There are only 135 games left in the historical 2016-17 regular season, but it still seems like we have some fireworks left.
Russell Westbrook is chasing the record for most triple-doubles in a season, the Celtics are chasing the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, and the last few playoff spots in the East and the No. 8 seed in the West are still very much up for grabs.
The West’s No. 8 seed is up for grabs in Portland on Tuesday, but Nuggets-Blazers isn’t the only big game this week. The Cavs, Warriors and Jazz all visit the Spurs, the Spurs go to Oklahoma City, the Rockets will see if they can beat the Warriors again, and the Wizards (fresh off a win in Cleveland) will also visit some of the best teams in the West.
Even when it’s not a marquee matchup, you never know what could happen. Some 20 year old just might score 70 points against a top-10 defense.
Last week: Warriors recover from road woes to regain top spot
This time last year: Bulls and Mavs sinking fast — A playoff team was starting Jordan Farmar and Chris Andersen, the Hornets came back from 23 points down to beat the Spurs, and the Nets beat the Cavs. Andre Drummond beat the Bucks with a tip-in, J.J. Redick beat the Blazers at the buzzer, and Emmanuel Mudiay hit one of the wildest game-winners you’ll ever see.
Plus-minus stud: Draymond Green (GSW) was a plus-70 in four games last week.
Plus-minus dud: Devin Booker (PHX) was a minus-88 in four games last week.
Hero team of the week: Boston (4-0) — The Celtics began a six-game homestand with a critical win over the Wizards, and then kept it going by scoring 114 points per 100 possessions against the Pacers, Suns and Heat, never getting threatened by Devin Booker’s 70-point performance on Friday. They’re 14-1 at TD Garden since Jan. 25.
Zero team of the week: Detroit (0-3) — The Pistons have lost six of their last seven. The first of two three-game losing streaks in that stretch came against the Cavs, Jazz and Raptors. The current one has come against the Nets, Bulls and Magic.
East vs. West: The West is 235-197 (.544) against the East in interconference games after the East went 8-7 (4-0 against Phoenix) last week. Two West teams – Portland (13-17) and Sacramento (11-19) – and four East teams – Boston (17-13), Brooklyn (9-21), Philadelphia (9-21) and Toronto (17-13) – have played all their games against the opposite conference.
Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Memphis, 2. Sacramento, 3. Brooklyn
Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Washington, 2. Indiana, 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: Orlando (+4), Boston (+3), Charlotte (+3), Milwaukee (+3), Washington (+3)
Free falls of the week: Detroit (-4), Atlanta (-3), Minnesota (-3), Utah (-3)
Team to watch this week: San Antonio — The Spurs will make the race for the No. 1 seed in the West (and home-court advantage through The Finals) very interesting if they can beat the Warriors on Wednesday. But before they get to that game, they have a visit from the champs on Monday. And they finish their week with games against the Thunder (in Oklahoma City) and Jazz.
* * *
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 98.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.1 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.
* * *