NBA Power Rankings: White-Hot Raptors Close Gap On Cavaliers In East

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry

Photo via Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) gives the thumbs-up as the Raptors won their eleventh game in a row against the Detroit Pistons at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Pistons 111-107.

The Toronto Raptors had a pretty awesome Thursday.

The Raptors learned they’d have two All-Stars take the court in Toronto on Feb. 14 when DeMar DeRozan was named an Eastern Conference reserve, joining starter Kyle Lowry. DeRozan and Lowry then went out and proved their worth, leading the Raptors to a 10-point win over the New York Knicks to stretch the team’s winning streak to an NBA-best 10 games.

That number reached 11 on Saturday, as the Raptors staked their claim as the NBA’s hottest team. Their latest surge has moved them to just 2 1/2 games back of the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, who are dealing with some issues of their own.

Where does the rest of the league stack up? Find out in our Week 14 NBA Power Rankings, which account for all games played through Sunday, Jan. 31.

1. Golden State Warriors (44-4): The Warriors destroyed the Spurs by 30 on Monday, then needed a Harrison Barnes buzzer-beater to beat the Sixers on Saturday. Makes sense. Last week: 1

2. San Antonio Spurs (39-8): San Antonio’s epic win streak came to a screeching halt this week with sizable losses to the best teams in each conference: Golden State and Cleveland. Last week: 2

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (36-13): The Thunder are rolling with wins in 9 of their last 10 games and will have the chance to hand the Warriors their first home loss in Saturday’s battle of the titans. Last week: 3

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (34-12): This team clearly has some issues, but for now, winning isn’t one of them. Tyronn Lue’s club has rattled off four consecutive victories. Last week: 4

5. Toronto Raptors (32-15): The backcourt duo of Lowry and DeRozan has wreaked havoc during Toronto’s massive win streak. Last week: 5

6. Los Angeles Clippers (32-16): Blake Griffin breaking his hand during a fight with a team employee is not the best look, but the Clips have been just fine without him, winning four straight. Last week: 6

7. Memphis Grizzlies (28-20): The Grizzlies are making the most of a soft spot in their schedule. They’ve won seven of their last eight games, seven of which were against teams below .500. Last week: 9

8. Dallas Mavericks (28-22): Dallas’ cupcake schedule this week against the Lakers, Nets and Suns was broken up by a 20-point beatdown at the hands of the Warriors. Last week: 10

9. Miami Heat (27-21): Here comes Miami! The streaky Heat and their second-ranked defense ripped off four wins this week to vault into the East’s No. 4 seed. They had fun doing it, too. Last week: 12

10. Chicago Bulls (26-20): The injuries and losses are starting to pile up for the Bulls, who are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are in danger of getting caught by the rest of the crowded East. Last week: 7

11. Boston Celtics (27-22): The Celtics rattled off five wins in a row to move to as high as the No. 4 seed in the East before a letdown against the Magic on Sunday night. Last week: 11

12. Atlanta Hawks (27-22): The Hawks have lost four of their last five amid rumors the team might be “hitting the reset button” and shopping All-Stars Jeff Teague and Al Horford. Last week: 8

13. Indiana Pacers (25-22): Indiana finally righted the ship this week with wins over the Hawks and Nuggets despite getting subpar efforts from Paul George in both contests. Last week: 13

14. Detroit Pistons (25-23): Recently-named All-Star Andre Drummond went a combined 3-for-17 from the free-throw line in a pair of close losses to the Raptors and Cavs. His free throw struggles could prove costly in big games. Last week: 14

15. Houston Rockets (25-25): This week brought more problems for Houston, which fell to the Spurs and Cavs and lost to the Wizards by one on Saturday after James Harden’s layup attempt went off the mark. Last week: 15

16. New York Knicks (22-24): The Knicks have lost five of their last six, but wins are hard to come by when your opponents include the Clippers, Thunder, Raptors and Warriors. Last week: 18

17. Charlotte Hornets (23-25): Charlotte won’t be sending an All-Star to Toronto, but the Hornets did go 2-0 against California teams (the Kings and Lakers) this week. Last week: 19

18. Washington Wizards (21-24): A few impressive assist outputs from All-Star guard John Wall weren’t enough to prevent the Wizards from dropping three of their four games this week. Last week: 17

19. Portland Trail Blazers (23-26): If the season ended Monday, the Blazers would be in the playoffs after winning seven of their last 10. What happened to the Western Conference? Last week: 22

20. Utah Jazz (21-25): The Jazz closed out the week with back-to-back wins to move into a tie with the Blazers for the West’s No. 8 seed. Last week: 21

21. Orlando Magic (21-25): The good news: The Magic finally ended their eight-game losing streak Sunday night. The bad news: They’re still three games out of a playoff spot. Last week: 16

22. Sacramento Kings (20-27): Remember when the Kings were flirting with .500? Yeah, neither do we. Sacramento has dropped four in a row to fall out of a playoff spot in the West. Last week: 20

23. Milwaukee Bucks (20-29): Milwaukee’s only win in the last 10 days came against the Magic. Which is good for the team’s lottery chances, we suppose. Last week: 23

24. New Orleans Pelicans (18-28): The Pelicans are starting to get healthy and win some basketball games. They’re 7-3 in their last 10. Last week: 25

25. Denver Nuggets (18-30): It’s a good thing Denver’s NFL team still is playing, because its NBA team is pretty tough to watch. Last week: 24

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-34): Karl-Anthony Towns has recorded four consecutive double-doubles and is looking more and more like the real deal. Last week: 26

27. Phoenix Suns (14-35): Another week, another losing streak for the Suns, who closed out January with four consecutive losses. Last week: 27

28. Brooklyn Nets (12-36): Celtics fans can breathe a little easier after watching the Nets lose all three of their games this week to remain the third-worst team in the NBA. Last week: 28

29. Los Angeles Lakers (9-40): If Kobe Bryant is going to watch his team lose a ton of games, he at least wants to be comfortable doing so. Last week: 29

30. Philadelphia 76ers (7-41): The Sixers have won three of their last seven games and earned a moral victory Saturday by only losing to the Warriors by three. Last week: 30

Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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