Power Rankings

Power Rankings, Week 12: Nets climb to No. 1; Lakers, Bucks exit Top 5

See where all 30 teams rank after the 2021 NBA All-Star break.

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

Kyrie Irving, James Harden and the Nets are finding their rhythm as Kevin Durant nears his return.

All-Star 2021 is in the books and we can add a couple of items to the list of ways in which this season is different than what we’re used to. First, as we emerge from the break, the season is not yet halfway done, with 533 games played and 547 still to come.

Second, the trade deadline is still 2 1/2 weeks away. So there’s time for teams to gather more data about where they stand and what their roster lacks before having to say yes or no to a deal. Some players could return from long absences this week and others may look recharged after a week off.

The question is just how wide open the title chase is. The Los Angeles Lakers were the heavy favorite when they seemingly upgraded their championship roster, and they began the season 21-6, holding the No. 1 spot in these here rankings for seven of the first eight weeks. Maybe the Lakers’ 3-7 record since then is just about health and the grind of a tightly compressed season, and maybe they’re not as obvious a pick to win the title as we thought two months ago when the Brooklyn Nets didn’t yet have James Harden.

Maybe the list of title contenders goes beyond the Lakers, Nets and Utah Jazz, who have torn through the league over the last two months. Keep your eyes on the Denver Nuggets, seemingly playing their best basketball after a slow start.

With a thrashing of the Milwaukee Bucks last week, Denver is back in the top five, while the Nets have taken the No. 1 spot from the Jazz.


Plus-Minus Players of the Week

Teams of the Week

  • Make It Last Forever: Denver (3-0) — The Nuggets 3-0 week included a 31-point win in Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back.
  • Something Just Ain’t Right: Minnesota (0-1) — The Wolves went into the break in grand fashion, losing to the Hornets at home by 33 points.

East vs. West

Schedule strength through Week 11

  • Toughest: 1. Sacramento, 2. Minnesota, 3. Dallas
  • Easiest: 1. Phoenix, 2. New York, 3. Orlando
  • Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

Movement in the Rankings

  • High jumps of the week: Atlanta (+4), Boston (+4), Three teams (+3)
  • Free falls of the week: Golden State (-5), Indiana (-5), Toronto (-4)

Week 12 Team to Watch

  • Golden State The Warriors went into the break with a three-game losing streak and they come out of the break with three tough games. They’ll visit the Clippers on Thursday (10 p.m. ET, TNT) and then host the Jazz and Lakers for a back-to-back on Sunday and next Monday. The Dubs have lost seven of their last nine games against the eight teams ahead of them in the Western Conference

Previous Power Rankings

  • This time last year: Lakers end Bucks’ 14-week run at top — The Lakers got their two best wins of the season, shutting down the Bucks and Clippers. The Nets (behind 51 points from Caris LeVert) and Thunder (with a timely trap) both stole wins in Boston, but Brooklyn “parted ways” with Kenny Atkinson a few days later. Aron Baynes hit a step-back 3 over Damian Lillard on his way to a career-high 37 points. Stephen Curry returned from a four-month absence and Jusuf Nurkic was set to make his season debut … but the league was about to shut down for 20 weeks.

Stats Key

Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league has averaged 100.0 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 111.4 points scored per 100 possessions this season.


NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.


Last Week: 2

Record: 24-13
Pace: 100.9 (8) OffRtg: 118.2 (1) DefRtg: 113.6 (26) NetRtg: +4.6 (7)

The Nets ranked 16th defensively (112.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) as they won 10 of their last 11 games before the break. They clearly got a wake-up call when they lost in Detroit a month ago and that 16 ranking is progress, though not necessarily a breakthrough. The opposing offenses over that stretch were an even mix of good, bad and mediocre.

They’ll begin the second-half schedule hosting a team (the Celtics) that caught fire before the break. And with the Nets’ next five games after that against offenses that rank no higher than 18th, the Thursday game is the one to watch, especially if Kevin Durant makes his return and Blake Griffin, who signed with Brooklyn, is available.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Nets’ effective field goal percentage of 58.8% is the highest in NBA history. Among 305 players with at least 100 field goal attempts, DeAndre Jordan (76.2%) and Joe Harris (69.7%) rank first and third in effective field goal percentage, with Harris the leader among players with at least 200 field goal attempts.

2. The Nets have the best record (13-2) in games played between the 14 teams currently over .500.

3. The Nets have been the league’s slowest moving team on defense, averaging 3.67 miles per hour.

Week 12: vs. BOS, vs. DET

Last Week: 4

Record: 24-11
Pace: 97.9 (29) OffRtg: 114.6 (8) DefRtg: 108.2 (3) NetRtg: +6.4 (3)

After an 8-8 start, the Suns are *16-3 since Jan. 28, ranking fourth on both ends of the floor over that stretch. They rank second in field goal percentage (50.5%), fifth in 3-point percentage (40.3%) and third in free throw percentage (84.3%) over those five weeks. And their only two losses over their last 15 games came in games they led by 24 and 17 points. (One of those losses is the reason why they’re not ranked No. 1 this week.)

* Last season Chris Paul and the Thunder started 6-11 and then went 16-5. Eerie.

Devin Booker missed the All-Star Game with a knee issue, but it’s not clear if that will affect him going forward. Saric missed 16 of the first 23 games of the season and they had three postponements in mid-January, but the Suns have been relatively healthy.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Suns are one of only two teams that went into the break in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

2. The Suns have trailed by double-digits in only 11 games, fewest in the league. Every other team has trailed by 10 points or more in at least 13 games. They’re tied with Utah (19-2) for the fewest losses (the Suns are 14-2) in games that weren’t within five points in the last five minutes.

3. The Suns have outscored their opponents by 23.5 points per 100 possessions with Dario Saric on the floor. That’s the highest on-court NetRtg mark among 304 players that have averaged at least 15 minutes per game. The 96.8 points per 100 possessions the Suns have allowed with Saric on the floor is the lowest on-court DefRtg mark among that same group.

