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

10. Memphis Grizzlies (12): Only two games separate the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference, so the Grizzlies could honestly end up in either one of those spots. However, they currently sit at No. 8, which would give them a first round date with the Spurs. Now, I know the Spurs are a tremendous team with boatloads of experience, but if the Grizzlies bring the right hunger – they have enough energy and firepower to possibly pull a major first round upset.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (10): If I am any of the top-three seeds in the West, the Blazers are the squad I would be most worried about having to face off with. Not only are they scrappy and talented, but they are one of the hungriest teams in the league. They battle injuries year after year, and for some reason, Head Coach Nate McMillan still finds a way to make them a relevant team.

8. Boston Celtics (8): Every week the loss of Kendrick Perkins seems to create more and more grief for the Celtics. First it started with the realization that their brother-like starting five was broken up. Things got worse when they realized that Nenad Kristic was set to be the starting center; then morale dropped even more when Kristic went down, Shaq returned from injury and hurt himself six minutes into his first game back. Now Jermaine O’Neal is the starter and the Celtics are looking really shaky.

7. Denver Nuggets (7): Most people don’t realize that Denver is 32-8 at home this season – which is the third best home record in the NBA. They are too far behind whoever ends up being the fourth seed to steal homecourt advantage, but if they can steal one road game early in a series, the Nuggets could easily find themselves in the second round of the playoffs.

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6. Los Angeles Lakers (2): I’m not worried about the Lakers, simply because I have watched them get lazy and lose games they should have in the bag all year long. It’s not a surprising or shocking storyline in any regards; however, if they get matched up with Portland in the first round and take their current lackadaisical mentality into that series, we might see the defending champs getting ousted in the first round.

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