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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The Houston Rockets move into the top-five and the Boston Celtics are trending upward

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James Harden and the Rockets are making moves in the rankings [NBA Getty Images]

Here is a look at the NBA Power Rankings through Week 22 of the 2018-19 NBA season.

Let's make one thing clear: These power rankings are a snapshot of where things stand now, not necessarily how they'll look at the end of the season. We're all about giving credit where it's due and, likewise, holding teams accountable for speed bumps encountered along the way.

All records and stats are through games played Monday, March 11.

10. Utah Jazz

Last week : 9th

Current record : 37-28

Last week : 1-2 (loss vs. Pelicans, win at Pelicans, loss at Grizzlies)

This week : vs. Thunder, at Suns, vs. Timberwolves, vs. Nets

The Jazz were well on their way to joining the Rockets, Thunder and Blazers in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture last week. Instead, they find themselves rubbing shoulders with the Clippers and Spurs following losses to the Pelicans and Grizzlies, two teams whose hopes of making the playoffs ended a long time ago.

The Jazz have a big game on Monday when they host the Thunder - OKC has taken all three matchups against Utah this season.

It gives the Jazz a great chance to get their four-game week off to a hot start to try and work their way back into the top half of the conference standings.

9. Denver Nuggets

Last week : 8th

Current record : 43-22

Last week : 1-2 (loss at Spurs, win at Lakers, loss at Warriors)

This week : vs. Timberwolves, vs. Mavericks, vs. Pacers

The Nuggets are coming off of another week in which they went 1-2. They blew out LeBron James and the Lakers in Los Angeles but dropped games to the Spurs and Warriors on the road.

The Warriors loss hurts the most, as a win would've give the Nuggets them the same season record as the defending champions. They now trail the Warriors by two games in the standings and are ahead of the red-hot Rockets in third place by only three.

Fortunately for the Nuggets, their next three games are against the Timberwolves, Mavericks and Pacers in Denver. Both Minnesota and Dallas are all but out of the playoff race at this point of the season and Indiana has been struggling lately, going 4-6 in its last 10 games.

That three-game homestand could be just what the Nuggets need to get back on track again before they embark on another road trip.

8. Oklahoma City Thunder

Last week : 7th

Current record : 40-26

Last week : 1-2 (loss at Timberwolves, win at Blazers, loss at Clippers)

This week : at Jazz, vs. Nets, at Pacers, vs. Warriors

A tough week for the Thunder saw them lose to the Timberwolves and then the Clippers while on the second night of a back-to-back.

Oklahoma City did, however, pick up a signature overtime win against the Trail Blazers in Portland, overcoming 51 points from Damian Lillard to sweep the season series. That'll become important if the two teams finish the regular season with the same record, which isn't out of the realm of possibility - the Blazers have the same amount of losses as the Thunder but one less win.

The next few weeks are going to be an interesting test for the Thunder. According to Tankathon, they have the second-hardest remaining schedule in the league.

The good news for the Thunder? Russell Westbrook is having his most efficient month of the season. The bad news? Paul George is having his least efficient, possibly due to a shoulder injury that recently kept him out three games.

They'll need both All-Stars to be at their best to hold onto homecourt advantage.

7. Boston Celtics

Last week : 11th

Current record : 41-26

Last week : 3-0 (win at Warriors, win at Kings, win at Lakers)

This week : at Clippers, vs. Kings, vs. Hawks

Have the Celtics finally ironed out their issues? For the time-being, the answer is yes.

Boston looks like a completely rejuvenated team after this past week.

They handed the Golden State Warriors a 33-point loss on Tuesday - their worst loss at Oracle Arena in the Steve Kerr era. They followed that with an impressive win on a back-to-back against a fiesty Sacramento Kings team thanks to a game-winning shot from Gordon Hayward.

And then it was a solid win over the Los Angeles Lakers where Kyrie Irving dominated (after missing the Kings game) scoring 30 points to top a triple-double from LeBron James.

The Celtics have had their struggles this season but still have more than a fair shot at reaching the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They find themselves right in the mix with the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers with 15 games remaining in the season.

6. Philadelphia 76ers

Last week : 5th

Current record : 42-25

Last week : 2-2 (win vs. Magic, loss at Bulls, loss at Rockets, win vs. Pacers)

This week : vs. Cavaliers, vs. Kings, at Bucks

The 76ers lost a couple bad ones this week, hurting in the absence of All-Star centre Joel Embiid.

Luckily for them, Embiid returned to action on Monday in a huge matchup against the Pacers, the team one spot ahead of the Sixers in the standings.

Embiid was dominant in the win scoring 33 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to put Philly ahead of Indiana in the standings, though they have the same record.

The 76ers are a completely different team with Embiid in the lineup and as long as he can stay healthy, they have as good a chance as any team to win the Eastern Conference. That theory will be put to the test next week, as they'll have a tough road matchup against the first place Milwaukee Bucks.

