After three straight weeks at the top of KP’s NBA Power Rankings, the Chicago Bulls have fallen out of the spotlight, replaced by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, the red-hot San Antonio Spurs – riding a ten-game win streak – have leapfrogged the Oklahoma City Thunder and into third place.
Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks continue to be the story of the NBA, and the solid play has translated into the rankings, as Spike Lee’s favorite crew jump another five spots, sitting just outside of the top ten.
Here is how each team fared in the latest edition of NBA Power Rankings:
KP’s NBA Power Rankings: February 20, 2012
* Games, statistics and rankings include results up to Sunday February 19, 2012
1. Miami Heat – 25-7 (108 points) – Last Week: #2
The last time a player other than Wade or LeBron was the high scorer in a Heat game was on January 24th, when Chris Bosh led all scorers (35 points) in a win over Cleveland.
2. Chicago Bulls – 25-8 (106 points) – Last Week: #1
Derrick Rose has missed five straight games due to back spasms, but all signs point to his return sometime this week (possibly as early as Monday night).
3. San Antonio Spurs – 22-9 (93 points) – Last Week: #5
The Spurs are undefeated in the month of February and as a team, have not lost a game since a one-point overtime loss at Dallas on January 29th.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder – 24-7 (91 points) – Last Week: #3
In Sunday’s 124-118 win over the Nuggets, Kevin Durant was 19-28 from the floor, scoring 51 points, while also picking up eight rebounds, three assists and four steals.
5. Philadelphia 76ers – 20-12 (71 points) – Last Week: #4
The Sixers maintain a four game lead in its division, but have dropped three straight games and five of seven overall.
6. Los Angeles Clippers – 19-10 (70 points) – Last Week: #6
Chris Paul is second on the team in points per game (18.3), first on the team in assists (8.7 average) and first on the team in steals per game (2.3).
7. Orlando Magic – 20-12 (64 points) – Last Week: #10
Despite its recent loss to the Heat, the Magic still managed to gain three spots this week, posting three victories, including double-digit wins over Minnesota and Philadelphia.
8. Dallas Mavericks – 20-12 (64 points) – Last Week: #8
Dirk Nowitzki is seeing a boost statistically this month, averaging 23.6 points in ten February games.
9. Atlanta Hawks – 19-12 (56 points) – Last Week: #7
Losing three of four, the Hawks have to face the Bulls, Knicks and Magic between now and Thursday night.
10. Indiana Pacers – 19-12 (54 points) – Last Week: #9
It’s not near the impact he made at North Carolina, but PF Tyler Hansbrough is averaging 8.5 points and 3.6 boards this month, while averaging just 20 minutes a game.
11. New York Knicks – 16-16 (50 points) – Last Week: #16
In February, Jeremy Lin leads the Knicks in points per game (22.7), assists per game (8.4) and steals per game (2.0).
12. Houston Rockets – 18-14 (46 points) – Last Week: #12
The Rockets host the Grizzlies Monday night and the 76ers Wednesday night before getting six days off, and no games ‘til Tuesday the 29th.
13. Portland Trail Blazers – 17-15 (44 points) – Last Week: #15
In nine February games (four started), Nicolas Batum is averaging 18.7 points per game.
14. Los Angeles Lakers – 18-13 (43 points) – Last Week: #14
Amidst all the trade rumors, Pau Gasol is still managing to average 17.4 points and 13.7 rebounds during the month of February (9 games).
15. Memphis Grizzlies – 18-14 (43 points) – Last Week: #19
Rudy Gay has scored 18 or more points in every game this month.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves – 16-16 (40 points) – Last Week: #17
Kevin Love is averaging 25.8 points and 15.9 rebounds in the month of February (nine games).
17. Boston Celtics – 15-15 (36 points) – Last Week: #11
The Celtics are floundering, losing five of six, including twice to the Pistons and a double-digit road loss to the lowly Raptors.
18. Denver Nuggets – 17-15 (29 points) – Last Week: #13
After a 15-7 start to the season, the Nuggets have lost three straight and eight of ten overall.
19. Golden State Warriors – 11-17 (15 points) – Last Week: #21
Stephen Curry has had a solid February, averaging 18.9 points, 7.3 assists and 1.8 steals over nine games.
20. Utah Jazz – 15-15 (13 points) – Last Week: #18
In eleven February games, Al Jefferson leads the Jazz in points per game (20.8), rebounds (9.6 per game) and blocks (1.5 per game).
21. Milwaukee Bucks – 13-18 (7 points) – Last Week: #22
The Bucks have a brutal stretch coming, with Orlando, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and the Knicks all on the shedule between now and March 9th.
22. Phoenix Suns – 13-19 (6 points) – Last Week: #20
Steve Nash averages 16.4 assists per 48 minutes, which in that statistical category, is four better than any other player in the NBA this season.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers – 12-17 (2 point) – Last Week: #23
Seasoned veteran Antawn Jamison leads the Cavs in scoring this month, averaging 20.9 points per game.
24. Detroit Pistons – 11-22 (-8 points) – Last Week: #26
One reason for Detroit’s solid February is the team’s ability to spread the ball around. Six Pistons are averaging in double figures this month, with Rodney Stuckey leading the way (17.8 ppg).
25. New Orleans Hornets – 7-23 (-15 points) – Last Week: #28
The Hornets jumped three spots this week, riding a three game win streak, including two road victories, one of which came against Jeremy Lin and the Knicks.
26. Toronto Raptors – 9-23 (-23 points) – Last Week: #24
Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors in scoring during the month of February, averaging 18.0 points over ten contests.
27. Sacramento Kings – 10-21 (-30 points) – Last Week: #25
In ten February games, DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 20.0 points per game and nearly twelve rebounds per game.
28. New Jersey Nets – 9-24 (-32 points) – Last Week: #27
Deron Williams may be frustrated by the team’s overall performance this season, but his 132 turnovers (tied for most in the NBA) are certainly not helping.
29. Washington Wizards – 7-24 (-36 points) – Last Week: #29
John Wall has 51 assists over his last five games.
30. Charlotte Bobcats – 4-27 (-67 points) – Last Week: #30
The Bobcats notched its first win over a month on Friday February 17th, knocking off the Raptors on the road, 98-91.
* All stats per NBA.com
Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week
The Wife Hates Sports’ NBA Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and defense, too.