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Another big win keeps Spurs on top

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Feb 7 2011 11:17AM

The Washington Wizards aren't alone.

Well, they're alone in that they're the only team without a road win. But they're not alone, because there are a lot of teams who have been terrible on the road. The New Jersey Nets, for example, have lost 22 of their last 23 away from the Prudential Center.

Through Sunday, seven teams, including the Nets and Wizards, are on pace to win at least 15 games more at home than on the road, which is something only three teams did last season. Overall, home teams have won 61.7 percent of games, the highest mark since the 2002-03 season.

Does that make home-court advantage any more important in the playoffs? Not really. There's hasn't been much of a correlation between home winning percentage in the regular season and home winning percentage in the postseason over the last 20 seasons.

But it does bode well for teams with a lot of home games remaining on their schedule as they try to make the playoffs (like Milwaukee, with 19 home games left, or Memphis, with 18), earn a high seed (like Miami with 17), or just get a win (like Cleveland with 19).

The San Antonio Spurs (on pace for 38 wins at home and 30 on the road), top the rankings for the fourth straight week, thanks to a big win over the Lakers. They have at least two wins against every team in the West except Portland (1-1), Memphis (1-0) and Sacramento (1-0).

• Last week: Lakers coming up small in big games
• This time last year: Streaking Cavs face a big test before the break - The Cavs had won 11 straight, the Jazz had won nine straight, the Raptors had "a strong hold on that fifth spot in the East," the Nets were 4-46, and Mike Dunleavy was fired by the Clippers.

Hero Team of the Week: Dallas (4-0) - Among players who have attempted at least 250 shots, Jason Kidd has the lowest field goal percentage (35.2). But he stuck a huge shot in Boston on Friday. Wednesday's big win in New York came easier.
Zero Team of the Week: Milwaukee (0-4) - Fortunately, Wisconsinites had other things to cheer about.

High jumps of the week: Memphis (+4), Golden State (+3), Oklahoma City (+3)
Free falls of the week: Milwaukee (-3), Four teams (-2)

East vs. West: The West is 172-123 (.583) against the East in inter-conference games this season, and was 13-7 last week.

Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
Off: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
Def: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league averages 94.6 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 104.2 points scored per 100 possessions.

NBA.com's Power Rankings are just one man's opinion and are released every Monday during the season. If you've got an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail. You can also follow him on twitter.

1 San Antonio (42-8)
Pace: 95.1 (13), Off: 109.0 (3), Def: 100.7 (7)
Thanks to Antonio McDyess' tip-in, the Spurs were able to beat the Lakers with Tim Duncan scoring just eight points. A night later, they beat the Kings with Duncan playing less than 13 minutes. Maybe Tiago Splitter (16 points and nine rebounds in Sacramento) can help them this season after all.
Previous: 1

2 Boston (38-12)
Pace: 93.0 (22), Off: 105.7 (12), Def: 97.7 (2)
Marquis Daniels' injury against the Magic on Sunday was tough to watch, and it was another reminder that the Celtics need Delonte West back. But they probably won't get him until after the All-Star break, which means their second unit will be shorthanded in big games against the Lakers and Heat this week.
Previous: 2

3 Miami (37-14)
Pace: 93.2 (21), Off: 108.8 (4), Def: 99.4 (3)
LeBron James went for 51, Dwyane Wade messed around and got a triple-double, Eddie House is shooting 52 percent since returning to the rotation, and the Heat have won six straight. But the real test of their improvement comes Sunday in Boston. It's been three months since they last played the Celtics.
Previous: 4

4 Chicago (34-15)
Pace: 94.1 (17), Off: 103.4 (18), Def: 96.7 (1)
After scoring 32 points and dishing out 11 assists against the Clippers on Wednesday, Derrick Rose committed a career-high nine turnovers at Golden State on Saturday. But only two of the nine came during a freakish 36-9 run by the Warriors which basically ended the Bulls' six-game winning streak.
Previous: 3

5 L.A. Lakers (35-16)
Pace: 94.3 (16), Off: 109.4 (2), Def: 102.2 (9)
With talk of trades, more knee issues for Andrew Bynum and another loss to an elite team, there was much to worry about in Lakerland last week. But L.A., at 12-6, has actually been the best team in the league statistically in 2011. They've outscored their opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions in the 18 games.
Previous: 5

6 Dallas (35-15)
Pace: 92.2 (25), Off: 106.4 (10), Def: 102.2 (10)
The Mavs seem to be back on track, having won eight straight. The defense has been good during the streak, but the offense has been better, scoring 112.9 points per 100 possessions. J.J. Barea has provided a boost, averaging 13.5 points on 56 percent shooting over the eight games.
Previous: 8

