DA's Top 15 Rankings: Pacers rise, Timberwolves tumble

NBA.com Global on Feb 27, 2018 08:45 AM
DA's Top 15 Rankings: Pacers rise, Timberwolves tumble
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Victor Oladipo #4 of Team LeBron goes up for the dunk against Team Curry during the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst

(Last week’s record in parenthesis; last week’s ranking in brackets)

1) Houston Rockets (2-0) [1]: Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) win in Denver starts a brutal stretch for the Rockets: 10-of-13 on the road, including tilts at Utah, the stubborn Clippers, Milwaukee, Toronto, OKC, New Orleans, Minnesota and Portland -- where the Blazers have won 10 of their last 11 -- between now and March 20 (Mar. 21, PHL time).

2) Golden State Warriors (2-0) [3]: Next technical will mean a one-game suspension for Draymond Green, who got his 16th Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) against Oklahoma City. (Editor's note: that technical foul has since been rescinded)

3) Toronto Raptors (0-1) [2]: Honk if you had Jonas Valanciunas shooting 48 percent (20-of-42) on three-pointers this late in the season.

4) San Antonio Spurs (1-1) [4]: Very UnSpursian 2-4 Rodeo Trip. But, they now get nine of the next 12 at home, where they’re 22-6.

5) Boston Celtics (2-1) [5]: With Marcus Smart back after 11 games, you can expect the Celtics’ since-he’s-been-gone-defensive slide to stop.

6) Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2) [6]: Like night and day in the Q.

7) Milwaukee Bucks (2-0) [7]: No one on earth is caught unaware by this, right?

8) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) [8]: Zaza Pachulia Night at Chesapeake Arena postponed indefinitely.

9) Washington Wizards (2-1) [9]: Wizards petitioning the league to only play top 10 teams the rest of the season.

10) Indiana Pacers (1-0) [11]: Glenn Robinson III’s return after missing all season following ankle surgery could be a huge boost for the Pacers down the stretch.

11) Philadelphia 76ers (2-1) [12]: Even in-shape All-Stars get hangry from time to time.

12) Minnesota Timberwolves (0-2) [10]: Wolves, and Jimmy Butler, got very lucky that he “just” suffered meniscal damage.

13) Denver Nuggets (1-1) [13]: Among five-man units with more than 200 minutes together, per NBA.com/Stats, only one -- Houston’s quintet of Harden, Gordon, Ariza, Anderson and Capela -- has a better offensive rating than the Nuggets’ Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Wilson Chandler and Nikola Jokic.

14) Portland Trail Blazers (2-0) [14]: Dolla Dame Lillard averaging a cool 39.4 per on 51.2 percent shooting (62-of-121) in last five.

15) New Orleans Pelicans (2-0) [NR]: They are 5-4 since DeMarcus Cousins went out for the year. Small sample size, but they’re showing a lot of fight and heart so far.

Dropped out: Miami Heat [15]

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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