week: 2)

It's safe to say Paul George has broken out of his slump. In the three games since the All-Star break, George averaged 31.0 points while shooting 50.0 percent overall and 57.1 percent from long range.

More on the Pacers: Indy Cornrows

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-14, Last week: 1)

I'm sure there are some people who believe Russell Westbrook's return will "doom" the Thunder. I am not one of those people. Oklahoma City may be 0-2 since Westbrook returned, but some initial struggles should have been expected. It also didn't help that the two opponents were the Heat and Clippers.

More on the Thunder: Welcome to Loud City

4. Houston Rockets (38-18, Last week: 5)

The Rockets had their eight-game winning streak snapped in a tough overtime loss to the Warriors, but they returned to their winning ways in a thriller against the Suns. Much credit can be given to Patrick Beverley for the comeback win:


More on the Rockets: The Dream Shake

5. San Antonio Spurs (40-16, Last week: 6)

The Spurs' long Rodeo Road Trip finally came to a close in Phoenix, and while they may have been blown out at the end, a 6-3 mark has to be deemed a success.

More on the Spurs: Pounding The Rock

6. Los Angeles Clippers (38-20, Last week: 4)

The Clippers redeemed their week by going into Oklahoma City and delivering a second straight home loss to the Thunder. Jamal Crawford did his thing, scoring 36 points and pouring in several clutch buckets:


More on the Clippers: Clips Nation

7. Golden State Warriors (34-22, Last week: 10)

The Warriors have won three straight games, and they got an unlikely hero in their last victory. Jermaine O'Neal notched 23 points and 13 rebounds in a win over the Nets, both season highs.

More on the Warriors: Golden State Of Mind

8. Phoenix Suns (33-22, Last week: 8)

The Suns lost a heartbreaker at home to the Rockets on Sunday, but Goran Dragic continued to show why he was one of the biggest All-Star snubs. After pouring in a career-high 35 points, Dragic is now averaging 20.3 points while shooting 50.8 percent overall and 41.3 percent from three.

More on the Suns: Bright Side Of The Sun

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9. Portland Trail Blazers (38-18, Last week: 7)

The Blazers have run into some injury problems, with several key members of the frontcourt, including LaMarcus Aldridge, dealing with various issues. Damian Lillard has helped Portland survive for the time being without Aldridge, while Thomas Robinson is busy rejecting shots back into the face of Corey Brewer:


More on the Blazers: Blazer's Edge

10. Memphis Grizzlies (31-24, Last week: 11)

James Johnson has enjoyed a career resurgence with the Grizzlies, posting a PER a tick over 19 thus far. There's also this:


More on the Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues

11. Dallas Mavericks (34-23, Last week: 10)

The Mavs are 7-2 in February, with the only two losses coming against likely playoff teams in the Heat and Bobcats. Dallas will likely have to continue to play well to hold off Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West.

More on the Mavs: Mavs Moneyball

12. Toronto Raptors (31-25, Last week: 12)

The Raptors have won five of six, taking advantage of an Eastern Conference-heavy slate. Toronto's strong play has allowed them to withstand Chicago's charge for the No. 3 seed for the time being.

More on the Raptors: Raptors HQ

13. Chicago Bulls (29-26, Last week: 13)

On Friday, the Bulls put forth their best offensive effort of the season against the Nuggets. That was then followed up with arguably their worst offensive showing of the year in Miami. Seven shot-clock violations is so bad it's impressive.

More on the Bulls: Blog a Bull

14. Washington Wizards (28-28, Last week: 14)

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. The story of the Wizards' season. This past week it was up, as Washington has won three games in a row to get back to .500:


More on the Wizards: Bullets Forever

15. Charlotte Bobcats (27-30, Last week: 20)

The Bobcats are looking more and more legitimate by the day. Four straight victories, including a big home-and-home sweep of the Pistons to gain some much-needed separation in the standings.

More on the Bobcats: Rufus On Fire

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (27-29, Last week: 15)

Kevin Love continues to put up monster numbers ... and the Wolves continue to putter along despite it. Love is averaging 34.1 in February, which is tops in the NBA.

More on the Wolves: Canis Hoopus

17. Brooklyn Nets (26-28, Last week: 16)

Jason Collins made history on Sunday, becoming the first active openly gay player in America's four major professional sports leagues:


More on the Nets: NetsDaily

18. Atlanta Hawks (26-29, Last week: 18)

Mike Scott apparently really likes playing the Knicks. After setting a career-high in points against New York last year, Scott did it again last week, pouring in 30 points in a big comeback victory.

More on the Hawks: Peachtree Hoops

19. Sacramento Kings (20-36, Last week: 27)

Amid trade rumors and a report of strained ligaments in his shooting wrist, Isaiah Thomas was excellent last week, averaging 26.7 points in three games. In a win over the reeling Nuggets, Thomas, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 92 points.

More on the Kings: Sactown Royalty

20. New Orleans Pelicans (23-32, Last week: 17)

The Pelicans have lost five of six games as their disappointing season carries on. The last two losses came by a total of four points, and up next is a date with the Clippers. Woof.

More on the Pelicans: The Bird Writes

21. Denver Nuggets (25-30, Last week: 19)

The Nuggets are a mess right now, with things reaching a boiling point after a disastrous loss in Chicago. Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw went off on his team following the 28-point defeat, but things got no better in the next game.

More on the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs

22. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-35, Last week: 21)

After winning six games in a row following the firing of general manager Chris Grant, the Cavs have gone back to their losing ways, dropping two games in a row. Cleveland is now five games out of the final playoff spot in the East.

More on the Cavs: Fear The Sword

23. Detroit Pistons (23-33, Last week: 22)

The Pistons' defense continues to be miserable and it could ruin their chances of a playoff berth. The Pistons have given up 111.0 points per game in the last four contests, going 1-3 during that stretch.

More on the Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys

24. Orlando Magic (17-41, Last week: 25)

Victor Oladipo had one of the best efforts of his rookie season last week, tallying 30 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in a double-overtime thriller against the disastrous Knicks:


More on the Magic: Orlando Pinstriped Post

25. New York Knicks (21-35, Last week: 24)

The Knicks continue to be a train wreck, seemingly finding ways to reach new lows every game. The latest debacle was a loss to a depleted Hawks team in a game New York led by 17 in the second half.

More on the Knicks: Posting and Toasting

26. Utah Jazz (19-36, Last week: 23)

After winning three games in a row, the Jazz have now lost three in row. But on a more positive note, Enes Kanter has been good of late, scoring 25 points in each of the last two games.

More on the Jazz: SLC Dunk

27. Los Angeles Lakers (19-37, Last week: 28)

Sunday Shootaround

After yet another round of trade rumors, Pau Gasol remains a Laker yet again. Gasol's tenure in Los Angeles may soon be coming to an end anyway, which would wrap up quite a successful run there.

More on the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll

28. Boston Celtics (19-38, Last week: 26)

The Celtics' on-court product is no good, so much of the focus of late centered around a possible Rajon Rondo trade. Rondo of course stayed put, so now maybe focus will turn to the draft.

More on the Celtics: CelticsBlog

29. Milwaukee Bucks (10-45, Last week: 29)

The Bucks are having a god-awful miserable season, but young point guard Brandon Knight has shown some progress. Knight had 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds in a loss to Indiana, and he's putting up career-high numbers in many categories.

More on the Bucks: Brew Hoop

30. Philadelphia 76ers (15-41, Last week: 30)

The Sixers have lost 10 games in a row and just traded away two of their better players in Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes. Poor Thaddeus Young.

More on the Sixers: Liberty Ballers

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