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Clippers, Spurs reign atop rankings; 76ers fall to No. 31

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Blake Griffin has 26 straight 20-point games, leading the Clippers to a 20-6 record in that span.

It's tough for teams to fluctuate too much in the Power Rankings at this point in the season, but this week brings a few notable shifts after some recent trends forced our hand.

Most notable of all are the 76ers, who have lost 20 consecutive games and are well on their way to ending the season on a 36-game skid. After going winless week after week after week after week, Philadelphia has fallen from No. 30 to newly created No. 31. To put things in perspective, the Seattle Seahawks have won a game more recently than the Sixers. Jay Leno was still hosting The Tonight Show. The Sochi Olympics hadn't even started.

The Knicks are on the other end of the spectrum. New York has moved up five spots, to No. 21, thanks to a season-high six-game winning streak during which it has averaged 114.5 points.

Elsewhere, the Blazers (No. 11) and Rockets (No. 6) tumble after rough weeks, while the Grizzlies (No. 7) and Bulls (No. 9) continue to inch toward the top.

Finally, the Clippers (who have won 11 games in a row) and Spurs (10-game winning streak) hold the top two spots. While other contenders have been struggling and/or dealing with injuries, Los Angeles and San Antonio have risen above the pack.

(All records and statistics are through March 16.)

SI Now: Clippers dominant, Knicks clinging to playoff hopes
On Monday's SI Now, NBA producer Matt Dollinger discusses how the 76ers should be ranked 31 out of 30, the New York Knicks clinging to playoff hopes, and the Spurs' dominance since Kawhi Leonard returned in the latest NBA Power Rankings.
NBA Power Rankings
 
1 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 1
Since: 4-0
Blake Griffin's game continues evolve as he matures. On his 25th birthday on Sunday, Griffin finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a victory over Cleveland. He has scored at least 20 points in 26 consecutive games, a streak eclipsed only by Kevin Durant this season.
 
2 San Antonio Spurs
Last Week: 2
Since: 4-0
The Spurs have won at least 50 games in a record 15 consecutive seasons, a streak that would be at 17 if not for the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. San Antonio's 10-game winning streak has coincided with Kawhi Leonard's Feb. 26 return from a broken finger.
 
3 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 5
Since: 3-0
Wins over the Celtics, 76ers and Pistons can't really be constituted as "righting the ship," particularly when the most recent victory (at Detroit) required overcoming a 25-point deficit. Andrew Bynum followed up an impressive debut by hoisting 18 shots (and making six) in 20 minutes against the Pistons. Questionable decision-making has always been a staple of Bynum's game, but his 15 points and nine rebounds that night are vaguely familiar, too.
 
4 Oklahoma City Thunder
Last Week: 6
Since: 2-1
Second-year guard Jeremy Lamb has played only 13 minutes per game since Russell Westbrook's return, shooting just 28.6 percent from the field and failing to score in double figures in 11 games. Even with Westbrook sidelined for Sunday's loss to Dallas, Lamb logged only 11 minutes.
 
5 Miami Heat
Last Week: 4
Since: 2-2
Miami Heat (45-19)
Sunday's win over Houston helped quell some of our concerns, but one victory can't completely wipe out the stench of a 1-5 stretch. Then again, maybe this lull is just the thing the Heat needed to kick themselves in the butt and get going for a three-peat run. LeBron James said Miami's response to its recent struggles would be its "defining moment" this season.
 
6 Houston Rockets
Last Week: 3
Since: 0-3
The Rockets have come back to earth after losing a season-high three straight games and being held below their scoring average each time. All three defeats came against playoff teams on the road, but that isn't a very good defense when you're aiming to be a title contender.
 
7 Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week: 8
Since: 3-1
For a team trying to sneak into the playoffs, the Grizzlies are a pretty scary potential first-round opponent. Memphis is 26-10 since Jan. 1 and has become a much more respectable offensive threat as the season has progressed, including 99.8 points per game so far in March, its highest-scoring month.
 
8 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 7
Since: 2-2
The Blazers are ahead of the Warriors in the standings, but likely not for long. Golden State erased an 18-point deficit at Portland on Sunday and sliced Rip City's lead for the No. 5 seed to just 1½ games. Guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson get the spotlight, but Andre Iguodala continues to contribute quietly in a significant way.
 
9 Chicago Bulls
Last Week: 10
Since: 2-1
Coach Tom Thibodeau's preference for Taj Gibson over Carlos Boozer in the fourth quarter isn't strictly for defensive purposes. Gibson's Player Efficiency Rating (16.1) eclipses Boozer's (career-low 14.3), as does his field-goal percentage (48.4 to 44.9). Their scoring numbers per 36 minutes (Gibson 16.4, Boozer 17.5) don't offer enough of a contrast to make Boozer uniquely valuable when Chicago has the ball.
 
10 Dallas Mavericks
Last Week: 11
Since: 2-1
The Mavs rank No. 22 in defensive efficiency, but they have been a top-10 unit over the last five games. Recent wins over Oklahoma City and Indiana remind us how dangerous Dallas can be when at full strength and playing well.
 
11 Portland Trail Blazers
Last Week: 9
Since: 1-3
The Blazers, who are 19-19 since a 24-5 start, have lost five of their last six. The absence of LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed the past two games with a bruised back, is obviously partially to blame, but Portland's recent woes go a lot deeper than just injuries. The revamped bench has regressed; Wesley Matthews is mired in an ugly shooting slump; and the Blazers are simply being outclassed by their Western rivals, losing to the Warriors, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets and Mavericks in a 10-day span.
 
