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Power Rankings: Warriors make a big statement

Cavs climb, Raptors fall a spot and Grizzlies enter Top 10

POSTED: Feb 1, 2016 11:38 AM ET

By John Schuhmann

BY John Schuhmann

NBA.com

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Over the last week or so, the Warriors have proven (once again) just how fearsome they are.

The Golden State Warriors sure know how to make a statement.

As the San Antonio Spurs were racking up a point differential almost twice as big over eight weeks, the champs were waiting for their chance to prove that they're still the best team in the league. And Monday's win was the culmination of an eight-day stretch where the Warriors beat four very good teams -- Cleveland, Chicago, Indiana and San Antonio -- by an average of 27 points. Now they're the team with the crazy point differential, not to mention the 44-4 record.

Easy wins over the Cavs and Spurs will likely keep the Warriors in the No. 1 spot through the All-Star break, but they have another big game on Saturday, their first meeting with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder, who are 16-3 since Christmas.

* * *

• Last week: Spurs, Warriors finally square off
• This time last year: Time has come for our No. 1s to meet on the court -- The Hawks finished a perfect January and had three players named as All-Star reserves (a fourth - Kyle Korver - would later be named as an injury replacement). Kyrie Irving dropped a double-nickel on the Blazers, Derrick Rose beat the Warriors with a step-back jumper, and Giannis Antetokounmpo executed a fadeaway dunk.

• Plus-minus stud: Draymond Green (GSW) was a plus-87 in four games last week.
• Plus-minus dud: Tyson Chandler (PHX) was a minus-77 in four games last week.

• Hero team of the week: Cleveland (4-0) -- The Cavs' signature win over the Spurs on Saturday was the second game of a back-to-back, which started with a quality road win in Detroit.
• Zero team of the week: Phoenix (0-4) -- The Suns lost for the second time to the Sixers, and weren't very competitive as their road trip finished in Cleveland, New York and Dallas.

• Team to watch this week: Indiana -- As the Pacers try on another new starting lineup and an expanded role for Monta Ellis in the offense, they play three games against fellow East playoff teams.

• East vs. West: The West is 146-132 (.525) against the East in interconference games after going 13-13 last week (the Clippers went 3-0).

• Toughest schedules through Jan. 31: 1. Brooklyn, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Milwaukee
• Easiest schedules through Jan. 31: 1. Oklahoma City, 2. San Antonio, 3. Golden State
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: Miami (+5), Indiana (+3), Memphis (+3), Portland (+3)
• Free falls of the week: Atlanta (-4), Four teams (-3)

* * *

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 97.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 102.9 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.

1

Last week: 2

Golden State (44-4)
Pace: 101.7 (2) OffRtg: 113.0 (1) DefRtg: 98.9 (2) NetRtg: +14.1 (1)
It would have been amazing if, five days after a wire-to-wire, statement win against the Spurs, the Warriors' streak of never losing after leading by 15-plus (now at 95 straight games) came to an end in Philadelphia. But Harrison Barnes hit the game-winner and the champs have outscored their opponents by 21.5 points per 100 possessions over their seven-game winning streak. They have only two home games in February.
This week: @ WAS, vs. OKC

2

Last week: 1

San Antonio (39-8)
Pace: 96.1 (23) OffRtg: 108.9 (3) DefRtg: 94.8 (1) NetRtg: +14.1 (2)
The Spurs still have the league's best point differential and remain undefeated at home. But they've obviously been taken down a notch after losses at Golden State and Cleveland, the first two times this season that they've trailed by 20 or more points. A healthy Tim Duncan may not have changed either result, but it was made clear that his presence is missed on defense, where the Warriors and Cavs combined to shoot 53 percent.
This week: vs. ORL, vs. NOP, @ DAL, vs. LAL

3

Last week: 5

Cleveland (34-12)
Pace: 94.8 (28) OffRtg: 106.6 (4) DefRtg: 100.8 (9) NetRtg: +5.8 (4)
The Cavs' defense has taken a step backward, but they do have double-digit fast break points in all of coach Tyronn Lue's five games and got the biggest win of their season against the Spurs on Saturday. For the first time in their two seasons together, LeBron James (28 at Detroit, 21 vs. San Antonio), Kyrie Irving (20 and 29) and Kevin Love (29 and 21) have all scored 20-plus points in two straight games.
This week: @ IND, @ CHA, vs. BOS, vs. NOP

