With the first quarter of a season in the books, we've seemingly reached survival mode.
A rough count has 20 of the league's 30 teams dealing with at least one injury to an important rotation player. Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Kristaps Porzingis are the latest stars to go down, suffering some scary, lower-body injuries last week.
The Davis injury (if it's long-term) and Griffin injury could affect the greater landscape of the league, because their teams haven't been very good with them off the floor, their frontcourt mates - DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan (who has a player option for next season) will be free agents next summer, and it may be prudent to get something in return before now and the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
Some teams will survive their players' injuries better than others. Now is the time when depth comes into play, and a good bench can win you more than just a few games.
After losing Chris Paul for 14 games, the Houston Rockets are (relatively) healthy, 13-1 since Nov. 1, and riding a seven-game winning streak (with an average margin of victory of 21.6 points) to the No. 1 spot.
- Last week: Cavs surging at the quarter mark
- This time last year: Warriors on top at the quarter pole -- Russell Westbrook's rebounding averaged climbed above 10 per game for good, J.R. Smith chose to give dap instead of playing defense, and Draymond Green kicked James Harden in the head.
- Plus-minus stud: Tony Snell (MIL) was a plus-66 in three games last week.
- Plus-minus dud: Josh Richardson (MIA) was a minus-74 in four games last week.
- Hero team of the week: Cleveland (4-0) -- The Cavs' winning streak continued with double-digit wins in Philly and against Miami (on the second night of a back-to-back).
- Zero team of the week: Chicago (0-3) -- The Bulls' week includes losses at home to the Suns and Kings.
- East vs. West: The East is 72-67 (.518) against the West in interconference games after going 9-8 last week.
- Toughest schedules so far: 1. Philadelphia, 2. Indiana, 3. Charlotte
- Easiest schedules so far: 1. Boston, 2. Houston, 3. San Antonio
- 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: Utah (+7), Milwaukee (+5), Orlando (+3), Sacramento (+3)
- Free falls of the week: Denver (-5), L.A. Lakers (-4), Portland (-4)
- Team to watch in Week 8: Utah -- Donovan Mitchell is blowing up and Rudy Gobert could be back on Monday. The Jazz have a five-game winning streak and four games against good teams this week. They'll host the Wizards on Monday before visiting Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Then they're back home for the Rockets on Thursday before beginning a six-game trip in Milwaukee on Saturday.
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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 has averaged 100.2 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 104.9 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
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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.
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