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NBA power rankings: Spurs, Heat begin to separate themselves

Fine stretches by the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have them atop this week's SB Nation NBA power rankings.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's been two week since our last NBA power rankings list. Time to see how everyone looks following the All-Star break and trade deadline.

Rank Team Record Prev. Rank Last Week
SB Nation Blog
San Antonio Spurs 45-13 1 W: @SAC, @LAC, @PHO; L: @GSW
Pounding the Rock
They took some bruises and a couple losses along the way, but it was ultimately an excellent rodeo trip for the Spurs. A very Spurs-y trip, too, in that Gregg Popovich used injury-related absences to turn games into deep-bench testing grounds (Nando de Colo played 27 minutes on Sunday, for instance), yet still managed to win most of the time.
2 Miami Heat 40-14
3 W: @ATL, @CHI, @PHI, CLE
Hot Hot Hoops
I think we all saw this coming. I've seen some talk of the Heat possibly "peaking too soon," but as a fan of an Eastern Conference rival, I'm more worried they just haven't peaked yet.
3 Oklahoma City Thunder 41-15
2 W: MIN, CHI; L: @HOU
Welcome to Loud City
Sunday's merciless undressing of the Bulls disrupted yet another stretch of uncharacteristically-wretched defense. It's like they relax on defense for a week at a time only to handcuff the occasional opponent just to remind us that they can.
Los Angeles Clippers 40-18
5 W: UTA, L: SAS Clips Nation

Chris Paul and friends stumbled HARD out of the All-Star break -- Paul's performance against the Spurs was among the worst of his whole career -- then righted themselves against the Jazz, a team against which they've historically had trouble (though not so much this season).

5 Denver Nuggets
36-22 4 W: BOS, @CHA, LAL; L: @WAS
Denver Stiffs

Monday night's blowout over the Lakers perfectly showcased the Nuggets in their element. They lure you into their thinly oxygenated home, then snatch up all your live-ball turnovers and dunk them all on your head. It's like being chained onto a treadmill. Force the Nuggets to play halfcourt and you've got a ballgame, but good luck with that, especially in Denver.

6 Indiana Pacers 35-21
Indy Cornrows
Sure, they faced some mediocre stoppers in New York and Detroit, but Indiana's sudden burst of magnificent offense out of the All-Star break felt meaningful. If Indiana can muster even average-level offense the rest of the way, they're pretty deadly. Danny Granger's return may actually slow things momentarily as he finds his sea legs (1-10 from the field in his first game back). We'll see how they look against the Warriors and Clippers this week.
7 Memphis Grizzlies
8 W: @DET, @TOR, ORL, @BRO
Straight Outta Vancouver
Some of the wins along this streak have been pretty hideous, and most have come against weak competition, but after the rockiness preceding and following the Rudy Gay deal, there's no need to nitpick. This has been a terrific stretch.
8 Houston Rockets 31-27 12 W: OKC, @BRO; L: @WAS
The Dream Shake
Donatas Motiejunas breakout games aside, the Rockets are now further depleted in the frontcourt with Patrick Patterson gone and Greg Smith hurting (though it's not as serious as it looked when he went down). It'll be interesting to see whether Kevin McHale turns to rookie Terrence Jones or new rookie Thomas Robinson to match up with bigger teams.
9 New York Knicks 33-20
9 W: PHI; L: @IND, @TOR
Posting and Toasting
The Knicks rolled sidelong out of the break and fell totally flat in an important first game back against their standings buddies in Indiana. Though they went an unimpressive 1-1 after shifting around Tyson Chandler's minutes to bolster a deliberately feistier defense, that strategy of hedging, trapping, and collapsing on ball-handlers -- anything, really, to limit opponents in any way at all -- suits a team that can no longer hit a jump shot. Jason Kidd, whose uncharacteristic three-point brilliance finished so many great possessions in the early season, is 10 for his last 50 from downtown.
10 Golden State Warriors 33-23
11 W: PHO, SAS, @MIN; L: @UTA
Golden State of Mind
Hey, maybe there's something to sleeved, mismatched uniforms if they can be worn in monumental victories over the Spurs. The three-game streak the Warriors built around that big win doesn't quite feel convincing, but they've got a few more difficult stops on this road trip -- Indiana, New York, Boston -- to prove they've snapped out of their slump. Andrew Bogut may be out another while, but they're used to that.
11 Brooklyn Nets 33-24
10 W: MIL, @MIL; L: HOU, MEM
Nets Daily
Brooklyn's post-All-Star push has been undermined a bit by some slumps (Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace) and some nagging leg injuries (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson). Injuries suck, and so do slumps.
12 Chicago Bulls 32-24
6 W: @NOH, @CHA; L: MIA, @OKC
Blog a Bull

Chicago went belly-up against each of the week's legitimate opponents, and not just on offense. And now Taj Gibson clambers atop the dogpile of injured Bulls.

