NBA Power Rankings: Heat Wrest Top Spot From Cavs In Competitive East

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The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are separating themselves from the pack in the NBA’s Western Conference.

As for the East? Well, things are a bit more cluttered.

The top 10 teams in the East are separated by just two games in what’s been a surprisingly competitive conference. The Cleveland Cavaliers have sat atop the East for most of the young season, but that changed Saturday, when the Miami Heat beat them to move into the No. 1 seed.

So what to make of all this moving and shaking? We did our best to break it down in the Week 6 NBA Power Rankings, which account for all games played through Sunday, Dec. 6.

1. Golden State Warriors (22-0): Paul George and the Pacers have a chance at ending this absurd streak Tuesday, but we’re not betting on it. Last week: 1

2. San Antonio Spurs (17-4): The Spurs held off a furious Celtics rally Saturday night to improve to 11-0 at home this season. Last week: 2

3. Miami Heat (12-6): Miami has beaten some bad teams this season, but back-to-back wins over the Cavs and Thunder is legit. Last week: 7

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-7): LeBron James watched from the sideline as the Heat handed the Cavs their third consecutive loss to take over first in the East. Last week: 3

5. Chicago Bulls (11-6): The Bulls became just the fourth team to beat the Spurs this season with a gutsy three-point win Monday. Last week: 6

6. Indiana Pacers (12-7): George is an absolute monster, but even his career-best 48 points wasn’t enough in an overtime loss to the Jazz on Friday. Last week: 5

7. Atlanta Hawks (13-9): Atlanta kept pace with the rest of the East this week with wins over the Thunder and Lakers. Last week: 10

8. Oklahoma City Thunder (12-8): OKC’s last three games have been decided by six, two and three points, and two of those were Thunder losses. Last week: 4

9. Toronto Raptors (12-9): The Raptors were on the verge of handing the Warriors their first loss Saturday before Stephen Curry starting using cheat codes again. Last week: 9

10. Memphis Grizzlies (12-9): The Grizzlies earned their third win in four games Sunday thanks to a crazy alley-oop at the buzzer. Last week: 11

11. Dallas Mavericks (12-9): Wesley Matthews went off for 36 points Sunday to help Dallas keep pace in the West. Last week: 8

12: Detroit Pistons (12-9): The Pistons are churning again, earning their fourth consecutive win Sunday against the Lakers. Last week: 17

13. Charlotte Hornets (11-8): The Hornets proved they have no interest in slowing down by knocking off the Bulls on Saturday. Last week: 12

14. Boston Celtics (11-9): The Celtics dispatched a solid Heat team, blew out the Kings in Mexico City and nearly upset the Spurs this week. Last week: 14

15. Los Angeles Clippers (11-9): Don’t look now, but the Clippers are starting to figure things out. They’ve won four of their last five. Last week: 16

16. Orlando Magic (11-9): Orlando had ripped off a five-game win streak before losing a close one to the Clippers on Saturday. Last week: 13

17. Utah Jazz (9-9): Utah joined the Raptors this week in the group of NBA teams to almost beat the Warriors. Last week: 15

18. Houston Rockets (10-11): Here come the Rockets! James Harden has scored 80 points in his last three games, all Houston wins. Last week: 22

19. New York Knicks (10-11): The Knicks escaped with two wins this week from the gauntlet that was the 76ers, Nets and Bucks. (We’re being sarcastic, FYI.) Last week: 20

21. Washington Wizards (8-10): Washington finally snapped its losing streak, but the Wizards are going to need to turn things around soon to compete in a very balanced East. Last week: 21

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-11): The Timberwolves are 2-8 at home and 6-3 on the road this season. Makes sense. Last week: 19

22. Portland Trail Blazers (9-12): Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum helped snap the Pacers’ six-game winning streak with an impressive victory Friday. Last week: 23

23. Phoenix Suns (8-13): The Suns have the third-best offense in the NBA but are giving up 106 points per game and have lost three straight. Last week: 18

24. Denver Nuggets (8-13): Denver finally snapped its losing streak this week with tight wins over the Raptors and Sixers. Last week: 24

25. Milwaukee Bucks (8-13): The only two teams with lower-scoring offenses than the Bucks are the Nets and Sixers. Last week: 25

26. Sacramento Kings (7-15): The Kings looked sloppy and disinterested in Thursday’s loss to Boston and have dropped five of their last six. Last week: 26

27. Brooklyn Nets (5-15): The Nets are bad, but they’ve proven over the last couple weeks that they might not be at the bottom of the heap come April. Last week: 27

28. New Orleans Pelicans (5-15): The Pelicans held on to beat the Cavs in overtime Friday and snap a four-game losing streak. Last week: 28

29. Los Angeles Lakers (3-17): Kobe Bryant and the Lakers earned the dubious distinction of being the Sixers’ first victory. Last week: 29

30. Philadelphia 76ers (1-20): There goes 0-82… Last week: 30

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) is pressured by Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 99-84.
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