Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

March 3, 2012
Power Rankings: OKC, Chicago are surging

The Miami Heat are probably still the best team in the NBA. But they fall back a couple of spots thanks to a loss in Utah and the hot play of Oklahoma City and Chicago.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are playing at a superb level for Oklahoma City. The Bulls continue to win at a solid rate, too.

But one thing Miami's loss at Utah did was give LeBron James' critics more reason (fair or unfair) to question his late-game mettle after he passed up a potential game winning shot.

James will have plenty of chances to prove his doubters wrong. Until he does, the questions will persist.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (29-7 LW, 2) -The Durant/Westbrook combination has led team to seven consecutive wins.
2. Chicago Bulls (30-8 LW 3) - Derrick Rose healthy = five wins in a row.
3. Miami Heat (28-8, LW, 1) - Is any other player scrutinized so much for passing to his teammates than LeBron James?
4. San Antonio Spurs (25-11, LW 4) - Could the Spurs overtake OKC if Manu Ginobili is healthy?
5. Indiana Pacers (22-12, LW 7) - A young team that has depth and won't bow out the playoffs easily.
6. Orlando Magic (23-14, LW 8) - Less than two weeks from knowing if Dwight Howard won't be traded.
7. Los Angeles Clippers (21-13 LW 5) - Dropped two of three after the All-Star break to teams below them in standings.
8. Los Angeles Lakers (22-14, LW 9) - Kobe Bryant has scored at least 30 points wearing the mask to protect his broken nose.
9. Memphis Grizzles (21-15 LW 12) - Starting to play up to expectations of late and should be better when Zach Randolph is healthy.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (22-15, LW 11) - The sooner Spencer Hawes is 100 percent healthy, the better the Sixers will be.
11. Dallas Mavericks (21-16, LW 6) - Amid the Lamar Odom drama the Mavs have lost four in a row.
12. Houston Rockets (21-16, LW 12) - Kevin McHale could receive Coach of the Year votes.
13. Atlanta Hawks (21-15, LW 13) - Larry Drew has also done an impressive job coaching this season.
14. Denver Nuggets (18-17, LW 15) - If Wilson Chandler re-signs, he'll help a team that's very deep when healthy.
15. Boston Celtics (18-17, LW 18) - Could any or all of Boston's Big Four be dealt by the March 15 trade deadline?
16. New York Knicks (17-18, LW 17) - Even with Linsanity, this team will be dictated by how Carmelo Anthony plays.
17. Portland Trail Blazers (18-18, LW 14) - Too much talent to be a .500 team.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-19, LW 16) - Are teams starting to figure out how to defend Ricky Rubio?
19. Utah Jazz (17-18, LW 19) - Pulled off a big win with their upset of Miami.
20. Phoenix Suns (16-20, LW 22) - Steve Nash will always give the Suns a chance to win any night.
21. Golden State Warriors (14-19, LW 21) - The annual Monta Ellis trade rumors are out.
22. Milwaukee Bucks (14-22, LW 23) - Beno Udrih is reportedly on the trading block, too.
23. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-21, LW 20) - Kyrie Irving is a star in the making, but he needs help.
24. Detroit Pistons (12-25, LW 24) - It's good for a young team to have veterans like Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace around.
25. Sacramento Kings (12-24, LW 25) - Kings' assists have improved dramatically with Isaiah Thomas starting at point guard.
26. Toronto Raptors (11-25, L 26) - Jose Calderon is another veteran who could be dealt to a contender.
27. New Jersey Nets (11-26, LW 27) - Is Deron Williams' future with the Nets tied to a Dwight Howard trade?
28. New Orleans Hornets (9-27, LW 28) - Chris Kaman played well out of the All-Star break.
29. Washington Wizards (7-28, LW 27) - On a six-game losing streak and Andray Blatche is being booed by home fans.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (4-30, LW 30) - Perhaps the NCAA tournament will take attention away from how bad the Bobcats are.



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