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NBA Power Rankings: Sixers rise, Pelicans free-fall continue

NBA Power Rankings for Week 15
Photo courtesy of Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images.

Strike 7 Elite: NBA Power Rankings 1-10 (Week 15)

1. Boston Celtics: 35-12

The Boston Celtics remain on top of the Strike 7 Sports NBA Power Rankings. During the week of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, the Celtics went 4-0. Last Monday, against the Charlotte Hornets, Jayson Tatum dropped 51 points. He dropped 33 points on the same team two days before Martin Luther King Day matchup. They survived a close game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday by scoring 121-118. Tatum did not see action in Saturday’s matchup against the Raptors, but the team was able to close out Week 14 with another victory 106-104.

2. Denver Nuggets: 33-14 (Previous Ranking 3rd)

The Denver Nuggets were one of the two teams in our power rankings that had their winning streaks recently snapped. However, their run was impressive enough to move them to number two on our Strike 7 Elite NBA Top Ten lists. Denver was on a nine-game winning streak before their two-point loss to the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder. During Week 14, the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic, was on a tear. Last Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jokic recorded his fifth triple-double in his previous six games. He finished the night with 31 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. The win over Minnesota was the Nuggets’ eighth consecutive win and their 15-straight at home.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: 30-16 (Previous Ranking 8th)

Has the Philadelphia 76ers finally turned the corner? They are on a five-game winning streak and have won 10 of their last 12 games. The Sixers ended the red-hot Sacramento Kings on a six-game winning streak. Philly pulled off the victory without the presence of Joel Embiid and James Harden in the lineup. The Sixers return to action on Wednesday night, the start of a four-game homestand.

4. Sacramento Kings: 26-19 (Previous Ranking 6th)

Everyone knew that the Sacramento Kings would show significant improvement as a team going into the 2022-2023 campaign, but no one saw them rising to a top-five team in the West. That’s where the Kings are at right now. Sacramento was on a six-game winning streak which dates back to January 9 when they defeated the Orlando Magic. Overall, the Kings have won seven out of their last ten games. Their winning streak was recently snapped by the 76ers last Saturday. However, the solid start for the season should give Kings fans a lot of optimism about what lies ahead.

5. Memphis Grizzlies: 31-15 (Previous Ranking 2nd)

The Grizzlies’ long winning streak was going to end; eventually, it was only a matter of when it would happen. On Friday night against the trending Los Angeles Lakers, the Grizzlies winning streak would end at 11. Memphis was in control for most of the game until the Lakers swung the momentum in the fourth quarter. In the final minutes of the fourth, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder stole the ball from Desmond Bane and proceeded to attack the basketball until he was fouled. The ball would go in for the go-ahead score. Schroder completed a three-point play with 7.6 seconds.

The 122-121 lead Los Angeles took over Memphis would go on to be the final score in Friday’s matchup. Memphis returned to action on Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns but would fall short again in another close game. Phoenix defeated Memphis 112-110. On the bright side, it’s safe to say that Bane is finally back to his usual self. During Week 14, he averaged 23.6 points and five assists on 23.6 points and five assists.

6. Brooklyn Nets: 29-17 (Previous Ranking 4th)

The Brooklyn Nets are trying their best to stay above water without the presence of superstar Kevin Durant. They recently endured a four-game losing streak without him in the lineup but would regain momentum after winning two back-to-back games against the Warriors and the Jazz. During the current run, point guard Kyrie Irving has been on fire. He put up 32.8 points and seven assists per game during Week 14. Brooklyn opens up Week 15 on Wednesday against the 76ers.

7. Milwaukee Bucks: 29-17 (Previous Ranking 5th)

Without the presence of the Giannis Antetokounmpo on the court, the Bucks compiled a record of 2-2 last week. The two-time league MVP is recovering from a sore knee injury. Milwaukee felt his absence against opponents in Week 14. Their defense surrendered 120 points per 100 possessions.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: 29-19 (Previous Ranking 9th)

The Cavs had a bittersweet week, losing heavily against a depleted Golden State Warriors side, before bouncing back to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in their next game. Guard Darius Garland was impressive in Mitchell’s absence due to a groin injury, averaging 24.2 points and 9.5 assists while shooting 40% from behind the arc this week.

9. Dallas Mavericks: 25-23 (Previous Ranking 10th)

After a dominating win over the Heat, the Dallas Mavericks have struggled in their last five games. Allowing 127.5 points per 100 possessions, their defense has been subpar, and the Mavs’ offense has not been consistent with Luka Doncic struggling as of late. As the trade deadline approaches next week, the Mavericks fall in this week’s NBA Power Rankings to make them worse off than they were before.

10. New Orleans Pelicans: 26-21 (Previous Ranking 7th)

The Pelicans’ free-fall from being one of the NBA’s best teams continues. Especially without star talents Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in the lineup. The last time they won a game was January 13, a six-point victory over the Detroit Pistons. With the trade deadline approaching, you have to wonder if the Pels will give up some of their assets in exchange for immediate help to keep them afloat. Despite losing four-straight games, the Pels are in fourth place in the standings.

Second-Tier Teams: Rankings 11-20

11. Phoenix Suns: 24-24

12. Los Angeles Clippers: 25-24

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: 

14. Miami Heat: 26-22

15. Atlanta Hawks: 24-23

16. Los Angeles Lakers: 22-25

17. OKC Thunder: 23-24

18. New York Knicks: 25-23

19. Golden State Warriors: 23-24

20. Utah Jazz: 24-25

Bottom-Tier Teams: Rankings 21-30

21. Indiana Packers: 23-24

22. Chicago Bulls: 21-24

23. Toronto Raptors: 21-27

24. Washington Wizards: 20-26

25. Portland Trail Blazers: 21-25

26. Orlando Magic: 17-29

27. Charlotte Hornets: 13-34

28. San Antonio Spurs: 14-32

29. Detroit Pistons: 12-36

30. Houston Rockets: 10-36

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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