Power Rankings: Race For Homecourt Heats Up As Season Winds Down

15. Houston Rockets (14): Despite their post-All-Star Break run, the Rockets’ playoff hopes have finally fizzled and they will watch the postseason from home this year. Injuries and a slow start unquestionably doomed this team from the start, but seeing as they were six games below .500 on Feb. 1 and are now 42-38, they definitely took strides to end the season, and will head into 2011-12 looking to continue their late success.

14. New Orleans Hornets (13): If I am any of the top three teams in the West, the Hornets are the club I want to be matched up with in the first round. Chris Paul is a terrific player, and arguably the best point guard in basketball. However, without David West (injury) and any supporting cast whatsoever, the Hornets are a very weak team, and they will be exposed come playoff time.

13. Atlanta Hawks (11): Even with a 44-36 record and the fifth seed in the playoffs, the Hawks are stuck in playoff purgatory. Barring some miraculous change in their playing style, the Hawks will likely be a one and down team as they simply just do not have what it takes to ball with the likes of Chicago, Miami, Boston or Orlando (their first round opponent).

12. New York Knicks (17): After nearly falling out of the playoff race, the Knicks are finally starting to gel as they have won seven consecutive games. Amar’e and Melo are becoming a pretty nasty one-two punch, and if they can get their teammates on the same level they are, the Knicks could definitely be the predators in a first round upset over a top-seeded team.


11. Orlando Magic (9): Dwight Howard must keep is yapper shut if the Magic want to be successful in the playoffs. If he starts missing games in the postseason due to technical foul suspensions, Orlando will struggle big time; because without their big man in the lineup, the Magic really struggle to play any sort of real offense.

Next: 10-6

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