Who's your No. 1? It's a serious question, because figuring out who should be at the top of these rankings has been relatively tough over the last month.
Over the last 30 days, every team but the 10-3 Dallas Mavericks has at least four losses, and the two teams that lead the league in pace-adjusted point differential -- Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston -- are 8-6, 10-6 and 8-5, respectively.
The LA Clippers have lost three of their last four, the Denver Nuggets have lost two straight, and the Oklahoma City Thunder just finished a soft stretch of schedule by losing to the Chicago Bulls.
With Draymond Green returning on Monday and DeMarcus Cousins getting closer to his season debut, the Warriors might be ready to take the No. 1 spot, and they did beat this week's No. 1 in Milwaukee on Friday. But the champs are just 8-7 over the last month.
So you could go a lot of ways in ranking the top five teams right now. In this space, No. 1 is the team that still has a solid lead in point differential per 100 possessions and is coming off a road win over No. 2 in that category on Sunday.
- Last week: Raptors drop champs, ascend to No. 1 again
- This time last year: Leonard returning soon to already-elite Spurs -- The Pacers ended the Cavs' 13-game winning streak and the Rockets were 10-0 with Chris Paul. The Sixers traded Jahlil Okafor to Brooklyn, Brandon Ingram hit a game-winning three in Philly, and in the span of five days, Bradley Beal (51) and James Harden (48) combined to score 99 points in Portland. Giannis Antetokounmpo threw one down on Rudy Gobert, and Jaylen Brown dunked on Pau Gasol's head before Manu Ginobili beat the Celtics in the final seconds.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Mr. Plus: Daniel Theis (BOS - two games) and Kevin Durant (GSW - three games) were each a plus-58 last week.
- Mr. Minus: Trevor Ariza (PHX) was a minus-64 in three games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Indiana (3-0) -- The Pacers only beat the Bulls, Magic and Kings, but three more wins without Victor Oladipo (including one without Domantas Sabonis as well) is a good week.
- Something Just Ain't Right: New York (0-4) -- The Knicks' week included losses at home to the Wizards, Nets (with a rest advantage) and Hornets.
East vs. West
- The West is 85-58 (.594) against the East in interconference games after going 10-6 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 8
- Toughest: 1. Phoenix, 2. Utah, 3. Chicago
- Easiest: 1. Toronto, 2. Detroit, 3. Miami
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Golden State (+4), Four teams (+3)
- Free falls of the week: Detroit (-8), Houston (-7), LA Clippers (-4)
Week 9 Team to Watch
- Oklahoma City -- After an 0-4 start to the season, the Thunder went 16-3 against a pretty soft stretch of schedule. But they're coming off a loss to a team that nearly had a team mutiny less than 48 hours later, and their schedule is about to get tougher and more West-heavy. Having played 10 of their last 20 games against the East, they'll play 13 of their next 14 games within the conference, starting with a week that includes games against the Jazz, Pelicans, Nuggets and Clippers.
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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 108.3 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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