NBA Power Rankings: Playoff Race Heating Up In Both Conferences As Regular Season Winds Down

The NBA season only has a few more weeks left before the playoffs hit and while the top two seeds in each conference - Rockets and Warriors in the West, Raptors and Celtics in the East - have separated themselves from the back, the rest of the playoff picture is still very much murky. 

The Trail Blazers have a two-game lead for the No. 3 seed in the West, followed by seven teams separated by 2.5 games battling for five spots. Meanwhile, there's a clear gap between the eight seed (Heat) and nine seed (Pistons) in the East, but teams seeded third through eighth are separated by just four games.

Here's how we rank all 30 teams coming down the stretch in our latest NBA Power Rankings.

30) Memphis Grizzlies (18-50)
Memphis has lost 19 games in a row. There is no other choice for this spot.

29) Phoenix Suns (19-51)
Phoenix is doing their best to end up with one of the top picks in the draft, going 2-22 over their last 24 games. They're simply atrocious defensively, ranking last in the league in points allowed.

28) Atlanta Hawks (20-49)
Another team really at the forefront of the tank race, the Hawks have lost five games in a row and 10 of their last 12 overall.

27) New York Knicks (24-45)
At one point the Knicks were 23-28. They've gone a stunning 1-17 since then and lost Kristapos Porzingis to an ACL injury. They're not at the top of the tank race, but very few teams are playing worse than them.

26) Brooklyn Nets (21-47)
No surprise here, but the Nets are struggling yet again, going 3-18 over their last 21 games.

25) Orlando Magic (21-48)
Since winning three games in a row at the start of February, the Magic are 3-12. It feels like they'd need to win the lottery at this point to get a top pick, but they're pretty much assured of getting a top-five selection.

24) Dallas Mavericks (22-46)
Mark Cuban says the Mavs are tanking, but their play on their court says otherwise as they've won three of their last four games. Which, ironically, is the worst thing for their season right now.

23) Sacramento Kings (22-47)
Sacramento's team of young players - particularly De'Aaron Fox - are starting to find their stride of late, winning four of their last eight games with all four wins coming by five points or less. That's good for their future...but not good for their draft standing. 

22) Chicago Bulls (24-44)
Another team that's hoping to bottom out, the Bulls have actually had some success over the last few weeks against other bottom-dwellers. They've beaten the Mavs, Hawks, and Grizzlies twice in their last seven games.

21) Detroit Pistons (30-40)
Detroit is focusing on next season after the Blake Griffin trade didn't work out as they hoped. They're only 3-12 in their last 15 games and Griffin has struggled shooting the ball. 

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20) Charlotte Hornets (30-39)
Charlotte had a five-game win streak, following it up with a five-game losing streak, and have now won two of their last three games. They're clearly out of the playoff race but aren't in the tank race, either - they're in no man's land.

19) Los Angeles Lakers (31-37)
Los Angeles is clearly out of the playoff picture but their young core is showing their upside by winning eight of their last 11 games.

18) Miami Heat (36-33)
Miami cooled off dramatically in February and are still playing at a subpar level, losing three of their last five games.

17) Milwaukee Bucks (36-32)
Milwaukee has faded dramatically of late, losing seven of their last 10 games. Consistency still escapes this relatively young group.

16) Denver Nuggets (38-31)
Denver continues to play at a solid level, winning five of their last eight games, but they haven't been good enough to crack into the West's playoff picture just yet.

15) Los Angeles Clippers (37-30)
The Clippers continue to remain relevant in the post-Blake Griffin era, winning 14 of their last 20 games to really threaten for a playoff spot.

14) San Antonio Spurs (39-30)
Is this the year the Spurs finally crack? They're still hoping to get Kawhi Leonard back next week, which would give them a needed boost, but this group is barely a playoff team without him.

13) Cleveland Cavaliers (39-29)
Cleveland is only 5-7 since the All-Star break as the questions that plagued them most of the year haven't been answered yet. Will they when Kevin Love returns from a broken hand next week?

12) Philadelphia 76ers (37-30)
The Sixers are starting to peak at the right time, winning 12 of their last 17 games. No one wants to face this talented young group in the playoffs right now.

11) Indiana Pacers (40-29)
Indiana continues to prove themselves as a legitimate playoff threat, winning six of their last eight games. Can they hold onto the three seed in the East?

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10) New Orleans Pelicans (39-29)
Anthony Davis is putting up historic numbers seemingly every night to put himself in the MVP race and it's benefitting the Pelicans, who just ripped off a 10-game win streak. They sit just one game behind the Thunder for the No. 4 seed in the West.

9) Utah Jazz (39-30)
Utah is as hot as any team in the league, winning eight games in a row and 20 of their last 22 overall. Donovan Mitchell (19.8 ppg) has turned into a bonafide star.

8) Minnesota Timberwolves (40-29)
Minnesota doesn't have Jimmy Butler for the foreseeable future due to a meniscus injury, and that has dropped them to fifth in the West. They should still be a playoff team even if Butler doesn't return for a few more weeks.

7) Washington Wizards (39-30)
Washington has cooled off of late with a 3-5 record in their last eight games. However, those three wins have been over the Heat, Pelicans, and Celtics.

6) Oklahoma City Thunder (41-29)
Has this talented Thunder team figured it out? They've won four games in a row and seven of their last nine games.

5) Boston Celtics (46-22)
Boston is limping a bit right now, losing three of their last five games, but that has almost everything to do with the number of injuries they're dealing with. Once healthy, they'll look like a legit title threat again.

4) Portland Trail Blazers (42-26)
The Blazers have cemented themselves as the No. 3 seed in the West thanks to an 11-game win streak that has seen Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum play at their very best.

3) Toronto Raptors (51-17)
The Raptors have very clearly been the class of the East during the regular season and have won 10 games in a row. Are they for real? We won't know until the postseason.

2) Golden State Warriors (52-16)
The champs are simply too hurt to hold onto the No. 1 spot. Over half their roster - and all of their big four - are dealing with injuries that are keeping them off the court. They still remain the title favorites, however.

1) Houston Rockets (54-14)
Winners of 20 of their last 21 games, the Rockets have been the best and most consistent team in the league during the regular season. There are still doubts about their ability to knock off the Warriors, but they're as big of a threat to Golden State's dynasty as there has been.

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