Here is a look at the NBA Power Rankings through Week 20 of the 2018-19 NBA season.
This is a special edition of our power rankings as we take a look at the three biggest games remaining on the schedule of the league's top teams.
Let's make one thing clear: These power rankings are a snapshot of where things stand now, not necessarily how they'll look at the end of the season. We're all about giving credit where it's due and, likewise, holding teams accountable for speed bumps encountered along the way.
All records and stats are through games played Sunday, February 24.
10. Boston Celtics
Last week: 9th
Current record: 37-23
Last week: 0-2 (loss at Bucks, loss at Bulls)
This week: at Raptors, vs. Blazers, vs. Wizards, vs. Rockets
February 26 at Raptors
March 20 at 76ers
April 5 at Pacers
The Celtics are behind the Raptors in the standings but could win the season series 3-1 with a win at Scotiabank Arena Feb. 26.
The logjam between the third and fifth seeds in the East means that Boston could very well meet with Philadelphia or Indiana in the first round, meaning its final meeting with each team will have playoff implications as a preview or a game that dictates seeding.
9. Houston Rockets
Last week: 8th
Current record: 34-25
Last week: 1-1 (loss at Lakers, win at Warriors)
This week: vs. Hawks, at Hornets, vs. Heat, at Celtics
March 13 vs. Warriors
March 28 vs. Nuggets
April 9 at Thunder
Despite not truly being at full strength yet this season, the Rockets have the unique opportunity to complete a season sweep over the defending champion Warriors on March 13.
Weeks later, Houston will host Denver, a team it has won two out of three games against so far this season.
The Rockets close the season in Oklahoma City against the Thunder, who they've lost two out of three games to this season - as it's the last night of the regular season, seeding could very much still be in play at that point.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Last week: 10th
Current record: 36-23
Last week: 2-0 (win at Nets, win at 76ers)
This week: at Cavaliers, at Celtics, at Raptors, at Hornets
March 7 vs. Thunder
April 7 vs. Nuggets
April 9 at Lakers
The Portland Trail Blazers will look to use this stretch run to solidify themselves among the West's top four teams down the stretch run, but there will be a number of tests along the way. On March 7, the Blazers look to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Thunder, who have won the first three meetings between the teams this season.
The final week of the year presents a number of tough tests as Portland plays Denver on April 5 and April 7 before traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, who have won two straight over the Blazers this season.
On April 9, LA could be fighting for its playoff life while Portland could be looking to maintain its hold on the fourth seed or attempting to move up to No. 3.
7. Denver Nuggets
Last week: 7th
Current record: 41-18
Last week: 2-0 (win at Mavericks, win vs. Clippers)
This week: vs. Thunder, vs. Jazz, vs. Pelicans
March 29 at Thunder
April 2 vs. Warriors
April 9 at Jazz
While Denver is still in contention for the No. 1 seed in the West, it will have plenty of tests down the stretch of the season, including the fourth and final meeting with Northwest-division foe Oklahoma City on March 29.
Days later, the Nuggets travel to take on the Warriors for the fourth meeting in a game that could be the difference in who earns the West's top seed.
Should seeding still be in the air, Denver plays its final road game of the year in a tough environment in Utah before closing at home against Minnesota.
6. Indiana Pacers
Last week: 6th
Current record: 40-20
Last week: (win at Pelicans, win at Wizards)
This week: at Pistons, at Mavericks, vs. Timberwolves, vs. Magic
March 10 at 76ers
March 14 vs. Thunder
April 5 vs. Celtics
As the Pacers are 4-7 against the East's top teams this season (Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia), they will have a few more opportunities to make statements before the season ends, beginning on March 10 when visiting the Sixers.
On March 14, MVP candidate Paul George and the Thunder visit Indiana for the second time since he was traded in the 2017 offseason.
On April 5, the Pacers host the Celtics in what is another opportunity for a statement win in a game that could have plenty of implication for playoff seeding between the teams.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
Last week: 5th
Current record: 38-22
Last week: win vs. Heat, loss vs. Blazers
This week: at Pelicans, at Thunder, vs. Warriors
February 28 at Thunder: The 76ers and Thunder got into a heated battle when things escalated between Russell Westbrook and Joel Embiid a few weeks back. These two teams have a history as of late, dating back to their triple-overtime game a season ago. OKC got the best of Philly on their home floor, so you know the 76ers will be gunning for revenge when they visit Chesepeake Energy Arena.
March 17 at Bucks: There is no better test than going head-to-head with the top team in your conference, especially considering the East will likely go through Milwaukee. The Bucks defeated the 76ers earlier this season before Jimmy Butler's arrival so it's safe to say this is a completely different team than the one Milwaukee saw in October. If the 76ers want to prove their legitimacy as a title contender this is a good time to do it.
March 20 vs. Celtics: The Celtics have been the 76ers kryptonite as Philly has dropped four consecutive games and seven of their last eight against Boston dating back to last season's Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. If the 76ers want to reach the NBA Finals, the Celtics could be one of the teams standing in their way from achieving that goal. This could arguably be the Sixers' biggest game in the remainder of the season, trying to overcome this hump that they cannot get over.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Last week: 4th
Current record: 38-21
Last week: 1-1 (win vs. Jazz, loss vs. Kings)
This week: at Nuggets, vs. 76ers, at Spurs, vs. Grizzlies
February 26 at Nuggets: The Nuggets currently hold the No. 2 seed in the West and are 2.5 games ahead of the Thunder. They've beaten OKC in both contests this season but still have two more matchups on the schedule in the final 20 games. Should the Thunder drop this game, it will cost them the season series and any potential tiebreaker come playoff time.
