NBA Power Rankings: Thunder Storm Castle, But Bulls Retain Throne

Mar, 25, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) looks at the scoreboard during the third quarter against the Miami Heat at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

The Thunder sure made a claim to the top spot with a whooping of the Heat on Sunday, but the Bulls remain untarnished, even without the services of Derrick Rose.

We are approaching April, and are down to one month of regular season basketball. It is at this point in the season where we take stock of the brackets on a daily basis, we keep a weathered eye out for gems, and we wish so hard that the playoffs would just get here already.

This week, the Bulls maintain their throne, but the Thunder have entered the castle and are like, "Sup? Can we sit there?" The Bulls deny permission. The Heat are laying in a ditch somewhere. The audience quivers in fear.

Records include Sunday's action.

Rank Team Record Last Week SB Nation Blog
1. Chicago Bulls 40-10 W: ORL, TOR x 2 Blog-a-Bull
The Bulls continue to rack up wins even with Derrick Rose bouncing in and out of the lineup. As long as Rose joins the postseason healthy, there's a strong chance Chicago enters an inevitable Eastern finals against Miami as a favorite.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder 37-12 W: POR, LAC, MIN, MIA; L: UTA Welcome To Loud City
Well, that was quite a haymaker thrown by the Thunder on Sunday! The most frightening part of it for everyone watching was that Russell Westbrook was out of sorts. The question is whether the OKC defense can actually handle Miami's offense -- I remain skeptical -- or whether the Heat were just out of sync on the road.
3. San Antonio Spurs 33-14 W: MIN, NO, DAL, PHI Pounding The Rock
When we discard the 2012 Spurs because of the playoff flame-out of the 2011 Spurs, we need to remember that Manu Ginobili was broken in that series against Memphis. He seems OK these days.
4. Miami Heat 35-12 W: PHX, DET; L: OKC Peninsula Is Mightier
Welp. That was not a great performance.
5. Orlando Magic 31-18 W: PHX, CLE; L: CHI Orlando Pinstriped Post
The only thing making Orlando's season look so good is how awful the Nets' season has been.
6. Memphis Grizzlies 26-21 W: LAL; L: SAC, POR, LAC Straight Outta Vancouver
I have no idea what to do with Memphis. They got beaten by the Kings and Blazers and crushed by the Clippers ... and then accomplished one of the tougher tasks in the league: beating the Lakers in L.A. I'll err on the side of assuming they just needed time to reintegrate Zach Randolph. He killed the Lakers on Sunday.
7. L.A. Lakers 30-19 W: DAL, POR; L: HOU, MEM Silver Screen And Roll
The Lakers are still much better than they were before the trade deadline. Even if they have thrown themselves into crisis mode. I am so excited about this development.
8. Dallas Mavericks 28-22 W: DEN, HOU; L: LAL, SA Mavs Moneyball
Dallas continues to do enough to remain safely in the playoff bracket. Oddly enough, the incredible Lamar Odom saga continues to largely get ignored nationally. That's probably for the best.
9. Atlanta Hawks 30-20 W: CLE, NJ, WAS, UTA; L: BOS Peachtree Hoops
Unfortunately, Sunday's 4OT victory is still only worth one game in the win column. It's looking more likely every day, though, that the Hawks or Pacers will have first-round home court against the Atlantic champion. That's an important target, even though Atlanta is comfortable drawing No. 3 Orlando.
10. Indiana Pacers 28-19 W: LAC, WAS, MIL; L: PHX Indy Cornrows
Another good week for Indiana with wins over the Clips and Bucks and just a narrow loss to the Suns. Might the Pacers be rooting for the Celtics to eclipse the Sixers setting up Indiana-Boston in the first round?
11. Utah Jazz 26-23 W: OKC, SAC, DEN; L: ATL SLC Dunk
The Jazz aren't going anywhere but up. And four of their players are 2010 or 2011 lottery picks. Plus, they might have another lottery pick in 2012. Kevin O'Connor is getting it done.
12. L.A. Clippers 27-21 W: MEM; L: IND, OKC, NO Clips Nation
That win over Memphis was solid, but it doesn't answer any questions about L.A.'s porous defense or unimaginative scheme. Is there a West team you'd definitely favor the Clippers over in a playoff series? I'm struggling to pick one.
