NBA Power Rankings: Meet The Stretch Run, Land Of Yawns

March 29, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after a 3-point shot in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Thunder won 102-93. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

It's been a long season. Everyone deserves to give up now and then.'s NBA Power Rankings don't mind, really. You've earned it.

We're down to the final month of the regular season. The pressure is on, every game matters and ... oh wait, even the best teams are tanking for no discernible reason? Oh.

Spin masters call it the "stretch run." Realists call it "time to go outside and stretch because this game has gotten pretty boring." The realest know that the real gems are found at the bottom of the table. Ignore the Heat, Lakers and Bulls for a minute. You'll find gold in them there Wizards, Kings and Warriors.

All records incorporate Sunday's action.

Rank Team Record Last Week SB Nation Blog
1. Oklahoma City Thunder 40-12 W: POR, LAL, CHI Welcome To Loud City
All due clapping in OKC's general direction is warranted. The Bulls have been good enough without Derrick Rose that any victory over Chicago is worthy of applause. But the grind isn't quite over for the Thunder: the next two games come against those nasty Grizzlies and a rematch with the Heat in Miami.
2. Chicago Bulls 42-12 W: ATL, DET; L: DEN, OKC Blog-a-Bull
It's amazing that the Bulls play so well even without Derrick Rose. But it's even more amazing that they do it without a reserve point guard that anyone would consider one of the best. It's probably time to reconsider our assessments of C.J. Watson.
3. San Antonio Spurs 36-14 W: PHX, SAC, IND Pounding The Rock
How fruitless the Spurs' attempts on the top seed have been make up another arrow in OKC's quiver. Still, look at what the Spurs have done over the past two seasons. This was not supposed to happen. Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker are wizards of the highest order.
4. L.A. Clippers 31-21 W: NO, PHX, POR, UTA Clips Nation
The Clippers are definitely the No. 1 team in looking completely awesome when on and completely awful when not. Right behind them in that category would be the ...
5. Miami Heat 37-14 W: DAL, TOR; L: IND, BOS Peninsula Is Mightier
That loss Sunday was inexcusably bad. I know Rajon Rondo has these games every now and then. But, man. What's funny is that Erik Spoelstra seemed to know it was happening after the first quarter, even though Miami was within striking range.
6. L.A. Lakers 33-20 W: GSW x 2, NO; L: OKC Silver Screen And Roll
Kobe Bryant calling folks who question his shooting "idiots" one day after going 3-18 against the league's second-worst team at home is the height of self-unawareness.
7. Boston Celtics 30-22 W: CHA, MIN, UTA, MIA CelticsBlog
The Celtics would be the No. 5 in the killer West, for what it's worth. This team ain't bad.
8. Dallas Mavericks 30-23 W: HOU, ORL; L: MIA Mavs Moneyball
A lot of one-off champions carp about not getting respect, but Dallas may actually have a case, because outside of Houston, there's not a West playoff team most of the top clubs would feel better about facing.
9. Memphis Grizzlies 28-22 W: MIN, MIL; L: HOU Straight Outta Vancouver
Speaking of preferred match-ups: Memphis is exactly the opposite of that for every team in the top half of the West bracket.
10. Indiana Pacers 31-21 W: MIA, WAS, HOU; L: NJ, SA Indy Cornrows
The Pacers are kind of like David West: pretty awesome more times than not, but sometimes pretty crummy. Teams like this should not be losing to teams like the Nets. Ever.
11. Denver Nuggets 29-24 W: CHI, CHA, ORL; L: TOR Denver Stiffs
JaVale McGee, NBA Playoffs. There ain't no cure for this fever.
12. Atlanta Hawks 31-23 W: NY; L: MIL, CHI, PHI Peachtree Hoops
::checks calendar, counts down weeks since Al Horford's injury::
