Power Rankings

Power Rankings, Week 20: Heat face critical week while West chase tightens

See where all 30 teams rank heading into Week 20 of the 2021-22 season.

John Schuhmann

Miami has four games this week within the top eight in the East.

It turns out that Chris Paul is pretty important to the Phoenix Suns, who, without their point guard, have lost two straight games for the first time since December. And with Draymond Green’s continued absence in Golden State, the Western Conference feels a little more wide open than it did a couple of weeks ago.

The Utah Jazz have recovered from their slump (and their injuries), the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets have been great in the month of February, and the Memphis Grizzlies remain one of the toughest young teams in recent memory. While we can’t yet count on late-season returns from some long-missed stars for the Nuggets and LA Clippers, that scenario also still remains a possibility.

The Eastern Conference has felt wide-open for a while now. And there will be multiple big games within that top eight every week until April 11. This week, the Miami Heat are under the spotlight with four games against the other four teams that (one could argue) are most likely to reach the conference finals.

Plus-Minus Players of the Week

Teams of the Week

  • Make It Last Forever: Philadelphia (2-0) — The first few days of a new relationship are the best.
  • Something Just Ain’t Right: Toronto (0-2) — Somebody tell the Raps that the All-Star break ended four days ago.

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East vs. West

Schedule strength through Week 19

  • Toughest: 1. Portland, 2. Indiana, 3. Orlando
  • Easiest: 1. Milwaukee, 2. Chicago, 3. Phoenix
  • Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

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Movement in the Rankings

  • High jumps of the week: New Orleans (+3), Utah (+3), Brooklyn (+2), Charlotte (+2)
  • Free falls of the week: Toronto (-4), Golden State (-3), L.A. Lakers (-3)

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Week 20 Team to Watch

  • Miami — The first-place team in the East is two games into a stretch of five in seven nights, and this week brings more than just another back-to-back. The Heat, who are currently 8-8 against the other seven Eastern Conference teams that have winning records, will play four games within the top eight. They host the Bulls on Monday, play a back-to-back (the end of that five-in-seven stretch) in Milwaukee and Brooklyn on Wednesday and Thursday, and then return home to host the Sixers on Saturday. All of those games are on League Pass.

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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 98.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 110.2 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.


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