NBA Power Rankings: Week 15
Week 15 in the NBA was a busy one with games that delivered sheer excitement, players delivering legendary performances and a day in the honor of Martin Luther King Jr. which saw 22 teams in action.
With the season progressing closer towards the All-Star weekend, fatigue and injuries are already taking their toll. Some players are back from injuries while some are struggling to stay away from them.
This week saw a much-anticipated return in the league- DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors line-up which is now a team with 5-All-Star starters. Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee off a fall during a game against Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The LA Lakers who are already short of LeBron James from the last 13 games, lost Lonzo Ball to an ankle injury and is expected to be out for 4 to 6 weeks.
For the Houston Rockets, with James Harden putting the best numbers off his entire career another good news came with Eric Gordon back in action but they lost Clint Capela to a thumb injury- who is set to miss next 4 to 6 weeks.
Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans suffered a sprained finger in Portland on Friday. Davis will only miss 1-2 weeks, but, sitting four games out of a playoff spot the Pelicans need every game they can get.
Let's have a look at the Conference power rankings, MVP and Rookie of the Year talks for Week 15 of the 2018-19 NBA season.
NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings
Milwaukee Bucks: First in the Eastern Conference (35-13)
Last week: 2-1 (win vs. Mavericks, win vs. Hornets, loss at Thunder)
Coming Week: at Pistons, at Raptors, at Wizards
The Bucks have not lost back-to-back games this entire season. Their MVP-candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo is dominating on a nightly basis with an average of 26.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals - the only player in the NBA to average over 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game.
The Bucks supporting cast is playing an important role in this success with Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe all average over 15 points a game. They are the only team in the league to top in both offensive and defensive rating.
Philadelphia 76ers: Fourth in the Eastern Conference (32-18)Last week: 2-1 (win vs. Rockets, win vs. Spurs, loss at Nuggets)
Coming Week: at Lakers, at Warriors, at Kings
The 76ers have been a team to track since the beginning of season. With the team putting differences aside, gelling well with each other and their roles on the team put a solid performance despite missing Jimmy Butler. He sat out all week with a wrist injury.
Joel Embiid posted a strong double-double in a win against Rockets with 32 points and 14 rebounds. In a win against the Spurs, he posted 33 points and 19 rebounds. In the same game, reigning ROTY Ben Simmons recorded a triple-double 21 points , 10 rebounds and 15 assists.
Boston Celtics: Fifth in the Eastern Conference (30-19)
Last week: 2-1 (win vs. Heat, win vs. Cavaliers, loss vs. Warriors)
Coming Week: vs. Nets, vs. Hornets, at Knicks, vs. Thunder
In their last match-up of the week, Celtics put a brilliant fight against the reigning champions. They fell a little short in the closing minutes in this valient effort. Kyrie Irving scored 32 points with 10 assists and Al Horford had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Boston, which had won five straight and 10 in a row at home.
Irving has been a play-master in Celtics' recent success while averaging 31 points and 10.8 assists.He has gone for over 30 points and 10 assists in four of those five contests. With their healthy brigade of both youngsters and veterans Celtics are looking to surge up in the conference.