There are less than 30 games left in the 2022 NBA regular season, and the playoff matchups have started to crystalize.
The Phoenix Suns are running away with the league’s best record, while last year’s champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, are climbing up the ladder and are now third in the Eastern Conference.
As the world’s eyes turn to the thrilling excitement of All-Star weekend, here are the three hottest and coldest teams in the NBA nearly two-thirds into the season.
NBA Power Rankings: The Hot
The Phoenix Suns have won a ridiculous 18 of their last 19 games en route to a 48-10 record that is the clear-best in the league. The backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul blends experienced skill with flashy takeover ability, and their cast of supporting talent is second-to-none. Phoenix is officially out of the basement after finishing as last year’s runner-up and now cementing itself as the team to beat in the NBA.
The Boston Celtics have made a dramatic turnaround since starting the season in a poor run of form, moving up to sixth in the East with a 34-26 record. Jayson Tatum has played himself into the top-10 players in the league discussion, Jaylen Brown has continued to shine as one of the best two-way players in the game, and center Robert Williams III currently leads the league in individual offensive and defensive net rating. A recent move at the trade deadline for Derrick White bolstered the Celtics’ roster even more, and they will be a tough matchup for most teams in the playoffs.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of, if not the most exciting team in the league. Their youthful roster is not even fully healthy but has produced a 41-19 record that is third-best in the Western Conference, and they have won eight of their last 10 games. First-time All-Star and starting point guard Ja Morant has developed into an All-NBA player in his third year in the league, posting a line of 26.8 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game.
NBA Power Rankings: The Cold
No longer a must-watch every night, the previously high-flying Hornets have dropped nine of their last 10 games. This rut has moved them down to ninth in the East and under .500 on the season. Still, they have an All-Star in LaMelo Ball, a solid roster, and improved their depth by trading for Montrezl Harrell at the deadline.
Times will soon be changing in Brooklyn, and they did win back-to-back games before a recent loss, but they also just went on an 11-game losing streak and have no indication as to how Ben Simmons will play with Kevin Durant and half of Kyrie Irving. The Nets are currently the NBA’s biggest question mark, a test which they will take soon after the All-Star break.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have blown three 20-point leads in 11 days, disgracing the players and franchise alike. New York’s most recent collapse came to the tune of a 33-point turnaround against the depleted Nets, who closed the door with a Cam Thomas three in the final seconds. The Knicks have lost their defensive identity and have very little in the way of offensive firepower and could blow their roster up in the offseason.