NBA Picks: Western Conference Power Rankings

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, March 7, 2013 8:03 PM GMT

With a little more than 20 games to go in the season for most teams, the NBA is heating up (no pun intended) and teams with something to play for are starting to battle each and every night.

NBA Western Conference power rankings update

Let’s take a look at the updated power rankings and West standings, and see which teams are going to either start or cease to be a tail or fade into the final quarter of the season.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (48-14 SU, 35-25-2 ATS, 1st in West standings)

The Spurs recently lost Tony Parker for the next few weeks, but they are 2-0 SU and ATS without him. San Antonio is starting to show some defensive intensity as well, something that has been missing over the last few seasons. In their last two games, they held the Pistons and Bulls (not too hard these days, but still impressive) to 75 and 83 points respectfully. The Spurs have some cupcake games coming up after a date with Oklahoma City next Monday in San Antonio. However, their month of April will be nothing but tough. I see them continuing to cover regularly in March even without Parker.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (44-16 SU, 35-22-3 ATS, 2nd in West standings)

Three games back with 22 to go is the Thunder. While I’m still skeptical of the thinking that they can beat the Spurs without James Harden, the Thunder are continuing to play outstanding basketball. It seems as if Russell Westbrook has gone into a new zone in recent weeks, and the Thunder are putting up points like crazy since their mini three game losing streak in the middle of February. In their last six games, OKC has dropped an average of 114 points per game. If they can continue the hot shooting, I could be eating my words directly above, but I continue to like the Thunder on a nightly basis at this time.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (44-19 SU, 36-27 ATS, 3rd in West standings)

The Clippers are back and playing like they mean it winning eight of their last ten games SU. They are still 4 ½ games out of 1st, but grabbing the 2nd seed doesn’t seem out of reach, as they are only 1 ½ games back of the Thunder. However, they aren’t out of the woods below them either which I’ll get into later. Although their defense has been slipping, I still consider LA dangerous to an extent. Their schedule to close the season is pretty even with good and bad teams, and I think their ATS record for the rest of the season will likely follow suit.

  1. Memphis Grizzlies (40-19 SU, 34-24-1 ATS, 4th in West standings)

Memphis is hotter than any team in the NBA except the Heat right now, and that is why no one is taking notice. Memphis lost to the Heat SU but covered ATS last week, and the Grizzlies seem to be beating everyone else. Memphis has won ten of their last 11 games SU. Although eight of those games were against sub .500 teams, if the Grizzlies can continue this streak well into March, they could find themselves shooting up the standings. They are only 2 games back of the 3rd spot and 6 ½ back of San Antonio.

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  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Los Angeles Lakers