NBA Power Rankings: The Heat are back on top

Marc J. Spears

LeBron James and the Miami Heat, thanks to a huge winning streak, have earned the right to be No. 1 again.

The Spurs, in the top spot for the past five weeks, still have the NBA's best record and have won eight of their past 10 games. But with a franchise-record 15-game winning streak, the Heat are currently the league’s most dominant team and sit atop this week's Yahoo! Sports NBA rankings. Miami has defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets during the impressive streak.

Records are through Monday.


1. Miami Heat (44-14, previous ranking: second): After viewing more than 50 versions, there is no better video rendition of the “Harlem Shake” than the Heat's. There probably is not an NBA team with better camaraderie, too.

San Antonio

2. San Antonio Spurs (47-14, previous ranking: first): Cory Joseph had eight points, four assists and one turnover in his first start this season while replacing injured All-Star Tony Parker (ankle) in a win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Oklahoma City

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-16, previous ranking: third): The Thunder, with recently signed former Lakers guard Derek Fisher, host Los Angeles on Tuesday. While there was talk of Fisher going back to the Lakers, the last thing they needed was another old guard.


4. Indiana Pacers (38-22, previous ranking: sixth): The Pacers are 7-1 against Miami, New York and Chicago this season. Indiana has beaten the Heat twice by double digits at home and visits Miami in a big East showdown on Sunday.

Los Angeles

5. Los Angeles Clippers (43-19, previous ranking: fourth): With Sunday's loss to the Thunder, the Clippers' struggles against the NBA's elite continued. Los Angeles gets another shot next week to beat a good team when it faces the surging Grizzlies.


6. Memphis Grizzlies (39-19, previous ranking: fifth): The Grizzlies, winners of nine of their last 10, have proven they have the drive to compete for one of the top three West seeds in the aftermath of the Rudy Gay trade.


7. Denver Nuggets (39-22, previous ranking: seventh): The Nuggets appear locked into the West's fifth seed with a possible first-round series against the Grizzlies or Clippers, who visit the Nuggets on Thursday night.

New York

8. New York Knicks (36-21, previous ranking: eighth): It’s a good thing the Knicks are getting some offense from Amar'e Stoudemire, who scored 22 at Cleveland on Monday, because Carmelo Anthony has been bothered by knee soreness for several weeks.

[Watch: LeBron James isn't the only contender for NBA MVP]


9. Chicago Bulls (34-26, previous ranking: 12th): Chicago is eagerly awaiting the return of injured point guard Derrick Rose from knee surgery. A positive sign occurred Sunday against Indiana as Rose sat on the bench for the first time this season.

Golden State

10. Golden State Warriors (34-27, previous ranking: ninth): The Warriors have two open roster spots, but a source said no additions are expected because there isn't much playing time available on a deep team that just got center Andrew Bogut back.


11. Brooklyn Nets (34-26, previous ranking: 10th): Brooklyn has dropped four of its past five, but has winnable ones ahead vs. Charlotte and Washington. The Nets are losing ground to New York in the Atlantic with no games left against their cross-town rival.


12. Atlanta Hawks (33-26, previous ranking: 11th): The Hawks are 11 1/2 games behind Miami in the Southeast Division. Atlanta finished its six-game road trip at 3-3 and capped it with a loss at Denver on Monday.


13. Houston Rockets (33-28, previous ranking: 13th): Rookie Royce White has struggled with Rio Grande of the D-League, averaging 5 points on .306 shooting in his first six games. He was ejected Saturday at Santa Cruz after getting two technicals.


14. Boston Celtics (31-27, previous ranking: 14th): Celtics play four of their next five games on the road with the toughest challenge coming Sunday at Oklahoma City. The Celtics, currently seventh in the East, are 10-18 on the road.

Los Angeles

15. Los Angeles Lakers (30-30, previous ranking: 16th): The Lakers have won six of their past eight games and have a chance to push their record above .500 with a victory in their next game. But that next game is at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.


16. Utah Jazz (32-28, previous ranking: 15th): Utah is not helping its playoff cause with losses in four of its last five games. The Jazz hold a two-game lead over the surging Lakers for the eighth seed and play their next three on the road.

[Watch: Josh Smith: 'It would be a shock to me' if Dwight Howard left L.A.]


17. Milwaukee Bucks (30-28, previous ranking: 17th): Former Bucks center Andrew Bogut is expected to play against his old team Saturday for the first time since being traded in March 2012. Warriors fans get to see ex-Golden State guard Monta Ellis, too.


18. Portland Trail Blazers (28-31, previous ranking: 18th): Forbes magazine ranks Blazers owner Paul Allen as the world's 53rd richest man and the NBA's richest owner at $15 billion, surpassing the Brooklyn Nets' Mikhail Prokhorov ($13 billion).


19. Dallas Mavericks (26-33, previous ranking: 19th): The Mavericks have dropped four of their past five games and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Dallas showed little fight Sunday, getting hammered 136-103 by Houston.


20. Toronto Raptors (23-38, previous ranking: 20th): Injury woes for forward-center Andrea Bargnani hurt Toronto’s hopes of trading him for a true power forward before the trade deadline, but expect a push for change during the off-season.


21. Washington Wizards (19-39, previous ranking: 21st): Rookie guard Bradley Beal, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury, has been on a tear since the All-Star Break, averaging 20.4 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range.


22. Philadelphia 76ers (23-35, previous ranking: 22nd): The job appears to be wearing on 61-year-old coach Doug Collins as he ripped his team to the media after a recent home loss to Orlando.


23. Detroit Pistons (23-39, previous ranking: 23rd): The Pistons have been awful of late, losing six of their past eight, the last a 114-75 blowout loss to the Spurs without All- Star point guard Tony Parker.


24. Minnesota Timberwolves (20-37, previous ranking: 24th): Wolves fans are likely rooting for an ownership group led by ex-coach Flip Saunders, with Saunders leading the basketball operations. Such a move could change Kevin Love's frustrated feelings.

New Orleans

25. New Orleans Hornets (21-40, previous ranking: 25th): Slowed by various injuries, Anthony Davis has had a tough rookie season. But against Orlando on Monday, the No. 1 showed a glimpse of the future with 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

[Watch: Kobe disagrees with Blake Griffin's reaction to Serge Ibaka's groin shot]


26. Sacramento Kings (21-40, previous ranking: 26th): Marcus Thornton is averaging 24.8 points on 58.2 percent shooting while hitting 14-of-29 from 3-point range in his last four games. Sacramento has scored more than 100 points in 10 of its last 11 games.


27. Phoenix Suns (21-39, previous ranking: 27th): The Suns received solid offense the past two games from new forward Marcus Morris with a total of 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting and five made 3-pointers. Phoenix has won three straight games, too.


28. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40, previous ranking: 28th): In this week’s Cavs medical report, rookie starters Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller were both taken to the hospital to receive fluids because of a nasty stomach virus and missed Monday’s loss to New York.


29. Orlando Magic (17-44, previous ranking: 29th): Former Magic center Dwight Howard returns to Orlando on March 12 for the first time since being traded to the Lakers. According to, there are still plenty of tickets available.


30. Charlotte Bobcats (13-47, previous ranking: 30th): According to the Charlotte Observer, about 85 percent of more than 12,000 voters would prefer the team go back to the old Hornets nickname. Only 3 percent liked Bobcats.

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