There are less than three weeks left in the regular season and already 7 teams have clinched a playoff spot. As the playoff race heads into its final stretch, here’s a ranking of all 30 teams.
1.Houston Rockets 60-14
*The Rockets are running away with the top spot since they are on a nine game winning streak and have gone 26-1 in their last 27 games.
*No team that won 60 or more games in the regular season has ever lost in the first round of the playoffs and the Rockets aren’t likely to become the first.
2.Toronto Raptors 54-20
*The Raptors weren’t as effective last week, losing close games to Cleveland and Los Angeles while barely beating Orlando and Brooklyn.
*Despite career highs from three, Demar Derozan is in a minor shooting slump, shooting 21% from three over his last five games.
3.Golden State Warriors 54-19
*The injury bug hit again for Golden State; Stephen Curry suffered a knee injury in his first game back from an ankle injury and will miss at least the first round of the playoffs.
*With Curry out, Quinn Cook will have to step up at point for GSW. Cook has been adequate when replacing Curry as he is averaging 14.0 ppg and shooting 43.8% from deep as a starter.
4.Cleveland Cavaliers 44-29
*With Kevin Love’s return to the lineup, the Cavaliers have gone on a five game winning streak to retain the third seed in the East.
*Love has done well since his return, averaging 20.6 ppg and shooting 13-27 from deep over his last four games.
5.Portland Trail Blazers 45-28
Portland went 1-2 last week, losing close games to Boston and Houston while beating the Thunder.
C.J. McCollum had an up and down week: after scoring just 8 points on 4-15 shooting in their loss to Houston, he averaged 30 points on 26-46 shooting against OKC and Boston.
6.Philadelphia 76ers 43-30
*Between Markelle Fultz returning, clinching the playoffs, and a seven game winning streak, the Process is looking good.
*Over the past five games, the Sixers have dominated the third quarter, scoring 34.2 ppg while allowing just 17.6 ppg during that period.
7.Utah Jazz 42-32
*The Jazz had a decent week as they lost two close games against Atlanta and San Antonio but beat a wounded GSW team.
*Donovan Mitchell has cooled down from three lately as his three point percentage has dipped to 25% over the past six games and 29% on the month.
*Despite losing Kyrie Irving, the Celtics have shown resilience as they are on a four game winning streak.
*Terry Rozier has had a career year and has done a very nice job replacing Kyrie as Rozier averages 18.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, and 5.0 assists per game as a starter. Not to mention that the fans in Boston love Rozier.
9.Oklahoma City Thunder 44-31
*Westbrook does have a chance to average a triple-double for the second straight season.
*With seven games left for the Thunder, Westbrook needs 92 rebounds and 59 assists over that span to get the triple-double average.
10.San Antonio Spurs 43-31
*The Spurs were on a five game winning streak before losing on Sunday to the Milwaukee Bucks.
*Their’ defense has returned to the defense one would expect to see from them as they are allowing 99.5 ppg this month after allowing 108.9 ppg in February.
11.Indiana Pacers 43-31
*Indiana has remained effective as they are positioned as the fifth seed in the East and have clinched a playoff spot.
*Bojan Bogdanovic had a very good week for the Pacers as he averaged 18.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg in three games last week. Bogdanovic has had a very productive season, averaging 14.1 ppg and shooting 39.5% from deep on the year.
12.New Orleans Pelicans 43-31
*The Pelicans remained in good playoff position in the tight Western Conference as they are positioned as the fifth seed at the beginning of the week.
*Rajon Rondo has been a good addition in the backcourt this season for the Pelicans. This month, he is averaging 10.5 ppg and 9.2 apg.
*The Timberwolves had a tough week with losses to the red-hot Sixers and tanking Memphis Grizzlies.
*KAT is in a mini two-game slump, shooting just 8-28 (28.6%) in his past two games. The Timberwolves have to hope he can regain his stroke by playoff time.
14.Washington Wizards 40-33
*The Wizards had a bad week at an unfortunate time as their three game losing streak dropped them into the sixth seed in the East.
*There is still no return date set for John Wall, who has dropped 10-15 pounds since his injury. The Wizards will need his production if they want to advance far in the playoffs.
