|2014 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round||NBA First Round Predictions||Datsyuk’s Late Heroics Topple Bruins in Game 1||Celtics Go 1-1 in Draft Order Tiebreakers|
The All-Star break is officially over and the push for the NBA Playoffs has begun. This week’s SoB NBA Power Rankings feature the same ten teams as our 2/12 rankings, but things have shaken up a little bit.
The top four teams (LA, Cleveland, Orlando, Denver) remain the same. The LA Lakers reclaimed the No. 1 position from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams have had a stranglehold on the top two spots since 1/16, and it doesn’t appear this trend is going to change anytime soon.
The Dallas Mavericks, virtue of a big win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, moved up two spots from No. 7 to No. 5, while Atlanta dropped from No. 5 to No. 7.
The Boston Celtics and their superior winning percentage (.643) is the only thing keeping them ahead of the Phoenix Suns (.610), and out of the No. 10 spot.
|1 (29)||Los Angeles Lakers||43-15||Even without Kobe Bryant on the floor, how are teams supposed to match up with Andrew Bynum (7 ft.), Pau Gasol (7 ft.) and Lamar Odom (6 ft. 10)? (Andrew Kipp)|
|2 (28)||Cleveland Cavaliers||46-14||The Antawn Jamison acquisition pushed the Cavs ahead of the other elite teams in the Eastern Conference. (Andrew Kipp)|
|3 (21)||Orlando Magic||39-19||Orlando has a solid hold on #2 in the East, and a 22-6 home record points toward another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. (John Scullane)|
|4 (20)||Denver Nuggets||38-19||Denver’s starting five have more tattoos than all of the other players in the Western Conference combined. (Andrew Kipp)|
|5 (17)||Dallas Mavericks||38-21||Six wins in a row, capped off with wins against the Lakers and Hawks? Dallas is sitting pretty. (John Scullane)|
|6 (16)||Utah Jazz||37-20||Utah had a huge win streak interrupted by the Lakers, then another one in the making interrupted by the Hawks. If the Jazz want to contend, that can’t happen. (John Scullane)|
|7 (13)||Atlanta Hawks||36-21||After the OT loss to the Mavs, Hawks GM Rick Sund decided to purchase a shock collar designed to prevent coach Mike Woodson from wandering out onto the court during play. The collar’s remote will be controlled by Hawks captain Joe Johnson. (Andrew Kipp)|
|8 (8)||OKC Thunder||33-23||Kevin Durant managed to score at least 25 points in 29 consecutive games. Wow. (Andrew Kipp)|
|9 (6)||Boston Celtics||36-20||It’s hard to judge the team playing without Pierce. (KC Downey)|
|10 (6)||Phoenix Suns||36-23||The Suns have won four in a row to jump back to #5 in the West. Can they get it done on the road to get out of the first round? (John Scullane)|
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Antawn Jamison, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Joe Johnson, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike Woodson, NBA Power Rankings, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz