Week 22 Power Rankings: Toronto Raptors rise to No. 1 with big win over Houston Rockets
We watch the Toronto Raptors. We see them end the Houston Rockets' 17-game winning streak and build a four-game lead (in the loss column) atop the Eastern Conference. We note that they're the only team in the league that ranks in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
We watch the Cleveland Cavaliers. We see them lose two games in L.A. We note that they're 14-19 since Christmas and have been outscored by four points over the course of the season. Through all their roster changes, ups and downs, they've been simply mediocre.
So ... Is this the year that LeBron James doesn't make The Finals? Are we ready to make that call with the playoffs 33 days away?
This is easily James' worst team in the last eight years, but we still haven't seen a healthy, post-trade-deadline Cavs roster, with Kevin Love having been out for almost six weeks now. We saw the Cavs flip the switch and sweep the Raptors (who had a much better regular-season point differential) last year.
This season, both in Cleveland and in Toronto, feels much different. But we'll just have to wait until April or May before this drama unfolds. For now, the Raptors are No. 1 and the Cavs most definitely are not.
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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 99.5 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.2 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
For the complete NBA.com's Power Rankings, click here.