SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Conference Semifinals, Week Two

SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Conference Semifinals, Week Two
Mon 14th June 2021

It has only been a week but that is more than enough time for everything to change in these NBA Playoffs. Our NBA Power Rankings have sorted through the seven teams that are still standing, ranking them on their form and their chances moving forward!

The Phoenix Suns have rightfully taken over top place after their dominating sweep of the, now eliminated, Nuggets, but where do the other six teams fall?

Here’s where the last seven teams stand in our NBA Power Rankings, as the Conference Semifinals of the Playoffs for the 2020-21 NBA season continues:

1. Phoenix Suns

NBA Championship Odds: +410
Second Round Series: 4-0 (Denver)
Postseason Seed: 2nd – West
Previous Ranking: 5

After easily dispatching of the Nuggets in four games, the Phoenix Suns have reclaimed the top spot of our NBA Power Rankings. Being the first team to advance to the third round of the playoffs, the Conference Finals, Phoenix now has time to rest, recover and prepare for either the Jazz or Clippers. 

Going back to their first round series, the Suns have won seven straight games and are rolling on both ends of the floor. Phoenix have the best defensive rating of all teams in the playoffs while also averaging 121.5 points per game during their sweep of Denver. Behind Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, the Suns have the perfect balance of experience, maturity, star power and role players that can help them go far. 

2. Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Championship Odds: +650
Second Round Series: 2-1 (Atlanta)
Postseason Seed: 1st – East
Previous Ranking: 6

After a lacklustre week last week, the Philadelphia 76ers have come back to life and climbed up the rankings. After losing to the Hawks at home in game one, the Sixers turned things around, winning games two and three by 16 points each. Joel Embiid has been unstoppable during the season, with the rest of the rotation providing excellent support throughout. 

With the news of Danny Green being sidelined for at least two weeks, it will be interesting to see how Philadelphia replaces him in the starting lineup and rotation, but that shouldn’t impact them and their ability to advance past the Hawks. They have severely outmatched them during the last two games and their superior play is well and truly on show.

3. Utah Jazz

NBA Championship Odds: +300
Second Round Series: 2-1 (Los Angeles)
Postseason Seed: 1st – West
Previous Ranking: 1

The Utah Jazz have shown signs of weakness, purely in the form of health. After taking a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Clippers, Utah suffered a shocking 26 point defeat in game three. To make matters worse, Mike Conley hasn’t seen the floor so far this series and Donovan Mitchell was forced to the locker room late in game three, still struggling to get over his ankle injury that took the last month of the regular season away from him.

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Given Utah’s game style, their three point shooting can always win them games, even when the odds are against them, but they will need both Conley and Mitchell on the floor, and relatively healthy, if they are to advance. They still do have home court advantage and could potentially afford to lose game four, making it a best of three series, as long as they get their All Stars back. 

4. Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Championship Odds: +480
Second Round Series: 2-2 (Brooklyn)
Postseason Seed: 3rd – East
Previous Ranking: 4

While their series is only 2-2, and they don’t have home court advantage, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in a fantastic position to advance to the Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons. Their opponents, the Nets, find themselves without their two best players after Kyrie Irving turned his ankle in game four, and will never get a better path to advance than this. 

Playing in front of their home fans brought the players to life, with Khris Middleton breaking out of his scoring slump while the role players all stepped up on both ends of the floor. The question will be how they fare back in Brooklyn for game five, but questions will be asked if they can’t take advantage of their current situation.

5. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Championship Odds: +850
Second Round Series: 1-2 (Utah)
Postseason Seed: 4th – West
Previous Ranking: 7

The Los Angeles Clippers still find themselves down 1-2 against the Jazz but momentum is well and truly on their side. Their 132-106 win in game three was their biggest margin of victory in the playoffs so far and to make things better, Utah are battling the injury bug. 

Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George looked unstoppable on offense, with Leonard scoring 12 of his game high 34 points in the final period to put the game on ice. They should be able to capatilise on this momentum in game four, at home, but there is still uncertainty whether they will actually be able to beat the Jazz, in Utah.

6. Brooklyn Nets

NBA Championship Odds: +260
Second Round Series: 2-2 (Milwaukee)
Postseason Seed: 2nd – East
Previous Ranking: 2

How far can Kevin Durant take the Brooklyn Nets? With James Harden already sidelined with a hamstring injury for the majority of this series, the last thing Brooklyn needed was another injury. Things took a turn for worse when Kyrie Irving went down badly on his ankle in game four and now he will join Harden on the sidelines. 

This leaves the team’s hope of advancing further in the hands of Durant. He struggled in the second half with all of Milwaukee’s attention on him and now he will have to do it all over again in game five, with the series on the line. Can one of the role players step up to help? Will Durant be able to put on one of the performances for the ages to get his team over the line? Things certainly aren’t in their favor anymore. 

7. Atlanta Hawks

NBA Championship Odds: +10000
Second Round Series: 2-1 (Philadelphia)
Postseason Seed: 5th – East
Previous Ranking: 3

After a promising game one victory, the Atlanta Hawks have come crashing back down to earth and crashing down our NBA Power Rankings. Two straight 16 point defeats and the Hawks have more issues than they have solutions for right now. Their three point shooting has completely disappeared, managing just 32% over the last two games and their defense isn’t good enough to keep them in games. 

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Trae Young will never quit and does everything in his power to get his team over the line but unfortunately the Hawks are completely outmatched in this series. Atlanta has no answer for Joel Embiid and unfortunately that will be their undoing. This has been a massive season for Atlanta and their future is looking bright, but they aren’t quite ready yet. 

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.