Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Clippers climb to No. 1

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

Stephen Curry made 29 threes in four games last week. DeMar DeRozan can’t seem to miss between five and 15 feet. James Harden is averaging 30 points and 13 assists. The Cleveland Cavaliers have set an NBA record with at least 10 threes in nine straight games to start the season. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, between the two of them, are averaging almost seven points per game more than they did last season.

There’s a lot of offense going around. And while some teams are struggling, we may be in the midst of the best offensive season in a long time.

Through Sunday, the league has scored 103.7 points per 100 possessions. That’s a little less than it scored last season (103.9), but offensive efficiency typically increases as the season goes on.

Over the last five non-lockout seasons, the league has seen an average jump of 1.7 points per 100 possessions from the three-week mark (where we are now) to the end of the season. Last season at this point, the league had scored 100.9, so it went up another 3.0 points per 100 possessions before the end of the season.

A jump from 1.7 from now until April 12 would put the league at about 105.4 points per 100 possessions, which would match the most efficient season of the last 20 years. That was 2008-09, when the league had only scored 102.1 points per 100 possessions through the first three weeks. This season is well ahead of that mark.

After a slow start offensively, the LA Clippers have picked things up on that end of the floor. With the league’s No. 1 defense, they’ve put it all together and are off to the best start in franchise history.

It’s Week 4 and we have our fourth different team at the top of the rankings. Who’s next?

Last week: Cavs survive and advance

This time last year: Little separation in the pack — The Warriors were 11 games into their 24-game winning streak to start the season after Brook Lopez missed a bunny to beat them. The Wolves were 0-4 without Ricky Rubio and the Sixers and Pelicans were a combined 1-19. Dirk Nowitzki got Kobe Bryant with the up-and-under, Nikola Vucevic beat the Lakers at the buzzer, and Dwane Casey wants you to know that Carmelo Anthony stepped out of bounds.

Plus-minus stud: Blake Griffin (LAC) was a plus-94 in four games last week.

Plus-minus dud: Evan Fournier (ORL) was a minus-67 in four games last week.

Hero team of the week: Toronto (3-0) — The Raptors’ perfect week included two road wins over teams – Oklahoma City and Charlotte – that were both 6-1 prior to the loss.

Zero team of the week: Denver (0-4) — The Nuggets lost at the buzzer on Tuesday and things went downhill from there.

East vs. West: The East and West are tied at 19 games apiece in interconference games after a 10-7 week for the West.

Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Washington, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Dallas

Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Milwaukee, 2. Atlanta, 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: Minnesota (+8), Brooklyn (+7), Chicago (+5)

Free falls of the week: Denver (-9), Oklahoma City (-6), Miami (-5)

Team to watch this week: Toronto — DeMar DeRozan is still on fire and the Raptors have won six of their last seven. They play a Tuesday-Wednesday, road-home back-to-back against the Cavs and Warriors before heading out on a five-game trip.

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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 is averaging 99.4 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 103.7 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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