Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls halted their five-game losing streak by defeating Charlotte Monday night (Jacob Gaertner/Creative Commons).

A particularly tumultuous period sees the Warriors and Cavaliers dropping to their lowest positions of the season. Meanwhile, every other team has moved up or down at least one spot except for the Clippers and Hawks, who remained at No. 8 and 12, respectively. A handful of sub-.500 squads are recognized for their strong recent play, as the Grizzlies and Bulls are punished for their sluggish performances over the past two weeks. One final fun fact: Last edition, Chicago came in at No. 15, a full 10 spots ahead of the Hornets. This time around, Chicago clings to a single-spot lead over Charlotte after edging the Hornets Monday night.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+6), Minnesota Timberwolves (+5), Washington Wizards (+4)

Biggest Falls: Chicago Bulls (-6), Memphis Grizzlies (-5), Dallas Mavericks (-4), Indiana Pacers (-4), Toronto Raptors, (-4)

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Jonah Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Monday, March 13, 2017. There were five contests on Tuesday, March 14, that are not reflected in the rankings but have been taken into account for the blurbs and team records.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (52-14, Previous Rank: 2)
  2. Houston Rockets (46-21, Previous Rank: 3)
  3. Golden State Warriors (53-14, Previous Rank: 1) – For the first time since our first edition, the previously insurmountable Warriors do not hold the top spot in these rankings. After Kevin Durant hyperextended his left knee in Washington, D.C., Golden State welcomed in March by falling to the Bulls, ending a league-record 146-regular-season-game stretch without consecutive losses dating back to April 2015. After winning their next two, the Warriors then lost three straight, which they hadn’t done since 2013, before coming back from a 16-point deficit to the Sixers to win Tuesday night at home. In three of those five aforementioned losses, their historic, still league-leading offense failed to crack 90 points. Hopefully, this ship will be righted once Kevin Durant returns, because without him, the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have combined to shoot just 30.2 percent from 3. – Loren
  4. Utah Jazz (42-25, Previous Rank: 5) – There is no need for the Utah Jazz to sing the blues, because they are in a funky groove. In their last game, Gordon Hayward delivered a beautiful solo performance, drowning out the Clippers with 27 points on 4-5 from the land of enchanted music. The game may prove to be critical in determining home-court advantage if the teams end up meeting in the first round of the playoffs. If the Clippers had won instead, Utah and Los Angeles would currently be tied. The Jazz’s previous win came against the mighty Rockets in Houston, with Hayward and Rudy Gobert each scoring 23 points in the contest. As a result of these impressive victories, Utah has achieved its highest ranking in the storied history of On the NBA Beat, standing tall as a Stifle Tower at fourth. Throughout the next couple weeks, the Jazz face two especially important tests: the East’s top squad in the Cavaliers on March 16 and a rematch with the Clippers — this time at Staples Center — on the 25th. – Joshua
  5. Washington Wizards (41-25, Previous Rank: 9)
  6. Boston Celtics (42-25, Previous Rank: 7)
  7. Cleveland Cavaliers (44-22, Previous Rank: 4) – Cleveland is certainly struggling as the team finds itself outside of our top four for the first time this season. Since the last edition, the Cavaliers have dropped five games, including four road losses. In the four losses in which LeBron James played, the Chosen One averaged 29.3 points (on 52.9 percent shooting), 12.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists, yet Cleveland struggled to defend and couldn’t outscore opponents with James and Kyrie Irving carrying most of the offensive load. However, there are reasons for the team, its fans and our latest guest, Justin Rowan, to feel at least cautiously optimistic about the Cavaliers’ playoff prospects. In addition to James-led squads’ recent history of consistently finding a path to the Finals (six straight times), J.R. Smith is back, Kevin Love’s expected return is imminent (one to two weeks away), and Tuesday night the Cavaliers soundly defeated the Pistons, a team to whom they had lost five nights earlier. – Aaron