Week 12: @ POR, vs. IND

Last Week: 1

Record: 27-9
Pace: 99.5 (17) OffRtg: 116.7 (4) DefRtg: 108.2 (4) NetRtg: +8.5 (1)

After a ridiculous, 22-2 stretch, the Jazz ended the first-half schedule with a 1-3 road trip, by far their worst stretch of defense this season (118.5 points allowed per 100 possessions), even without considering that two of the opposing offenses rank 25th and 26th. The Heat did most of their damage from mid-range, but the Pelicans and Sixers beat up the Jazz inside, combining to score 110 points in the restricted area.

All three losses were close, and the Jazz have now lost their last four games that were within five points in the last five minutes. With Donovan Mitchell shooting 2-for-19, they’ve scored just 31 points on 36 clutch possessions over those four games.

The Jazz have the easiest remaining schedule in regard to opponent strength, in part because they can’t play themselves and in part because they have eight games remaining against the Rockets, Wolves and Kings.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Jazz have outscored their opponents by 18.6 points per game, the league’s biggest differential by almost double, from 3-point range. They lead the league with 17.1 3s per game and have allowed a league-low 10.9 3s per game. They’re the only team that ranks in the top five in both 3-point percentage (39.8%, third) and the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range (48.5%, first). They’ve seen the third biggest jump in the latter.

2. The Jazz are one of two teams – the Pelicans are the other – that rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.

3. Rudy Gobert is one of two players – Jarrett Allen is the other – who’ve played at least 300 minutes with more blocks (98) than personal fouls (82). Last season, he had a ratio of just 0.63 blocks per personal foul.

Week 12: vs. HOU, @ GSW

Last Week: 7

Record: 24-12
Pace: 101.6 (7) OffRtg: 111.9 (14) DefRtg: 108.6 (5) NetRtg: +3.3 (8)

The Sixers have won six of their last eight games, making up for an overtime loss to the Cavs with an overtime win over the Jazz on Wednesday in which Embiid scored 40 points against the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Their offense has been up and down, but the Sixers’ last five games have been their best stretch of defense (104.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) since the second week of the season.

With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons missing the All-Star Game due to contact tracing, their status for this week’s games is unknown. The Sixers’ schedule will get a little more interesting in the second half of March, when they face the Bucks, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets.

Three numbers to know:

1. For the second straight season, the Sixers have the league’s biggest differential between their winning percentage at home (16-3, .842) and on the road (8-9, .471).

2. The Sixers have allowed the fewest corner 3s per game (2.2) for the third straight season.

3. The Sixers have been 17.4 points per 100 possessions better with Joel Embiid on the floor (+11.1) than they’ve been with him off the floor. That’s the biggest on-off NetRtg differential among 284 players who’ve played at least 400 minutes for a single team.

Week 12: @ CHI, @ WAS, vs. SAS

Last Week: 8

Record: 21-15
Pace: 98.0 (27) OffRtg: 116.5 (5) DefRtg: 111.1 (14) NetRtg: +5.4 (4)

The Nuggets finished their pre-break schedule with a 4-0 road trip. It was their best four-game stretch of defense (103.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) this season and included a shellacking of the Bucks in which (playing a lot of zone) they held the league’s second-ranked offense to just 97 points on 97 possessions. The offense, with their starters all shooting better than 53%, wasn’t bad either.

The Nuggets have climbed into the top six in the West and, when you consider their point differential and strength of schedule going forward, their ceiling could be a lot higher than that. In addition to it being relatively soft in regard to opponent strength, their remaining schedule is the most home-heavy in the West. A five-game homestand begins Saturday with the toughest of the five games.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Nuggets have the league’s biggest differential between their actual wins and their “expected” wins (via point differential). They’re 21-15 with the point differential (+5.3 per game, fourth best in the West) of a team that’s 25-11.

2. The Nuggets have outscored their opponents by 18.4 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter. That’s the best mark for any team in any quarter. They’re a +1.0 per 100 over quarters 2-4.

3. The Nuggets have scored 17.3 more points per 100 possessions with Jokic on the floor (120.0) than they have with him off the floor (102.7). That’s the biggest on-court OffRtg differential among 284 players who’ve played at least 400 minutes for a single team.

Week 12: @ MEM, vs. DAL

Last Week: 3

Record: 24-13
Pace: 98.8 (23) OffRtg: 111.3 (17) DefRtg: 106.1 (1) NetRtg: +5.2 (6)

The Lakers certainly needed to some time off, both to mend their injuries and their offense. They went into the break losing six of their last eight games, with the league’s 24th-ranked offense over that stretch. And with LeBron James sitting for the first time this season, their loss to the Kings on Wednesday was their worst defensive performance of the season (123 points allowed on just 96 possessions).

They’re getting a bit of an extended break, with only a game against the Pacers on Friday and then two more days off before the second-half schedule really kicks in. Anthony Davis’ ability to come back from his right Achilles issue and stay healthy through July is obviously the biggest story in the Western Conference going forward.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Lakers have the league’s best record (9-9) in games they trailed by double-digits.

2. The Lakers are the only team that ranks in the top 10 in both field goal percentage in the restricted area (69.0%, third) and the percentage of their shots that have come in the restricted area (33%, eighth). For the second straight season, they have the league’s biggest differential between their field goal percentage in the paint (60.6%, first) and their effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (48.3%, 27th).

3. According to Second Spectrum tracking, LeBron James leads the league with 71 buckets in the last six seconds of the shot clock, 10 more than any other player.

Week 12: vs. IND

Last Week: 5

Record: 22-14
Pace: 101.8 (5) OffRtg: 117.0 (2) DefRtg: 110.4 (12) NetRtg: +6.5 (2)

A five-game winning streak came to an end with a 31-point loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday, but the Bucks went into the break with a win in Memphis. In his third game back from a 10-game absence, Jrue Holiday played 23 minutes and drained the game-winner with a pretty wicked step-back against Dillon Brooks. It was a rare mid-range shot from Holiday, who’s registering career-high marks in effective field goal percentage (55.9%) and true shooting percentage (57.7%).

