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NBA Power Rankings: Usual Suspects

As the NBA season closes, the San Antonio Spurs remind us that they’re the defending champs.

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It’s official: 23 weeks are in the books and Basketball Insiders is delivering to you the penultimate Weekly Power Rankings.

As the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks finish up their seasons after leading their respective conferences for the greater part of the past few months, battles have erupted for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while seeding between the second and sixth seeds out West remains up in the air.

With the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers all within two games of one another, there are plenty of ways the standings could finish. In theory, we could see the blazing hot Spurs finish as high as second or as low as sixth. All we know for sure out West is that the Warriors are the first seed, the Mavericks are seventh and the Blazers will be seeded no lower than fourth.

Well, we also know that nobody should want to play the Spurs, who just so happen to be the league’s hottest team with nine wins in a row (with each victory being by a dozen or more points, the longest such streak in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau).

Out East, the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Miami HEAT and Indiana Pacers are duking it out for the final two playoff spots, and we can only hope that the final few games of the season are as exciting as Wednesday night’s battle in Brooklyn where the Hawks outlasted the Nets for their 59th win of the season.

With one more week to go in the regular season and so much yet to be determined, we can only hope that the playoffs are as exciting as the weeks leading up to them.

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

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