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NBA Energy Rankings – Warriors hunch out of the break, fall to No. 2

Will the ultimate stretch of the season belong to the Milwaukee Bucks? Giannis Antetokounmpo & Co. are the most well liked workforce within the NBA proper now, taking up for a slumping Golden State Warriors squad atop our rankings.

All through the common season, our panel (ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon and Andre’ Snellings, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring) ranks all 30 groups from high to backside, taking inventory of which groups are taking part in the most effective basketball and that are wanting most like title contenders.

Earlier rankings: Week 19 | 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | Eight | 7 | 6 | 5 | Four | Three | 2 | 1 | Coaching camp | Free company

1. Milwaukee Bucks
File: 45-14

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK2  Four-Zero@CHI, @SAC, @LAL, @UTAH

Milwaukee has gained 9 of its previous 10, the most effective mark within the NBA in that span. These contenders will likely be examined beginning this week of their quest to acquire home-court benefit all through the playoffs. Their subsequent 5 video games are on the highway, and eight of their subsequent 10 will likely be performed away from residence, together with stops in Sacramento, Utah and San Antonio. — Herring

2. Golden State Warriors
File: 42-17

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK1  2-2@CHA, @MIA, @ORL, @PHI

All isn’t heavenly in Warriors world for the reason that All-Star break. Ahead Draymond Inexperienced suffered a sprained left ankle towards the Rockets on Saturday, a sport the Warriors misplaced with James Harden sidelined. After a powerful begin following his return from an Achilles tendon harm, pissed off middle DeMarcus Cousins has been struggling and has not been used down the stretch. — Spears

Three. Toronto Raptors
File: 44-17

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK3  Three-1BOS, POR, @DET

The mutual love between Raptors followers and DeMar DeRozan genuinely displayed on Friday was among the best moments of an NBA season beset by celebrity discontent and transactional intrigue. On the heels of the massive win, the Raptors suffered a letdown loss with out Kawhi Leonard on Sunday at residence to Orlando. Certainly not do the Raptors have a simple schedule forward (not with Boston coming to city on Tuesday), however they are going to be favored of their subsequent 10 video games. — Arnovitz

Four. Denver Nuggets
File: 41-18

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK5  Four-0OKC, UTAH, NO

The Nuggets misplaced three video games by a mixed 38 factors shortly earlier than the All-Star break whereas defensive anchor Paul Millsap was absent, and so they gave up a median of 127 PPG in these outings. The Nuggets entered this week having gained the previous 10 video games wherein Millsap performed by a median of 13.2 PPG and have thus surged again to inside a sport of first place within the West. — Snellings

5. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder
File: 38-21

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK4  2-2@DEN, PHI, @SA, MEM

Russell Westbrook didn’t handle a triple-double in both sport for the reason that All-Star break, however he may need lastly discovered his taking pictures stroke. Westbrook has scored 88 factors on 50.Eight p.c taking pictures from the sphere within the first two video games post-break, and he has knocked down an attention grabbing 11 Three-pointers on 44 p.c taking pictures. The 11 Three-pointers are by far essentially the most he has made in consecutive video games this season, and the 15 he has made in his previous three video games are 4 greater than the whole he knocked down within the 12 previous video games. — Snellings

6. Portland Path Blazers
File: 36-23

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK9  Three-1@CLE, @BOS, @TOR, @CHA

On Monday, newcomer guard Rodney Hood will face Cleveland for the primary time for the reason that Cavaliers traded him on Feb. Four. Hood has scored in double figures simply as soon as since becoming a member of the Blazers, averaging Eight.Three factors in 22 minutes in six video games for Portland. — Spears

7. Houston Rockets
File: 34-25

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK8  2-2ATL, @CHA, MIA, @BOS

The Rockets want Chris Paul to carry out at a star stage to be critical contenders, so his latest performances have been remarkably encouraging. Paul has been taking part in his greatest ball of the season. He has averaged 18.6 factors and 9.9 assists up to now seven video games, with a web ranking of plus-11.Eight factors per 100 possession in that span. “I understand how to play a little bit bit, know what I imply?” Paul mentioned after his 23-point, 17-assist efficiency in Saturday’s win over the Warriors. — MacMahon

