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NBA power rankings: The Hawks take the top spot

The Warriors lost once, which was enough for Atlanta to jump them in this week's power rankings.

1. Atlanta Hawks (33-8, Last week: 2)

The Hawks displace the Warriors after adding to their NBA-best 12-game winning streak with back-to-back road victories in Toronto and Chicago. Everything is clicking. Kyle Korver's on track, shooting over 50 percent from the field and beyond the arc while shooting 92 percent from the free-throw line. He currently leads the league in points per scoring possession (minimum 200 possessions) by a wide margin, per Synergy Sports Technology:


2. Golden State Warriors (32-6, Last week: 1)

The Warriors responded well to getting punched in the mouth by Oklahoma City, striking the Houston Rockets down in a 25-point rout. Golden State begins a five-game homestand that includes Houston coming in for a rematch Wednesday.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (29-11, Last week: 6)

The Grizzlies are on a nice four-game streak, including a big win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Hosting Toronto and Dallas this week gives the Grizzlies a chance to pick up a few more quality wins.

4. Portland Trail Blazers (30-11, Last week: 3)

The Trail Blazers are on a three-game losing streak for the first time this season, but going on a back-to-back in San Antonio (for Kawhi Leonard's return) and Memphis is a tough task.

5. Houston Rockets (28-13, Last week: 5)

Houston is a very good team right now, leaning on their second-best defense to carry their middle-of-the-pack offense. A quick fix could be to give Dwight Howard fewer raw post-up attempts. Howard isn't in the top 30 in points per possession in post-ups (minimum 100 possessions) and is at the very bottom of players who've attempted at least 200 such plays:


Not only is Howard ineffective in the post, he's turning the ball over at an unacceptable rate. Cutting down on his 9.2 post-up attempts per game is a clear way to improve Houston's offensive efficiency.

6. Dallas Mavericks (28-13, Last week: 4)

The Mavericks got caught in Denver on a back-to-back and lost, but had some sweet revenge when the Nuggets visited Dallas Friday. Please be careful with your microphones when Dirk Nowitzki is lurking in the locker room:

7. Washington Wizards (28-13, Last week: 7)

The Wizards were smacked by the Brooklyn Nets in a 22-point home loss, but quality wins over the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs make up for it. Mostly.

8. San Antonio Spurs (26-16, Last week: 10)

Kawhi Leonard is back in the Spurs' lineup, which means no more excuses for San Antonio's so-so season. Leonard's return has paid immediate dividends, as his on-court offensive rating (117.2) and defensive rating (88.2) show. San Antonio's starting lineup (Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Leonard, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter) outscored opponents by 15.9 points per 100 possessions in Leonard's two games back, according to

9. Chicago Bulls (27-15, Last week: 8)

Chicago has won two of its last seven games and has a tough schedule coming up (Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas). The Bulls' transition defense was bullied by the Hawks, as Kyle Korver drained seven three-pointers Saturday.

10. Toronto Raptors (26-14, Last week: 9)

The Raptors are really struggling, even with DeMar DeRozan back. Their only two wins of 2015 have been against the stripped-down Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto is in third place, six-and-a-half games behind the Hawks. They could get overtaken by the Bulls any game now.

11. Los Angeles Clippers (27-14, Last week: 11)

The Clippers have been busy shifting their roster to land Austin Rivers, but still lack small forward and center depth. Their offense has been fantastic all season (110.4 points per 100 possessions, second overall) but being in the bottom half of the NBA in defensive efficiency (104) is a problem that needs to be addressed.

12. Phoenix Suns (24-18, Last week: 12)

The Suns are about to embark on an difficult stretch of games after they face the Lakers Monday. How does Portland, Houston, L.A. (Clippers), Washington, Chicago, Golden State, Memphis and Portland (again) sound? The Suns need to get some wins against quality opponents to keep the Thunder and Pelicans down while also validating a good season in Phoenix.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-20, Last week: 14)

Kevin Durant is one of the toughest covers in the NBA, eating defenders alive in isolation:


14. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-20, Last week: 15)

LeBron James is back, which means the Cavaliers and David Blatt really need to get this team turned around. Back-to-back wins in L.A. was nice, but games against the Bulls and Thunder this week will tell more about where the Cavaliers are as a team.