15.Milwaukee Bucks 39-34
*The Bucks went 2-1 last week, pushing themselves above the Heat for the seventh seed in the East.
*The difference between the eighth and seventh seed is big since the Raptors are a much tougher opponent than the Kyrie-less Celtics. The Bucks will want to retain or improve their positioning in the East.
16.Miami Heat 39-35
*Miami had a tough week with a close loss to OKC and an OT loss to the Pacers. *Despite the losses, the Heat are not in serious danger of dropping out of the playoffs. With eight games to play, they have a 5 game advantage over the Pistons and a 5.5 game advantage over the Hornets.
17.Denver Nuggets 40-34
*Despite leading by eight at the half, the Nuggets couldn’t hold off the 76ers, losing by 19 to them on Monday night.
*Despite the loss, Will Barton had one of his best games of the season, scoring 25 points and shooting 5-8 from three. On the season, Barton is averaging a career-high 15.2 ppg.
18.Los Angeles Clippers 39-34
*With how tight the West is right now, the playoff chances for the Clippers seem dim despite being just two games out of the eighth seed.
*Their final nine games are difficult as seven of them are against teams in playoff position. The Clippers will have to win most of those to even compete for a final spot.
19.Charlotte Hornets 34-41
*The Hornets seem to have one last playoff gasp in them, having gone on a four game winning streak.
*Kemba Walker has been on fire, averaging 31.5 ppg over his last five games. Walker has also been money from the line, making 43 straight attempts.
20.Detroit Pistons 34-40
*The Pistons have been better with the return of Reggie Jackson as they have gone 3-1 since his return. Jackson had previously missed 32 consecutive games with an injury. *Even if the Pistons win out for the rest the season, it’s unlikely will make the playoffs since they are very far behind the eighth seed.
21.Los Angeles Lakers 32-41
*Despite improving since the All Star break, the Lakers dug themselves a large hole to get out of in the West and were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week.
*Lonzo Ball has gone back into a shooting slump as he is shooting just 8-54 (15%) from deep over his past eight games.
22.Sacramento Kings 24-50
*Buddy Hield has been on a hot streak recently, averaging 21.0 ppg on 18-35 shooting from deep in his past six games.
*It’s an encouraging sign for the Kings since Hield hasn’t lived up to the hype after being traded as part of the deal for Demarcus Cousins.
23.Brooklyn Nets 23-51
*Despite losing to the Cavaliers, the Nets’ guard, Joe Harris, had a career game, scoring 30 points on 11-14 shooting. This season, Harris is averaging career highs with 10.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg.
24.New York Knicks 27-48
*Despite only scoring 101 points, the Knicks had eight players score in double-digits in their win over the Wizards on Sunday.
*The Knicks have the ninth worst record in the NBA, though there is still opportunity to tank more.
25.Chicago Bulls 24-49
*After a terrible month of February, Lauri Markkanen has improved in March; his three point shooting has gone up from 17.4% to 34.6% from February to March.
*Markkanen still is capable of shooting better as he was shooting 43.2% from three in January.
26.Dallas Mavericks 22-51
*Despite the loss, Dennis Smith Jr, had a good performance against the Hornets, with 21 points on 8-17 shooting Saturday night.
*Smith has a had a good month of March, averaging 18.5 ppg and 5.4 apg.
27.Orlando Magic 22-51
*If the season ended today, the Magic would have the fourth highest chance at the first overall pick in the NBA draft.
*All of their next five games are against teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs, so losing wouldn’t be the worst thing if the goal is to get a higher draft pick.
28.Atlanta Hawks 21-53
*Seven of their last eight games are against playoff teams so the Hawks likely aren’t getting back in the win column this season.
29.Memphis Grizzlies 19-54
*The Grizzlies did not receive the tanking vibe as they beat Minnesota in a tight match Monday night.
*Still, their 61-point loss to Charlotte is what stands out from the week for Memphis.
30.Phoenix Suns 19-55
*The Suns have lost 12 straight and have the worst record in the NBA.
*Since the start of February, the Suns have gone 1-20.
*They have never gone winless in a single month but are in danger of doing so if they don’t beat either the LA Clippers on Wednesday on the Rockets on Friday.