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Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Things were getting a little ugly before the break, so we're all grateful -- players, fans, All-Star Game critics -- that we got a brief respite before the home stretch. Some teams have come out of the week-long hiatus looking refreshed and focused, while others appear to still be waiting for a margarita on a chaise lounge in Puerto Vallarta.

The leaders of the East and West didn't skip a beat, as the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely pounded their competition this week, earning them the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, in the Power Rankings. Also making the climb are the Denver Nuggets, who reminded the Golden State Warriors what it takes to be a champion, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who took plenty of heat after Doc Rivers' 3-7 start as head coach but look like a championship contender once again.

Things didn't go so well for the Pelicans, who dropped a whopping 12 spots following a couple of losses to subpar opponents. Also falling were the Lakers, who didn't keep up the pace that they set prior to the All-Star break.

Here are this week's NBA Power Rankings, as we prepare for the final stretch of the regular season.

*Please keep in mind that our NBA Power Rankings are based on weekly performance (Tuesday to Monday), not the whole season. 

Biggest Movers
9 Pacers
12 Pelicans
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Celtics The Celtics are digging a chasm the size of the English Channel between themselves and the next-closest competitor in the East. Dominant wins over the Bulls and Knicks this week bring the overall winning streak to eight games, with no signs of slowing. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Derrick White all averaged over 20 points for the week, and it sure seems like Boston is having fun. -- 63-18
2 Thunder Those expecting a post-break dip from the Thunder were sorely disappointed this week, as OKC manhandled the Clippers, Wizards and Rockets. Chet Holmgren is giving Victor Wembanyama a run for his money with his latest exploits, averaging 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks for the week on 53% 3-point shooting. 7 56-25
3 Nuggets Oh what, you were worried about the Nuggets? LOL. The defending champs have won three straight since limping toward the break, including a systematic dismantling of the red-hot Warriors on Sunday. This team knows exactly what it is, led by the best two-man game in the league, and every once in a while it gets a 34-point performance from Michael Porter Jr. Not fair. 7 56-25
4 Bucks Well, well, well. Perhaps all the Buck-bashing we did over the All-Star break was a tad premature? Milwaukee came out of the gates with a huge road win over the Wolves, and followed that up by smashing the 76ers. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged over 30 points for the week, but it was a much more egalitarian offensive approach, while the defense looked great. 4 49-32
5 Timberwolves The Wolves came out of the break with a home loss to the Bucks, but got back on track with a win over the Nets. If there's an Achilles heel for this team, it's the offensive flow, and that was on display in both games this week. They averaged just 104 points per 100 possessions, but luckily the defense is the elite of the elite. 3 56-25
6 Knicks The hobbled Knicks were outclassed by the Celtics this week, but picked up wins over the 76ers and Pistons to keep the fight alive for a top-three seed in the East. Jalen Brunson is pretty much a one-man show offensively these days, averaging 30 points and 11 assists over the three games. 5 49-32
7 Cavaliers The Cavs started the week by losing to the Magic and 76ers without Donovan Mitchell. Fortunately for them, the Wizards were next on the schedule in Mitchell's return. Darius Garland is getting back to his old form, averaging 18 points and nine assists in the three games on 40% 3-point shooting. 4 48-33
8 Clippers Not a good stretch for the Clippers, who were blown out by the Thunder and Kings, with a closer-than-it-should-have-been win over the Grizzlies in between. The previously unstoppable offense put up just 108 points per 100 possessions in the three games, while the defense allowed nearly 120. It didn't help that James Harden shot 33% from the field and Kawhi Leonard made 18% of his 3s. 3 51-30
9 Pacers The Pacers came out of the break with a big win over the Mavericks (and one over the Pistons), but their struggles in back-to-backs continued in Monday's home loss to the Raptors. Bennedict Mathurin got three starts this week in the place of Aaron Nesmith and put up impressive averages of 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game on 49/50/80 shooting splits. 9 46-35
10 Mavericks The Mavs stayed hot out of the break with a win over the Suns, but saw their seven-game streak snapped in Sunday's loss to Indiana. In their last eight games, the Mavericks notably have the fourth-best defense in the NBA to go along with an offense helmed by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Frightening. 3 50-31
11 Suns Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Co. salvaged the week by beating the Lakers on Sunday. Bol Bol was the major story, averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks in extended minutes over the last two games -- including a 25-point, 14-rebound performance in a loss to Houston. 5 48-33
12 Heat That's it. The Heat simply don't adhere to the usual laws of the basketball universe. Despite missing Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Terry Rozier, Miami managed to take down the Kings on the road on Monday by double digits. Recent buyout acquisition Delon Wright played 35 minutes in his Heat debut in the win over Sacramento, notching 13 points, five assists, two steals and a block. Heat Culture, indeed. 3 45-36