February 28 vs. 76ers: There is no love-loss between these two teams. Russell Westbrook and Joel Embiid have their known differences and the Thunder got the best of the 76ers a few weeks back. OKC swept the season series a season ago which included a 3OT battle and have a chance to sweep the season series again should the walk away from this game victorious.
March 16 vs. Warriors: The Western Conference still runs through Golden State but the Thunder are making their case as the second best team in the West. These teams split wins in their first two meetings this season but OKC ran the Warriors out of their own gym back in November, defeating Golden State by 28. Taking the season series would be the best way to send a message to a team they might see in the Western Conference Finals.
3. Toronto Raptors
Last week: 3rd
Current record: 44-17
Last week: 1-1 (win vs. Spurs, loss vs. Magic)
This week: vs. Celtics, vs. Blazers, at Pistons
February 26 vs. Celtics: The Celtics have beaten Toronto twice this season as the Raptors trail the season series 2-1. The home team has won each matchup thus far so they'll have to protect home court to even the series. They won the first matchup but have dropped two straight to the Celtics and will want to get this last one to give them some momentum incase these teams face off in the playoffs.
March 14 vs. Lakers: Earlier this season a Kawhi Leonard-less Raptors squad defeated LeBron James and the Lakers. It's a marquee matchup any time two of the best players in the league face off and since we were robbed of that earlier this season, it should be a joy to watch these two incredible talents go at it. While this game will likely mean more to the Lakers than the Raptors, it would be a great confidence boost for the Raptors to sweep James for the season, ridding themselves of past playoff woes.
March 20 at Thunder: Oddly enough, the Raptors and Thunder will face off in back-to-back games in March. There is no better way to build momentum than defeating one of the league's best teams on their home floor - especially in Oklahoma City. With the MVP season that Paul George is having, expect Kawhi to take it as a personal challenge to shut down the Thunder's All-Star forward.
2. Golden State Warriors
Last week: 1st
Current record: 42-17
Last week: 1-1 (win vs. Kings, loss vs. Rockets)
This week: at Hornets, at Heat, at Magic, at 76ers
March 2 at 76ers: The 76ers accomplished what very few teams have done, beat a fully healthy Warriors team at Oracle Arena. Now the Warriors have their chance to seek revenge, defeating the 76ers in one of the NBA's hardest places to win in Philadelphia. Golden State has not lost to the same Eastern Conference team twice all season and they'll surely be out to make a statement against one of the teams that will compete to win a championship come playoff time.
April 2 vs. Nuggets: The Warriors handled the Nuggets by 31 points in Denver the last team these teams met. Since then, they have taken the No. 1 spot from the Nuggets, but Denver has still hung around in the No. 2 seed. With only a week remaining after this matchup, this could very well determine which team will receive home court advantage throughout the Western Conference Playoffs.
April 4 at Lakers: The Lakers defeated the Warriors in their first matchup on one of the regular season's biggest stages, Christmas Day. Since then, the Warriors have made light work of the Lakers, defeating them by double-figures in the previous two meetings. With exactly one week remaining in the season at the date of this game, along with the way the Western Conference seeding lines up right now, this could be a preview of a potential first round matchup between the reigning champions and their arch rival LeBron James.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Last week: 2nd
Current record: 45-14
Last week: 2-0 (win vs. Celtics, win vs. Timberwolves)
This week: at Bulls, at Kings, at Lakers, at Jazz
March 1 at Lakers: The Bucks' dominance this season is largely in part to the MVP campain of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is making his case as the best player in the NBA today. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and The Greek Freak has his opportunity here - he is 3-14 all-time against LeBron James, though the two have had great battles in their past few meetings.
March 17 vs. 76ers: Many consider the 76ers one of the most talented teams in the East following their moves at the Trade Deadline. The Bucks handled the 76ers the third game of the season, but that was before Jimmy Butler had even landed in Philly. They play the 76ers two more times this season but this is another chance to showcase that Milwaukee is indeed the best team in the conference.
April 10 vs. Thunder: An interesting quirk in the schedule aligns two of the top teams in their respective conferences to face off the final game of the season. To this day, the Bucks have not lost to the same team twice - should that continue, they will put that streak at risk in Game 82 versus the Thunder. Should this game bare any significance on playoff seeding, we'll get to see what could be a potential NBA Finals matchup in June.
Rest of the NBA
11. Utah Jazz
12. LA Clippers
13. Sacramento Kings
14. Brooklyn Nets
15. San Antonio Spurs
16. Los Angeles Lakers
17. Detroit Pistons
18. Charlotte Hornets
19. Miami Heat
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. New Orleans Pelicans
22. Dallas Mavericks
23. Washington Wizards
24. Orlando Magic
25. Atlanta Hawks
26. Chicago Bulls
27. Cleveland Cavaliers
28. Memphis Grizzlies
29. Phoenix Suns
30. New York Knicks