Eight. Philadelphia 76ers
File: 38-22

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK6  2-2@NO, @OKC, GS

Life simply is not the identical in Philadelphia with out Joel Embiid, who has missed each of the Sixers’ video games for the reason that All-Star break. With Embiid on the ground, the Sixers are 5.Four factors higher offensively and seven.1 factors higher defensively per 100 possessions. For JJ Redick, whose chemistry with the massive man is seamless, the impact is much more pronounced. The Sixers’ offense is 23.5 factors per 100 possessions extra environment friendly when Redick performs with Embiid than when Redick performs with out him. — Arnovitz

9. Indiana Pacers
File: 40-20

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK10  Three-1@DET @DAL, MIN, ORL

Indy dropped its first 4 video games after dropping Victor Oladipo for the season. Since then? The Pacers have gone Eight-1, with the lone loss coming to the Bucks, who personal the most effective report in basketball. The Pacers have not performed a troublesome schedule in that span, however give head coach Nate McMillan and his workforce credit score for persevering with to excel following their All-Star’s harm. — Herring

10. Boston Celtics
File: 37-23

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK7  2-2@TOR, POR, WAS, HOU

The Celtics got here out of the All-Star break with a detailed loss to the first-place Bucks and an inexplicable 10-point loss to the Bulls. Boston has misplaced 4 of its previous six video games to stay three video games behind the Pacers and one sport behind the 76ers within the race for home-court benefit. The Celtics are within the midst of a brutal portion of the season and can attempt to break their two-game dropping streak Tuesday on the highway towards the Raptors. — Snellings

11. Utah Jazz
File: 33-26

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK11  1-2LAC, @DEN, MIL

Anybody who nonetheless considers reigning Defensive Participant of the 12 months Rudy Gobert a one-way participant is not watching the Jazz. Gobert has established himself as an offensive drive. He is averaging a career-high 15.Four factors per sport whereas main the league in area purpose proportion (.654) and display screen assists (6.Zero per sport, producing 13.9 factors). The Jazz common 109 factors per 100 possessions with Gobert on the ground — the most effective of any Utah participant with no less than 300 minutes — and 102 factors per 100 possessions when he sits. — MacMahon

12. San Antonio Spurs
File: 33-28

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK12  1-2@BKN, DET, OKC

Properly, that wasn’t precisely the way in which the Spurs wished to return out of the All-Star break. DeRozan’s Toronto homecoming led to nightmare trend with Kawhi Leonard, the person the Raptors selected to switch him, ripping him at half court docket and cruising in for a game-deciding dunk. Then the Knicks ended an 18-game residence dropping streak by spanking the Spurs, who’re solely a sport forward of the ninth-place Kings within the West standings. — MacMahon

13. LA Clippers
File: 33-28

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK14  2-2DAL, @UTAH, @SAC, NY

These are attention-grabbing occasions for the Clippers, who’ve basically cycled by three rosters over the previous 14 months. Phrase is that possession wish to see the workforce qualify for the postseason, even when it means forfeiting a first-round decide in June’s draft in change for being a first-round sacrificial lamb. To that finish, Friday night time’s date at Sacramento instantly has large implications. — Arnovitz

14. Los Angeles Lakers
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PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK13  1-2@MEM, NO, MIL, @PHX

A loss to the Davis-less Pelicans on Saturday took the sheen off Thursday’s plucky comeback win over Houston. LeBron James publicly questioned whether or not a younger core that had by no means been to a postseason might probably perceive the magnitude of what is at stake for the Lakers over the following six weeks. On the brilliant aspect, Brandon Ingram has put collectively a pair of environment friendly 29- and 27-point performances for the reason that break. — Arnovitz

