NBA

Power Rankings, Week 12: The Nuggets move up to No. 1 to start the new year

Power Rankings, Week 12: The Nuggets move up to No. 1 to start the new year

Registration: 19-18

OffRtg: 110.8 (24) DefRtg: 111.6 (8) NetRtg: -0.8 (20) Rhythm: 97.5 (28)

There are only five teams in the Eastern Conference that have winning records against the West, i they are driven by the Celtics (11-3) and the Bucks (12-4), which is not too surprising. But the third-best mark belongs to the Heat, who are just 8-11 within their own conference but now 11-7 against the other. Last week, they finished a homestand with wins over the Wolves and Lakers, in which they committed 32 fewer turnovers (16-48) than their opponents*. They beat Minnesota without Jimmy Butler and beat LA with him scoring 27 points and grabbing six steals.

* The turnover differential in Lakers-Heat on Wednesday (26-6) is tied for fourth-most in any game over the past 25 years.

Miami had a lead with two minutes left in Denver on Friday, but went scoreless on four straight possessions (with Tyler Herro missing two 3s) as Jamal Murray went on a 7-0 run to give the Nuggets a five points The Heat had more confusing problems in Utah the next night, fouling two 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds and blowing a late seven-point lead. But Herro saved the day with a running 3 at the doorbellhis third game-winner of the season and the last NBA slam of 2022.

The heat lead the league in clutch games, with 25 of his 37 (incl 13 of his 18 against the West) having been within five points in the final five minutes. They are 14-11 in those games, standings fifth in clutch defense (97.7 points allowed per 100 possessions), among the top seven for the third straight season.

The Heat have three games left on their five-game trip out West, and have already beaten each of their three opponents, though their wins over the Clippers and the Suns scored a total of six points.

Week 12: @ LAC, @ LAL, @ PHX, vs. BKN





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