NBA Power Rankings (cont.)

Monday March 15th, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
11 San Antonio Spurs
Last Week: 11
Gregg Popovich's message to new starting point guard George Hill: Yell. Scream. Be like Avery Johnson. "I want him to be more aggressive," Popovich told reporters of the second-year player who has replaced the injured Tony Parker. "I want him to take more control. I want him to be telling people where the hell to go on the court. I want him to tell me where the hell to go. I want him to start taking over. I want him to be Avery."
12 Milwaukee Bucks
Last Week: 13
As if the streaking Bucks -- winners of six straight and 12 of their last 13 -- needed any more help, Jerry Stackhouse is starting to get it going. Stack broke out of a four-game slump with a season-high-tying 20-point effort that pushed the Bucks past Indiana on Sunday. "That's the beauty of this team, when we have eight or nine guys capable of going out and getting 20 points," Stackhouse told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Not a lot of teams in the NBA can do that."
13 Boston Celtics
Last Week: 9
They dropped three of four last week, including a 20-point home loss to Memphis and a never-really-in-it loss to the Cavs in which they were outscored 27-10 on second-chance points. It seems so long ago that the Celtics were stomping Cleveland on their home court en route to the 2008 title. "You know, we're not on the same page," Rajon Rondo told reporters after Sunday's loss in Cleveland. "Defensive rotations are off. Right now, we're just not getting the job done."
14 Memphis Grizzlies
Last Week: 14
The victory at Boston extended the Grizzlies' road winning streak to a franchise-record seven, and they also snapped an eight-game home losing skid with a win over New Jersey (followed by another one over New York). Memphis, which enters the week five games out of the final playoff spot, has a shot to make up some ground as its next five opponents are out of playoff position.
15 Miami Heat
Last Week: 15
Miami Heat (35-32)
Dwyane Wade is averaging 30.6 points in March, a stretch in which the Heat have won six of seven with all the victories coming at home. With point guard Rafer Alston suspended and unlikely to return, the Heat signed the D-League's Kenny Hasbrouck while passing on veteran Mike James, who was bought out by Washington last month.
16 Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week: 18
With Tyson Chandler, Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop battling injuries, trade-deadline pickup Theo Ratliff, 37, has ably filled the Bobcats' need in the middle. He didn't exactly check Dwight Howard (27 points, 16 rebounds) on Sunday, but Ratliff finished a plus-6 to Howard's minus-15 as the Bobcats won at Orlando for their sixth consecutive victory.
17 Houston Rockets
Last Week: 16
Has anyone seen Luis Scola's video game-like stat lines recently? A 19-point, 18-rebound effort against Sacramento on March 3 was followed by 25/21, 20/15, 23/10 and 44/12 games. That 44-point performance in Saturday's victory over New Jersey came on 20-of-25 shooting. And you wonder why Houston didn't mind parting with Carl Landry?
18 Toronto Raptors
Last Week: 17
Chris Bosh isn't happy. And with the stumbling Raptors' season (and perhaps future) hanging in the balance, that's not good news. "It's like if you look at the schedule right now and see Toronto, I'm sure people are checking something in the win box," Bosh told reporters after Saturday's loss at Golden State. "I can understand if we lose the game going down fighting, but we're not fighting at all." Toronto lost at Portland the next night to complete an 0-4 road trip.
19 New Orleans Hornets
Last Week: 20
With injuries piling up (Peja Stojakovic is out two weeks with an ab strain), the team tumbling out of the playoff race (eight games back of the No. 8 spot) and rookie Darren Collison getting some good experience running the show, you have to wonder if it's worth it to bring back Chris Paul this season. Paul recently was cleared to run at half speed, and he reportedly remains at least a week away from being available to play.
20 Chicago Bulls
Last Week: 19
Chicago Bulls (31-34)
The new Vinny Del Negro Watch, Week 1: Hard to pin all the blame on the coach, what with Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah all dealing with injuries. Still, a lack of intensity on defense is the common thread in the Bulls' seven-game skid. Their last 10 opponents have scored at least 100 points.
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