He could be back in the starting lineup when the Bucks begin the second-half schedule with a revenge opportunity against the Knicks on Thursday. The first meeting (the first Sunday of the season) was the Bucks’ worst loss of the season prior to last Tuesday.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Bucks have seen the league’s biggest jump in points allowed per 100 possessions, from 102.5 (first) last season to 110.4 (12th) this season.

2. The Bucks are the only team that hasn’t won a game it trailed by double-digits (0-13). They’re 5-8 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes and 17-6 otherwise.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the league with 9.3 points per game in transition, the highest mark in 17 years of Synergy tracking. He’s scored 106 more transition points than any other player.

Week 12: vs. NYK, @ WAS

Last Week: 6

Record: 24-14
Pace: 98.2 (26) OffRtg: 116.8 (3) DefRtg: 111.5 (15) NetRtg: +5.3 (5)

Kawhi Leonard (back spasms) was a late scratch on Tuesday, Paul George (dizziness) was a late scratch on Thursday, and the Clippers went into the break with a three-game losing streak. They rank 24th defensively over a longer, 3-6 stretch and have now seen the league’s fifth biggest jump in points allowed per 100 possessions (+4.6) from last season, when they ranked fifth on that end of the floor. It seems that their pick-and-roll coverage has been a little softer, and their opponents have shot much better (43% vs. 37% last season) on shot between the restricted area and the 3-point line.

The Clips begin the second half with a bunch of marquee matchups, facing Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic (2x) in their first four games.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Clippers lead the league in both 3-point percentage (41.9%) and free throw percentage (84.4%). The latter mark is the highest in NBA history, while the former is the second highest in NBA history.

2. The Clippers have seen the league’s biggest drop in the percentage of their shots that have come in the restricted area, from 31% (19th) last season to 23% (29th) this season. They’ve also seen the league’s biggest drop in free throw rate, from 29.5 attempts per 100 shots from the field (second) last season to 23.0 (22nd) this season.

3. Kawhi Leonard has scored 1.18 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. That would be the highest mark (minimum five possessions per game) in 16 seasons on Synergy tracking.

Week 12: vs. GSW, @ NOP

Last Week: 11

Record: 18-16
Pace: 99.3 (18) OffRtg: 112.3 (13) DefRtg: 112.6 (24) NetRtg: -0.3 (17)

The Mavs survived a rough January, found their offense, and won nine of their last 11 games before the break. Luka Doncic averaged 31.7 points (on 52% shooting) over that stretch and his team managed to win ugly without him on Wednesday. The Mavs have now won games in which they’ve allowed 130 points on 98 possessions (the worst defensive performance for any team in a win this season) and in which they’ve scored 87 points on 96 possessions (the worst offensive performance for any team in a win this season). So they’ve got that going for them.

They’ve also climbed ahead of the Warriors into eighth place in the West. And two of their first three games coming out of the break are against the seventh-place Spurs (against whom they’re 1-0) and sixth-place Nuggets (with the game on Saturday determining the season series).

Three numbers to know:

1. Only the Rockets, Thunder and Heat have seen bigger drops in points scored per 100 possessions than the Mavs (-3.6), who led the league in offensive efficiency last season. Dallas has seen the league’s third biggest drop in 3-point percentage – from 36.7% (10th) to 35.0% (25th) – and its fifth biggest drop in the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range – from 45.7% (second) to 43.1% (seventh) – from last season. Only four other teams – Cleveland, Houston, New York and Philadelphia – have seen drops in both.

2. The Mavs’ most-used lineup – Luka Doncic, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Kristaps Porzingis – has scored 131.3 points per 100 possessions, the highest mark among 46 lineups that have played at least 100 minutes. But it ranks 23rd of 30 in total minutes played (121) among teams’ most-used lineups, with Richardson (9), Finney-Smith (9), Kleber (12) and Porzingis (14) having all been available for just 11 of the Mavs’ 34 games.

3. Doncic has seen a small drop in usage rate from last season, but leads the league, having used 34.9% of the Mavs’ possessions (via field goal attempts, turnovers or trips to the line) while he’s been on the floor. His true shooting percentage of 58.7% is up from 58.5% last season and ranks 25th among 49 players with a usage rate of 25% or higher.

Week 12: vs. SAS, @ OKC, @ DEN

Last Week: 13

Record: 21-14
Pace: 99.0 (21) OffRtg: 115.3 (7) DefRtg: 115.7 (28) NetRtg: -0.4 (18)

After closing February with four straight losses, the Blazers opened March with three straight wins, getting more late-game heroics from Damian Lillard, who was 7-for-9 on clutch shots in victories over the Warriors and Kings on Wednesday and Thursday. Carmelo Anthony turned back the clock a bit, shooting 56% over the three games.

Though they’ve been outscored by 22 points (with three losses by more than 20) over the 22 games, the Blazers are 13-9 without CJ McCollum, who will remain on the shelf as they begin their second-half schedule against the team that handed them their worst loss of the season (132-100 two weeks ago).

Three numbers to know:

1. The Blazers’ (replacement) starting lineup of Damian Lillard, Gary Trent Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington and Enes Kanter has outscored its opponents by 18.6 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among 14 lineups that have played at least 200 minutes together.

2. The Blazers have seen the league’s biggest jump in the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range, from 37.4% (17th) last season to 46.4% (second) this season. Among 174 players with at least 200 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons, Anfernee Simons (from 42 to 72%) and CJ McCollum (from 38% to 55%) have seen the biggest (by a wide margin) and fourth biggest jumps in the percentage of their shots that have come from beyond the arc. The Blazers’ 20.1 pull-up 3-point attempts per game lead the league by a wide margin.

