NBA Power Rankings: Like Zombies, Suns And Jazz Stagger Into Relevance

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 12: Michael Redd #22 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at US Airways Center on January 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 101-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz are back from the dead to shake up the NBA Power Rankings. The Suns actually do have a reanimated corpse: his name is Michael Redd.

We're another week closer to what should be the most bizarre postseason in recent NBA history, if only because no one has any clue what the Hades these teams are going to do when they have chances to catch their breath. The very best squads continue to have bad nights a bit more frequently than we expect -- isn't it time for someone to crank off a 13-game win streak? -- and the bad teams keep doing crazy things like "win." It's so weird.

The best new storyline (once you realize that Mike Woodson's voodoo won't last) is what's happening at the bottom of the West playoff bracket, where Michael Redd (!) is helping Phoenix slide up, the Jazz are coming back from the dead, and the Rockets are trying to replace them there as Kyle Lowry attempts to recover from some alien sickness.

All records are through Sunday's action.

Rank Team Record Last Week SB Nation Blog
1. Chicago Bulls 37-10 W: NY, MIA, PHI; L: POR Blog-a-Bull
The Bulls are ridiculously solid even when Derrick Rose is forced to sit, as that win over the Heat without the MVP proved. I can't wait to see how beamed in Chicago will be in this postseason after early round trouble and a disappointing finish a year ago.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder 34-11 W: DEN, POR; L: HOU, SA Welcome To Loud City
That loss to the Spurs was seen as ominous, but the Thunder have been good for one bad show a week pretty much all season. All critics of Russell Westbrook should note that Oklahoma City has the league's No. 1 offense right now. He can't be doing too much wrong.
3. Miami Heat 33-11 W: PHI, ORL; L: CHI, ORL Peninsula Is Mightier
It's hard to imagine that Miami lost any confidence by losing to a Rose-less Chicago given how dominant the Heat were in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and in previous meet-ups this season. Coming back to get revenge on Dwight Howard and the Magic seemed like an important victory, though.
4. L.A. Lakers 28-17 W: MEM, NO, MIN; L: UTA Silver Screen And Roll
Sunday's Utah loss at home was as ugly as the Lakers' road win in Memphis was pretty. Andrew Bynum is pretty clearly the team's most effective player on offense right now. He's averaging 24 and 13 while shooting 66 percent in his last 10 games. Feed the beast.
5. San Antonio Spurs 29-14 W: WAS, ORL, OKC; L: DAL Pounding The Rock
The Western Conference playoffs might depend entirely on matchups, and given the tight spread among contenders in the standings, there's no way to set up a favorable pairing before the final week or two of the season. So the key now is to figure out exactly which opponents give whom the most trouble. Landing in No. 4 to face the Thunder in the second round, for instance, wouldn't be the worst thing for San Antonio (unless Memphis is No. 5).
6. Orlando Magic 29-17 W: MIA, NJ; L: SA, MIA Orlando Pinstriped Post
I accept why the Magic decided to delay dealing with the Dwight Howard situation: they are playing with house money at this point. But why didn't they try to upgrade the roster around him at the deadline? Were they too busy doing fist pumps after Dwight's decision?
7. Memphis Grizzlies 25-18 W: WAS; L: LAL, TOR Straight Outta Vancouver
Z-BO BACK.
8. Denver Nuggets 25-20 W: ATL, BOS; L: OKC Denver Stiffs
JaVale McGee cannot get suited up soon enough. Not for any competitive reason, but because we are all dying to see what Big Daddy Wookie can do in actual games of importance, with playoff repercussions. The performance art show that is McGee's life just got real.
9. Dallas Mavericks 26-20 W: WAS, CHA, SA Mavs Moneyball
Dallas had a bounceback week, but victories over the Wizards and Bobcats aren't exactly proof of a rise from the dead. Defending champ or not, this is the team every Western contender should want in the first round. It's like the 2007 Heat.
10. Philadelphia 76ers 25-20 L: IND, MIA, CHI Liberty Ballers
We'll forgive Philadelphia for the bad week, as that's not a forgiving slate of opponents. More concerning is that the team is struggling more than usual from long-range lately. There's little reason for opponents to avoid packing the paint to cut off penetration.
11. L.A. Clippers 26-18 W: ATL, HOU, DET; L: BOS, PHX Clips Nation