15. Milwaukee Bucks (21-19, Last week: 16)

The Bucks had a one-game week, taking care of business against a bottoming-out Knicks squad in London. The biggest news out of Milwaukee was Larry Sanders' 10-game suspension due to a substance abuse violation.

16. New Orleans Pelicans (20-20, Last week: 13)

Anthony Davis has been excellent all season, which is easily summed up with his inclusion in the chart showing the top-10 players in points per possession. He's doing so while carrying a huge percentage of the Pelicans' offense on his shoulders, which makes it all the more impressive. Even in high quantity, he's still playing with elite quality.

17. Miami Heat (18-22, Last week: 18)

Hassan Whiteside's "breakout" performances paid off, as he played his first minutes as a starter with Chris Andersen missing time. Is he an answer for Miami to stay afloat? Maybe. The Heat rank last in rebounds per game and desperately need help in that area. Whiteside grabbed 12 boards against Golden State in his first career start, but came up with only one against the Kings.

18. Denver Nuggets (18-22, Last week: 17)

The Nuggets' five-game winning streak hit a snag against Dallas and came with a side of losing to Minnesota as a follow-up. They're only five games out of the playoffs, but with the Pelicans and Thunder between them and the Suns, it'd be a long shot for the Nuggets to swoop in for the bottom seed.

19. Sacramento Kings (16-24, Last week: 20)

The Kings went 0-3 through the week and have six road games in their next seven. Sacramento's going to have to dig in, though a roster shift could be on the way with Nik Stauskas reportedly on the market.

20. Charlotte Hornets (16-25, Last week: 23)

Lance Stephenson is back, just in time to play against the Indiana Pacers and cheap shot Roy Hibbert:

21. Brooklyn Nets (17-24, Last week: 19)

The Nets have gone 2-8 over their last 10 games and are losing their grip on the eighth seed. Anyone interested in paying an exorbitant amount of money to take this mess off Mikhail Prokhorov's hands?

22. Detroit Pistons (16-25, Last week: 21)


The Pistons are one game out of the playoffs. What if I told you cutting $40.5 million in salary led to an unlikely postseason run? 30 for 30: When Detroit Formed a F***ING Wall.

23. Utah Jazz (14-27, Last week: 24)

The Jazz scored 69 points in a blowout loss to the Spurs Sunday. Yikes.

24. Boston Celtics (13-25, Last week: 25)

The Celtics are busy destroying any leftover pieces that have survived the last few years, so it's hard to gauge how much further this team will drop going forward.

25. Los Angeles Lakers (12-29, Last week: 26)

The Lakers have issues in their offense that are glaring, particularly the amount of long two-point jumpers they take. Byron Scott's team has taken the third-most attempts between 17' and the three-point line and is averaging the second-worst points per possession on those shots, according to Synergy Sports Technology:


Maybe take less of those, Lakers?

26. Orlando Magic (15-29, Last week: 27)

The Magic went 2-2, but this was still one of their better weeks in recent memory because of two nice wins over the Bulls and Rockets. Aaron Gordon is also back in their lineup, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes Sunday.

27. Indiana Pacers (15-27, Last week: 22)

Indiana lost to the 76ers, Timberwolves and Hornets in the span of a week. That'll put you in the power rankings dog house.

28. Philadelphia 76ers (8-32, Last week: 28)

Philadelphia lost the keys to their tank, but have a chance to find them in New York Wednesday. That'll be a big game for the 76ers and Sam Hinkie.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-32, Last week: 29)

Andrew Wiggins extended his double-digit scoring streak up to 13 games, including a career-high 31 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets.

He can probably start working on his Rookie of the Year speech.

30. New York Knicks (5-36, Last week: 30)

A 16-game losing streak? This escalated quickly. The Knicks visit the 76ers Wednesday, which is now a midseason Jahlil Okafor bowl.