7 Oklahoma City (33-17)
Pace: 95.5 (12), Off: 108.2 (5), Def: 105.3 (17)
The Thunder don't have to worry about their defense if they keep scoring like they did last week. They shot 54 percent and scored 122.5 points per 100 possessions in wins over the Hornets, Suns and Jazz. Russell Westbrook averaged 20.7 points and 9.7 assists, while shooting 6-for-7 from 3-point rage.
Previous: 10

8 Orlando (32-20)
Pace: 94.0 (18), Off: 106.4 (9), Def: 100.1 (5)
Is it panic time in Orlando? The Magic have the exact same record (16-10) with the new guys in uniform as they did without them. They're 7-8 over their last 15 games and haven't beaten a team with a winning record since Jan. 8, but five of those seven losses have come by four points or less.
Previous: 6

9 New Orleans (32-20)
Pace: 91.3 (29), Off: 103.4 (17), Def: 99.8 (4)
The Hornets' defense held together in its first game without Emeka Okafor, but not surprisingly, it fell apart against the Thunder and Lakers with Trevor Ariza also getting hurt. Chris Paul's brilliance (21 points and 15 assists) was almost enough to overcome both absences against L.A.
Previous: 7

10 Atlanta (33-18)
Pace: 92.3 (24), Off: 104.9 (14), Def: 103.1 (12)
Joe Johnson (37 points vs. Toronto and a near triple-double vs. the Clippers), Jamal Crawford (34 points vs. L.A.), Al Horford (23 points, 12 boards and the game-winning free throws against L.A.), and Josh Smith (19 and 11 for the week) all came up big as the Hawks went 3-0 last week.
Previous: 11

11 Denver (30-21)
Pace: 98.1 (3), Off: 109.8 (1), Def: 106.5 (21)
For the Nuggets' sake, the news of a potential three-team trade with the Knicks and Timberwolves better have been a ploy to get other teams involved. After wasting two months talking to the Nets, Masai Ujiri wouldn't look too good trading for a single pick and two guys in the last months of their contract.
Previous: 9

12 Memphis (27-25)
Pace: 95.0 (14), Off: 102.9 (20), Def: 102.5 (11)
Before making his All-Star replacement selection, Commissioner Stern forgot to watch Wednesday's Grizzlies-Wolves game, in which Zach Randolph outplayed Kevin Love. Despite Saturday's heartbreaker in Houston, the Grizz are 11-5 with Sam Young as a starter and 6-1 without O.J. Mayo.
Previous: 16

13 Utah (30-22)
Pace: 93.4 (20), Off: 105.7 (11), Def: 106.2 (18)
Deron Williams' return brought a return of the Utah offense, but the defense disappeared in Saturday's loss to the Thunder. For the season, the Jazz have been much better defensively (99.4 points allowed per 100 possessions) with Williams off the floor than they have been with him on it (108.7).
Previous: 12

14 Portland (27-24)
Pace: 91.5 (28), Off: 103.6 (16), Def: 103.9 (15)
The Blazers' week began with a big performance from LaMarcus Aldridge and a huge win over the Spurs. But that was followed by double-digit losses in Denver and Indiana and a narrow escape in Cleveland. They're 23-5 when they shoot 43 percent or better and 4-19 when they don't.
Previous: 13

15 Phoenix (23-25)
Pace: 96.9 (7), Off: 107.6 (7), Def: 108.2 (28)
The Suns held three opponents under 80 points in a span of 13 days, and they've been the 13th-best defensive team, holding their opponents to 104.5 points per 100 possessions, in 2011. Of course, they've mixed in a few defensive stinkers in there, including Friday's loss to the Thunder.
Previous: 14

16 New York (26-24)
Pace: 98.8 (2), Off: 107.8 (6), Def: 106.2 (19)
Mike D'Antoni is determined to use a big lineup, giving Timofey Mozgov extended run for the last four games and starting him Sunday after almost two months of riding the pine. But he needs Ronny Turiaf healthy, because the Knicks rebound worse and get outscored in the paint more with Mozgov on the floor.
Previous: 15

17 Philadelphia (23-27)
Pace: 93.6 (19), Off: 103.6 (15), Def: 103.4 (13)
The Sixers would have put a real scare into the Knicks by taking both games of their weekend home-and-home, but their defense fell apart in the second half on Sunday. Maybe Doug Collins could have gone back to his dominant lineup that was a plus-six in 6 1/2 minutes in the second quarter.
Previous: 17

18 Houston (24-28)
Pace: 96.9 (6), Off: 106.7 (8), Def: 107.0 (24)
Kevin Martin scored 83 points on just 49 shots from the field in three games last week and has made 46 of his last 48 free throws. But more incredible was his catch and finish to beat the Jazz on Wednesday. Almost as good was Kyle Lowry's save to end Saturday's win over the Grizzlies.
Previous: 18

