NBA Power Rankings: Race for No. 2 seeds is where action is

Golden State
Golden State

1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 49-12; last week: 1): The 1976 Pacific Division champion Warriors set a franchise-record with 59 wins. This season’s team must win 11 of its final 21 to break that mark.


Atlanta
Atlanta

2. Atlanta Hawks (Record: 49-13; last week: 2): Point guard Dennis Schroder has averaged 15.8 points and 8.0 assists in his past four games. Could he be better than All-Star teammate Jeff Teague?


Houston
Houston

3. Houston Rockets (Record: 43-20; last week: 3): Houston received good news as injured center Dwight Howard (knee) has begun conditioning and doing some on-floor work.


Cleveland
Cleveland

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (Record: 40-25; last week: 4): LeBron James returns to where he played his last game with Miami in the Finals, when Cleveland visits San Antonio on Thursday.


Portland
Portland

5. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 41-20; last week: 6): After Wesley Matthews’ season-ending injury, Portland is fortunate to have an experienced replacement in Arron Afflalo.


Memphis
Memphis

6. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 44-18; last week: 5) Forget about catching the Warriors. The Grizzlies need to be worried about losing the West’s second seed to Houston or Portland.


San Antonio
San Antonio

7. San Antonio Spurs (Record: 39-23; last week: 11): Tony Parker might have finally overcome his lingering hamstring injury as he’s averaged 20 points during the team’s five-game win streak.


Los Angeles
Los Angeles

8. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 40-23; last week: 7): Coach Doc Rivers described the timetable for the return of All-Star Blake Griffin (staph infection) as four days to several weeks.


Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City

9. Oklahoma City Thunder (Record: 35-28; last week: 10): Keep an eye on the status of All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who is scheduled to have his surgically repaired foot re-examined early this week.


Dallas
Dallas

10. Dallas Mavericks (Record: 41-24; last week: 8): The Mavs still have interest in free-agent center JaVale McGee, but a source said “it’s been quiet” since a possible Boston deal died.


Chicago
Chicago

11. Chicago Bulls (Record: 39-25; last week: 9): The Bulls passed on an opportunity to sign guard Nate Robinson, who joined the Clippers. Perhaps they consider Aaron Brooks a similar player.


New Orleans
New Orleans

12. New Orleans Pelicans (Record: 34-29; last week: 16): Guard Eric Gordon’s old shooting touch appears to be back as he’s shooting 51.6 percent from 3-point range in his past 21 contests.


Toronto
Toronto

13. Toronto Raptors (Record: 38-25; last week: 5): Raptors GM Masai Ujiri traded for McGee when Ujiri was in Denver, and he wants him with the Raps. McGee’s post presence is badly needed.


Washington
Washington

14. Washington Wizards (Record: 35-28; last week: 15): All-Star John Wall is playing with a bruised left knee, a sore left thumb, tender ankles and weary legs.


Milwaukee
Milwaukee

15. Milwaukee Bucks (Record: 33-29; last week: 13): Bucks coach Jason Kidd said he is uncertain if injured rookie forward Jabari Parker (knee surgery) will play in the summer league.


Indiana
Indiana

16. Indiana Pacers (Record: 28-34; last week: 16): The Pacers have moved into the East’s eighth spot, and Paul George said he expects to return from his broken leg in mid-March.


Charlotte
Charlotte

17. Charlotte Hornets (Record: 28-33; last week: 22): Even with five straight wins, Charlotte probably won’t catch the East’s sixth-seeded Bucks and the hot Pacers are on its heels.


Phoenix
Phoenix

18. Phoenix Suns (Record: 33-31; last week: 17): The Suns didn’t make the playoffs with 48 wins last season. It looks like they will miss the postseason again with fewer wins this year.


Miami
Miami

19. Miami Heat (Record: 28-34; last week: 18): It seems a little odd that Miami has interest in JaVale McGee despite already having centers Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen.


Utah
Utah

20. Utah Jazz (Record: 26-36; last week: 20): Utah has surpassed last season’s win total and is 7-3 when starting Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles.


Boston
Boston

21. Boston Celtics (Record: 25-36; last week: 21): Marcus Smart was the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for February and is Boston’s first winner since Adrian Griffin in November 1999.


Brooklyn
Brooklyn

22. Brooklyn Nets (Record: 25-36; last week: 19): Coach Lionel Hollins said after the loss to Utah on Sunday that he was careful with his words so he wouldn’t end up being the next coach in a beer commercial.


Orlando
Orlando

23. Orlando Magic (Record: 21-43; last week: 25): Elfrid Payton has 22 assists in his last two games and leads all rookies with 5.9 per game. This kid can become an elite guard if he can develop a jumper.


Denver
Denver

24. Denver Nuggets (Record: 22-41; last week: 30): In need of some good press, Denver should revisit its efforts to add ex-Nugget and former Colorado star Chauncey Billups to its front office.


Sacramento
Sacramento

25. Sacramento Kings (Record: 21-40; last week: 24): Former Nuggets coach George Karl said days before Brian Shaw was fired by Denver that he wasn’t taking satisfaction in the franchise’s struggles.


Detroit
Detroit

26. Detroit Pistons (Record: 23-39; last week: 23): Josh Smith isn’t around for the Pistons to blame as they have lost six in a row and should miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season.


Los Angeles
Los Angeles

27. Los Angeles Lakers (Record: 16-46; last week: 26): No player markets himself better while injured than Kobe Bryant, who did an interview during Sunday’s nationally televised loss to Dallas.


Minnesota
Minnesota

28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Record: 14-47; last week: 27) Clippers coach Doc Rivers will face Kevin Garnett, one of his former players, on Monday. The coach had hoped to acquire Garnett before he was dealt to Minnesota.


Philadelphia
Philadelphia

29. Philadelphia 76ers (Record: 14-49; last week: 28) Former Sixer Michael Carter-Williams, now with Milwaukee, said he stopped trying to figure out his old team’s transactions long before he was traded.


New York
New York

30. New York Knicks (Record: 12-49; last week: 29): The Knicks face their previous coach, Mike Woodson – now a Clippers assistant – in New York on his birthday on March 25.

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