13 Kings The Kings had all the momentum in the world after wins over the Spurs and Clippers to start the week, then somehow lost at home to the skeleton Heat on Monday to stop them dead in their tracks. De'Aaron Fox put up nearly 30 points per game this week on 58% shooting, but committed seven turnovers in the loss to Miami. 1 45-36
14 76ers The Sixers' struggles without the big man continued as they lost to the Knicks and Bucks this week, though they did pick up a win over the Donovan Mitchell-less Cavs in between. Generating offense outside of Tyrese Maxey, who averaged 28 points in the three games, has been a slog. 2 46-35
15 Magic Orlando started the week with a road win over the Cavs, then Paolo Banchero showed some serious emotion following a game-winning and-one jumper to beat the Pistons on Saturday. He missed the next game, which the Magic lost to Atlanta. 2 46-35
16 Pelicans The confusing season continued for the Pelicans, who beat the Rockets handily but then lost to the Heat and Bulls at home. With Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum each missing games this week, Zion Williamson averaged nine assists to go along with 23 points. 12 49-32
17 Warriors Despite their prime time loss to the Nuggets, the Warriors are still playing great basketball. Steve Kerr's move to put Brandin Podziemski in the starting lineup over Klay Thompson is paying dividends, as the new first five has a dominant net rating of plus-21.6 points per 100 possessions. 3 45-36
18 Lakers The Lakers took a step back from their hot pre-All-Star Break ways, losing to the Warriors and Suns, but one of those came without LeBron James. He averaged 29 points and 10.5 assists in the two games he played, including a win over the Spurs. D'Angelo Russell kept up his hot shooting, averaging 20 points on 42% 3-pointers in the 1-2 week. 5 46-35
19 Bulls The Bulls lost to the Celtics (no surprise) and beat the Pelicans (kind of surprise?) this week, with Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan each averaging over 20 points per game. Ayo Dosunmu continues to do everything asked of him and more, averaging 17.5 points, eight assists, 5.5 rebounds and two steals in the two games on 5-for-12 3-point shooting. -- 39-42
20 Rockets Fred VanVleet returned to the starting lineup this week, averaging 17 points and five assists on 40% 3-point shooting as the Rockets went 1-2. His presence didn't negatively affect Amen Thompson either, as the rookie moved back to the bench but still averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and nearly three blocks per game. 2 40-41
21 Raptors The Raptors are a new team after the break, winning consecutive games over the Nets, Hawks and Pacers this week. Immanuel Quickley was the leader offensively, putting up 22 points and six rebounds per game on 54% 3-point shooting. 3 25-56
22 Jazz The Jazz went 1-1 this week with a loss to the Hornets and a win over the Spurs. John Collins was a team-high plus-28 in the two games combined with averages of 14.5 points and 13 rebounds. 2 31-50
23 Nets After ugly losses to the Raptors and Wolves to start the week, the Nets finally found at team they could beat, blowing out the Grizzlies on Monday. The offense "exploded" for 111 points in the win after averaging just 88 in the previous three games. -- 32-49
24 Hawks Trae Young is expected to miss at least a month with a hand injury -- absolutely brutal news for the Hawks. Or is it? They managed to beat the Magic without Young on Sunday, and overall the Hawks have been just about even with or without Young on the floor this season. Something to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks. 3 36-45
25 Hornets This can't be real, can it? The Hornets have now won five of their last six games, and they're doing it with defense -- allowing just 100 points per 100 possessions over that stretch. Steve Clifford highlighted the basketball IQ of rookie Brandon Miller, but it's been deadline acquisitions Grant Williams, Seth Curry, Tre Mann and Vasilije Micic who have helped make the difference. 1 20-61
26 Grizzlies At this point the Grizzlies will take moral victories, which is what they got in a close loss to the Clippers. Let's not talk about how they followed things up against the Nets on Monday. Here's a thing: Derrick Rose played in both games, averaging five points and three assists in 14 minutes per game. 4 27-54
27 Trail Blazers The Blazers were smoked in their first two games out of the All-Star break, mustering just 80 points in Sunday's loss to Charlotte -- their second-lowest total of the season. On the plus side, Deandre Ayton averaged 24 points and 14.5 rebounds on 67% shooting. 1 21-60
28 Spurs A 5x5 isn't just a "secret menu" In-N-Out order anymore. Against the Lakers, Victor Wembanyama became the youngest player to record at least five points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in a single game -- he also did it in the fewest minutes of any player in NBA history. Running out of superlatives to describe this dude ... going to have to delve into my 10th grade French textbook. 1 21-60
29 Pistons Hey, the Pistons ALMOST won two games this week. But, of course, they didn't. Cade Cunningham has been playing very well of late, averaging 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the week on 57/57/88 shooting splits. 4 14-67
30 Wizards Jordan Poole wasn't happy about his move to the bench, but it's ... kind of working? The inconsistent guard got better in each of his three games as a sixth man this week, putting up 18, 21, and a season-high 31 points, respectively. It's yet to translate to wins, of course, but hey, baby steps. 1 15-66