4

Last week: 3

Oklahoma City (36-13)
Pace: 99.1 (9) OffRtg: 109.7 (2) DefRtg: 101.3 (11) NetRtg: +8.5 (3)
The Thunder have allowed bad opponents to hang around, but have won 10 of their last 11 games and are 10-10 when trailing by 10 or more points after Friday's win over the Rockets. Andre Roberson's absence (he's out three weeks with a sprained knee) and Dion Waiters' presence in the starting lineup should keep the scoring high on both ends of the floor. Their first of three meetings with the champs is Saturday in Oakland.
This week: vs. WAS, vs. ORL, @ GSW

5

Last week: 4

Toronto (32-15)
Pace: 95.8 (26) OffRtg: 105.4 (6) DefRtg: 100.7 (8) NetRtg: +4.7 (6)
The success of the Raptors' bench is mostly about defense, but Cory Joseph (who has scored in double-figures in four straight games for the second time in his career) and Terrence Ross (18-for-35 from 3-point range over the last seven games) have been providing some offensive production as well. With their winning streak at 11 games, they head out for a six-game, pre-All-Star trip, but the opponents aren't that great.
This week: @ DEN, @ PHX, @ POR

6

Last week: 6

L.A. Clippers (32-16)
Pace: 98.2 (14) OffRtg: 106.1 (5) DefRtg: 100.9 (10) NetRtg: +5.2 (5)
Blake Griffin's fight with the Clippers' equipment manager has him out an additional 4-6 weeks, could earn him a suspension after that, and may have more serious implications when the team is making decisions this summer. For now, L.A. is 15-3 without him and faces a relatively easy February schedule. Seven of their 11 opponents have losing records and five of them will be playing the second game of a back-to-back.
This week: vs. MIN, @ ORL, @ MIA

7

Last week: 7

Boston (27-22)
Pace: 101.2 (3) OffRtg: 102.9 (12) DefRtg: 99.0 (3) NetRtg: +3.9 (7)
The Celtics had been playing their best this season (plus-16.4 NetRtg) during a five-game winning streak, but can't seem to sweep a home-and-home, no matter how bad the opponent (Brooklyn twice and Orlando) is. For the second straight season, Kelly Olynyk has been a plus-minus star. Over the last 10 games, Boston is a plus-139 in 231 minutes with him on the floor and a minus-58 in 254 minutes with him off.
This week: @ NYK, vs. DET, @ CLE, vs. SAC

8

Last week: 11

Memphis (28-20)
Pace: 95.6 (27) OffRtg: 101.4 (24) DefRtg: 102.8 (17) NetRtg: -1.4 (17)
A home-heavy schedule has helped the Grizzlies win nine of their last 11 games with a top-10 offense over that stretch. The league's easiest February schedule should keep them in the 4-5 quadrant (safe from the big three) of the Western Conference playoff bracket, though Saturday's meeting with the Mavs is important in that regard. That's one of only two February games against opponents with winning records.
This week: @ NOP, @ NYK, vs. DAL

9

Last week: 14

Miami (27-21)
Pace: 94.4 (29) OffRtg: 101.7 (23) DefRtg: 99.8 (5) NetRtg: +1.8 (10)
The Heat have followed a 1-7 stretch with a four-game winning streak, getting important wins last week against the two teams (Chicago and and Atlanta) on either side of them in the Eastern Conference standings. They went 6-0 in January in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, with Dwyane Wade shooting 11-for-21 on clutch shots. He's averaged 24 points on 50 percent shooting over the winning streak.
This week: @ HOU, @ DAL, @ CHA, vs. LAC