19 Golden State (22-27)
Pace: 97.3 (4), Off: 105.5 (13), Def: 108.1 (26)
The Warriors have won three straight with defense, believe it or not. They've held the three opponents to just 94.7 points per 100 possessions. On the other end, it's been a balanced attack. They had six guys in double figures against the Bucks and three cracking 20 points against the Bulls.
Previous: 22

20 L.A. Clippers (19-31)
Pace: 94.9 (15), Off: 102.8 (21), Def: 106.9 (23)
It's very possible that the Clippers are back to being the Clippers again, and it's certain they're heading back to the lottery. They're 2-5 since losing Eric Gordon, have dropped six straight on the road, and have just one home game remaining in February. And that's against the Celtics.
Previous: 19

21 Detroit (19-32)
Pace: 91.0 (30), Off: 102.4 (22), Def: 107.2 (25)
Rip Hamilton was so excited to play after a 13-game absence on Saturday, that he managed to put up 14 shots in 20 minutes. He also dished out three assists and was a plus-nine. Greg Monroe was the star the previous night, scoring a career-high 20 points in a win over New Jersey.
Previous: 23

22 Charlotte (21-29)
Pace: 92.4 (23), Off: 100.6 (25), Def: 103.6 (14)
After a strong trip out West, the Bobcats couldn't hang with the Heat or Mavs. They've got the Celtics, Hawks, Lakers and Bulls over the next nine days, so getting back in playoff position by the break will be tough. Wednesday's visit to Indiana is critical in the race for eighth.
Previous: 20

23 Indiana (21-27)
Pace: 97.0 (5), Off: 101.0 (24), Def: 101.9 (8)
The Pacers have cracked 100 points in four straight games for the first time this season, but the bigger improvements under Frank Vogel have come on defense and on the glass. They held opponents to just 41 percent shooting and outrebounded them by 14.5 boards per game in their four wins last week.
Previous: 24

24 Milwaukee (19-30)
Pace: 92.2 (26), Off: 98.3 (29), Def: 100.6 (6)
The Bucks' four-game losing streak began with one of their worst defensive games of the season. But then the offense regressed to its anemic November level, scoring just 90.6 points per 100 possessions over the next three. Andrew Bogut missed two of those three with a sore knee. Milwaukee is 3-6 without him.
Previous: 21

25 New Jersey (15-37)
Pace: 91.8 (27), Off: 99.6 (27), Def: 106.2 (20)
Anthony Morrow, shooting 16-for-27 from 3-point range over the last seven games, seems to have turned himself into Ray Allen. Devin Harris, averaging 12.2 assists over the last five, is acting like Rajon Rondo. But the Nets are otherwise nothing like the Celtics, having lost five of their last six.
Previous: 25

26 Sacramento (12-35)
Pace: 96.4 (8), Off: 99.8 (26), Def: 105.1 (16)
Coming out of a four-game stretch against the Lakers, Hornets, Celtics and Spurs with two wins ain't bad, but the Kings actually had a 10-point lead on Boston before losing that one on Tuesday. And the tough stretch doesn't end, with the Jazz, Mavs and Thunder at Arco this week.
Previous: 26

27 Washington (13-37)
Pace: 95.8 (11), Off: 99.5 (28), Def: 106.7 (22)
You would think that a 13-37 team would be having a hard time finding the right mix. But five of the Wizards' six most used lineups have a positive plus-minus. That includes a unit of Kirk Hinrich, Nick Young, Al Thornton, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, which has been excellent defensively (94.0) in 77 minutes.
Previous: 27

28 Toronto (14-37)
Pace: 96.0 (10), Off: 102.9 (19), Def: 109.4 (29)
Not only did the Raptors end their 13-game losing streak with a win over the Wolves, but they climbed out of the 30th spot defensively in the process. Amir Johnson grabbed a big offensive rebound over Kevin Love in the fourth quarter and is averaging 18.4 points and 10.2 boards in the last five games.
Previous: 29

29 Minnesota (11-39)
Pace: 100.1 (1), Off: 101.8 (23), Def: 108.1 (27)
A brief, two-game oasis of good defense was too good to be true, as the Wolves allowed the Raptors and Nuggets to shoot 55 percent over the weekend. Kevin Love is the All-Star, but Anthony Tolliver, who has shot 2-for-16 over the last four games, is somehow a plus-8 in 598 minutes with this team.
Previous: 28

30 Cleveland (8-43)
Pace: 96.1 (9), Off: 97.9 (30), Def: 109.9 (30)
There were opportunities to end it, and there were disastrous turnovers and blown layups. So history has been made (again) in Cleveland. The good news is that there are three legit chances for wins this week, including Sunday's game against the Road Wizards, which could be an epic matchup of futility.
Previous: 30
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