It didn't take all that long for the Golden State Warriors to establish themselves as the best team in the league.
Yes, there was the opening-night humbling by the Spurs, another hiccup in L.A., and some defensive issues to deal with. But we've yet to hit December and the Warriors are already back at the top of the conference with an 11-game winning streak and the league's best offense by a ridiculously wide margin over that stretch. The defense isn't perfect, but it also ranks seventh over the last three weeks.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, are rolling along in the Eastern Conference, setting records and brushing off any blood that they might shed. The San Antonio Spurs are just 10-0 on the road with a nine-game winning streak of their own.
With apologies to the LA Clippers, we have a clear big three. And the Clippers will have their chance to reestablish themselves as title contender No. 4, with games against Cleveland and Golden State in the next 10 days.
- Last week:Clippers stay above the parity
- This time last year:Warriors take their show on the road -- The Warriors were 18-0 and the Sixers were 0-18. The Pacers peaked at No. 4 in the rankings, Cory Joseph beat the Wizards at the buzzer, LeBron James beat the Nets with a running hook, and Kobe Bryant officially announced his plan to retire at the end of the season.
- Plus-minus stud:Stephen Curry (GSW) was a plus-96 in four games last week.
- Plus-minus dud: Trevor Booker (BKN) was a minus-65 in three games last week.
- Hero team of the week: Golden State (4-0) -- This team might be pretty good. The Dubs won their four games last week by an average of more than 29 points.
- Zero team of the week: Orlando (0-4) -- All four games were decided by eight points or less, but they lost to three teams (one twice) that were in last week's bottom 10.
- East vs. West: The West is 50-40 (.556) against the East in interconference games after going 16-9 (3-0 against Atlanta) last week.
- Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Dallas, 2. L.A. Lakers, 3. Washington
- Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Cleveland, 2. Orlando, 3. Chicago
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
- High jumps of the week: Denver (+3), Indiana (+3), Milwaukee (+3)
- Free falls of the week: Orlando (-8), Atlanta (-5), Portland (-5)
- Team to watch this week: Houston -- The Rockets have won five of their last six games and take their No. 4 offense to Utah for a game against the No. 2 defense on Tuesday. Then they visit the Warriors, to whom they've lost eight straight regular season games, before ending their trip in Denver.
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league is averaging 99.1 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 103.8 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.