Atlanta Hawks 32-23
14 W: SAC, @MIL, @DET; L: MIA
Peachtree Hoops
The All-Star-snubbed Al Horford stomped out of the break with a vengeance and four straight big scoring performances, including Monday night's massive 23-point, 22-rebound smashing of the Pistons.
14 Boston Celtics
30-27 13 W: @PHO, @UTA; L: @DEN, @LAL, @POR
Celtics Blog
Monday's overtime stand in Utah meant a lot in terms of salvaging an otherwise dreary post-All-Star trip for a very bad road team. Jordan Crawford's play so far in green -- or at least what I've seen of it -- has looked appropriately measured and deferential, which is so disappointing.
15 Utah Jazz
16 W: GSW; L: @LAC, BOS
SLC Dunk
Welp, no trade happened, which means Tyrone Corbin's rotation is still a mash of eight to 10 men getting pretty much equal minutes. Spreading the team's best players over both units helps the Jazz make runs while other teams rest, I guess, but it just doesn't work out well enough regularly enough to not still be puzzling.
16 Los Angeles Lakers 28-30
17 W: BOS, POR, @DAL; L: @DEN
Silver Screen and Roll
The Lakers got lapped and hammered on a weary night in Denver, but Kobe Bryant's been looking refreshed out of the break and .500 isn't far off after the Lakers batted down the encroaching Blazers and Mavericks.
17 Portland Trail Blazers
18 W: BOS; L: PHO, @LAL
Blazer's Edge
That narrow win over the Celtics was big after Portland lost some ground in the West with losses to the rival Lakers and not-at-all-rival-you-really-shouldn't-be-losing-to-them-when-you're-battling-for-a-playoff-spot Suns.
18 Milwaukee Bucks
15 L: @BRO, BRO, ATL
Brew Hoop
I'm happy that J.J. Redick is with a halfway decent team but can also foresee his presence causing some playing time dissatisfaction in the Milwaukee backcourt.
19 Washington Wizards 18-37 19 W: DEN, HOU, @TOR; L: TOR
Bullets Forever
The Wizards are rolling. No mistaking it. Avenging the hot Raptors in Toronto is just as impressive as taking home wins against the Nuggets and Rockets.
20 Toronto Raptors 23-34
22 W: @WAS, NYK; L: MEM, WAS Raptors HQ
The Raptors have been rolling, but that home loss to the Wizards was unsettling in its eerie similarity to the juuuust-too-little losses that typified the miserable early part of their season. Also unsettling: Rudy Gay has not cracked 50 percent shooting from the field since Feb. 1, his first game as a Raptor.
21 Dallas Mavericks
21 W: ORL, @NOH; L: LAL
Mavs Moneyball
Hey, what's the deal? You can't just snatch Anthony Morrow out of Atlanta and ALSO not play him.
22 Philadelphia 76ers 22-32
20 L: @MIN, MIA, @NYK
Liberty Ballers
Andrew Bynum participated in a practice!!! A basketball one! Let's just focus on that because the guys actually competing right now are exceptionally depressing.


Minnesota Timberwolves 20-33
26 W: PHI; L: @OKC, GSW
Canis Hoopus
Ricky Rubio's gradual resurgence is well-documented and well-received by those of us rooting for other players coming off ACL tears.
24 Cleveland Cavaliers 18-38 25 W: NOH, @ORL; L: @MIA
Fear the Sword
The comeback fell short, but it was fun to watch Dion Waiters pull together one of his sharpest games of the year against the Heat.
25 New Orleans Hornets 20-37
24 W: SAC; L: CHI, @CLE, DAL
At the Hive
Anthony Davis has found a little groove dating back to the game before the break, which is nice. He's hit double digits in five straight games, redeeming what has otherwise been a rough February.
26 Detroit Pistons 22-37
23 W: @CHA; L: MEM, @IND, IND, ATL
Detroit Bad Boys
I dunno. They may be within shouting distance of the eighth seed, but this still seems to me like a bad idea. The backs of big men are not to be trifled with.
27 Phoenix Suns 18-39
28 W: @POR; L: @GSW, BOS, SAS
Bright Side of the Sun
The Suns are kind of a mess, so I'm happy we now get to cherish the shared court time of Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris. If the Suns want to just cut somebody and sign Mercury Morris or even Mark Morrison, I wouldn't be opposed.
28 Sacramento Kings 19-38
27 L: SAS, @ATL, @NOH
Sactown Royalty
I feel sorry for Pat-Pat.
29 Charlotte Bobcats 13-43
29 W: @ORL; L: DET, CHI, DEN
Rufus on Fire
The Bobcats traded for Josh McRoberts, Game Changer and produced this sublime Michael Kidd-Gilchrist dunk, so it was a pretty good week for the Bobcats.
30 Orlando Magic
30 L: CHA, @DAL, @MEM, CLE
Orlando Pinstriped Post
Wins and losses be damned, the Magic are now fully in position to let their youngsters log minutes unobstructed, and they've got some new ones in the fray. I'm particularly thrilled to watch Tobias Harris get some real playing time.
83 Juneau FrostDonkeys 0-0 128 -- None yet

Juneau pulled off one of the quietly shrewd trades of the deadline by dealing power forward Valblaviavl Halvavlav to The Bering Sea for a bearded seal with an expiring contract and an unprotected second-rounder The Sea had somehow acquired in the 2010 Tracy McGrady deal.