  8. Los Angeles Clippers (40-27, Previous Rank: 8)
  9.  Oklahoma City Thunder (38-29, Previous Rank: 10)
  10. Toronto Raptors (39-28, Previous Rank: 6)
  11. Miami Heat (32-35, Previous Rank: 13) – Just in case there are people who don’t remember, the Miami Heat started this season 11-30, which if extrapolated until today would put them at 18-49, two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers. Since January 17, they’re tied with the Spurs for the best record in the NBA at 21-5, and rank sixth in Offensive Rating (110.6), third in Defensive Rating (102.2) and second in Net Rating (+8.3). They’re currently mired in a heated (pardon the pun) battle for one of the Eastern Conference’s last two playoff spots, where the four teams involved (Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago being the others) are separated by a single game. Whether or not they ultimately make it in, this has been a wild ride, and Erik Spoelstra deserves to stand atop many analysts’ Coach of the Year rankings. – Loren
  12. Atlanta Hawks (37-30, Previous Rank: 12)
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-38, Previous Rank: 18)
  14. Milwaukee Bucks (32-34, Previous Rank: 20)
  15. Detroit Pistons (33-34, Previous Rank: 17) – Aside from their most recent game, a blowout loss in Cleveland, the Pistons have been playing exceptional basketball. Prior to the aforementioned shellacking, Detroit had won five of its past seven and owned the league’s eighth-best Net Rating since the last edition of our power rankings. Stan Van Gundy’s men currently own the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting a game behind the Pacers and half a game ahead of the Bucks. In March, Andre Drummond has averaged 15.3 points per contest on 57.8 percent shooting. Tobias Harris is enjoying a strong month himself, averaging 18.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Recently, there had been a large contingent of Pistons fans calling for Ish Smart to usurp Reggie Jackson as the squad’s starting point guard, but Jackson has posted three 20+ point efforts this month, along with a 19-point, eight-assist gem to keep his spot safe for the time being. Although losing a game by 32 points never feels good — even against the reigning champs — the Pistons can take solace in the fact that they beat the same team five days earlier. – Joshua
  16. Memphis Grizzlies (37-30, Previous Rank: 11) – Stay tuned to see if Memphis’ 20-point home victory over the Bucks Monday was more of a fluke or a sign of things to come. In the game, 40-year-old Vince Carter turned back the clock, but as aging players typically do, he did most of his damage from the perimeter, hitting all six of his long-range attempts. The win halted a five-game losing streak that included four losses by at least 13 points apiece; one of those came at home against the Nets. The Grizzlies’ offense has been slightly weaker than their norm, but the defensive slippage is much more stark. While Memphis did recently play two of the league’s best offenses in the Rockets and Clippers, its league-worst post-All-Star-Break Defensive Rating (114.1) should be alarming. Prior, the Grizzlies were defensively elite. So that’s mainly why they’ve dropped out of our top half for the first time since the inaugural rankings. – Aaron
  17. Denver Nuggets (32-35, Previous Rank: 19)
  18. Indiana Pacers (34-33, Previous Rank: 14)
  19. Portland Trail Blazers (29-37, Previous Rank: 21) – From edition to edition, Portland has placed pretty consistently around the No. 20 spot, averaging a 20.5 ranking in the six editions since December 23. Fortunately for the Blazers, they are starting to click at a critical juncture when the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Mavericks are similarly doing all they can to nab the No. 8 seed. Making the playoffs will certainly be tough, but Portland’s improved offensive production is encouraging (its Offensive Rating since the All-Star break ranks sixth at 110.2). In a span of three early March games, Portland averaged 123.3 points, including two victories over the Thunder. The victories over Oklahoma City were especially notable given Portland’s 7-22 record against winning teams up until that point. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have stepped up their already stellar play, while midseason acquisition Jusuf Nurkic has reliably served as the third scorer this team long needed, routinely filling the stat sheet excluding Tuesday’s dud performance in a blowout loss in New Orleans. – Aaron
