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Scorching Miami Heat jump from 18th to 9th in SI Power Rankings

NBA media have noticed the Heat’s improved play and reacted accordingly.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated released their power rankings ahead of NBA Week 22 and the Miami Heat leaped from 18th in previous week to 9th this time around.

The Heat seem to be regaining their stride, going 3–1 last week, with the only loss coming in OT on the road. Miami has the second-best net rating in the East over the last 10 games. Oh, and it was slightly interesting to see the team’s offense take off without Hassan Whiteside in a blowout win over the Wizards.

The author, Rohan Nadkarni, noticed how Miami won without Whiteside, but ESPN had that game circled as a “scheduled loss” for the weary Wizards.

The Wizards will play in New Orleans on March 9, then head out immediately after -- losing an hour in the process -- for Miami, where they’ll close out a back-to-back set less than 24 hours after facing New Orleans and play your third game in five days. The Heat will enter this game with a one-day rest advantage.

The bad news is MIami battles the Portland Trail Blazers tonight in Portland, and SI ranks them 3rd, behind only the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors.

Portland is the hottest team in the league, now having won nine in a row. The Blazers still only have a two-game lead on the Pelicans and Wolves in the bunched-up West.

In reality Portland has the 5th best record in the standings, and Miami the 17th (not even the top half of the 30 teams).

At 39-29, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder share the 9th best records in the NBA as of today, 2.5 games better than the Heat.