12 Brooklyn Nets
Last Week: 14
Since: 2-1
Faced with the choice, the Nets would much rather play the Heat than the Pacers in the playoffs. Brooklyn last week improved to 3-0 against Miami this season, but it's 0-4 against Indiana.
 
13 Toronto Raptors
Last Week: 12
Since: 2-2
The Raptors lost to Phoenix on Sunday, but they're still 14-13 against the Western Conference. The franchise record for interconference victories is 16, a mark Toronto can break if it sweeps its final three games with the West -- at New Orleans, vs. Oklahoma City and vs. Houston.
 
14 Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week: 16
Since: 4-0
The East's second-most-important race besides the one for the No. 1 seed? The chase for No. 6! The Bobcats, who have matched their season high with a four-game winning streak, are only 1½ games behind the Nets for the coveted spot to avoid Indiana or Miami in the first round.
 
15 Phoenix Suns
Last Week: 15
Since: 2-2
Phoenix Suns (38-28)
With Eric Bledsoe back in the lineup and Gerald Green back from "vacation", the Suns are at full strength for their final playoff push. Phoenix has been one of the season's most surprising stories, but it won't be a complete one unless the Suns can make the postseason for the first time since 2010.
 
16 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 13
Since: 2-2
Drew Gooden has given the Wizards everything they could have asked for and more after being signed to help fill Nene's shoes. Gooden had 21 points (on 8-of-11 shooting) and nine rebounds in Saturday's comeback victory over the Nets, and he's scored in double digits in four of his first eight games with the team. Not bad for a 32-year-old who had been out of the league since being waived by Milwaukee last summer.
 
17 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 17
Since: 2-1
In his first start, rookie center Gorgui Dieng had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in Sunday's win over Sacramento. Starting center Nikola Pekovic will return to his rightful spot in the lineup once he's healthy, but for a team that averages a league-low 3.5 blocks, Dieng's ability to protect the rim could earn him more minutes.
 
18 Cleveland Cavaliers
Last Week: 20
Since: 2-1
For all the adversity the Cavaliers have gone through this season -- waaaay too much to fit in between these long dashes -- there's one setback they simply can't overcome: an injury to Kyrie Irving. Cleveland's All-Star point guard was scheduled to have an MRI after hurting his left biceps on Sunday, an injury that reportedly could end his season.
 
19 Denver Nuggets
Last Week: 18
Since: 2-2
After a slow start to the season, Kenneth Faried has been dominant of late in averaging 24 points and 10.3 rebounds over his last six games. His energy is contagious and Denver desperately needs the third-year power forward to bring it on a regular basis.
 
20 Atlanta Hawks
Last Week: 23
Since: 3-0
Is your glass half full or half empty? The Hawks won more games last week than they did in February (2-10). Meanwhile, Kyle Korver has shot 14-of-16 from three-point range in his last four games, raising his season mark to a league-leading 49.1 percent.
 
21 New York Knicks
Last Week: 26
Since: 3-0
Just talking to Phil Jackson about coming on board has resulted in a season-high six-game winning streak. The Knicks are still going to have a tough time making the playoffs, though. They are 3½ games behind Atlanta (five in the loss column) for the eighth seed and play nine of their final 15 games on the road.
 
22 New Orleans Pelicans
Last Week: 19
Since: 1-2
The Pelicans are giving the ball to Anthony Davis like he won't be allowed to shoot anymore next season. The big man is averaging 32.3 points over his last six games, 12 above his season average from two weeks ago. He's attempted at least 20 shots in four of his last five games after doing it just seven times in his first 53 games.
 
23 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 24
Since: 1-2
Blowing a 25-point lead to the Pacers could put the kibosh on the Pistons' dim playoff hopes. Detroit begins a four-game Western trip on Wednesday and plays only five of its final 16 games at home.
 
24 Utah Jazz
Last Week: 21
Since: 0-4
Utah Jazz (22-45)
For a team that has lost four consecutive games and nine of 10, the Utah Ja ... eh, who am I kidding? Turn your attention to BYU and the NCAA tournament.
 
25 Boston Celtics
Last Week: 22
Since: 0-4
The undersized Celtics allowed Anthony Davis go for 40-and-20, surrendered points-rebounds double-doubles to P.J. Tucker, Eric Bledsoe and Cole Aldrich (Cole Aldrich?!), and gave up eight points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes to Andrew Bynum. And that was just last week.
 
26 Los Angeles Lakers
Last Week: 25
Since: 0-2
They say bad things come in threes. The Lakers sure hope so: back-to-back losses by a combined 63 points. Phil Jackson joining the Knicks. Steve Nash admitting he's not retiring because he "wants the money."
 
27 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 28
Since: 1-3
Whether it's by Sacramento or another team, third-year point guard Isaiah Thomas is getting paid this summer as a restricted free agent. The last pick in the 2011 draft is averaging 20.5 points and 6.3 assists while making $884,293.
 
28 Orlando Magic
Last Week: 27
Since: 0-3
Since beating the Thunder and Pacers in back-to-back games last month to complete a three-game winning streak, the Magic have lost 11 of 14. Two of those victories came against Philadelphia.
 
29 Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week: 29
Since: 1-4
You know things are bad when the Gary Neal Revenge Game drops you to 6-30 since New Year's Day.
 
31 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 30
Since: 0-4
If the 76ers end the season on a 36-game losing streak but finish with more victories than the Bucks, who had the worse season?
 
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