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PBT’s Week 20 NBA Power Rankings: Boston, Denver rightfully take top two slots

I feel like I have spent much of this NBA season trying to talk myself into the idea that a Boston vs. Denver Finals was not destined and we could have drama. I give up. That means Thursday night we get to see a Finals preview when Boston heads to Denver for a fascinating showdown, part of a stacked Thursday night of games that feels like Fight Night in the NBA.

1. Boston Celtics (48-13, Last Week No. 1). The Celtics feel inevitable. Ignore the one bad quarter against Cleveland on Tuesday, this team won 11 in a row before that and in that run showed why they have been the class of the league this season. This not just a team with elite talent like Jayson Tatum, it has balance — their top eight players can all defend and can all shoot. Deep in the playoffs, when it becomes about attacking a team’s weakest link, Boston doesn’t have an obvious one. The only concern is the games they go cold from 3 — 47.1% of their shot attempts are from beyond the arc, and when those don’t fall the offense bogs down and they don’t attack the rim enough. That’s probably what Denver is hoping for in their big showdown on Thursday night, the main event in a night of big games.

2. Denver Nuggets (42-20, LW 4). We said we’d learn a lot about these Nuggets when they entered the gauntlet of the past two weeks. Well… they are who we thought they were. The Nuggets beat the Warriors, Kings, Heat and Lakers, and it took Kevin Durant doing Kevin Durant things for the Suns to get an overtime win at the end of that streak. Though it all, Nikola Jokic may have strengthened his grip on a third MVP trophy. The biggest measuring stick game comes Thursday night in Denver when Boston — and their own MVP candidate in Jayson Tatum — come to town with the headliner game on Fight Night in the NBA.

3. Milwaukee Bucks (41-21, LW 6). Winners of six in a row out of the All-Star break with the best defense in the NBA over that stretch — Milwaukee is starting to look like the team we all expected prior to the season and the biggest threat to Boston in the East. Part of what has turned the defense around is Doc Rivers getting them to focus on getting…


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/pbts-week-20-nba-power-221310707.html

Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2024-03-06 22:13:10

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