NBA Power Rankings: What Ja Morant’s return could mean for the West race

The Memphis Grizzlies are confident to obtain Ja Morant back on the flooring Wednesday versus theHouston Rockets Morant’s current eight-game suspension drank several of the energy the Grizzlies were riding to a possible front runner in the West before March 4.

However with its celebrity point player returning to practice, Memphis is still in striking range to make a run at asserting home-court benefit in the Western Seminar playoffs, specifically with the top-seeded Denver Nuggets shedding 5 of their last 7 video games.

At one factor, the Nuggets held a seven-game lead for the leading place in the West as well as Nikola Jokic resembled a lock to win a 3rd successive MVP honor. Currently both the No. 1 seed as well as Jokic’s risk for MVP are up for grabs with Philadelphia 76ers celebrity Joel Embiid becoming a frontrunner.

Memphis is currently riding a three-game win touch to draw within 3.5 video games of the leading place in the West. Morant might aid the Grizzlies close that void in the last 3 weeks.

Simply listed below the Grizzlies in 3rd area are the Sacramento Kings, that invested a fair bit of time in 2nd area throughout Morant’s suspension. The Kings will certainly require to either acquire one video game on the Grizzlies in the last 3 weeks to come back right into 2nd area, or acquire 5 video games on Denver if Memphis maintains winning.

Note: Throughout the normal period, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin as well as Ohm Youngmisuk) is rating all 30 groups inside out, analyzing which groups are playing the most effective basketball as well as which groups are looking most like title challengers.

Previous positions: Week 1|Week 2|Week 3|Week 4|Week 5|Week 6|Week 7|Week 8|Week 9|Week 10|Week 11|Week 12|Week 13|Week 14|Week 15|Week 16|Week 17|Week 18|Week 19|Week 20|Week 21

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2022-23 document: 51-20
Previous position: 1

Milwaukee has actually provided itself a good pillow in the race for the front runner in the East, up 3 video games in the loss column on Boston as well as Philly with 11 video games staying. The Bucks will certainly take a trip to Denver this weekend break for a match versus the front runner in the West: the Nuggets. — Collier

2. Philadelphia 76ers
2022-23 document: 48-23
Previous position: 3

While Philly’s eight-game winning touch finished Monday in dual overtime versus the Bulls, the 76ers still have the organization’s best gamer in Joel Embiid as they start a journey West with 4 video games in 6 days– one that finishes with Embiid dealing with Nikola Jokic in Denver Monday evening in an MVP face-off.– Bontemps

3. Boston Celtics
2022-23 document: 50-23
Previous position: 2

For every one of the speak about Boston’s post-All-Star break battles, there’s been one instead evident factor for their problems (past injuries): Jayson Tatum‘s capturing battles. Also after a huge video game in Sacramento Tuesday evening, Tatum is shooting 29.1% from 3-point variety on simply under 10 efforts per video game because the break. If he can start, Boston’s crime– as well as total play– need to boost quickly. — Bontemps

4. Denver Nuggets
2022-23 document: 48-24
Previous position: 4

The Nuggets have actually struck a skid for the very first time this period, shedding 5 of their last 7 video games. Their bench stays the obvious concern, however they are additionally having a hard time to obtain constant efficiencies from several of their beginners not called Nikola Jokic. — Andrews

5. Cleveland Cavaliers
2022-23 document: 46-28
Previous position: 5

In what might be a first-round playoff sneak peek if the Cavs can capture the Sixers or the Webs can capture the Knicks, No. 4 Cleveland defeat No. 6 Brooklyn at Barclays on Tuesday, with Donovan Mitchell (31 factors) outdueling Mikal Bridges (18 factors) to obtain the roadway win, which had actually been tough ahead by for the Cavs this period.– McMenamin

6. Sacramento Kings
2022-23 document: 43-29
Previous position: 6

The Kings have the 26th-ranked protection because the All-Star break, however they additionally have the most effective document ever since. That’s many thanks to their league-leading crime, which has actually been the story of their whole period. However taking child actions on the protective end is vital as they get ready for their initial playoff look because 2006.– Andrews

7. Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 document: 44-27
Previous position: 7

Memphis went 6-3 in the 9 video games missed out on by Ja Morant, in huge component as a result of Tyus Jones‘ extraordinary task of completing as the beginning point player. Jones balanced 16.3 factors as well as 8.2 aids while firing 50.9% from the flooring as well as 40% from 3-point variety throughout the stretch that Memphis’ All-Star was sidelined. — MacMahon

8. Phoenix Suns
2022-23 document: 38-33
Previous position: 8

Previously this month, Devin Booker racked up 44 factors in 28 mins as well as the Suns blitzed the Rumbling by 31 factors. On Sunday, Booker racked up 46 versus OKC, however the Rumbling won, 124-120, handing Phoenix metro its 4th loss in its last 5 video games without Kevin Durant.– McMenamin

