NBA Week 20 Power Rankings & Week Review

02 / 27 / 2023 By Donald Anderson Jr.

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Week 19 was a short week coming off the All-Star break but it was filled with lots of action. We saw: game winners from Jayson Tatum and Trae Young, witnessed the second highest scoring game in NBA history between the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings on Friday night and watched Damian Lillard become just the eighth player in NBA history to score 70 points.

The last two months of the regular season are going to be fun to watch as teams position themselves for the playoffs. The race for the play in games should be interesting as well. Seeds 4-13 are only separated by 3 games in the loss column in the Western conference while the race for first place in the East between the Celtics and Bucks has now heated up.

These are my power rankings based on games played through 2/26/2023.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (43-17)

Winners of 14 games in a row and undefeated in the month of February. Everything has been clicking for the team and the only hitch has been some minor injuries to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Health has slowly started to get the team operating at full strength with Bobby Portis back in the lineup and newly acquired wing Jae Crowder now playing. This team is scary good and looks to be gunning for that number one spot in the Eastern Conference.

  1. Boston Celtics (44-17)

The Celtics have won 9 of their last 11 games and are now only a .5 game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference. They sat out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in their matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks this past week that resulted in a loss. This could be a key game to look back on as the two teams are battling for first place in the East.

  1. Denver Nuggets (43-19)

The Nuggets have won 5 of their last 6 games and Nikola Jokic seems to be due to win his third MVP award in a row as he recorded two more triple doubles this past week and is averaging one altogether for the season (25, 11 & 10). The return of Aaron Gordon to end the week helped get the team a big time win over the Clippers Sunday night. The biggest improvement I see the team needs to make is bench production. New additions Reggie Jackson and Thomas Bryant have both struggled shooting in the three games this past week. They will be key factors for the Nuggets to make a deep playoff run.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (39-20)

The 76ers are now winners of 7 of their last 10 games. The duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid have been dominant and this past week they averaged 55 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists between the two. Philadelphia is the real deal as they are top ten in offensive and defensive ratings. The team plays at a very slow pace but that is to their advantage as they have one of the most unstoppable forces in the game with Embiid who is a matchup nightmare when it comes to a half court offensive setting.

  1. Sacramento Kings (35-25)

The Kings have strengthened their position of third place in the Western Conference. Now ranked first in offensive efficiency overall and are the league’s best when it comes to clutch offense. I think it’s safe to say that their 16-year playoff drought will be coming to an end but can they make a deep run? Currently, their defense is ranked 25th and gives up nearly 116 points per game. The cohesiveness of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Malik Monk has shown that they compete offensively with the league’s best but if they can’t get those stops defensively, those comeback wins that they’ve had this past week will not happen come playoff time.

Next in line: Cleveland Cavaliers (39-25)

Some of the top performances this week include:

Thursday (2/23)

  • Nikola Jokic recorded another triple double (25 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists) and led the Denver Nuggets over the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-109.
  • It took overtime but the Boston Celtics took down the Indiana Pacers 142-138 in large part of Jayson Tatum’s 31 points.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers took down the Memphis Grizzlies in a comeback win 110-105 thanks to James Harden’s 31 points and 7 assists.
  • Lauri Markkanen’s 43 points and 10 rebounds led the Utah Jazz to a 120-119 victory in overtime over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Friday (2/24)

  • Klay Thompson poured in 12 three’s and tallied 42 points as the Golden State Warriors took down the Houston Rockets 116-101.
  • Jrue Holiday’s 24 points and 7 assists pushed the Milwaukee Bucks over the Miami Heat 128-99.
  • The Chicago Bulls destroyed the Brooklyn Nets 131-87. Zach Lavine led the Bulls in scoring with 32 points.
  • The Sacramento Kings took down the Los Angeles Clippers in double overtime 176-175, which was the second highest scoring game in NBA history. Malik Monk led all scorers with 45 points.
  • Julius Randle lit up the Washington Wizards for 46 points and led the New York Knicks to a 115-109 victory on the road.

Saturday (2/25)

  • Myles Turner scored 24 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Orlando Magic 121-108.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies cruised to a 112-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets and were led by Ja Morant’s 23 points and 7 assists.
  • Jayson Tatum buried the game winning three to take down the Philadelphia 76ers 110-107. Tatum finished with just 18 points while teammate Jaylen Brown led the C’s in scoring with 26 points.
  • The New York Knicks took care of business at home against the New Orleans Pelicans and won 128-106, led by Julius Randle’s 28 points.

Sunday (2/26)

  • De’Aaron Fox led the way for the Sacramento Kings with 33 points to take down the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-115.
  • Damian Lillard was on fire and torched the Houston Rockets for 71 points and the Portland Trail Blazers went on to win 131-114.
  • Klay Thompson had another big performance and dropped 32 points to lead the Golden State Warriors over the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-104.
  • 30 points from Anthony Davis helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers over the Dallas Mavericks 111-108.
  • Trae Young finished with 34 points and hit the game winner to give the Atlanta Hawks a 129-127 victory at home over the Brooklyn Nets.

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