3. For the second straight season, the Blazers are the only team that has recorded assists on less than half of its field goals. But Lillard leads the league with 137 assists on 3-pointers (to eight different teammates).

Week 12: vs. PHX, @ MIN, @ MIN

Last Week: 15

Record: 19-17
Pace: 98.9 (22) OffRtg: 112.6 (12) DefRtg: 111.7 (16) NetRtg: +0.9 (10)

The Celtics have seemingly steadied themselves, finishing the first half of the season with a 4-0 homestand in which they scored more than 121 points per 100 possessions, with a lot of guys (even Jeff Teague) contributing. They’re still a step below the top three teams in the East (though they’ll get a shot at one of them on Thursday), but they’re half a step ahead of everybody else.

And they should be getting Marcus Smart (who last played on Jan. 30) back this week. The Celtics’ most-used lineup has played just 113 minutes (fewest for any team currently in playoff position) and includes both Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson, who’d they’d probably prefer to keep separate most of the time. A healthy Smart will help them do that.

Three numbers to know:

1. 67% of the Celtics’ games (24 of 36), the league’s highest rate, have been within five points in the last five minutes. They’re 11-13 in those games and 8-4 otherwise.

2. The Celtics are one of five teams that rank in the bottom 10 in both ball and player movement (they’re 24th in both). Only 44% of their jump shots, the league’s second lowest rate, have been catch-and-shoot attempts. They rank 12th in pull-up effective field goal percentage (46.6%) after ranking first (48.8%) last season.

3. Jaylen Brown’s jump in effective field goal percentage (from 55.4% to 55.7%) hasn’t been as big as his jump in field goal percentage (from 48.1% to 49.5%), because his ratio of 3-point attempts to mid-range attempts has been cut in half, from 3.4 (338/100) last season to a career-low mark of 1.6 (196/119) this season. His 52.9% from mid-range ranks second among 27 players with at least 100 mid-range attempts.

Week 12: @ BKN, @ HOU

Last Week: 10

Record: 18-14
Pace: 100.5 (13) OffRtg: 109.8 (20) DefRtg: 109.7 (9) NetRtg: +0.1 (15)

After having four straight games postponed, the Spurs came back shorthanded and lost three of their last five. All three losses were within five points in the last five minutes, but the Spurs allowed 34 points on 25 clutch possessions and shot 0-for-5 on clutch 3s in the three games. The Spurs have ranked in the top six in 3-point percentage in nine of the last 10 seasons, but are 16th (36.3%) this season and have shot a league-worst 7-for-38 (18.4%) on clutch 3s, with Dejounte Murray 4-for-8 and everybody else 3-for-30.

While every other team has played at least 12 games against the opposite conference, the Spurs have played only seven against the East. They’re 6-1 in those seven games and, after visiting the Mavs on Wednesday, will play their next seven games vs. East teams.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Spurs’ assist/turnover ratio of 2.25 is the highest in NBA history. Their turnover rate of 11.1 per 100 possessions is the lowest in the 25 years for which we have play-by-play data.

2. The Spurs have allowed just 96.5 points per 100 possessions in the second quarter. No other team has allowed fewer than 102.7 per 100. in any period

3. Opponents have shot just 46.1% at the rim when Jakob Poeltl has been there to protect it. That’s the best rim protection mark among 52 players who’ve defended at least four shots at the rim per game (but also better than Poeltl has shot on free throws).

Week 12: @ DAL, vs. ORL, @ PHI

Last Week: 12

Record: 18-18
Pace: 98.3 (25) OffRtg: 107.7 (25) DefRtg: 109.4 (7) NetRtg: -1.7 (22)

Since Jimmy Butler returned from a 10-game absence on Jan. 31, the Heat have gone 12-6 to climb from 12th to sixth in the East. They’ve had the league’s third-ranked defense and wins over the Lakers and Jazz, over that stretch.

Offense remains an issue and Butler’s effective field goal percentage of 34.0% on shots from outside the paint is the worst mark among 198 players who’ve taken at least 200 shots from the outside. But over his last three games (he missed a two-game series against the Hawks), he’s averaged 29.7 points (on 57% shooting and 9.3 free throw attempts per game), 7.0 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 2.3 steals.

The Heat have won seven of their last eight games against teams that went into the break at or below .500, and they’ll play their next seven against that group.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Heat have seen the league’s biggest drop in 3-point percentage, from 37.9% (second) last season to 35.3% (22nd) this season. Among 142 players with at least 100 3-point attempts in each of the last two seasons, Kelly Olynyk (from 40.6% to 32.8%), Duncan Robinson (from 44.6% to 39.1%) and Tyler Herro (from 38.9% to 34.7%) have seen the fourth, 12th and 19th biggest drops. Olynyk has shot much better with Jimmy Butler on the floor (42-for-107, 39.3%) than with him off the floor (24-for-94, 25.5%).

2. Butler is one of four players – Paul George, Rudy Gobert and LeBron James are the others – who have played at least 600 minutes, with their team at least five points per 100 possessions better both offensively and defensively with them on the floor. The Heat have scored 6.7 more and allowed 5.6 fewer points per 100 possessions with Butler on the floor (110.9, 105.5) than they have with him off the floor (104.2, 111.1).

3. Bam Adebayo has made more mid-range shots (he’s 43-for-100 from between the paint and the 3-point line) than he did all of last season (including playoffs), when he was 38-for-131 (29%). His rate of mid-range attempts to 3-point attempts (16.7/1) is, by far, the highest among 198 players with at least 100 total field goal attempts from outside the paint.

Week 12: vs. ORL, @ CHI, @ ORL

Last Week: 9

Record: 19-18
Pace: 103.5 (2) OffRtg: 109.2 (22) DefRtg: 108.8 (6) NetRtg: +0.4 (13)

The Warriors have dropped three straight, with losses in L.A. and Phoenix being two of their six worst offensive performances of the season. They were without Curry, Kelly Oubre and Draymond Green in the first half finale against the Suns and their bench minutes (with Brad Wanamaker keeping his role as back-up point guard) were still much worse than the starters’ minutes (with rookie Nico Mannion in Curry’s place).