10

Last week: 8

Chicago (26-20)
Pace: 98.6 (11) OffRtg: 100.9 (26) DefRtg: 100.6 (7) NetRtg: +0.2 (15)
The Bulls' inconsistency could be summed up by their four days in L.A. They took care of business early and cruised to an easy win over the Lakers on Thursday, but got thumped in the second half (69-46) by the Clippers on Sunday. The rest of their seven-game trip is agains teams under .500, though big guards in Utah and Minnesota will challenge the new starting backcourt of Derrick Rose and E'Twaun Moore.
This week: @ UTA, @ SAC, @ DEN, @ MIN

11

Last week: 10

Detroit (25-23)
Pace: 97.8 (15) OffRtg: 102.4 (17) DefRtg: 101.6 (12) NetRtg: +0.8 (11)
The Pistons have won their last three fourth quarters by a combined score of 99-66 and have been the third best fourth-quarter team this season. But it was too little, too late in weekend losses to the two best teams in the East. After starting the season 8-1 against the top seven, they're 1-6 against that group since Dec. 23. They went 7-8 in January, but moved up from 10th to eighth, thanks to rough months in Charlotte and Orlando.
This week: @ BKN, @ BOS, vs. NYK, @ IND

12

Last week: 15

Indiana (25-22)
Pace: 99.6 (7) OffRtg: 102.0 (19) DefRtg: 99.2 (4) NetRtg: +2.8 (8)
The Pacers' two-game winning streak coincides with Myles Turner's first two career starts. But Monta Ellis shooting 9-for-15 from 3-point range and improved defense had something to do with it too. Ellis has his lowest usage rate since his rookie season, but has seen an increase over the last two weeks. Turner scored 14 points in the post against the Hawks on Thursday, but went scoreless there against Denver on Saturday.
This week: vs. CLE, @ BKN, @ ATL, vs. DET

13

Last week: 9

Atlanta (27-22)
Pace: 99.1 (10) OffRtg: 102.5 (15) DefRtg: 100.4 (6) NetRtg: +2.2 (9)
The Hawks have lost five of their last six games and have dropped from sixth to 15th in offensive efficiency over the last three weeks. This season's on-off-court numbers don't like Jeff Teague, who's reportedly available with the trade deadline just 17 days away. The '16 free agent point guard crop is pretty weak after Mike Conley, so there should be a market for a 27-year-old who was an All-Star in 2015.
This week: vs. DAL, @ PHI, vs. IND, @ ORL

14

Last week: 16

Dallas (28-22)
Pace: 96.6 (20) OffRtg: 103.1 (11) DefRtg: 102.5 (14) NetRtg: +0.6 (12)
The weakness of the West beyond the top six teams has allowed the Mavs to be cautious with Dirk Nowitzki, who has sat out five of the team's last 15 games. Dallas is 4-2 without him for the season, even getting a win over Phoenix on Sunday with Chandler Parsons -- who had shot 25-for-43 from 3-point range over his previous seven games -- having an off night. Tougher opponents are coming this week.
This week: @ ATL, vs. MIA, vs. SAS, @ MEM

15

Last week: 12

Sacramento (20-27)
Pace: 102.1 (1) OffRtg: 102.7 (13) DefRtg: 105.3 (23) NetRtg: -2.6 (22)
Troy Daniels' game-winning three (preceded by a travel that wasn't called) was the end of the Kings' five-game winning streak and the start of a four-game losing streak in which they've allowed 110 points per 100 possessions. Despite that loss, they have as many wins against the Eastern Conference (10-7) as they do against the West (10-20), with nothing but East opponents going into the All-Star break.
This week: vs. MIL, vs. CHI, @ BKN, @ BOS

16

Last week: 13

Houston (25-25)
Pace: 99.4 (8) OffRtg: 104.3 (7) DefRtg: 106.4 (28) NetRtg: -2.1 (19)
James Harden is playing his most efficient basketball of the season, but the Rockets have the league's worst defense over the last two weeks and the league's worst defense against East opponents after Saturday's 123-122 loss to Washington. Dwight Howard got himself ejected from both of their weekend games and leads the league with 12 technical fouls. They have three important games against the eighth place Blazers this month.
This week: vs. MIA, @ PHX, vs. POR