5. Portland Trail Blazers

Last week : 4th

Current record : 40-26

Last week : 1-2 (loss at Grizzlies, loss vs. Thunder, win vs. Suns)

This week : at Clippers, at Pelicans, at Spurs

It was a rough week for the Trail Blazers who dropped two of three.

They started the week off on the wrong foot by falling to the Grizzlies. They battled with the Thunder, making a late comeback to send the game into overtime, but fell just short despite a 51-point effort from Damian Lillard.

Without Jusuf Nurkic, who was ejected in regulation, they couldn't come up with the stops they needed to pull out a win.

They closed the week with a win over the Suns to prevent a three-game losing streak, which would have been costly given how tight the Western Conference seeding is at the moment.

Portland dropped from third to fifth during that stretch and will be put to the test this upcoming week with three road games - two against other Western Conference playoff hopefuls.

4. Golden State Warriors

Last week : 3rd

Current record : 45-21

Last week : 1-2 (loss vs. Celtics, win vs. Nuggets, loss vs. Suns)

This week : at Rockets, at Thunder

The Warriors got steam rolled by the Celtics to start the week but bounced back quickly against the Nuggets.

They got Klay Thompson back in the lineup for the contest against Denver, in which he made his presence felt instantly. Thompson went off for 39 points on nine made 3-pointers to give Golden State yet another blowout win over the second place team.

The Warriors are still the No. 1 seed in the conference and are looking like the heavy favorites to come out of the West again. This week, they only have two games but the opponents are significant.

They'll travel to Houston to take on the Rockets, trying to avoid being swept by the team they defeated in the Conference Finals a season ago. Then they go to Oklahoma City face off against MVP candidate Paul George and the Thunder - a team that many believe could meet Golden State in this year's Conference Finals.

It's a big week coming up for the defending back-to-back champions.

3. Houston Rockets

Last week : 6th

Current record : 41-25

Last week : 3-0 (win at Raptors, win vs. 76ers, win at Mavericks)

This week: vs. Hornets, vs. Warriors, vs. Suns, vs. Timberwolves

The Rockets have been unstoppable as of late. They boast a league-best eight game win streak at the moment with several of those wins coming against playoff-calibre teams.

They had an impressive road win over the Toronto Raptors to start their week when James Harden scored 35 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, to assure his team left Canada with a W.

They dominated a Joel Embiid-less 76ers team and closed the week with a win over their Texas rival Dallas Mavericks.

This team is hitting their stride at the perfect time in the season - they're getting healthy and are starting to look like the team that came one game away from reaching the NBA Finals a season ago.

They'll have a chance to sweep the season series against the Warriors this upcoming week, the perfect opportunity to give themselves a boost of confidence going forward the rest of the season.

2. Toronto Raptors

Last week : 2nd

Current record : 48-19

Last week : 2-1 (loss vs. Rockets, win at Pelicans, win at Heat)

This week : at Cavaliers, vs. Lakers, at Pistons

It was a rough start to the week getting blown out at home by the Rockets but the Raptors responded well.

They dominated the Pelicans as Kawhi Leonard went for 31 points with ease with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday both out for New Orleans. With Leonard resting on Sunday, they Toronto still took care of business handling the Miami Heat.

Toronto's 3-point shooting often decides the outcome of the game and against the Heat, they knocked down a season-high 21 3-pointers - this also tied a franchise record for made threes in a game.

The Raptors became the second team to clinch a playoff spot over the weekend but they're still riding Milwaukee's coattails for the No. 1 seed.

They'll take on the Cavaliers on a back-to-back before facing off against their worst nightmare LeBron James later in the week. They'll also get a chance to pick up their first win over former head coach Dwane Casey, so this is a big week for Toronto.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Last week : 1st

Current record : 50-17

Last week : 2-2 (loss at Suns, win vs. Pacers, win vs. Hornets, loss at Spurs)

This week : at Pelicans, at Heat, vs. 76ers

It was a rare two-loss week for the Bucks who struggled to win on the road against Western Conference opponents.

First, it was the Phoenix Suns who became the first team to beat Milwaukee twice this season and it was their first back-to-back loss of the season too. They took their frustrations out on the Pacers and Hornets to get back to their dominant ways, but fell to the Spurs in a close one to end the week.

Milwaukee is not in any real danger of losing their No. 1 seed yet, still 2.0 games ahead of the second place Raptors, but they need to bounce back this week to keep Toronto at a comfortable distance.

They'll be tested with a potential first round playoff matchup against the Miami Heat and close the week against one of the East's best teams in Philadelphia.

Rest of the NBA

11. LA Clippers

12. San Antonio Spurs

13. Indiana Pacers

14. Brooklyn Nets

15. Detroit Pistons

16. Miami Heat

17. Sacramento Kings

18. Orlando Magic

19. Charlotte Hornets

20. Minnesota Timberwolves

21. Los Angeles Lakers

22. Washington Wizards

23. Memphis Grizzlies

24. New Orleans Pelicans

25. Dallas Mavericks

26. Chicago Bulls

27. Phoenix Suns

28. Atlanta Hawks

29. Cleveland Cavaliers

30. New York Knicks

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