NBA

Injuries to Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving hurts outlook of two of the top teams in NBA power rankings

Jay Asser 01:03 29/03/2018
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Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry could both miss the first round of the playoffs.

Injuries are really taking their toll on the NBA season at the moment, with multiple stars set to miss the final stretch and possibly even the start of the playoffs.

News came out this past week that the Golden State Warriors are likely to be without Stephen Curry for the first round of the playoffs after the two-time MVP suffered a sprained MCL, while Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving is expected to miss three-to-six weeks after having a “minimally invasive procedure” done to alleviate pain in his knee.

Meanwhile, the top two teams in their respective conferences, Houston and Toronto, have had a relatively clean bill of health and continue to hold firm atop our power rankings for this week.

1. Houston Rockets
Record: 57-14 | Last week: 1

Another week, another flawless record for the NBA’s best team this season, who notched a franchise record 59th victory on Saturday.

2. Toronto Raptors
Record: 55-20 | Last week: 2

It wasn’t the best week for the East leaders as they went 2-2, but they wrapped it with a strong finish from their bench to beat Denver.

3. Golden State Warriors
Record: 54-20 | Last week: 3

After dropping three of their last four, they’re in danger of not winning 60 games for the first time since 2014.

4. Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 46-28 | Last week: 4

Aside from the loss to the shorthanded Celtics at home, Portland continued to roll this past week with wins over Oklahoma City and New Orleans.

5. Boston Celtics
Record: 51-23 | Last week: 6

They’ve won four straight despite being decimated by injuries, giving them a chance at the top seed with two games left against Toronto.

6. Utah Jazz
Record: 42-32 | Last week: 7

Utah keep surging and could easily improve on their current standing of seventh in the West by the time the season ends.

7. Philadelphia 76ers
Record: 43-30 | Last week: 10

Their seven-game winning streak is even sweeter because rookie Markelle Fultz is back in the fold and looking like a contributor.

Fultz

8. Cleveland Cavaliers
Record: 44-30 | Last week: 8

LeBron James was on absolute fire before running into old pal Dwyane Wade in Miami, where Cleveland suffered their first loss in six games.

9. Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 44-31 | Last week: 5

Carmelo Anthony botched the ending in the loss to Portland, but his issues haven’t been limited to just occasional miscues this season.

10. Indiana Pacers
Record: 44-31 | Last week: 11

Winners in four of the last five, the Pacers are hanging tight in the race for the third seed in the East.

11. New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 43-32 | Last week: 9

Losses to Houston and Portland are no reason to get down on the Pelicans, who keep getting stellar efforts from Anthony Davis.

12. San Antonio Spurs
Record: 43-32 | Last week: 13

LaMarcus Aldridge had been firing on all cylinders, but bad injury luck struck the Spurs again as he suffered a knee contusion.

13. Los Angeles Clippers
Record: 40-34 | Last week: 18

They are not fading from the playoff picture without a fight as three wins in their last four have kept them in the hunt.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves
Record: 42-33 | Last week: 14

When you’re in the precarious position of sitting eighth in the West, you can’t afford to be dropping home games to lowly Memphis.

15. Washington Wizards
Record: 41-33 | Last week: 12

As it’s been proven, Washington are not, in fact, better without John Wall and could use their point guard back in the lineup.

16. Miami Heat
Record: 40-35 | Last week: 15

The victory over the Cavaliers showed what they’re capable of when locked in – although it could have said just as much about Miami nightlife.

Wade

17. Denver Nuggets
Record: 40-35 | Last week: 16

The schedule hasn’t been easy, but it will be a real disappointment for the franchise if they miss the playoffs again.

18. Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 39-35 | Last week: 17

They’re running out of time to figure out how to play with each other as they’re currently slated for the eighth seed.

19. Detroit Pistons
Record: 34-40 | Last week: 20

This is how big of a hole Detroit dug themselves in: they’ve won four of the past and are still five games out of a playoff spot.

20. Charlotte Hornets
Record: 34-41 | Last week: 21

Charlotte had reasons to cheer this past week as Dwight Howard and Kemba Walker grabbed headlines with historic performances.

21. Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 32-41 | Last week: 19

They’ve hit a rough patch and it doesn’t help that Isaiah Thomas will now undergo hip surgery to end his season.

22. Sacramento Kings
Record: 24-51 | Last week: 22

Off the court, the organisation deserves some credit for how it has handled the protests at their games.

23. New York Knicks
Record: 27-48 | Last week: 25

Things haven’t gone as planned this season, but they might have found a hidden gem in Trey Burke, who had 42 points in the loss to Charlotte.

Burke

24. Dallas Mavericks
Record: 23-51 | Last week: 27

The defeat to Utah gave them their first 50-loss campaign since 1998, ending an impressive run of not bottoming out.

25. Brooklyn Nets
Record: 23-51 | Last week: 24

Even in their losses of late, Brooklyn have played their opponents tough and made them earn their victories.

26. Chicago Bulls
Record: 24-50 | Last week: 23

They’ve dropped six straight, which is exactly what you want when you’re a team near the bottom of the standings hoping to improve your lottery odds.

27. Atlanta Hawks
Record: 21-53 | Last week: 26

Atlanta are throwing out some real no-namers at the moment and the results have been predictable.

28. Orlando Magic
Record: 22-51 | Last week: 28

They’re in the midst of a favourable stretch in the schedule which will see them play seven straight lottery teams.

29. Memphis Grizzlies
Record: 20-54 | Last week: 29

Constantly losing is one thing, but to be embarrassed by 61 points against Charlotte was a true low point.

30. Phoenix Suns
Record: 19-56 | Last week: 30

With no Devin Booker in the lineup, it’s been fun and encouraging to see Josh Jackson take on more offensive responsibility.

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