We’ve reached the final week of a long, grueling 2021-22 NBA regular season filled with plenty of twists and turns. There was the hot start from the Golden State Warriors, followed by a steady ascent from the Phoenix Suns. The league’s health and safety protocols were overwhelmed in the winter months, but eventually the surge subsided. The Boston Celtics made an amazing switch with 32 games left and have the look of a contender. And the Los Angeles Lakers continue to flounder in what is one of the worst seasons for the storied franchise.
In the final regular season edition of the power rankings, it’s best to look at which teams have set themselves up for playoff success. The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks jump out as obvious contenders with impressive stretches lately. Since their four-game losing streak, Heat have knocked off the red-hot Celtics and the feisty Chicago Bulls en route to nearly locking up the East’s No. 1 seed. The Bucks had big wins over the 76ers and Nets to show why they’re still considered by many to be the favorites to win it all.
Philadelphia has not had a good week. The loss to Milwaukee was bad enough, but to follow it up with a loss to the Detroit Pistons compounded problems. The 76ers have failed to meet massive expectations before and with James Harden in town, there are no more excuses this season. On the flip side, the Utah Jazz have been underwhelming after capturing the West’s No. 1 seed a year ago. Utah is 2-6 in the last eight games with the wins coming against the Knicks and Lakers. Not exactly the type of momentum you want with the playoffs approaching.
Here’s a look at the full power rankings.
NBA Power Rankings
|6||Golden State Warriors||6|
|17||Los Angeles Clippers||18|
|19||New Orleans Pelicans||19|
|21||New York Knicks||20|
|22||San Antonio Spurs||22|
|23||Los Angeles Lakers||23|
|28||Portland Trail Blazers||26|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder||29|