Monday March 1st, 2010

NBA Power Rankings
11Portland Trail Blazers
Last Week: 14
Why was bringing in Marcus Camby important? Because the Blazers aren't winning a playoff series with their offense. Portland's 97.8 points per game is the lowest output of any of the West playoff teams, but they are giving up a conference-low 95.2 points. Camby has been as advertised, blocking at least three shots in four of his first five games and averaging 8.2 boards in the same span.
 
12San Antonio Spurs
Last Week: 12
Richard Jefferson, super sub? A starter since his second season, the nine-year veteran was banished to the bench last week. Jefferson responded with 15 points in a loss to Houston and 20 points and five assists in a win over Phoenix.
 
13Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week: 19
The Bucks are proof that you don't need a blockbuster deal to get significantly better. After pulling Jerry Stackhouse (8.3 points with Milwaukee) out of mothballs and swiping John Salmons (20.1 points) from the cost-cutting Bulls, Milwaukee now has the perimeter shooting to complement the inside-out presence of Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings. And a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
 
14Chicago Bulls
Last Week: 15
It's got to be frustrating to be a Bulls fan. Your team beats Portland at home but swallows road losses to Washington and Indiana. The Bulls' upcoming week will be a test of their ability and grit: Chicago opens a four-game homestand Monday against Atlanta, which is followed by dates with Memphis, Dallas and Utah.
 
15Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week: 16
Ah, the highs and lows of a young team. The up-and-coming Grizzlies rattled off an 11-game home winning streak early in the season but are currently riding a six-game skid at FedEx Forum. Finding offense has been a problem, as the Grizzlies are averaging 91 points on 43 percent shooting during the six-game slide, down from the 102.2 points (and 47 percent shooting) they are averaging for the season.
 
16New Orleans Hornets
Last Week: 13
The Hornets are starting to make a habit out of playing just half a game. While they were able to rally from an 18-point deficit to beat the Magic last Friday, the Hornets got caught in Dallas on Sunday, rallying to within four before falling. They begin this week three games behind Portland for the No. 8 seed in the West.
 
17Toronto Raptors
Last Week: 11
The Raptors have lost three straight -- including blowouts to Portland and Oklahoma City -- without Chris Bosh (ankle), and they won't find much relief in March. Toronto will play four sets of back-to-backs this month, with three of them being road-road sets.
 
18Houston Rockets
Last Week: 18
The Rockets' new-look (read: Kevin Martin) offense is clicking -- the team havs scored at least 109 points in three of their last five games while Martin has dropped 55 points the last two games -- and it couldn't come at a better time. Houston has a big chance to get back in the playoff race over the next two weeks: Five of its next six opponents have sub-.500 records.
 
19Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week: 20
Here's an ugly number: The Bobcats are 8-22 on the road. Only the Pistons, Pacers and Nets have fewer road wins. The D has been consistent home or away (the Bobcats have the No. 2 scoring defense); it's the offense that is inconsistent. They are averaging 92.2 points on the road, compared to 98.4 in North Carolina.
 
20Miami Heat
Last Week: 17
Miami Heat (29-31)
The Heat are the definition of average. They are average at home (14-14) and on the road (15-17) and, not surprisingly, they are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Ideally, Miami would like a little more balance with its offense and D. The Heat are third in the NBA in scoring defense (95.0 points per game) but 26th in scoring offense (95.7).
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