NBA Power Rankings: Heat haven't caught Pacers just yet

Marc J. Spears
NBA Power Rankings: Heat haven't caught Pacers just yet

1. Indiana Pacers (46-13; last week's ranking: 1): The Heat have won seven straight games, but the Pacers stayed atop the East by winning five straight and pushing their NBA-best home record to 29-3 with a win over Utah on Sunday.


2. Miami Heat (42-14; last week's ranking: 2): Miami plays at San Antonio in a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals. The Spurs won two of three games at home in the Finals.

Oklahoma City

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (45-15; last week's ranking: 3): Russell Westbrook appears to have regained his form, averaging 23.6 points, 6.6 assists and 1.6 steals over the past three games.


4. Houston Rockets (40-19; last week's ranking: 4): The Rockets face the elite of the Eastern Conference at home this week when they meet Miami on Tuesday and Indiana on Friday.

San Antonio

5. San Antonio Spurs (43-16; last week's ranking: 5): The Spurs welcomed back All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who had 22 points, seven assists and three rebounds in Sunday's victory over Dallas. Parker had missed the previous six games.

Los Angeles

6. Los Angeles Clippers (41-20; last week's ranking: 6): Ex-Clippers forward Antawn Jamison is working out in his hometown of Charlotte in hope of being signed by a team.


7. Portland Trail Blazers (41-18; last week's ranking: 7): The Blazers visit the Rockets on Sunday in a matchup of two teams fighting to get one of the West's top playoff seeds.

Golden State

8. Golden State Warriors (36-24; last week's ranking: 8): The margin of error is slim in the West's playoff race. Not having Jermaine O'Neal available to play during the loss in Toronto because of a passport issue could haunt Warriors.


9. Phoenix Suns (35-24; last week's ranking: 10): Guard Goran Dragic and swingman Gerald Green have combined for an average of 50.5 points over the past four games.


10. Dallas Mavericks (36-25; last week's ranking: 9): College basketball's elite programs probably hated hearing Mark Cuban say the top recruits are better off in the D-League.


11. Memphis Grizzlies (33-25; last week's ranking: 11): The Grizzlies are making a push to knock either Dallas, Phoenix or Golden State out of the Western Conference playoff race.


12. Toronto Raptors (33-26; last week's ranking: 12): The Raptors are tied with Chicago for the third playoff seed in the East. Kings forward Rudy Gay returns to Toronto on Friday.


13. Chicago Bulls (33-26; last week's ranking: 13): New Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette scored two points in his debut in victory over New York on Sunday.


14. Washington Wizards (31-28; last week's ranking: 14): Despite missing Nene, Washington has won six straight games for the first time since it won the final six games the 2011-12 season.


15. Minnesota Timberwolves (29-29; last week's ranking: 16): Minnesota can move above the .500 mark with win at Denver on Monday.


16. Brooklyn Nets (28-29; last week's ranking: 17): New Nets center Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player, will make his Brooklyn debut on Monday against the Bulls.


17. Charlotte Bobcats (27-32; last week's ranking: 15): Ex-Bobcat Ben Gordon likely lost his shot to be signed by an elite team when he was waived Sunday, making him ineligible for the postseason.

New Orleans

18. New Orleans Pelicans (23-36; last week's ranking: 20): Ex-Kings guard Tyreke Evans returns to Sacramento on Monday for the second time this season. He had 25 points in his first game back.


19. Atlanta Hawks (26-32; last week's ranking: 19): Ex-Hawks forward Ivan Johnson is back in the United States after playing in China and is available to sign with an NBA team.


20. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-37; last week's ranking: 23): Kyrie Irving has averaged 21.6 points, 7.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds since being named the All-Star Game MVP.


21. Detroit Pistons (23-36; last week's ranking: 21): Detroit is four games out of the East playoff race after losing four straight.


22. Denver Nuggets (25-33; last week's ranking: 18): Denver hosts the Timberwolves on Monday after losing 10 of its past 11 games, including four straight at home. Ty Lawson could be back.


23. Sacramento Kings (20-39; last week's ranking: 24): The Kings' only players remaining from the Maloof family era include DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Travis Outlaw and Jason Thompson.


24. Utah Jazz (21-38; last week's ranking: 25): The Jazz did not seriously consider pursuing ex-Brigham Young star guard Jimmer Fredette prior to his signing with Chicago, a source told Yahoo Sports.


25. Boston Celtics (20-40; last week's ranking: 26): The Celtics split the first two games of their five-game homestand.

New York

26. New York Knicks (21-39; last week's ranking: 22): Bulls fans chanted, "We want 'Melo," to Carmelo Anthony during the Knicks' sixth straight loss Sunday.

Los Angeles

27. Los Angeles Lakers (20-39; last week's ranking: 27): The Lakers recalled guard Xavier Henry, who hasn't played for them since Dec. 29, from the D-League on Sunday.


28. Orlando Magic (18-43; last week's ranking: 28): Orlando hasn't had much of an opportunity to evaluate center Dewayne Dedmon, but he is expected to land a second 10-day contract.


29. Philadelphia 76ers (15-44, last week's ranking: 29): Sixers signed Brandon Davies, Lorenzo Brown and Elliot Williams to non-guaranteed deals through the 2016-17 season. Jarvis Varnado could be next.


30. Milwaukee Bucks (11-47; last week's ranking: 30): The Bucks are expected to soon sign a young free agent to a 10-day contract with their open roster spot.