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NBA Power Rankings: Rockin’ Rockets

After Week 19, the Indiana Pacers and Miami HEAT falter while the NBA’s Texas Triangle reigns in Basketball Insiders’ power rankings.

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The Indiana Pacers are slowing down and the Miami HEAT are lukewarm. Out East, the top contenders each turned in the worst weeks of their respective seasons while the Oklahoma City Thunder have quietly lost five of their last eight games.

The result? The San Antonio Spurs enter play this week with the best record in the NBA. Some things, amazingly, do not change.

But our top team out West? It certainly has.

The Spurs are the top team out West, but they do not top our Power Rankings this week. That designation belongs to the third-seed Houston Rockets, who simply left us no choice. It would be unfair and irresponsible to not dub the Rockets the cream of the crop after Sunday night’s brilliant and gutsy 118-113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets are a league-best 23-6 in 2014 and just beat up on the Pacers, HEAT and Blazers in the same week. Throw in the fact that they are 3-0 against the Spurs this season and the decision is clear.

The reign atop may be short-lived, though, as the Rockets will embark on a tough three-game trip this week, traveling to the Thunder, Chicago Bulls and HEAT. It is a difficult journey, indeed…

Not nearly as difficult as the one the New York Knicks have made for themselves, though. The combination of three-straight wins and continued floundering by the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks remain in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot out East, and apparently, they remain in the hunt for Phil Jackson.

Last week, it was reported by ESPN New York that the Knicks had reached out to Phil Jackson and are awaiting word from him as to whether he would be interested in heading up their basketball operations. If he accepts, it would quite possibly be the best personnel decision James Dolan has made during his tenure as controlling stakeholder in the Knicks and it would give the franchise direction—something they have sorely missed.

With the Rockets at the top, the Knicks near the bottom and the Pacers and HEAT losing steam, this past week was full of surprises.

Have a question or comment on Moke’s Weekly Power Rankings? Feel free to ask him a question in his Weekly NBA Chat, held each Friday afternoon.

Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders.

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