The Clippers had a rough week ... and still went 3-2. Thanks be to Chris Paul, for he is good. Like Philly, L.A. has been struggling from long-range lately; CP3 is below 30 percent on three-pointers in his last 10 games after shooting better than 40 percent for the season to that point.
12. Atlanta Hawks 26-19 W: WAS, CLE; L: DEN, LAC Peachtree Hoops
I can only imagine that the Magic and Hawks look at the standings every morning and have diametrically opposite reactions when noticing the current, inevitable 3-6 matchup.
13. Houston Rockets 24-22 W: OKC, CHA; L: LAC, PHX The Dream Shake
Why do I have Houston ranked above Phoenix when the Suns are just a half-game back and beat the Rockets on Sunday? Because Kyle Lowry will be back. Soon. (I hope.)
14. Indiana Pacers 25-18 W: POR, PHI; L: NYK x 2 Indy Cornrows
Why do I have Indiana ranked above New York when the Knicks beat the Pacers twice last week? Because the Pacers aren't going to have to play the Heat or Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. (I'm also still mad about the time I put the Knicks in the top 10.)
15. New York Knicks 21-24 W: POR, IND x2; L: CHI Posting And Toasting
Mike Woodson hasn't inspired this much excitement since everyone noticed he burned off his eyebrows in a freak chemistry experiment.
16. Phoenix Suns 23-22 W: UTA, LAC, DET, HOU; L: MIN Bright Side of the Sun
I have no idea why I feel the need to apologize to Phoenix every time they win. It's not like they even expected this bizarre run. But at least Michael Redd has proven that the Suns truly are working with magic. That trainer deserves a MacArthur grant.
17. Boston Celtics 23-21 W: LAC, GS; L: SAC, DEN CelticsBlog
I was among those who thought it was smart for Boston to avoid any major moves at the deadline. Then the Celtics went out and got slaughtered by the Kings before losing in Denver. I'm willing to blame a long road trip and a hot Sacramento team, but ... yeesh.
18. Utah Jazz 23-22 W: DET, MIN, GS, LAL; L: PHX SLC Dunk
Just when you thought they were dead, the Jazz come roaring back with a 4-1 week, and they remain right in the mix with Phoenix for Houston's No. 8 spot. What a weird season.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves 22-24 W: PHX; L: UTA, LAL, SAC Canis Hoopus
Welp. So much for surviving without Ricky Rubio. This week has been a pretty good reminder of why Rubio's arrival was so important: this club has the worst backcourt I think I've ever seen. And this is pretty much what they've had for the past couple of years.
20. Milwaukee Bucks 20-24 W: NJ, CLE, GS Brew Hoop
UNDEFEATED IN THE MONTA ELLIS ERA. 1-0.
21. Portland Trail Blazers 21-24 W: CHI; L: IND, NY, OKC Blazer's Edge
I like to believe that Portland's Friday win over the Bulls (!) was an ultimate F.U. from the remaining players to Paul Allen. "You're going to burn it all down, but leave us on the team? Say bye-bye to your ping pong balls!"
22. Detroit Pistons 16-29 W: SAC; L: UTA, PHX, LAC Detroit Bad Boys
Rodney Stuckey might actually have been the best free agent signing of last offseason, which is good for Joe Dumars because only Caron Butler was definitely worse than Tayshaun Prince.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers 16-26 L: TOR, MIL, ATL Fear the Sword
Welp, that was a fun little season, Cleveland. Two more draft picks -- one in the lottery -- should help.
24. Toronto Raptors 15-30 W: CLE, MEM; L: NJ, CHA Raptors HQ
How do you beat the Grizzlies and sandwich that triumph with losses to the Nets and Bobcats? You do it by being the Toronto Raptors.
25. Golden State Warriors 18-24 W: SAC; L: BOS, MIL, UTA Golden State of Mind
Pretty much no one would be surprised if the Warriors had the league's worst record in April. But hey, it's the revenge of the Nate Robinson-David Lee pick-and-roll!
26. New Jersey Nets 15-31 W: TOR; L: MIL, ORL, NO NetsDaily
You make a trade to show Deron Williams that you're tired of losing and committed to winning. Two days later, you lose to the New Orleans Hornets. Is this a bad dream?
27. Sacramento Kings 16-29 W: BOS, MIN; L: GS, DET Sactown Royalty
The Kings looked completely dumbfounded in losses to the shorthanded Warriors and short-of-talent Pistons last week ... then creamed the Celtics by 25. I don't understand it either.
28. Washington Wizards 10-34 W: NO; L: SA, DAL, ATL, MEM Bullets Forever
Good thing that the Wizards don't play again until Wednesday. Nene's going to need at least that long to figure out what the hell just happened.
29. New Orleans Hornets 11-34 W: NJ; L: CHA, LAL, WAS At The Hive
I like to think that the Hornets now exist only to do David Stern's bidding. MJ's taking too much heat? Let's lose to the Bobcats. The Nets need to be taught a lesson about open in-season flirtation with pending free agents? BREAK THEIR SPIRITS.
30. Charlotte Bobcats 7-36 W: TOR, NO; L: HOU, DAL Rufus On Fire
The Andy Griffith Show>
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