The Warriors have the worst record (7-15) in games played between the 14 teams currently over .500, having played the most games within the group. And they’ll begin the second half of the season with three more, facing the Clippers, Jazz and Lakers in a five-day stretch starting Thursday. The meetings with the Clippers and Lakers will each determine the season series.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Warriors lead the league in both assist percentage (having recorded assists on 67.6% of their field goals) and secondary assists per game (4.4). They rank first in ball movement (380 passes per 24 minutes of possession) and second in player movement (11.9 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession).

2. The Warriors have been 11.0 points per 100 possessions better at home (+6.1, fifth) than they’ve been on the road (-4.9, 24th). That’s the league’s biggest home-road differential.

3. Warriors’ shooting/scoring in the restricted area …
Stephen Curry on the floor: 32% of their shots, 66.2% shooting, 37.1 points per 48 minutes.
Curry off the floor: 25% of their shots, 60.5% shooting, 25.8 points per 48 minutes.

Week 12: @ LAC, vs. UTA

Last Week: 16

Record: 19-18
Pace: 96.5 (30) OffRtg: 108.7 (23) DefRtg: 108.1 (2) NetRtg: +0.6 (12)

The Knicks won eight of their last 11 games before the break to climb above .500. They continue to thrive defensively despite having allowed their opponents to take 76% of their shots, the league’s second highest opponent rate, from the restricted area or 3-point range. They rank second in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (59.8%) and first in opponent 3-point percentage (33.0%).

The Knicks enter the second half of the season just two wins from matching their total from last season. But having played one of the league’s easiest schedules to date (none of their eight wins over the last four weeks were over a team that has a winning record right now), they’ll have one of the toughest schedules going forward. Their first four games out of the break are on the road and include games against each of the top three teams in the East.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Knicks have been the league’s most improved defensive team, having allowed 4.3 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season (112.4, 23rd), with the league average having seen a jump of 1.3 per 100.

2. The Knicks have played the most games (they’re 14-8) against the 14 teams currently under .500.

3. Julius Randle is one of four players – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis are the others – averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. With a big jump in assist rate (from 12.8 to 19.5 per 100 possessions used), Randle has seen a drop in turnover rate (from 12.4 to 11.4).

Week 12: @ MIL, @ OKC

Last Week: 18

Record: 16-16
Pace: 100.9 (9) OffRtg: 110.3 (19) DefRtg: 109.4 (8) NetRtg: +0.8 (11)

The Grizzlies have been at .500 or within one game (on either side) for more than a month. In the West, that keeps you in 10th place, though the Grizz have been better, in regard to point differential per 100 possessions, than four of the West teams ahead of them.

Now we anticipate the season debut of Jaren Jackson Jr., who could be the key to unlocking the Grizzlies’ offense. He’s a big, but he may be the team’s most willing 3-point shooter (he led their rotation guys in 3-point attempts per 36 minutes last season). The Grizz are one of four teams (the Cavs, Lakers and Wizards are the others) that rank in the bottom 10 in both 3-point percentage (35.5%, 21st) and the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range (33.3%, 28th). With some of their guards (Dillon Brooks, Tyus Jones and Ja Morant) really struggling from deep, they could really use some floor spacing to keep defenses honest.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Grizzlies are 7-11 at home, but 9-5 on the road. They’ve been 10.9 points per 100 possessions better on the road (+6.9, first) than they’ve been at home (-4.0, 25th).

2. The Grizzlies have the league’s best turnover differential (-3.0 per game), ranking ninth in turnover rate (13.6 per 100 possessions) and first in opponent turnover rate (16.5 per 100).

3. The Grizz have outscored their opponents by 9.8 points per game, the league’s biggest differential, in the paint. They also have the league’s biggest differential in second chance points per game (+3.3).

Week 12: vs. WAS, vs. DEN, @ OKC

Last Week: 17

Record: 17-18
Pace: 100.9 (10) OffRtg: 111.4 (16) DefRtg: 111.8 (17) NetRtg: -0.5 (19)

The Hornets have alternated wins and losses over their last 11 games, losing every opportunity to make it to .500. With LaMelo Ball starting the last 15 (and shooting 45% from 3-point range), they’ve gone from being a worse-than-average offensive team and a better-than-average defensive team to vice-versa.

Their first game out of the break (Thursday against the Pistons) offers their best chance yet to reach .500. The question is how healthy they’ll be. Maybe Devonte’ Graham his back, but P.J. Washington turned an ankle in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Three numbers to know:

1. According to Synergy tracking, the Hornets are the only team that ranks in the top five in both the percentage of their possessions that have been in transition (19.0%, third) and points scored per possession in transition (1.16, fifth). They rank second with 14.5 pass-ahead passes per game, according to Second Spectrum tracking.

2. The Hornets rank second in ball movement (366 passes per 24 minutes of possession) and first in player movement (11.9 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession). They’ve been the league’s fastest moving team (4.37 miles per hour).

3. 79% of their opponents’ shots, the league’s highest opponent rate by a wide margin, have come from the restricted area or 3-point range. They’ve allowed a league-high 5.3 corner 3-pointers per game, with 32% of their opponents’ 3-point shots, the league’s highest rate, having come from the corners. The 15 corner 3s they allowed the Jazz to make on Feb. 22 are tied for the most in a game in the 25 years for which we have shot-location data.

Week 12: vs. DET, vs. TOR

Last Week: 14

Record: 17-19
Pace: 99.7 (15) OffRtg: 113.4 (10) DefRtg: 112.0 (18) NetRtg: +1.4 (9)

The Raps were on a run, winning nine of 12, a stretch that included victories over each of the top three teams in the East. But, dealing with both injuries and COVID-related absences, they lost four of their last five games. And with the Celtics completing a season sweep on Thursday (one of Raptors’ worst defensive performances of the season), Toronto became the first team to match its loss total from last season.