9. New York Knicks
2022-23 document: 42-31
Previous position: 9

The following 8 days will certainly aid figure out where New york city end up in the standings. With 2 video games versus seventh-place Miami sandwiched around video games in Orlando as well as in the house versus Houston, the Knicks might either likely secure 5th with 3 or 4 success, or place themselves at risk of dropping backwards with a pair losses to the Warm.– Bontemps

10. LA Clippers
2022-23 document: 38-35
Previous position: 12

The Clippers went down a hard loss to the Rumbling on Tuesday however have a much more important issue:Paul George’s health The All-Star wing showed up to bang his best knee with Lu Dort’s prior to touchdown awkwardly. Any type of major injury to George will certainly be a serious strike equally as the Clippers as well as George were playing several of their finest basketball.– Youngmisuk

11. Golden State Warriors
2022-23 document: 37-36
Previous position: 10

The Warriors obtained an evasive roadway win on Monday. Certain, it protested the West-worst Rockets, however it was one the Warriors frantically required. Currently can Golden State do it once more with their last 4 roadway video games of the period?– Andrews

12. Miami Heat
2022-23 document: 39-34
Previous position: 13

Miami has actually won 3 of its previous 4 as well as has a face-off with the Knicks turning up Wednesday evening. Customarily for the Warm, it’s Jimmy Butler that is establishing the tone, balancing 26 factors, 6.7 rebounds as well as 5 aids throughout 11 video games in March.– Friedell

13. Brooklyn Nets
2022-23 document: 39-33
Previous position: 11

Brooklyn has actually gone down 4 straight as well as seems moving right into the play-in competition image throughout the last weeks of the period. The chemistry the team received the first weeks after dealing Kyrie Irving as well as Kevin Durant has actually discolored as well as the Webs’ protection has actually failed versus more powerful competitors– especially throughout most of losses to the Nuggets as well as Cavaliers in current days. After a sizzling beginning to his Webs profession, Mikal Bridges has actually had a hard time from past the arc– going 8-for-33 over his last 4 video games.– Friedell

14. Dallas Mavericks
2022-23 document: 36-36
Previous position: 14

The Mavs shed in Memphis on Monday evening in spite of leading by 16 factors in the 2nd fifty percent. Shielding leads has actually been a huge trouble for Dallas all period. They have actually blown a second-half lead of at the very least 16 factors 4 times this period, which matches the franchise business’s most such losses in any type of period over the previous 25 years, according to ESPN Statistics & & Info research study.– MacMahon

15. Oklahoma City Thunder
2022-23 document: 36-36
Previous position: 17

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 40 factors in Sunday’s 124-120 triumph over the Suns that maintained the Rumbling in the thick of the West playoff race. Gilgeous-Alexander was 12-of-24 from the area as well as 16-of-19 from the charity line. He did not try a 3-pointer. The only various other gamer this period with a 40-point video game without a 3-point effort isDeMar DeRozan Gilgeous-Alexander came to be the initial gamer in Thunder/Seattle SuperSonics background to achieve the task because Vin Baker in 1998.– Lopez

16. Minnesota Timberwolves
2022-23 document: 36-37
Previous position: 15

Karl Anthony-Towns is nearing his return from injury, which need to be taken into consideration great information for Minnesota, which has actually gone down to 9th in the West. However going by just how they began the period, it’s vague just how every little thing will certainly harmonize when he returns.– Andrews

17. Atlanta Hawks
2022-23 document: 36-36
Previous position: 18

The Hawks relocated to 36-36 with a sway the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday evening, maintaining active a touch that’s been going because Jan. 21. On that particular day, they shed to the Charlotte Hornets to be up to 24-23. They have actually been the meaning of ordinary since. Tuesday’s win was the 26th successive video game the Hawks have actually been within simply one video game of.500. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that goes beyond the 2014-15 New Orleans Pelicans (25 straight) for the lengthiest touch of remaining within one video game of.500 in a period in NBA background.– Lopez

18. Los Angeles Lakers
2022-23 document: 35-37
Previous position: 16

With Mo Bamba sidelined with a high ankle joint strain, the Lakers exercised freelance facilities Tristan Thompson as well as Tony Bradley on Monday, according to instructor Darvin Pork. However it does not seem like they’ll be including a huge to support Anthony Davis anytime quickly. “No brewing strategies,” Pork stated Tuesday. “Simply kicking the tires.”– McMenamin

19. Toronto Raptors
2022-23 document: 35-37
Previous position: 21

The Raptors have actually barked back up the standings in current days as well as currently rest a video game behind the eighth-place Hawks. 3 straight house video games versus groups in the lower 5 places in the East (Indiana, Washington as well as Detroit) offer Toronto a chance to maintain going up the East ladder today.– Bontemps