17

Last week: 20

Portland (23-26)
Pace: 97.3 (18) OffRtg: 104.1 (8) DefRtg: 105.0 (21) NetRtg: -0.9 (16)
A four-game winning streak (their best defensive stretch since November) has taken the Blazers from 10th place to eighth. They have the West's sixth best record (12-6) since Christmas, have won six of their last seven games at the Moda Center and will spend most of this month at home. But eight of their 11 February games are against teams at or above .500, while another is against the ninth-place Jazz.
This week: vs. MIL, vs. TOR, @ HOU

18

Last week: 19

Utah (21-25)
Pace: 93.0 (30) OffRtg: 103.4 (10) DefRtg: 102.8 (16) NetRtg: +0.6 (13)
Derrick Favors returned last week, shot 20-for-33 in three games, and was a plus-45 in 75 minutes. With Rodney Hood averaging 22.8 points over the last five games, the Jazz have climbed into the top 10 in offensive efficiency. They aren't completely healthy and they're not in playoff position, but they're close in both cases and will have their first three-game wiining streak of the season if they beat the Bulls on Monday.
This week: vs. CHI, vs. DEN, vs. MIL, @ PHX

19

Last week: 21

New Orleans (18-28)
Pace: 98.4 (13) OffRtg: 103.6 (9) DefRtg: 106.2 (26) NetRtg: -2.7 (23)
Jrue Holiday hit a crazy game-winner against the Nets on Saturday and is 17-for-32 on clutch shots (while no other Pelican has taken more than 10) since Dec. 31. The Pelicans have scored a ridiculous 133 points per 100 possessions with Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis on the floor over Davis' last eight games, but that trio's minutes have been limited (12.5 per game), because neither Holiday nor Anderson start.
This week: vs. MEM, @ SAS, vs. LAL, @ CLE

20

Last week: 17

Washington (21-24)
Pace: 99.9 (5) OffRtg: 102.6 (14) DefRtg: 104.8 (20) NetRtg: -2.2 (20)
With eight guys scoring in double-figures, the Wizards stopped the bleeding in Houston on Saturday. They basically need huge offensive games to get wins, because their defense has been unreliable. Though they don't rank low in regard to contesting jumpers (according to SportVU), their opponents have an effective field goal percentage of 50.3 percent from outside the paint, the highest mark in the league.
This week: @ OKC, vs. GSW, vs. PHI, @ CHA

21

Last week: 18

New York (23-27)
Pace: 96.1 (24) OffRtg: 102.2 (18) DefRtg: 104.5 (18) NetRtg: -2.3 (21)
The Knicks almost beat the Thunder without Carmelo Anthony, but Arron Afllalo's game-winner was off the mark at the end of regulation. That wasn't the only shot he's missed -- he's shooting 32 percent -- as his team has lost five of its last six games. New York ranked 25th defensively in January (and was especially bad with reserves on the floor), but faces only one top-10 offense (Toronto after the break) in February.
This week: vs. BOS, @ DET, vs. MEM, vs. DEN

22

Last week: 22

Charlotte (23-25)
Pace: 97.7 (17) OffRtg: 102.5 (16) DefRtg: 102.0 (13) NetRtg: +0.5 (14)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ahead-of-schedule return to the Hornets' lineup last week, scored 32 total points against the Blazers and Lakers, and even hit both of his 3-point attempts. The Hornets are still afloat in the East, will be much improved defensively with MKG back, and play all 10 of their February games within the conference. They need Kemba Walker to break out of his mini-slump (30 percent over the last five games), though.
This week: vs. CLE, vs. MIA, vs. WAS

23

Last week: 23

Denver (18-30)
Pace: 97.7 (16) OffRtg: 101.7 (21) DefRtg: 106.1 (25) NetRtg: -4.4 (25)
Emmanuel Mudiay hasn't yet turned into Damian Lillard, but he's shot 36 percent from outside the paint since coming back from his ankle injury, up from a brutal 24 percent before it. The Nuggets have scored 108 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor over the 11 games since his return, but defense continues to be an issue (though Kenneth Faried's big block on Bradley Beal was fierce).
This week: vs. TOR, @ UTA, vs. CHI, @ NYK