Now, we wait to see just who’s available as the Raps begin the second half of the season with three really important games in the standings.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Raptors are one of three teams (Atlanta and Indiana are the others) with a losing record and a positive point differential. They’re 17-19 with the point differential of a team that’s 20-16, having gone 7-13 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes.

2. Pascal Siakam has scored just 0.85 points per possession in transition, down from 1.17 last season and the worst mark among 74 players with at least 75 total transition possessions.

3. The Raptors have the league’s worst record (1-6) in the second games of back-to-backs. They’re 16-13 with rest.

Week 12: vs. ATL, @ CHA, @ CHI

Last Week: 20

Record: 14-20
Pace: 104.4 (1) OffRtg: 109.7 (21) DefRtg: 113.6 (27) NetRtg: -3.9 (24)

On Feb. 14, the Wizards were in last place in the Eastern Conference at 6-17, with a 2-14 record in games that Russell Westbrook played in and having been outscored by 12.3 points per 100 possessions in Westbrook’s 529 minutes on the floor. Since then, with Westbrook playing every game and averaging a triple-double, the Wizards are 8-3. They rank ninth defensively over that stretch, with wins over the Celtics, Nuggets (x 2), Blazers, Lakers and Clippers.

If that defensive improvement is real (most of those teams rank near the top of the league offensively), the Wizards have a chance for a play-in spot in the East. But five of their first seven games out of the break are against the Sixers, Bucks, Jazz and Nets.

Three numbers to know:

1. Only 21% of the Wizards’ opponents’ shots, the league’s lowest rate by a wide margin, have come in the restricted area. They rank 24th in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (66.3%) and 29th in opponent field goal percentage on non-restricted area 2-point shots (45.9%).

2. The Wizards have been 10.8 points per 100 possessions better in the second half of games (+1.5, 12th) than they’ve been in the first half (-9.3, 29th). That’s the league’s biggest half-to-half differential.

3. Robin Lopez has scored 1.36 points per possession on post-ups, the best mark among players with at least 50 post-up possessions. Russell Westbrook has the worst mark (0.71 per possession).

Week 12: @ MEM, vs. PHI, vs. MIL

Last Week: 24

Record: 16-20
Pace: 99.3 (19) OffRtg: 112.7 (11) DefRtg: 112.5 (23) NetRtg: +0.3 (14)

The Hawks won their last two games going into the break. Nate McMillan’s first game as interim head coach was, appropriately, the slowest-paced game of the season. His second featured a comeback from 19 points down in Orlando. Tony Snell hit the go-ahead 3 on Wednesday and has shot 15-for-26 (58%) from 3-point range in his six games as a starter. De’Andre Hunter will remain out, but the Hawks got Bogdan Bogdanovic back from a 25-game absence last week.

The Hawks begin their post-break schedule with an important game in Tampa on Thursday. They’re just a half game out of a spot in the Play-In Club, but are currently 3-6 against the six teams between them in fifth place in the East.

Three numbers to know:

1. Only the Warriors have seen a bigger jump in point differential per 100 possessions than the Hawks, who were outscored by 7.4 per 100 (third worst) last season. Atlanta has been the league’s third most improved team offensively (+5.7 per 100) and its sixth most improved team defensively (-1.9).

2. The Hawks have outscored their opponents by 2.4 points per game, the league’s second biggest differential, on free throws. They’re the only team that ranks in the top five in both free throw percentage (82.2%, fifth) and free throw rate (29.1 attempts per 100 shots from the field, third). They’ve seen the league’s biggest drop in opponent free throw rate, from 30.3 attempts per 100 shots from the field (29th) last season to 25.2 (15th) this season.

3. Trae Young has 90 assists to John Collins and 74 assists to Clint Capela. Those are the second and fourth most assists from any player to a single teammate. Young leads the league with 163 assists on field goals in the restricted area.

Week 12: @ TOR, vs. SAC, vs. CLE

Last Week: 21

Record: 16-18
Pace: 101.8 (4) OffRtg: 111.7 (15) DefRtg: 112.3 (21) NetRtg: -0.6 (20)

The Bulls have the league’s third biggest differential between their winning percentage against the 14 teams currently under .500 (12-6, .667) and their winning percentage against the 14 teams currently over .500 (4-12, .250). Since Feb. 10, they’re 7-0 against the first group (with Zach LaVine averaging 34.7 points on a ridiculous effective field goal percentage of 73%) and 0-4 against the good teams.

They begin the second half of the schedule with a balanced, five-game homestand. With a game in Tampa having been postponed at the end of February, they still have three games left against the Raptors, who they’re tied with in the standings and who they’ll host on Sunday.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Bulls are one of four teams – the Nets, Clippers and Suns are the others – that rank in the top 10 in field goal percentage (third), 3-point percentage (10th), and free throw percentage (seventh).

2. The Bulls have been the league’s worst team in the first six minutes of the first quarter. (-2.4 points per game, -19.1 per 48 minutes). They rank fifth (+1.5, +12.0) in the last six minutes of the first quarter. They’ve been outscored by 7.9 points per 100 possessions (allowing 117.8 per 100) in 826 minutes with Coby White and Zach LaVine (their most-used combo) on the floor together, but have outscored their opponents by 8.9 points per 100 possessions (allowing 103.2 per 100) in 688 total minutes with one on the floor without the other.

3. LaVine has a true shooting percentage of 65.3%, the best mark among 49 players with a usage rate of 25% or higher. His 42.1% on pull-up 3s is the best mark among 22 players who’ve attempted at least 100.

Week 12: vs. PHI, vs. MIA, vs. TOR

Last Week: 22

Record: 15-21
Pace: 99.2 (20) OffRtg: 115.6 (6) DefRtg: 116.3 (29) NetRtg: -0.6 (21)

The Pels began March with their best win of the season, destroying the Jazz in the paint and getting a big game from Lonzo Ball. And then they lost to the Bulls and Heat, with Ball shooting 4-for-17 from 3-point range. They still have the league’s No. 1 offense (121.5 points scored per 100 possessions) since the start of February, but are just 8-10 over that stretch.

