Bulls dethrone Spurs for top spot
It's tempting to move San Antonio out of the top spot for the first time since Week 12 after Monday's 30-point loss to Miami — the last team not named San Antonio to own the No. 1 ranking. It was the same margin the Spurs used to beat the Heat on March 4.
It was so tempting that it was done.
Chicago jumps San Antonio and takes over the Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings' No. 1 position for the first time all season.
The Bulls are 9-1 in their last 10 games, and their last six contests have been wins against four current playoff teams, one team tied for eighth in the East and a blowout victory over a former playoff team in the Utah Jazz. The six wins have been by an average margin of 11.6 points and Chicago has surrendered an average of 84 points per game in those six victories.
San Antonio had won three in a row before the blowout loss to Miami, but those three wins came against non-playoff teams and the Spurs allowed an average of 106 points in the last four games.
So Chicago takes over the top spot in the same week they moved into a tie with Boston for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed at 47-18 on the season. San Antonio still maintains a 6.5-game edge over the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference.
The Lakers, Dallas and Boston round out this week's top five. Oklahoma City, Miami, Orlando, Denver and Memphis round out the top 10. After 19 weeks of never having the same set of teams in the top 10 over consecutive weeks, the current crop of teams have now occupied those 10 spots in back-to-back weeks.
There are only four games between teams in the top 10 over the next week.
The marquee matchup comes with a battle of Texas' top two teams. San Antonio travels to No. 4 Dallas Friday night. And with 14 games to go after this clash, Dallas really needs to get a win to try and cut into that 6.5-game advantage.
No. 6 Oklahoma City travels to No. 7 Miami on Wednesday. No. 9 Denver makes its run through the Sunshine State with games at No. 8 Orlando on Friday and No. 7 Miami on Saturday.
Portland once again sits just outside the top 10 at No. 11. The Trail Blazers are 5-5 in their last 10 games and currently have the No. 7 seed — one game ahead of Memphis. This week Portland will be tested with a home game against No. 4 Dallas on Tuesday and a road game at No. 2 Los Angeles on Sunday.
Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings Week 21
2. San Antonio
3. L.A. Lakers
6. Oklahoma City
12. New Orleans
15. New York
18. Golden State
20. L.A. Clippers
24. New Jersey
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter