We’ve made it to the final week of the season. There are just 55 regular-season games left to be played.
Some teams are probably ready to get to the playoffs. Others probably want more time to establish themselves or to climb further up the standings. For instance, Kevin Durant has played just six games with the Phoenix Suns. LeBron James has been back from injury for just four. With how well they’re playing, the Chicago Bulls might want more time to get a better Play-In Tournament spot. The Knicks, Grizzlies and Clippers want to have Julius Randle, Steven Adams and Paul George back in uniform. Would more time allow for the return of Zion Williamson?
But the calendar is what it is. The regular season ends Sunday, the Play-In Tournament takes place next week, and the playoffs begin Saturday, April 15. That’s just 12 days away, maybe too soon, maybe not soon enough.
Either way, these are your last Power Rankings of the season, and we go out with the Boston Celtics on top.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Right Way: Josh Hart (NYK) was a plus-59 in four games last week. Nikola Jokic (DEN) is the season-long leader in cumulative plus-minus at plus-666.
- Wrong Way: Shaedon Sharpe (POR) was a minus-87 in four games last week. Jaden Ivey (DET) has the worst cumulative plus-minus (minus-580) for the season.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: L.A. Lakers (3-0) — That goal of avoiding the Play-In is actually within reach.
- Something Just Ain’t Right: Oklahoma City (1-3) — The Thunder suffered some slippage, going 1-2 over three straight games against the Hornets, Pistons and Pacers.
* * *
East vs. West
- The East is 235-209 (.529) against the West in interconference games after going 10-7 last week. There are six East-West games remaining (the Rockets are the only team with two) and even if the West were to win them all, this would be the East’s best record in the last 24 seasons.
Schedule strength through Week 24
- Toughest: 1. Detroit, 2. Washington, 3. Charlotte
- Easiest: 1. Denver, 2. Memphis, 3. Sacramento
- 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: L.A. Lakers (+5), New Orleans (+4), Brooklyn (+3), Phoenix (+3)
- Free falls of the week: Chicago (-3), Miami (-3), Minnesota (-3), Oklahoma City (-3)
* * *
Week 25 Team to Watch
- L.A. Lakers — We’re going to find out just how dangerous of a low seed the Lakers are, and just how low of a seed they might be. They begin their final week with a back-to-back, visiting the Jazz on Tuesday and then playing the Clippers (a road game) on Wednesday. After a day off, the Lakers will have a very interesting game against the Suns (currently undefeated with Kevin Durant) on Friday, before facing the Jazz again on Sunday afternoon.
* * *
- Last week: Bucks return to No. 1 with 2 weeks left
- The archive: NBA.com Power Rankings
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
The league has averaged 114.1 points scored per 100 possessions and 99.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes 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.