The door is still open for the Pels to earn a spot in the Play-In Club, and they’ve already clinched the season series with the 10th-place Grizzlies. They’ll begin the second-half schedule with two games against teams that rank in the bottom three offensively.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Pelicans are the only team with the same winning percentage as it had last season. They have exactly half as many wins and half as many losses as they did last season (30-42).

2. The Pels have seen the league’s biggest drops in pace, ball movement, the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range, and turnover percentage.

3. Zion Williamson has averaged 17.5 points per game in the restricted area, most for any player in the 25 years for which we have shot location data. His points per 36 minutes in the restricted area (19.0) are down from last season (20.5), but his free throw rate and free throw percentage are both up. The 65.3% he’s shot in the restricted area ranks 10th among 15 players with at least 200 attempts.

Week 12: vs. MIN, vs. CLE, vs. LAC

Last Week: 23

Record: 15-21
Pace: 100.7 (12) OffRtg: 104.2 (30) DefRtg: 109.8 (10) NetRtg: -5.7 (27)

The Thunder went into the break scoring an anemic 93.4 points per 100 possessions over their last three games, making just 25% of their 3-point attempts. But they got a very tough and Thunder-y win in San Antonio on Thursday and they’re now tied with the Cavs for the most wins (6) in games in which they scored fewer than 105 points per 100 possessions.

The Thunder probably don’t have a shot at the top 10 in the West, but with the play-in scenario, there are more teams playing for something over the second half of the season and more opportunities for OKC to play spoiler.

Three numbers to know:

1. 47% of the Thunder’s minutes, the league’s highest rate, have come from rookies (13%, seventh highest) or second-year players (33%, highest).

2. The Thunder lead the league with 60.2 drives per game, most for any team in eight seasons of player tracking.

3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 1.12 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the best mark among 22 players who’ve averaged at least 7.5 ball-handler possessions per game. His 40.2% on pull-up 3s is the fourth best mark among 22 players who’ve attempted at least 100.

Week 12: vs. DAL, vs. NYK, vs, MEM

Last Week: 19

Record: 16-19
Pace: 100.4 (14) OffRtg: 110.9 (18) DefRtg: 110.9 (13) NetRtg: +0.1 (16)

Other than the depleted Raptors, the Pacers were probably the East team most in need of the break. They lost five of their last six games, and needed a big, fourth-quarter comeback in Cleveland to get the only win. Shooting 32% from 3-point range (with Malcolm Brogdon 5-for-22), the Pacers ranked 26th offensively over that 1-5 stretch.

The Pacers have a better record on the road (9-8) than they do at home (7-11). But they’ll face some tough opponents as they play eight of their first 10 post-break games away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They’re just 4-14 against the 14 teams that currently have winning records.

Three numbers to know:

1. 40% of the Pacers’ shots, the league’s highest rate, have come in the restricted area. They’ve seen the league’s second biggest jump in drives per game, from 46.8 (13th) last season to 53.7 (fifth) this season.

2. 36% of their opponents‘ shots, the league’s highest opponent rate, have come in the restricted area. They’ve allowed a league-high 38.1 points per game in the restricted area.

3. The Pacers have averaged a league-low 79.4 minutes per game from reserves.

Week 12: @ LAL, @ PHX

Last Week: 27

Record: 14-22
Pace: 100.8 (11) OffRtg: 113.5 (9) DefRtg: 119.1 (30) NetRtg: -5.6 (26)

The Kings have been worse than average on both ends of the floor in 13 of the 14 seasons since they last made the playoffs. So to have a top-10 offense is a big step forward, and their last five games before the break were their best stretch of offense (120.5 points scored per 100 possessions) this season. They did end a nine-game losing streak, but they won just two of those five games (one against the Lakers without LeBron James and Anthony Davis), because defense continues to be a major issue.

The defense has actually been worse at home (121.4 allowed per 100) than its been on the road (116.4). The road trip that begins Saturday in Atlanta is the Kings’ longest of the season (six games over 10 days).

Three numbers to know:

1. The Kings are one of two teams – the Pelicans are the other – that rank in the top 10 in three of the four factors on offense. They’re ninth in effective field goal percentage, ninth in free throw rate, and seventh in turnover percentage.

2. The Kings have allowed 7.7 more points per 100 possessions than the league average (111.4). That’s the worst differential of the last 15 years (since the 2005-06 Sonics allowed 7.8 more than the league average). The 40.3% that their opponents have shot from 3-point range would be third highest opponent mark in NBA history.

3. Tyrese Haliburton has an effective field goal percentage of 73.5% in the fourth quarter, the best mark among 182 players with at least 50 fourth-quarter field goal attempts.

Week 12: vs. HOU, @ ATL

Last Week: 28

Record: 10-26
Pace: 98.0 (28) OffRtg: 108.4 (24) DefRtg: 112.1 (19) NetRtg: -3.7 (23)

Playing without Jerami Grant on Wednesday, the Pistons had their most efficient offensive performance of the season (129 points on 98 possessions) in a win over the shorthanded Raptors. Both Dennis Smith Jr. and Mason Plumlee had triple-doubles (the Pistons recorded assists on 39 of their 48 buckets), while Wayne Ellington and Svi Mykhailiuk combined to shoot 13-for-20 from 3-point range.

On the other end of the floor, the last five games have been the Pistons worst stretch of the season (117.4 points allowed per 100 possessions). They remain one of the 12 teams that have allowed fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season, but holding onto that designation will be difficult. They do have the eventual return of Killian Hayes to look forward to.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Pistons are one of four teams – the Nets, Suns and Wizards are the others – with a better record against the 14 teams currently over .500 (6-13) than they have against the 14 teams currently below .500 (3-11).

