NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

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NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 7 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at@BullsTalkCSNwith comments or criticisms.
Past rankings:PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Watch out now, the Serge Protector has an offensive game.
Mark: 11 wins in a row, showing no signs of slowing down.
2
Tony: Blake Griffin and Co. have rattled off 10 straight now.
Mark: Carmelo may be MVP, but Tyson just as valuable to Knicks.
3
Tony: Tony Parker is playing at an MVP level.
Mark: 10 straight victoriesat least one team in L.A. is winning.
4
Tony: Still holding off Miami as the beasts of the East.
Mark: Now Tony Parker is triple-doubling? These guys never get old.
5
Tony: They need Dwyane Wade to stay on the court consistently.
Mark: Chris Bosh having another underrated yet efficient year.
6
Tony: Not as hot as other teams in the West, but a bonafide contender.
Mark: Slowly coming back down to Earth, but still talented.7
Tony: Winning streak came to an end, but have still won 8 of 10.
Mark: Stephen Curry should be an All-Star for the first time this year.8
Tony: Surprisingly boast leagues 7th best D in pts allowed.
Mark: HorfordSmith frontcourt has been dominant so far.9
Tony: Bench has been coming to play, Mon. night in MEM notwithstanding.
Mark: Looking better each week, but Hinrich needs to stay healthy.
10
Tony: Rubio back, Love looking like a stud again. All is well in Minny.
Mark: Brook Lopez is back at the perfect time (ASAP).
11
Tony: D-Will calling out his coach? Uh oh.
Mark: Ricky Rubio was great in return from ACL surgery.
12
Tony: Need some frontcourt help. Last in league in rebounding.
Mark: Quietly have won seven of last 10.
13
Tony: Really like this squad, and they're starting to gel.
Mark: Ersan Ilyosova showing signs of life is great news for Bucks.
14
Tony: We all know George can get hot, but can he be consistent?
Mark: Back over .500 (13-12) for first time since Nov. 23.
15
Tony: Ersan Ilyasova coming up just when Bucks need it.
Mark: One of two teams (Milwaukee) with a winning record and negative point differential.16
Tony: See? They rely on Jrue Holiday so much.
Mark: Brutal four-game roadtrip awaiting Utah (BRK, IND, MIA, ORL).
17
Tony: If they can shore up their D, they may join ranks of elite.
Mark: Philly hoping for good news on Andrew Bynums MRI this week.
18
Tony: Just look like a completely different team without Dirk.
Mark: 12th in the West is the season ended today.
19
Tony: Lin starred in return to NY, but he has no consistency.
Mark: Could sneak into the playoffs as players continue to get comfortable playing together.
20
Tony: Can't hack it when one or two guys go down to injury.
Mark: Damian Lillard is your current Rookie of the Year, and its not close.
21
Tony: Already talking trades? Alright.
Mark: Just 4-10 on the road, and play 8 of next 13 away from Dallas.
22
Tony: When Nash comes back, run offense through him.
Mark: 2-0 week on the heels of losing seven in a row.
23
Tony: If they have Gortat, why not at least utilize him?
Mark: Impressive win over Golden State was part of 2-0 week.
24
Tony: Rough luck this season for Lowry and Co. thus far.
Mark: Trade candidate Jose Calderon will lead a contender down the stretch. Book it.
25
Tony: I like this Drummond kid. Could be dynamic duo with Monroe.
Mark: Roller coaster continues after losing four straight.
26
Tony: Man, they're sinking faster than the Titanic. This is sad.
Mark: Isaiah Thomas showing signs of life off the bench.
27
Tony: Feel bad for fans in Sacremento. No hope on horizon.
Mark: Losers of 11 straight, even Kemba cant straighten it out.
28
Tony: Kyrie's back! And he's dropping 40.
Mark: Irvings mask is a thing of beauty, and its the same dominant player behind it.
29
Tony: Vasquez is putting up solid numbers, but needs to improve efficiency.
Mark: Anthony Davis has lost his grip on Rookie of the Year honors.
30
Tony: Not even an exorcism could help this team.
Mark: Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford will work well when John Wall returns.

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

The Blackhawks have talked the past several games now about how they need to play better, how they need to get back to their 60-minute game. But even when you tell yourself you have to improve the message doesn't always translate into immediate action. That's especially true if, despite so-so play, you're still managing victories or still eking out a point.

Sometimes, you need a jolt to realize you have to get better. Well, that thud the Blackhawks made in South Florida ought to get their attention. 

The Blackhawks' 7-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, that "ugly, ugly game," as coach Joel Quenneville, is the latest in what's been a mediocre stretch for the team. They've been leaning on their goaltending again (please see Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa and Dallas games). Or they've been leaning on their ability to wake up in the third period after sleepwalking through the first two. Sixty-minute games and four-line rotations, such a big part of the Blackhawks' success through February and early March, have been absent.

Call it the Blackhawks' mid-March malaise.

[VIVID SEATS: Buy Blackhawks tickets] 

It hasn't been more painful because the Blackhawks have still found ways to get points. Or at least they did until Saturday night, when two "yapping" penalties – Quenneville's (accurate) description of Ryan Hartman and Marcus Kruger's unsportsmanlike calls – started the Blackhawks' demise against the Panthers. Players told the traveling media following the game that this was a wake-up call. It ought to be.

Granted, the Blackhawks' late-season issues aren't as bad as some of their fellow Western Conference teams. The Minnesota Wild are 3-10-1 in March. The San Jose Sharks have lost six in a row. This also isn't the first time the Blackhawks have gone through this late-season mediocrity.

Entering the 2015 postseason they struggled to score goals and lost four in a row (five goals in those four games). It turned out alright. Still, best to avoid bad habits.

Perhaps the Blackhawks are in a bit of a swoon because, really, there's not much for which to play in these final few games. They don't care if they win the Presidents' Trophy (and they probably won't). They're currently in first place by seven points following the Wild's 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Sunday. Whether the Blackhawks finish first or second, they'll start this postseason at home. 

So is this panic-inducing? No. Is it a concern? Certainly. The Blackhawks can't start thinking they'll automatically flip the switch as soon as the postseason begins.

The Blackhawks want to get their four-line rotation going again. Artem Anisimov returning in the next week or two will certainly help that. They want to get their overall game going again. The Blackhawks have been telling themselves what needs to be done for a few games now. Maybe they needed a wake-up call. On Saturday, they got it. 

Lake Park's Gino Romano goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

Lake Park's Gino Romano goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

Everyone who took part in the recently-held fifth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Madness charity tournament played for various charitable reasons. The Lake Park Lancers football team chose to honor a person who embodied the true meaning of service and sacrifice.

Lake Park junior linebacker Gino Romano took a few minutes to explain why they decided to play in honor of fallen Bloomingdale police officer Raymond Murrel, the first ever officer who died in the line of duty for the village.

Romano also discussed the Lancers’ offseason and the team’s overall preparation for the upcoming 2017 football slate.

I caught up with Romano at the tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds benefited the school, the DuPage Hundred Club, Team Red, White and Blue and The Pat Tillman Foundation.

Watch the following video above.