The Miami Heat continue their rise to the top of NBA power rankings. After coming in at No. 4 in the SB Nation NBA power rankings, the Heat found themselves rising in most other power rankings. In John Hollinger's NBA power rankings on ESPN.com, the Heat are ranked No. 4 as well, remaining in the same place as last week. As for the Orlando Magic, they find themselves up one spot to No. 28.
In Eric Stein's power rankings, also on ESPN.com, the Heat are ranked No. 3, up two spots from last week. Stein says that the Heat should be glad to be playing games at home again:
It's a lot easier to say so after the champs scored the final nine points in less than two minutes to complete a Houdini act against visiting Cleveland ... but life is good now that they're back off the road. How good? They've got only two road games between now and Christmas ... and one is in D.C.
As for the Magic, they are up one spot to No. 25. Stein wonders if the Magic are regretting having missed the boat on trying to land Brook Lopez:
Devil's advocate follow-up to Week 3's comment: Any relief the Magic feel about refusing to take back Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard deal has to be classified as conditional. What happens if Brook Lopez, whom they also could have snagged, keeps progressing from his current groove?
On the NBA.com power rankings, compiled by John Schuhmann, the Heat are actually ranked No. 1, up from No. 4 last week. Schuhmann acknowledges that they have been finding ways to make games interesting:
The Heat are playing just four games over a 16-day stretch, so it's good that they're making them interesting. They needed overtime to beat the Bucks on Wednesday and came back from a 13-point deficit against the Cavs on Saturday. Ray Allen was the hero in that one, but the Heat are still suffering defensively (allowing 110 points per 100 possessions) when he's on the floor.
As for the Magic, they are ranked at No. 24, up two spots from last week. Schuhmann says that they are not as bad as expected and that has surprised writers, including him. However, he also says their upcoming schedule will be hard for them:
The Magic continue to be surprisingly not that awful, distinguishing themselves from the rest of the Eastern Conference dreck with wins over the Pistons and Cavs last week. But they failed to hold onto a seven-point, fourth-quarter lead against the Celtics on Sunday, and they'll face only one team below them in the standings (Sacramento) in their next 11 games.
On Fox Sports' NBA power rankings, compiled by Sam Amico, the Heat are ranked at No. 2, up two spots from last week. Amico writes that the Heat are improving quite a bit and guard Ray Allen is providing that spark off the bench that will help the team:
LeBron James looks even better. The Heat look even crisper. And Ray Allen is precisely what they needed off the bench. Questions, anyone?
As for the Magic, they are ranked at No. 25. Amico praises the team for its hustle, but acknowledges that there's not much else on this team:
Another hustling bunch aiming to prove there can be a pulse in the post-Dwight Howard era. Other than that, there's really not much here with which to work.