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NBA power rankings 2012: Thunder crash back into Top 5

After an embarrassment of the upstart Bobcats, the Thunder are back in the conversation as an elite team in the NBA

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Winning an NBA game by 45 points is certain to raise eyebrows. Oklahoma City defeated Charlotte 114-69 on Monday, and with wins over the Cilppers and 76ers in the last week have risen as high as number three in some NBA power rankings. Their lone loss of the week came at Boston, where the Thunder lost 108-100.

SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal has the Thunder at No. 3 behind the Spurs and the Grizzlies, with teams from the West occupying the top three spots. Rosenthal points out Oklahoma City's struggles on one side of the ball in particular:

...their defense has faltered noticeably in the last five or six games.

ESPN's NBA stat guru John Hollinger also has the Thunder at No. 3, just a tick above the Miami Heat. Fellow ESPNer Marc Stein has them at No. 4, jumping them two spots from the previous week, citing that their "rightful place" is in the top five.

NBC's Pro Basketball Talk made same jump as Stein, raising the Thunder from sixth to fourth, citing the win over the Clippers as a sign the Thunder have returned to their previous powers.