NBA Power Rankings: Cavs Looking Less Invincible After Tumultuous Week


The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the favorite to win the NBA’s Eastern Conference for most of the season.

Is it time to change that thinking?

The Cavs went through a tumultuous week, firing David Blatt amid rumors of a long-festering divide between the head coach and his players and calling on 38-year-old Tyronn Lue to take his place. A day after the shocking announcement, Cleveland scored just 83 points in a double-digit loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The Cavs still have LeBron James and a healthy supporting cast on their side, so it’s hard to discount them after one tough week. But there’s clearly trouble in paradise, and the rest of the NBA is licking its chops.

Who else rose or fell around the league this week? Find out in our Week 13 Power Rankings, which account for all games played through Sunday, Jan. 24.

1. Golden State Warriors (40-4): The Warriors obliterated three of the best teams in the East (Cavs, Bulls and Pacers) this week and are doing just fine, thank you. Last week: 1

2. San Antonio Spurs (38-6): Circle your calendars, folks. The Spurs’ 13-game win streak will be on the line Monday in a super showdown at Golden State. Last week: 2

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-13): Even OKC’s loss to the Nets on Sunday isn’t enough to stop us from bumping the Thunder ahead of the reeling Cavs. Last week: 4

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (30-12): The Cavs’ return to the NBA Finals is looking a lot less inevitable after a major coaching shakeup and two blowout losses. Last week: 3

5. Toronto Raptors (29-15): DeMar DeRozan (30-plus points in three straight games) is on a tear, and so are the Raptors, who have won seven straight to vault to No. 2 in the East. Last week: 6

6. Los Angeles Clippers (28-16): The Clippers proved they still have some work to do, falling to the top two teams in the East in the Cavs and Raptors. Last week: 5

7. Chicago Bulls (25-18): The Bulls are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are in serious danger of getting caught by the rest of the crowded East. Last week: 7

8. Atlanta Hawks (26-19): Atlanta’s promising start to the week was tempered by back-to-back three-point losses to the Kings and Suns. Last week: 8

9. Memphis Grizzlies (25-20): A four-game winning streak is nice. Having that streak snapped by the Timberwolves is not as nice. Last week: 10

10. Dallas Mavericks (25-21): Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock Monday with 31 points against the Celtics, but the Mavs have slipped to the No. 6 seed in the West. Last week: 11

11. Boston Celtics (24-21): Believe it not, the Celtics are the East’s new No. 5 seed after back-to-back wins over the Bulls and Sixers. Last week: 13

12. Miami Heat (23-21): Does anybody want to win the East? The Heat failed to capitalize on a tough week for the conference by dropping all three of their games this week. Last week: 9

13. Indiana Pacers (23-21): Indiana’s only wins since the first week of January have come against the Suns, and the Pacers suddenly are tied for the East’s final playoff spot. Last week: 12

14. Detroit Pistons (23-21): The Pistons closed out their week with losses to the Pelicans and Nuggets. Did we mention this was a bad week for the East? Last week: 14

15. Houston Rockets (24-22): The Rockets came back to Earth a bit this week but won the battle of Texas by beating Dallas on Sunday to stay in the playoff hunt. Last week: 15

16. Orlando Magic (20-22): Orlando just can’t buy a win. The Magic now are 1-9 in their last 10 games and even lost to the Sixers on Wednesday. Last week: 16

17. Washington Wizards (20-21): Inclement weather brought by Winter Storm Jonas put the Wizards’ quest to shake its losing record on hold. Last week: 17

18. New York Knicks (22-24): The Knicks didn’t win a game in regulation this week, but earned back-to-back overtime victories to hang around on the fringe of the East playoff hunt. Last week: 18

19. Charlotte Hornets (21-23): Charlotte won three games this week, and while none were against quality opponents, the Hornets will take what they can get at this point. Last week: 20

20. Sacramento Kings (20-23): Rajon Rondo has recorded 10 or more assists in the last 11 games he’s played in. The Kings have won eight of those games. Last week: 21

21. Utah Jazz (19-24): The Jazz did the exact opposite of the Knicks, winning both of their games in regulation but falling twice in overtime. Last week: 19

22. Portland Trail Blazers (20-26): Portland is 5-2 over its last seven games thanks to the strong play of Damian Lillard of C.J. McCollum. Last week: 22

23. Milwaukee Bucks (19-27): Losses to the Rockets and Pelicans this week dropped the Bucks to 6-12 against Western Conference opponents. Last week: 23

24. Denver Nuggets (17-27): The Nuggets have played .500 basketball over their last 10 games, which is a positive when you’re the Nuggets. Last week: 24

25. New Orleans Pelicans (16-27): Anthony Davis (89 total points) has been a monster over the Pelicans’ current three-game winning streak. Last week: 25

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-31): The Timberwolves have won just two of their last 10 games to fall into a tie with the Suns for second-to-last place in the West. Last week: 26

27. Phoenix Suns (14-31): As mentioned above, the Suns also are very bad, but they did manage to upset the Hawks on Saturday. Last week: 27

28. Brooklyn Nets (12-33): Watch out, Celtics fans. The Nets are beginning to creep up on Minnesota and Phoenix, which could hurt Boston’s lottery pick. Last week: 28

29. Los Angeles Lakers (9-37): The losses continue to pile up on the Kobe Bryant tour, as the Lakers are in the midst of a six-game slide. Last week: 29

30. Philadelphia 76ers (6-39): The Sixers won twice in seven days before getting demolished by the Celtics on Sunday. Last week: 30

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James (23) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. The Cavaliers defeated the Nets 91-78.

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