It's still early, but a little less early than it was last week or the week before. We're creeping toward the 1/4 mark of the season (we're about 16 percent done with the season), when most teams have played 20 games and the standings start to hold some significance.
Some teams are still in early-season mode, trying to figure things out on one end of the floor or the other. Some can book their tickets to the 2018 Draft Lottery already. And some have hit their stride.
The Boston Celtics have won 12 straight games, their longest winning streak in almost seven years. They've shown remarkable resilience in the face of injuries and some feisty teams that want to put that streak to an end.
But the Celtics aren't the only team that's streaking. Entering Week 5, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets have each won six straight games, while the Detroit Pistons have won five straight. Though the Celtics haven't lost in 25 days, Detroit is just a game behind them in the loss column.
The Celtics have built their streak on defense, while the Rockets and Pistons have been stronger on offense. The Warriors, meanwhile, have been elite on both ends of the floor over the last two weeks.
At least one of those streaks will end this week, as Golden State visits Boston on Thursday (8 ET, TNT), easily the most anticipated game of the season thus far.
- Last week: Quality wins push Pistons into top five
- This time last year: Clippers climb to No. 1 -- The Clippers were 9-1, with the league's best defense, while the Celtics ranked in the bottom five defensively. The Cavs lost to Atlanta after a 6-0 start, while the Wizards were 2-7. Stephen Curry set an NBA record with 13 threes in a game, Mike Malone broke up the Jokic-Nurkic combo, Serge Ibaka beat his old team with a baseline jumper, and Marc Gasol beat the Nuggets at the buzzer with an inbounds alley-oop.
- Plus-minus stud: Stephen Curry (GSW) was a plus-70 in three games last week.
- Plus-minus dud: Dragan Bender (PHX) was a minus-55 in four games last week.
- Hero team of the week: Boston (4-0) -- The Celtics had some close calls (three of the wins were by three points or less), but kept their streak going despite injuries to Al Horford, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum.
- Zero team of the week: Chicago (0-3) -- The Bulls cut a 23-point deficit to three in Toronto on Tuesday, but there was no coming back as they lost a weekend back-to-back against the Pacers and Spurs by a total of 57 points.
- East vs. West: The East is 40-39 (.506) against the West in interconference games after going 13-11 last week.
- Toughest schedules so far: 1. Charlotte, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Sacramento
- Easiest schedules so far: 1. Boston, 2. Utah, 3. Portland
- 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 (+10), Milwaukee (+5), New Orleans (+5), New York (+5)
- Free falls of the week: LA Clippers (-11), L.A. Lakers (-8), Portland (-6), Utah (-6)
- Team to watch in Week 5: Detroit -- After a 5-0 homestand, the Pistons have an important game in Milwaukee on Wednesday and an interesting interconference game in Minnesota on Sunday, with a visit to Indiana in between.
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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 101.2 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 104.1 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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