NBA Power Rankings: February 21
A week shortened by the All-Star Break meant very little movement for this edition of the NBA Power Rankings, but that didn't stop the Lakers from losing the top spot to the Miami Heat.
Pardon the pun but the Heat entered the All-Star Break red hot. Miami has won 10 of its last 11 games while also being friendly to the NBA betting crowd at 7-4 ATS. The only blemish on Miami's record was a loss to the Celtics, who the Heat haven't been able to beat this season in three attempts.
Miami won't face the Celtics again until April, and their post All-Star Game schedule this week has two easy matchups and one tough one with Chicago sandwiched in between Sacramento and Washington.
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The Lakers dropped from No. 1 last week all the way down to No. 3. That fall was expected after they stumbled into the All-Star Break. Heading into the break the Lakers lost three straight both SU and ATS. That included a shocking loss to the NBA-worst Cleveland Cavaliers as an 11-point favorite; that loss likely lightened a few NBA betting fans' wallets.
The Lakers' loss in the rankings was the Orlando Magic's gain as they hit No. 2, their highest ranking of the season so far. After struggling early on this season the Magic may finally be finding their game with four wins in their last five outings. That includes an upset win at Philadelphia and a home win versus the Lakers.
Rounding out this week's Top 5 are Chicago at No. 4 and San Antonio at No. 5. If any of the Top 3 come out of the All-Star Break flat the Bulls could take advantage and move up. The Bulls have won four straight both SU and ATS, and they could really give themselves a boost this week if they can upset the Heat when they host Miami on Thursday night.
In their only matchup with the Heat earlier this season the Bulls won 99-96 as a 2.5-point home favorite. However, the Heat were missing LeBron James in that game.