Power Rankings: Cavs survive and advance
Thirteen days into the season, nothing has happened to make us rethink our Cavs-Warriors Finals predictions. The champs have yet to lose and while the Warriors have dropped two games, they’ve shown us how good they can be when they’re clicking.
That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been surprises or eye-opening developments in the first two weeks. In the spirit of the season, we can say that the down-ballot races are getting interesting.
The LA Clippers established themselves as the early No. 2 team in the West with the league’s best defense and a convincing win in San Antonio on Saturday. The Boston Celtics have taken a step backward rather than forward. Teams like the Hawks, Raptors and Bulls have suffered some weird losses on their home floor, while the Lakers and Bucks have found offense where there was none last season. The Sixers are winless (again), but almost beat the Cavs (again).
We’ll have a much better idea of who’s good and who’s not when teams have played about 20 games apiece. History tells us that’s when data and the standings are worth their salt. Until then, there will be ups and downs, more surprises and more trends to watch.
Last week: Spurs thump Warriors and don’t stop there
This time last year: Pistons leading an East revival — Seven games into their 24-0 start, the Warriors were the only team without a loss. Brooklyn, New Orleans and Philadelphia, meanwhile, were all winless. Bradley Beal hit a game-winner against the Spurs, the Bucks and Rockets both went from 0-3 to 4-3, and Kristaps Porzingis was tip-dunking on dudes.
Plus-minus stud: Andre Iguodala (GSW) was a plus-51 in three games last week.
Plus-minus dud: Matt Barnes (SAC) was a minus-58 in five games last week.
Hero team of the week: L.A. Lakers (3-1) — We know the Lakers are much better than they were last season, but are they … good? Wins over the Hawks and Warriors certainly help them make the case.
Zero team of the week: New Orleans (0-3) — Two of their losses came in overtime, but the Pelicans looked anemic against three teams – Milwaukee, Memphis and Phoenix – that were searching for answers themselves.
East vs. West: The East is 12-9 against the West in interconference games after a 10-6 week (10-2 before the West won all four interconference games on Sunday).
High jumps of the week: L.A. Lakers (+14), Milwaukee (+8), Orlando (+8)
Free falls of the week: Washington (-10), Memphis (-9), New York (-7)
Team to watch this week: Charlotte — The 4-1 Hornets have a good interconference game against the Jazz on Wednesday, and then face last season’s Eastern Conference finalists (Toronto and Cleveland) over the weekend.
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 99.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 102.3 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.