2024 NBA Power Rankings: Top teams all stumble, Thunder take advantage

The teams that have spent the better part of this season at the top of the FOX Sports NBA power rankings looked like anything but the most powerful teams in the NBA this week.

The carnage was widespread. The Boston Celtics lost back-to-back games to the 34-40 Atlanta Hawks. The Denver Nuggets were shellacked in back-to-back home games by the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Milwaukee Bucks lost back-to-back games as well, including a sobering fourth-quarter collapse at home against a LeBron-less Los Angeles Lakers’ squad. The Oklahoma City Thunder also fell in overtime, at home, to the Western Conference’s 11th-place team, the Houston Rockets. And the Timberwolves ruined an otherwise promising week with a home loss to the 36-39 Chicago Bulls.

A coincidental collective stumble or an indicator of vulnerability with the start of the playoffs roughly two weeks away? That was the conundrum confronting the ranking committee when it met to compose this week’s order.

The conclusion: the Thunder are your new No. 1. The Rockets were on a tear, rolling into Oklahoma City and faced a Thunder team playing its second game in as many nights. That, combined with wins over three top 10 teams — the New Orleans Pelicans, Nuggets and New York Knicks — put OKC both atop the Western Conference and this week’s rankings.

The hottest team in the league at the moment, the Dallas Mavericks, moved into the top five with a 4-0 road trip; their jump might’ve been bigger had their opponents been slightly more formidable than the enigmatic Sacramento Kings and spiraling Utah Jazz. Similarly, the Pelicans might’ve lost ground had their two losses not come against the Celtics and Thunder, been accompanied by a win over the Bucks, and the teams just below them in the rankings — the Knicks, Magic and Kings — had not all gone 1-2 against less daunting opponents.

NBA Power Rankings

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. New Orleans Pelicans
  7. Milwaukee Bucks
  8. LA Clippers
  9. Orlando Magic
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Los Angeles Lakers
  12. Sacramento Kings
  13. Phoenix Suns
  14. Indiana Pacers
  15. Golden State Warriors
  16. Miami Heat
  17. Houston Rockets
  18. Cleveland Cavaliers
  19. Chicago Bulls
  20. Philadelphia 76ers
  21. Atlanta Hawks
  22. San Antonio Spurs
  23. Brooklyn Nets
  24. Utah Jazz
  25. Memphis Grizzlies
  26. Charlotte Hornets
  27. Portland Trail Blazers
  28. Detroit Pistons
  29. Washington Wizards
  30. Toronto Raptors

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, “Rebound,” on NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with young onset Parkinson’s, and “Yao: A Life In Two Worlds.” He also has a daily podcast, “On The Ball with Ric Bucher.” Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

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