2. The Pistons have taken 18.3% of their shots, the league’s highest rate, in the last six seconds of the shot clock. Their effective field goal percentage of 43.1% in the last six seconds ranks 25th.

3. By a wide margin, Jerami Grant has seen the league’s biggest jump in usage rate (from 17.7% to 26.4%) among 220 players who’ve played at least 500 minutes in each of the last two seasons. He’s seen a drop in true shooting percentage (from 59.1% to 57.1%), but a jump in assist/turnover ratio (from 1.40 to 1.55).

Week 12: @ CHA, @ BKN

Last Week: 26

Record: 14-22
Pace: 98.3 (24) OffRtg: 104.8 (29) DefRtg: 112.4 (22) NetRtg: -7.5 (29)

The Cavs almost went into the break with a five-game winning streak, but they blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead to Indiana on Wednesday. It ended with the Pacers scoring 63 points on 48 second-half possessions, but it was their best five-game stretch of defense (104.6 points allowed per 10 possessions) since early January.

They’re waiting on the return of Larry Nance Jr. (who has played just 40 minutes alongside Jarrett Allen) and Kevin Love, but the Cavs’ most recent starting lineup (with Dean Wade at the four) is six minutes away from the 100-minute mark. At this point, the 98.9 points per 100 possessions it’s allowed is the third best mark among 52 lineups that have played at least 90 minutes.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Cavs are the only team that’s averaged fewer than 10 3-pointers per game. They’re also the only team that ranks in the bottom five in both 3-point percentage (34.6%, 27th) and the percentage that have come from 3-point range (31.4%, 30th), having seen the league’s biggest drop in the latter from last season (36.2%, 19th).

2. According to Second Spectrum tracking, the Cavs have the league’s biggest differential between their effective field goal percentage in the first six seconds of the shot clock (63.7%, fourth) and their effective field goal percentage thereafter (48.8%, 29th).

3. Rookies have accounted for 20% of the Cavs’ minutes, the league’s highest rate.

Week 12: @ NOP, @ ATL

Last Week: 25

Record: 13-23
Pace: 99.6 (16) OffRtg: 105.7 (26) DefRtg: 112.3 (20) NetRtg: -6.6 (28)

The Magic went into the break with a five-game losing streak in which they allowed 133 points per 100 possessions after halftime. They blew a 16-point lead with less than six minutes to go against the Hawks on Wednesday, allowing the Hawks to make seven threes over a span of 10 possessions down the stretch.

Offense has been a bigger struggle, but this would be the lowest-ranked defense that Steve Clifford has had in his eight seasons as a head coach.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Magic are one of two teams (Portland is the other) that rank in the bottom 10 in both field goal percentage in the restricted area (61.9%, 21st) and the percentage of their shots that have come in the restricted area (22%, 30th).

2. The Magic have been 14.0 points per 100 possessions better with Michael Carter-Williams on the floor (+3.4) than they’ve been with him off the floor (-10.6). That’s the fourth biggest differential among 284 players who’ve played at least 400 minutes for a single team.

3. The Magic have four players – Gary Clark (41.1%), Markelle Fultz (41.3%), Cole Anthony (42.6%) and Carter-Williams (43.1%) – in the bottom 11 in effective field goal percentage among 305 total players with at least 100 field goal attempts.

Week 12: @ MIA, @ SAS, vs. MIA

Last Week: 29

Record: 11-21
Pace: 101.7 (6) OffRtg: 105.7 (27) DefRtg: 110.4 (11) NetRtg: -4.7 (25)

The Rockets went into the break with the longest losing streak for any team this season (13 games). The 100.8 points per 100 possessions that they’ve scored over the streak is the league’s worst mark by a wide margin over that stretch. They’ve really struggled (28.5%, with a 4-for-45 night against Memphis) from 3-point range.

The Rockets’ last win came in the last game Wood played. They could have him back and they’ll get to play the league’s worst defense in their first game out of the break, visiting Sacramento on Thursday. The Rockets swept a two-game series with the Kings in Houston (with John Wall totaling 50 points) over the holidays.

Three numbers to know:

1. For the ninth straight season, the Rockets lead the league in the percentage of their shots that have come from the restricted area or 3-point range (80% this season).

2. The Rockets have allowed a league-high 23.3 points per game in transition, with 18.4% of their opponents’ possessions, the league’s highest opponent rate, having been in transition.

3. The Rockets’ most-used lineup has played just 58 minutes (fewest among any team’s most-used lineup) and includes James Harden, who was traded 8 1/2 weeks ago. John Wall, Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood have played just 53 minutes (in three games) together.

Week 12: @ SAC, @ UTA, vs. BOS

Last Week: 30

Record: 7-29
Pace: 102.1 (3) OffRtg: 105.0 (28) DefRtg: 113.4 (25) NetRtg: -8.4 (30)

The Wolves entered the break on a nine-game losing streak and with their second biggest loss of the season (by 33 points to the Hornets). They’re 1-11 since getting Towns back and their five games under new coach Chris Finish have been both their fastest-paced stretch (107.3 possessions per 48 minutes) and their second worst offensive stretch (100.9 points scored per 100 possessions) of the season.

The All-Star break has, presumably, given Finch the opportunity to make some tweaks. But he’s still without D’Angelo Russell (it’s been three weeks since he was ruled out for 4-6) and Malik Beasley (suspended another nine games). The Wolves’ game in New Orleans on Thursday is critical in regard to ending this losing streak, because their next five are against the Blazers, Lakers and Suns.

Three numbers to know:

1. The Wolves are the only team that ranks in the bottom five in field goal percentage in the paint (52.4%, 27th), mid-range field goal percentage (34.4%, 29th), and 3-point percentage (34.6%, 26th).

2. The Wolves have averaged 103.7 minutes per game, most in the league, from reserves.

3. Karl-Anthony Towns is one of two players (Christian Wood is the other) who have averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Week 12: @ NOP, vs. POR, vs. POR

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