The headline deal from an active trade deadline was made between the teams in 14th and 15th place in the Western Conference. It was a fascinating trade we'll be talking about for a few years, but in regard to this season, it changes very little.
There were some small-to-medium-sized shake-ups, however. The Houston Rockets traded James Harden's favorite assist target to play center-less basketball. The Miami Heat added some experience and versatility to a team that was already contending in the Eastern Conference. And the LA Clippers won the Marcus Morris sweepstakes.
Maybe a minor move will make a major difference in the postseason. Time will tell, and the early returns on the new faces in new places have already begun.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Right Way: Wesley Matthews (MIL) was a plus-63 in three games last week.
- Wrong Way: Marquese Chriss (GSW) was a minus-57 in three games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Milwaukee (3-0) -- Let us not take the Bucks for granted. A little revenge against the Sixers was the highlight of the week, but this team is also 21-4 on the road (and on pace for the best road winning percentage in NBA history) after handing double-digit losses to the Pelicans and Magic.
- Something Just Ain't Right: San Antonio (0-4) -- The rodeo trip started innocently enough with a three-point loss at the hands of the Clippers. Things went downhill from there.
East vs. West
- The West is 160-129 (.554) against the East in interconference games after going 14-8 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 16
- Toughest: 1. New Orleans, 2. Atlanta, 3. Golden State
- Easiest: 1. Milwaukee, 2. Toronto, 3. Brooklyn
- 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: Brooklyn (+3), Sacramento (+3), Three teams (+2)
- Free falls of the week: Detroit (-3), Indiana (-3), San Antonio (-3)
Week 17 Team to Watch
- Denver -- It was a little disappointing that the Nuggets didn't find an upgrade at the deadline. But they're still in second place in the West (despite a bunch of injuries) and 10-5 in games played between the conference's top eight. They have a shot at the No. 1 seed, especially if they can get a win against the Lakers on Wednesday. Prior to that they'll host the Spurs on Monday.
- Last week: Celtics, Raptors climb into Top 5; Jazz, Sixers tumble
- This time last year: Sixers surging in wake of deadline-day deals -- The Pelicans didn't trade Anthony Davis before the deadline. But at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors all made moves, with the Bucks acquiring Nikola Mirotic, the Raptors trading for Marc Gasol, and the Sixers dealing for Tobias Harris. Dallas sent Harrison Barnes to Sacramento, the Sixers sent Markelle Fultz to Orlando, and the Wizards sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago. John Wall tore his Achilles while recovering from heel surgery, but Caris LeVert returned from a three-month absence. The Clippers came back to win three games they trailed by 20-plus points, and Rajon Rondo picked up a loose ball and beat the Celtics at the buzzer.
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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 100.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 109.6 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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