24

Last week: 24

Milwaukee (20-29)
Pace: 96.0 (25) OffRtg: 101.7 (20) DefRtg: 106.4 (27) NetRtg: -4.7 (26)
Defense has been a bigger problem as Milwaukee has lost four of its last five games, and Greg Monroe is consistently putting up strong numbers inside. But the Bucks shot a brutal 3-for-28 from 3-point range against the Grizzlies and Heat on Thursday and Friday. There's a reason they've taken only 43 percent of their shots, the lowest mark in the league by a wide margin (down from 51 percent last season), from outside the paint.
This week: @ SAC, @ POR, @ UTA

25

Last week: 25

Orlando (21-25)
Pace: 96.3 (22) OffRtg: 101.1 (25) DefRtg: 102.7 (15) NetRtg: -1.6 (18)
The Nets can feel better knowing that they're not the only team that lost to the Magic in January. A 72-point second half against the Celtics on Sunday ended an eight-game losing streak, which featured three losses in overtime. The Magic are 1-5 in overtime games, having shot 16-for-65 in the extra periods. Their new starting lineup, with Aaron Gordon and Tobias Harris at the forward spots, has been pretty terrible defensively.
This week: @ SAS, @ OKC, vs. LAC, vs. ATL

26

Last week: 26

Minnesota (14-35)
Pace: 97.0 (19) OffRtg: 101.7 (22) DefRtg: 105.3 (22) NetRtg: -3.6 (24)
Kevin Garnett is 39 years old and has played less than 15 minutes per game this season. But those minutes and his presence in the starting lineup (that still ranks as one of the league's best) is important. The Wolves are 0-11 without KG (having lost 23 straight games without him going back to last March) and are on a four-game losing streak (which should end in L.A. on Tuesday) as he deals with knee soreness.
This week: @ LAL, @ LAC, vs. CHI

27

Last week: 27

Brooklyn (12-36)
Pace: 96.6 (21) OffRtg: 98.4 (28) DefRtg: 106.0 (24) NetRtg: -7.6 (28)
The Nets rank 29th defensively since Lionel Hollins was fired, but seven of Tony Brown's first 11 games have been against top-10 offenses. He won't see any top-10 offenses in the next eight games, and seven of those are at home, but the Nets have won just two of their last 16 at Barclays Center. Brook Lopez has six double-doubles in his last seven games, having scored 28 or more points in four of them.
This week: vs. DET, vs. IND, vs. SAC, @ PHI

28

Last week: 28

Philadelphia (7-41)
Pace: 99.8 (6) OffRtg: 94.5 (30) DefRtg: 104.5 (19) NetRtg: -10.0 (29)
The Sixers erased a 24-point deficit, held the Warriors to the fewest points they've scored in a half in more than two years, and came soooooo close to pulling off the upset of the season on Saturday. That was the first (and only) game in January that Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor both played, but didn't play together, though Brett Brown surely hasn't given up on the pair. Okafor played just 21 minutes coming back from illness.
This week: vs. ATL, @ WAS, vs. BKN

29

Last week: 29

Phoenix (14-35)
Pace: 100.2 (4) OffRtg: 99.6 (27) DefRtg: 106.6 (29) NetRtg: -7.0 (27)
The Suns have lost their last 14 road games, including games last week in which they gave up two 30-point quarters to the Sixers and had a nine-point quarter of their own in Dallas. That was the final quarter off Jeff Hornacek's tenure on the bench, and he won't get to enjoy a February where the team plays nine of its 10 games at home. Of course, the next eight are against top-10 offenses, so he may not have enjoyed it anyway.
This week: vs. TOR, vs. HOU, vs. UTA

30

Last week: 30

L.A. Lakers (9-41)
Pace: 98.5 (12) OffRtg: 96.6 (29) DefRtg: 108.2 (30) NetRtg: -11.6 (30)
The Lakers are taking a lot more threes this season than they did last year, but they're still in the middle of the pack in regard to the percentage of their shots that have come from beyond the arc. That wouldn't be a problem if they haven't been outscored by an average of 12.6 points per game in the paint over their 10-game losing streak, which has matched the longest streak in franchise history.
This week: vs. MIN, @ NOP, @ SAS
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