20. Utah Jazz
2022-23 document: 35-36
Previous position: 20

A set of novices starred throughout allure’s 4-1 touch over the previous 2 weeks. Capturing guard Ochai Agbaji balanced 16.2 factors on.500/.447/.889 capturing divides, highlighted by his career-best 27-point efficiency in Monday’s gain the Kings. Facility Walker Kessler balanced 11.8 factors, 11.4 rebounds as well as 3.0 blocks while missing out on a total amount of just 7 basket efforts in the previous 5 video games.– MacMahon

21. Chicago Bulls
2022-23 document: 34-37
Previous position: 22

The Bulls are 8-4 because the All-Star break– the 5th finest document in the NBA throughout that period– which has actually provided a 2.5-game lead on their place in the play-in competition. Zach LaVine is balancing 29.9 factors on 54% capturing, consisting of 45% from 3 because the break. — Collier

22. New Orleans Pelicans
2022-23 document: 35-37
Previous position: 19

After a group conference recently, the Pelicans placed a focus on including facilityJonas Valanciunas In the 3 video games because, Valanciunas has actually played several of his finest specific basketball of the period, balancing 20.6 factors as well as 14.7 rebounds per video game on 63.1% capturing. The group has actually additionally leaned on Brandon Ingram with Zion Williamson out. On Tuesday, Ingram had 32 factors versus the Spurs, noting his 41st 30-point video game as a Pelican. That damaged a connection with David West for the 2nd most in franchise business background, routing just Anthony Davis (128 ).– Lopez

23. Washington Wizards
2022-23 document: 32-40
Previous position: 23

Washington shed its 3rd straight video game in Orlando in spite of 30 factors fromKristaps Porzingis Washington has simply 4 success in 14 video games because the All-Star break. While they are simply 2.5 video games out of the 10th place, Washington has challenging competitions versus Denver, Boston, New York City, Milwaukee, Atlanta as well as Miami in its last 10 video games. — Youngmisuk

24. Indiana Pacers
2022-23 document: 32-40
Previous position: 25

After missing out on 4 video games with an appropriate ankle joint injury, Pacers newbie Bennedict Mathurin began as well as set up 18 factors in his return versus Charlotte today. Nevertheless, the Pacers went down a 2nd straight video game, placing them 2.5 video games behind the last play-in place.– Collier

25. Portland Trail Blazers
2022-23 document: 31-40
Previous position: 24

Damian Lillard might hardly conceal the dissatisfaction after the Blazers shed to the Clippers on Sunday, bringing their complimentary autumn to 6 straight losses. The Blazers have simply 3 success because the All-Star break. “We have actually virtually befalled of the race for 10th,” Lillard stated. “I like to play, like the competitors as well as have not prepared to consider that up. However it does come a point when do you quit placing your affordable nature out front.” — Youngmisuk

26. Orlando Magic
2022-23 document: 30-43
Previous position: 26

Markelle Fultz racked up a profession high 28 factors in Saturday’s gain the Clippers as well as is balancing 17.6 factors this month. Fultz is getting self-confidence as well as has actually ended up being the constant offending risk the Magic were wishing for when they got the previous No. 1 total choice from the 76ers.— Friedell

27. Charlotte Hornets
2022-23 document: 23-50
Previous position: 27

Charlotte got a return gain the Pacers on Monday evening asKelly Oubre Jr went off for 28 factors. The professional swingman remains to supply a lift for the having a hard time franchise business, balancing 24.1 factors as well as 5.7 rebounds this month. — Friedell

28. Houston Rockets
2022-23 document: 18-54
Previous position: 29

March has actually been without a doubt the most effective month of No. 3 total choice Jabari Smith Jr.’s newbie period. Smith is setting up the most effective varieties of any type of month in numerous analytical classifications, consisting of racking up (15.5 factors per video game), recoiling (7.5 ), basket percent (.496) as well as 3-point percent (.396 ). His development has actually been a significant factor the Firecrackers have actually been affordable in March, going 5-6 thus far. — MacMahon

29. San Antonio Spurs
2022-23 document: 19-52
Previous position: 28

On Friday evening, the Spurs led by as lots of as 29 prior to permitting the Grizzlies ahead back as well as assert an overtime triumph. 2 days later on, the Spurs discovered themselves routing by as lots of as 24 factors prior to storming back for a 126-118 gain the Hawks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs are the 5th group in the previous 25 periods to shed a video game after leading by 20+ as well as win after routing by 20+ in successive video games. The 24-point resurgence was additionally the group’s second biggest resurgence win under instructor Gregg Popovich. — Lopez

30. Detroit Pistons
2022-23 document: 16-56
Previous position: 30

James Wiseman just uploaded 3 double-doubles in 60 video games throughout his profession with the Warriors, however he’s currently set up 5 in 15 video games because signing up with the Pistons at the profession target date.— Collier

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