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SB Nation NBA power rankings: Heat rise to No. 5

After wins this past week against the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat rose in the SB Nation NBA power rankings. Where do the Orlando Magic and the other Southeast Division teams rank?

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have seemed to rebound well after back-to-back losses to the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks, winning three of their last four games. A last-second loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday is the only blemish on that record.

In the SB Nation NBA power rankings, compiled by Seth Rosenthal, the Heat are up one spot from last week to No. 5. Rosenthal says that the Heat's defense still needs to improve going forward:

The Miami defense still isn't where it should be, but they did bounce back to win three of four after those humiliating back-to-back losses against the Wizards and Knicks, slipping only in that last-second loss to the Warriors. Good job avenging those dastardly Wizards, guys! (Honestly, though, Washington is terrible but it was cool/scary to see Miami actually rotate, close out and shut down an opposing offense for once.)

As for the Orlando Magic, they held steady at No. 21 after wins against the Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats. Rosenthal believes that if the Magic can avoid the injury bug, they could be contending for a playoff spot come the spring:

Ya know, the Magic might actually end up competing for a playoff spot. They're kinda decent when healthy. Count me among those who'd love to see Andrew Nicholson get some more minutes, please.

As for the other teams in the Southeast Division, the Atlanta Hawks dropped one spot to No. 8 after a week that saw them lose to the Warriors and the Heat. The Bobcats, on an 11-game losing streak after starting 7-5, fell four spots to No. 29. Finally, the Wizards who defeated the New Orleans Hornets earlier in the week but dropped games including a 30-point loss to the Heat, fell back into No. 30.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.