15. Sacramento Kings
File: 31-28

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK15  1-2@MIN, MIL, LAC

Harrison Barnes remains to be adjusting to his new life as a member of the Kings. The veteran ahead is averaging 12.2 factors on 34.Four p.c taking pictures from the sphere and 25 p.c from Three-point vary in his first 5 video games. Barnes averaged 17.7 factors per sport with the Mavericks earlier than being dealt to the Kings. — Spears

16. Brooklyn Nets
File: 31-30

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK16  2-2SA, WAS, CHA, @MIA

Caris LeVert remains to be discovering his rhythm since his return from a severely dislocated proper foot, averaging 9 factors and 4 assists in 23.6 minutes per sport with an efficient area purpose proportion of 39.1. A assured LeVert could be a boon for the Nets this spring, giving them one other perimeter attacker who can problem defenses off the dribble, off the pick-and-roll and on the break. The Nets lead the NBA in complete drives this season, with league-average effectivity off these possessions. — Arnovitz

17. Detroit Pistons
File: 28-30

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK17  Three-1IND, @SA, @CLE, TOR

Detroit is 7-2 in its previous 9, and the improved play of guard Reggie Jackson has been one of many largest catalysts in that span. Jackson has shot 49 p.c general and 46 p.c from deep up to now 9 contests — up from simply 40 p.c and 34 p.c, respectively — throughout his sizzling streak. — Herring

18. Minnesota Timberwolves
File: 28-31

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK19  Three-1SAC, @ATL, @IND, @WAS

All-Star ahead Karl-Anthony Cities’ streak of 303 consecutive begins ended when he was positioned within the concussion protocol after being concerned in a automobile accident Thursday. Cities is averaging workforce highs of 23.1 factors and 12 rebounds per sport. — Spears

19. Orlando Magic
File: 28-33

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK20  Three-1@NY, GS, @IND, @CLE

The Magic entered the All-Star break having gained seven of eight video games with a plus-15.5 scoring margin, a stretch that adopted their dropping seven of eight video games with a minus-2.5 mark. The Magic have been one of many streakiest groups within the NBA all season, however their latest run has propelled them to only exterior the playoffs. If they’ll maintain that stage, they’ve a superb probability to sneak into the postseason in what was purported to be a rebuilding 12 months. — Snellings

20. Charlotte Hornets
File: 28-31

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK18  1-3GS, HOU, @BKN, POR

The Hornets are main the Southeast Division regardless of a dropping report. A workforce with a dropping report has not gained a division for the reason that 1975-76 Bucks gained the Midwest Division with a 38-44 report. Because the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, three groups have tied for the worst report to win a division, 44-38: the 2017-18 Warmth, the 2006-07 Warmth and the 2005-06 Nuggets. — Spears

21. Miami Warmth
File: 26-32

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK21  1-3PHX, GS, @HOU, BKN

The Warmth welcomed injured guard Goran Dragic and ahead Derrick Jones Jr. again to the lineup after prolonged absences, and their returns come at a superb time, because the workforce has struggled, with losses in eight of its previous 10 video games. The Warmth have fallen to 10th within the Jap Convention, 1.5 video games out of the final playoff spot, and have to show issues round in a rush to have an opportunity on the postseason. — Snellings

22. New Orleans Pelicans
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PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK24  2-2PHI, @LAL, @PHX, @DEN

Give the prideful Pelicans credit score for placing up a heckuva struggle with out Anthony Davis. For no matter purpose, the Pelicans have been higher with out their disgruntled, soon-to-be-departing celebrity. Since Davis’ commerce request grew to become public, New Orleans is Three-Three with out him, and so they beat the Thunder earlier than the All-Star break when Davis exited the sport at halftime and the sector quickly thereafter. They’re 1-Three when Davis fits up and sticks round all 4 quarters. — MacMahon

23. Washington Wizards
File: 24-36

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK22  Zero-Four@BKN, @BOS, MIN