13. Orlando Magic 32-21 W: TOR; L: NY, DAL, DEN Orlando Pinstriped Post
You know, Atlanta could have saved a lot of money over the years by employing Brendan Haywood's "punch Dwight Howard in the back" strategy instead of employing Jason Collins.
14. Houston Rockets 28-25 W: SAC, MEM; L: DAL, IND The Dream Shake
Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee will be free agents in July. They are making themselves some pretty pennies right now.
15. Philadelphia 76ers 29-23 W: CLE, ATL; L: WAS Liberty Ballers
That blowout loss to the Wizards did it. I can no longer believe in the Sixers as presently constructed. (This bit of eyebrow-raising was also pretty ... interesting.)
16. Utah Jazz 27-26 W: NJ; L: BOS, SAC, LAC SLC Dunk
Welp, Jazz. It was nice knowing you. (Cue the Jazz comeback, part 35!)
17. Phoenix Suns 26-26 W: NO; L: SA, LAC Bright Side of the Sun
The Suns remain improbably close to a playoff birth. But the Steve Nash is, by all accounts, winding down. What an odd season in Phoenix.
18. New York Knicks 27-26 W: MIL, ORL, CLE; L: ATL Posting And Toasting
The loss of Jeremy Lin is incredibly unfortunate, not only because it makes Baron Davis a starter, but also because it makes Toney Douglas a rotation player.
19. Portland Trail Blazers 25-28 W: NO, MIN; L: OKC, LAC Blazer's Edge
Seriously, I have never seen a team tank so ineffectively.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves 25-29 W: CHA; L: MEM, BOS, POR Canis Hoopus
Reality has set in for the Wolves, and this will not be their year to end the playoff drought, which means that Minnesota retains the league's longest playoff drought. It's been since 2004. It's been so long.
21. Milwaukee Bucks 24-28 W: ATL, CLE; L: NY, MEM Brew Hoop
The Bucks missed a golden opportunity to make up a game on the Knicks but should have plenty of opportunity as New York suffers injuries to two of its top four players.
22. Detroit Pistons 19-33 W: WAS, CLE, CHA; L: CHI Detroit Bad Boys
Rodney Stuckey is the bad team MVP this season, so long as we classify the Wolves as "meh."
23. New Jersey Nets 19-35 W: IND, GS, SAC; L: UTA NetsDaily
Deron Williams, 35 assists in a back-to-back this weekend, also ranks highly on the Bad Team MVP ladder, but I refuse to acknowledge that the Nets are even a team. The Nets are the NBA's version of a weird mid-career concept album.
24. Toronto Raptors 18-35 W: DEN, WAS; L: ORL, MIA Raptors HQ
It's going to be quite difficult to resist putting the Raptors in as the East's No. 8 seed next preseason, given Andrea Bargnani's development and the arrival of Jonas Valanciunas.
25. Golden State Warriors 20-31 L: NO, NJ, LAL x 2 Golden State of Mind
THIS IS HOW YOU TANK. Mark Jackson continually tells the media how proud of his team he is. Jackson, owner Joe Lacob and just about everyone associated with the team talked about making the playoffs before the season began. Stephen Curry and Kwame Brown have been the team's only surprise injuries. Stephen Curry and Kwame Brown are not the difference between 20-31 and the playoffs.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers 17-33 L: PHI, DET, MIL, NY Fear the Sword
Without Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers look like the worst team in the NBA. Who knew?
27. Sacramento Kings 18-34 W: UTA; L: HOU, SA, NJ Sactown Royalty
From here on out, every Kings game should devolve into rocks, paper, scissors.
28. Washington Wizards 12-40 W: PHI; L: DET, IND, TOR Bullets Forever
Hearing reports that Fun Dip sales in the D.C. area have sunk dramatically since the Wizards traded JaVale McGee.
29. New Orleans Hornets 13-40 W: GS; L: LAC, POR, LAL, PHX At The Hive
Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon could make an amazing buddy zombie flick.
30. Charlotte Bobcats 7-43 L: BOS, MIN, DEN, DET Rufus On Fire
::whistles theme to M*A*S*H::

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