Heisler’s NBA Power Rankings After Week 15

Despite frequent rest stops and $250K fine, Pop wins Phil Jackson Do-I-Really-Have-to-Go-to-All-Star-Clusterbleep Award as they win 23 of 27 (9-1 without Timmy) to nose out OKC’s young studs.1
Oh, and D-Wade is averaging 24 this month with Bosh at 22 and team shooting 52 percent as they finish 7-0 in what had been a slow first half.3
Went 3-6 in last nine without CP3 and were routed in his rusty return at Miami. But they’re 4-0 since, beating Knicks in MSG, 76ers in Philly, Rockets and Lakers in Staples by 14-17-10-24.4
4THUNDER(39-14)TNT’s Kerr and Miller critique their “one-pass-and-shoot-a-jump-shot” offense in loss to Heat. Looks like this is where they miss Harden, averaging 7.5 assists this month in Houston, huh?2
Owners enjoyed lockout so much, they kept one back-to-back-to-back – which sawy Indy go 3-0. Unfortunately, blew four-point home leads in last six ticks of loss to Raps and last 1:02 of OT loss to Nets.6
Nice 3-0 run lightens gloom. Before that, new owners sent out Dead Coach Walking Hollins to deny any rift – only to see him acknowledge Gay trade “disappointed” him and left “our players [with] a hangover.”10
Better enjoy No. 2 slot in East while it lasts: 14-13 since 18-5 start. J-Kidd, who shot 46 percent on threes in 2012, at 30% since. J.R. Smith, who shot 48 percent on threes in November, made 28 percent in December and January.5
Having won 16 of 19, Nugz were starting to pick up admirers who said their depth and athleticism made them legit contenders to SA and OKC – before going 0-3 in Toronto, Boston and Brooklyn.7
Great they’re not, but gritty they are. Closed out first half by winning two with D-Will out, making Nets 17-8 under PJ. Lopez, whom they always try to talk up, apparently available if Hawks want to give them Josh Smith.11
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a pattern here. I keep expecting the bottom to fall out. Without JJ, they’re still playing at the same level they played with him.18
Little Engine That Could At Least Until Now hits break in free fall, going 0-5 while allowing 114-119-98-116-116 in Houston, OKC, Memphis, Dallas and home vs. Houston.8
Rose’s return moved to March 1 … or Nov. 1. Amid dismay at hearing him say he’s “far away,” Tribune’s David Haugh airs conspiracy theory blaming … his marketing partners? Actually, it’s owner Reinsdorf, willing all along to see Rose sit out season.9
How good are Jefferson and Millsap? By bringing Gordon Hayward off bench, that leaves their 1-2-3 starters Tinsley, Foye and Marvin Williams averaging a combined 22 points while shooting 41 percent.14
First RR, now KG? Forget going 7-1 without Rondo. Garnett, the sphynx, says this is “definitely” his last All-Star Game but won’t say if he’ll retire. Timing could have been better – unless he wanted to be asked about it 10,000 times this weekend.17
Patrick Patterson must add shooting range to go from tweener to NBA starter — and is doing it, making 19 of his career 39 threes since Jan. 1, shooting 39 percent from arc in that span.13
Bucks asking themselves if they can risk keeping Jennings, who wants out when his deal expires this summer. Meanwhile, teams lining up to make offers.12
Lakes close first half 8-4 … as Pau is lost for 6-8 weeks. Nash, latest teammate Howard has yelled at on floor, snarls back on national TV on Thursday, when they can’t even give Clips a game.15
Run for a playoff spot that no one expected them to make hits an air pocket as Blazers go East for six-game trip and lose the last five, second such skid since 20-15 start.16
You don’t even hear Dirk’s name at All-Star time any more. At 33, he averaged 18, falling below 20 for first time since 2000-01 sophomore season. Now 34, he’s at 15.1 ppg and another 12-year low 42 percent from field.19
Gay Pride Week: Not that this is working out for them, but Raptors, who were 16-30 when he arrived, are 4-2 with Rudy averaging 22, hitting two game-winners.22
Improved as Turner is at 14 a game, 39 percent on threes, it doesn’t look like enough to keep 76ers from shopping the 2009 No. 2 overall pick rather than paying him.20
Andre Drummond out for a month, ending the fun watching Lawrence Frank battle it out with stat mavens who insist that he start the talented raw rookie with the up-and-down rep.23
He’s not Rudy but thanks, anyway: Speights, dumped by Griz to get under tax threshold, before dumping Gay to get further under, is Cavs’ No. 3 scorer this month, averaging 13 in 22 minutes off bench.25
Oops: Problem for No. 1 pick Davis is no longer limited production in limited minutes, but no production in limited minutes, with three points, 1-13 shooting in consecutive games.24
I know, big guys, it’s a puzzler: Love, who blasted management in December, insists he loves it in their winter wonderland, wondering why everyone thinks he wants out.21
Me, myself and DeMarcus: Cousins sneers Smart “has all the answers,” complains team got Isaiah Thomas into Rising Stars game but not him: “I’m a family-type guy … but not so much in this league. You’ve kind of got to look out for yourself most of the time.”27
When Beasley’s good, he’s very, very good, making the game look easy, going for 24 in four of last 10 coming off bench. Then again, he did that in Minny and Miami, too.26
Jeff Van Gundy ruffles feathers, saying John Wall isn’t franchise player. Actually, JVG was being nice. Wall, who’s 4-of-54 on threes last two seasons, isn’t close if he can’t make an outside shot.28
On the bright side, Redick is at career-best 16 a game, shooting 40 percent on threes. On not-so-bright side, he’s a free agent, lots of teams better than they are want him, and they’re looking around for best deal.29
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, No. 2 overall pick, has scored in single digits in 13 straight games, totaling just 58 points on 21-of-66 shooting while enduring concussion.30

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