Washington has misplaced its previous 4 and abruptly sits simply 4 video games in entrance of the Hawks, who maintain the NBA’s fifth-worst report. In what has been a multitude of a season from the get-go, a excessive lottery decide — particularly after unloading Otto Porter Jr.’s contract — could be an honest reward to place alongside Bradley Beal for subsequent season. — Herring

24. Dallas Mavericks
File: 26-33

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK23  Zero-Four@LAC, IND, MEM

Dirk Nowitzki’s chase of Wilt Chamberlain supplies a enjoyable sidebar to what’s probably his unofficial farewell tour. Nowitzki is 92 factors from passing Chamberlain to maneuver into sixth on the all-time scoring checklist with 23 video games remaining within the Mavs’ season and possibly Nowitzki’s profession, although he has been clear that he has but to make a retirement resolution. Nowitzki, making his first begin of the season attributable to Maxi Kleber’s sickness, scored a season-high 15 factors in Saturday’s loss to the Jazz. — MacMahon

25. Chicago Bulls
File: 16-44

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK27  Three-1MIL, @MEM, @ATL, ATL

Chicago is taking part in its greatest basketball of the season, having gained 4 of its previous six whereas rating seventh in offensive effectivity for the reason that commerce deadline on Feb. 7. Within the Bulls’ Saturday victory over the Celtics, each Zach LaVine (42 factors) and Lauri Markkanen (35 factors) completed with career-best scoring tallies — a superb signal for the younger workforce. — Herring

26. Atlanta Hawks
File: 20-40

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK25  2-2@HOU, MIN, CHI, @CHI

As promising as Trae Younger has appeared, energy ahead John Collins may be the largest revelation for the Hawks this season. Collins’ Three-point accuracy is inching towards 37 p.c, and his true taking pictures proportion now tops 63 p.c. Subsequent merchandise on the agenda for Collins: refining the pick-and-roll routine with Younger. They’re the eighth-most-used combo within the league however the least environment friendly among the many high 10 — although that is nonetheless respectable and one thing that’s sure to enhance with time. — Arnovitz

27. Cleveland Cavaliers
File: 14-46

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK28  Three-1POR, @NY, DET, ORL

This previous week, the Cavs notched back-to-back victories for simply the third time all season, defeating the struggling Suns and Grizzlies. However even earlier than these two contests, Cleveland was starting to play higher. Maybe the largest vibrant spot: Kevin Love appeared again to his outdated self, logging a 32-point, 12-rebound effort in a 26-minute displaying towards Memphis. — Herring

28. Memphis Grizzlies
File: 23-38

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK26  Zero-4LAL, CHI, @DAL, @OKC

Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. struggling a deep thigh bruise that can sideline him indefinitely provides to the distress of Memphis’ season. It additionally will make it extraordinarily tough for the Grizzlies to perform their purpose of conveying the top-eight protected decide they owe the Celtics. The silver lining is it seems to be just like the Grizzlies will get an early lottery decide to help their rebuilding effort, however the nightmare state of affairs of giving up the decide when it is unprotected in 2021 looms. — MacMahon

29. New York Knicks
File: 12-48

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK30  2-3ORL, CLE, @LAC

DeAndre Jordan is presently on the shelf with an ankle harm, changed within the beginning lineup by Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks are due to this fact beginning two rookies and three second-year professionals with a 3rd rookie in Allonzo Trier as their sixth man. The Knicks managed to snap an 18-game residence dropping streak Sunday night time, however they proceed to lean into their youth motion and are unlikely to cede many minutes to veterans down the stretch. — Snellings

30. Phoenix Suns
File: 11-50

PREV. RANKLAST 2 WEEKSNEXT WEEK29  Zero-Three@MIA, NO, LAL

The Suns have misplaced a franchise-worst 17 video games in a row getting into Monday’s sport towards the Warmth. Contemplating the riches obtainable on this 12 months’s draft — whether or not Duke’s Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett or Murray State’s Ja Morant — there’s definitely some profit if the losses proceed. — Spears


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