13. Philadelphia 76ers 27-22 W: CHA, BOS; L: NY, SA Liberty Ballers
The Sixers lost their "showdown" with the Knicks but aced their "showdown" with the Celtics. Next up: a "showdown" with the Hawks on Saturday.
14. Boston Celtics 26-22 W: ATL, MIL, WAS; L: PHI CelticsBlog
Boston had a strong week with big wins over Atlanta and Milwaukee, but that loss to the Sixers stings. Given the low likelihood of an Eastern banner, one more Atlantic title with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen would be nice.
15. Phoenix Suns 25-24 W: IND, CLE; L: MIA, ORL Bright Side of the Sun
The Suns are truly hovering on the outside of the West playoff race. They are the only team who hasn't spent a cup of coffee or longer in the No. 8 spot. They are just waiting ... and waiting ...
16. Denver Nuggets 26-23 W: DET; L: DAL, UTA, MIN Denver Stiffs
Denver may have finally reached the point where the injuries can no longer be dealt with, as Danilo Gallinari is back on the shelf and Rudy Fernandez has been lost for the season. How unfortunate that a team with amazing depth would be put out of the race by depletion of talent.
17. Houston Rockets 26-23 W: LAL, GS; L: DAL The Dream Shake
Given how set on the playoffs the Rockets' front office and coach Kevin McHale have been, it'd be too bad for untimely illness to Kyle Lowry and a bizarre little Kevin Martin subplot ruined the run. This team is a bit mystical in its creation, and just weird enough to be something to look forward to seeing in May.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves 24-26 W: GS, DEN; L: SA, OKC Canis Hoopus
Kevin Love has apparently responded to injuries to Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic by waging war on the NBA. Fine by me.
19. New York Knicks 24-25 W: TOR, PHI, DET; L: TOR Posting And Toasting
Just when the Knicks make it seem like it's all clicking, they do something like "lose to the Raptors." It's just the Knick way.
20. Milwaukee Bucks 22-26 W: POR, CHA; L: BOS, IND Brew Hoop
Milwaukee's momentum dissipated quickly, but Monday's match against the Knicks -- who the Bucks have owned in recent years -- can make everyone forget about the pain. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings in Madison Square Garden? Sounds good to me.
21. Portland Trail Blazers 23-26 W: MEM, GS; L: MIL, LAL Blazer's Edge
Portland, you are awful at tanking. Just awful. Sunday's game against the Warriors was must-lose. Way to show up.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers 17-29 W: NJ; L: ATL, ORL, PHX Fear the Sword
Cleveland is reportedly talking about bringing Antawn Jamison back next season. I'm definitely of the mind that it makes sense to pair your 20-year-old centerpiece point guard with a 35-year-old big man whose shoulder always looks one swing from popping out for the long-term.
23. Detroit Pistons 16-32 L: DEN, MIA, NY Detroit Bad Boys
Rodney Stuckey gets injured, and Detroit looks awful again. I'm starting to think that maybe he's good at basketball.
24. Toronto Raptors 16-33 W: NY; L: NY, CHI x 2 Raptors HQ
The Toronto Raptors are a true spoiler in the best kind of way.
25. Golden State Warriors 20-27 W: NO, SAC; L: MIN, HOU, POR Golden State of Mind
Cleveland, Detroit and New Jersey aren't exactly helping the Warriors out with their tank job of destiny here ... isn't at least one of these teams going to go on some stupid run?
26. Sacramento Kings 17-31 W: MEM; L: UTA, GS Sactown Royalty
It has been decreed that all Kings games for the rest of the season will be decided by foosball.
27. New Jersey Nets 16-34 W: CHA; L: CLE, WAS, ATL NetsDaily
But they beat the Bobcats! (Oh, god.)
28. Washington Wizards 11-37 W: NJ; L: IND, ATL, BOS Bullets Forever
Nene has already missed a game due to injury (Washington's Sunday loss at Boston). That's not at all foreboding.
29. New Orleans Hornets 12-36 W: LAC; L: GS, SA At The Hive
Rebuilding teams do not sock money into aging centers. This is a ruse to cover up why the NBA didn't release Chris Kaman to go sign with the Heat.
30. Charlotte Bobcats 7-39 L: PHI, MIL, NJ Rufus On Fire
Happy Days theme>
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