  20. Dallas Mavericks (28-38, Previous Rank: 16)
  21. Chicago Bulls (32-35, Previous Rank: 15) – Since the previous edition, Chicago’s Offensive Rating and field-goal percentage each rank dead last in the league at a measly 96.3 and an embarrassing 42.4 percent, respectively. Alas, it is not surprising that the Bulls have dropped six notches in our power rankings. Prior to Chicago’s Monday night win in Charlotte, the Windy Team had dropped five in a row. To be fair, the Bulls did beat the Warriors directly before this losing streak and fell to the Celtics, Rockets and Clippers during the brutal stretch. Still, the Bulls have ironically been the ones routinely getting run over. However, if the offense continues to function like it did against the Hornets, the Bulls are in fine shape. Fred Hoiberg shuffled his rotation again, surprisingly starting Rajon Rondo and doling out 29 minutes to Nikola Mirotic. Both players responded impressively, combining for 44 points on 8-18 treys and 18 boards. Rondo also added six assists in probably his best game of the season. The Three Alphas (Butler, Wade and Rondo), as the team’s mercurial point guard likes to call them, played extremely well together against the Hornets, and if the Bulls are serious about qualifying for the postseason, they will likely aim to replicate this effect. And if it doesn’t work out, the Bulls front office might alter its patient approach with Hoiberg. – Joshua
  22. Charlotte Hornets (29-38, Previous Rank: 25)
  23. New Orleans Pelicans (27-40, Previous Rank: 22)
  24. Sacramento Kings (26-41, Previous Rank: 26)
  25. New York Knicks (27-41, Previous Rank: 23)
  26. Phoenix Suns (22-45, Previous Rank: 28) – You would be hard-pressed to find such an exciting team with a lousy win-loss record as the flashy Phoenix Suns. Eric Bledsoe, a rising star in the desert, and tiny Tyler Ulis (listed at 5-9, but who are they fooling?) are gifted passers and tenacious on-ball defenders. Devin Booker, on the other hand, is a slouch on defense, but his silky shooting already makes him one of the best deep shooters in the NBA at 20 years of age. And then there are the bigs. Marquese Chriss, at 19 years old, cannot legally drink nor can he string together a stretch of consistent production. However, he is an explosive athlete whose Suns future is very bright. Comparatively, Alan Williams is an old man at 24, but Big Sauce has clearly been the better of the two frontcourt guys, posting a double-double in seven of the team’s past nine games, along with a healthy heaping of blocks, particularly impressive given his undersized 6-8 stature. Since we last convened, this thrilling Suns team has beaten the Thunder, Celtics and Mavericks, and were only narrowly defeated by the Wizards. Can you blame me for my enthusiasm? – Joshua
  27. Philadelphia 76ers (24-43, Previous Rank: 24)
  28. Orlando Magic (24-44, Previous Rank: 27)
  29. Brooklyn Nets (12-54, Previous Rank: 30) – The bright spots have been few and far between for the Brooklyn Nets this season, but their last two weeks may represent a glimmer of hope. After Sunday’s win over the Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets have notched three wins in a calendar month for the first time since November (and we’re only halfway through), after going winless in February, winning once in January and twice in December. Not coincidentally, this recent stretch of decent basketball came quickly after the return from injury of starting point guard Jeremy Lin. While the Nets still aren’t world-beaters with Lin at the helm, there’s no denying that he changes the team for the better. In the 18 games Lin has started for the Nets, they’ve gone 6-12; otherwise, 6-41. One of the few silver linings to the Nets not owning their own first-round pick this season is that they don’t have to feel guilty about the late-season wins they’re picking up. They can use this time to gel as a team, find their identity and hopefully come back stronger for next season. – Loren
  30. Los Angeles Lakers (20-47, Previous Rank: 29)

We hope you enjoyed the list. Links to the previous editions of our power rankings can be found here.