Power Rankings, Week 17: Suns Rise To No. 1 As Regular Season Enters Crucial Stretch

The Suns overtake the Jazz and rise to number one in this week's Power Rankings.

We are set to hit the 3/4-mark of the season this week (when the first game is complete on Wednesday), and, whether you’re talking about the top of each conference or seeding battles below, things are much more clear than they were a month ago.

The second-place Phoenix Suns made things a little more interesting at the top of the Western Conference with their win over the first-place Utah Jazz on Wednesday, only to be beat the next night by the third-place LA Clippers. The Denver Nuggets are climbing, while the Los Angeles Lakers anticipate the returns of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And where things could get very interesting is the fight for the last two play-in spots, where the New Orleans Pelicans are possibly finding their footing as the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors lose theirs.

The Eastern Conference has some separation between 10th and 11th place, thanks to the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Toronto Raptors last week. But just two games in the loss column separate the fourth-place Atlanta Hawks (29-25) from the ninth-place Indiana Pacers (25-27). We still have five weeks to go, but one game this week (Wednesday in Philadelphia) will go a long way in determining the No. 1 seed in the East.

For now, the Brooklyn Nets remain above the Philadelphia 76ers in the Power Rankings, with four West teams in the top five.

Plus-Minus Players of the Week

Teams of the Week

  • Make It Last Forever: LA Clippers (4-0) — The team that wasn’t getting to the rim very much is suddenly dunking on dudes.

  • Something Just Ain’t Right: Sacramento (0-3) — The door is open and the Kings refuse to walk through.

East vs. West

Schedule strength through Week 16

  • Toughest: 1. Dallas, 2. Minnesota, 3. Washington

  • Easiest: 1. Phoenix, 2. New York, 3. Brooklyn

  • Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

Movement in the Rankings

  • High jumps of the week: Miami (+4), Washington (+4), Five teams (+2)

  • Free falls of the week: Oklahoma City (-5), Orlando (-5), Sacramento (-5)

Week 17 Team to Watch

  • Philadelphia The Sixers’ game against the Nets on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) will be worth two games in the standings, because it will determine the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Sixers won’t have to deal with James Harden, but they should be facing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant for the first time this season. And those won’t be the only stars that will test their second-ranked defense this week. The Sixers are in Dallas to face Luka Doncic and the Mavs on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). And after the Brooklyn game, they’ll host Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Friday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Previous Power Rankings

Stats Key

Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)

OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)

DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)

NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league has averaged 99.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 111.5 points scored per 100 possessions this season.

NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

Source : https://www.nba.com/news/power-rankings-2020-21-week-17?_branch_match_id=744191498634610934

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz: Play-by-play, highlights and reactions


New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz: Play-by-play, highlights and reactions