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PBT NBA Power Rankings: Golden State climbing rankings fast

Jan 6, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

The top two teams in the East are the top two teams on PBT’s Power Rankings, but with their current nine-game win streak Golden State has moved in as the top ranked team in the West. If they keep defending like this they are legitimate contenders come playoff time.

 
source:  1. Pacers (27-6, Last Week No. 2). Indiana’s offense has taken a little dip lately, scoring just 98 points per 100 possessions their last five games (down four from their season average and 25th in the NBA in that stretch). But they are still 4-1 in those five thanks to that league-best defense and some scoring off the bench from Danny Granger. They have a rematch with Toronto, the one loss in those five games, on Tuesday.

 
source:  2. Heat (26-8, LW 3). Miami should put together a little run of wins — while they head out on a six-game road trip only one of their next 9 games is against a team over .500 and that is the Hawks, now without Al Horford. Then again, if one elite team is going to take some nights off in there and lose a couple to lesser teams, it’s Miami.

 
source:  3. Warriors (23-13, LW 6). Winners of nine in a row, the last five of those on the road. They are doing it with defense thanks to the return of Andre Iguodala — GSW has the third best defense in the NBA over their last five games. Streak could continue with Bucks, Nets and Celtics on the docket this week.

 
source:  4. Spurs (26-8, LW No. 5). Won four of last five during home-heavy part of schedule and they are doing it with offense — they have an offensive rating of 115.9 points per 100 possessions last five games (107.4 on season) with a true shooting percentage of 59.5 percent.

 
source:  5. Thunder (27-7, LW 1). It took Kevin Durant going off for 48 (23 in fourth quarter) for them to get a their first win this week without Russell Westbrook (beating Minnesota, the next win over Boston came much easier). It’s going to take more Durant and some big Reggie Jackson nights to keep them afloat at top of West until Westbrook’s mid-February return.

 
source:  6. Trail Blazers (26-8, LW 4). They have gone 2-3 in their last five and while they have gotten to the line a little less and not been quite as strong on the boards, the reality is they have lost the kind of close games they have won much of the season. Those kinds of wins tend to even out over time.

 
source:  7. Clippers (23-13, LW 7). Route at hands of Spurs shows what life without Chris Paul could be like — even with relatively soft schedule L.A. is not same without him. This stretch of roughly 20 games with out Paul will cost them in the final NBA standings, making a playoff run that much harder.

 
source:  8. Rockets (22-13, LW 8). Maybe “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” but the up-and-down rockets sure could use some, as the only thing they seem to do consistently is have rough fourth quarters and lose because of them. Houston heads out on a four game road trip starting this week.

 
source:  9. Suns (20-12, LW 9). Teams that give a consistent effort on defense tend to win but even so this could be a tough couple weeks for the Suns — they head out on a five-game road trip without Eric Bledsoe, who has a sprained knee.

 
source:  10. Raptors (16-16, LW 14). It took a good fourth quarter from LeBron to end a five-game Toronto win streak on Sunday. They are now 9-4 since Rudy Gay was traded away — they are your third best team in the East. GM Masai Ujiri also realizes third in this east is fool’s gold this season and will make moves thinking long term.

 
source:  11. Mavericks (19-15, LW 10). Time for some fun with math: It’s likely going to take about 47 wins to make the playoffs in the West, for Dallas to get there they need to go 28-20 the rest of the way. You think they can do that? I’m not sold the Mavs, the current eight seed in the West, can hold off teams like Minnesota and Denver the rest of the season.

 
source:  12. Hawks (18-16, LW 11). They have gone 2-3 without Al Horford but they haven’t played terribly (they almost knocked off Golden State, it took an Andre Iguodala game winner to save the Warriors). In this east the Hawks may be able to hang around close to .500 and still make the playoffs pretty comfortably.

 
source:  13. Timberwolves (16-17, LW 12). Seven times Minnesota has had a .500 record this season, and seven times they have lost the next game. I keep expecting this team to string together a series of wins and I keep being disappointed. But it will happen. Eventually.

 
source:  14. Pelicans (15-17, LW 15). Another team that might put together a run, but it’s not likely with both Jason Smith and now Ryan Anderson out — they need those big guys up front. Does Anthony Davis stand a chance of making the All-Star team with the game in New Orleans?

 
source:  15. Wizards (14-17, LW 13). There are moments you think this could be the third best team in the East — especially when Nene is on the court and active — but those moments are fleeting. They have lost three in a row and now have four of their next five on the road.

 
source:  16. Nuggets (16-17, LW 16). Andre Miller isn’t in the rotation and he is on the trade block — Miller can be strong willed but he’s also a rock-solid veteran on the court. That Brian Shaw isn’t using or getting along with him should raise eyebrows.

 
source:  17. Grizzlies (15-18, LW 20). Playing the same math game we did with Dallas (and assuming you need 47 wins to make the playoffs in the West) Memphis will need to go 32-17 the rest of the way to get in the postseason dance. They have the Spurs, Suns and Thunder at home as three of their next four, those are the kinds of games they need to win.

 
source:  18. Bulls (14-18, LW 22). Chicago is looking like the Bulls we remember without Rose — they have won five of their last seven by just playing grinding defense and finding enough offense from somewhere. Having Luol Deng back helps their offense a lot.

 
source:  19. Lakers (14-20, LW 18). Kendall Marshall is showing he can finally shoot in his latest chance with Lakers. In his first five games this season he shot 58.3 percent from three and finished 7-of-8 in the paint. If he can keep up anything in that ballpark the Lakers got a little steal with him.

 
source:  20. Pistons (14-19, LW 18). Detroit has lost six of its last seven and point guard Brandon Jennings called it an emergency. They are currently the eight seed in the East but Boston will get Rajon Rondo back and Brooklyn is playing better… it’s not an emergency in Detroit but it’s not pretty at all.

 
source:  21. Bobcats (15-20, LW 17). They went 1-4 on a rough West Coast road swing where their previously stout defense gave up at least 103 points in four of the five games (more than 110 in three of those). You know that Steve Clifford is not happy with that.

 
source:  22. Nets (12-21, LW 23). They have won two in a row going small, with Paul Pierce at the four. Whatever works. There’s some real tests to this little run on the schedule this week — Miami, Golden State and Toronto.

 
source:  23. Knicks (11-22, LW 26). They went 2-1 on a road trip through Texas — it might have been 3-0 if J.R. Smith makes a better decision. Not bad at all. In those three games the Knicks got key buckets out of Iman Shumpert, who has emerged lately as a quality offensive option. But please, ignore all that and talk about ridiculous trade rumors.

 
source:  24. Celtics (13-20, LW 21). Brandon Bass told PBT that you can learn more from a tough season than a good one, and he is trying to teach the young players on the team how to be professional through a rough season. Boston has lost seven of eight, that’s a lot of teachable moments for Bass.

 
source:  25. 76ers (12-21, LW 29). Four wins in a row, all on a road swing against the West — they beat the Lakers, Nuggets, Kings and Blazers. With Michael Carter-Williams in the lineup this team is decent (and he’s not going to miss time after that collision in Portland). By the way, look for the Thaddeus Young trade talk to heat up (Phoenix could be destination).

 
source:  26. Kings (10-22, LW 24). This team teases you with wins over Miami and Houston, then turns around and can’t beat the Sixers or Bobcats. Rumor is the Kings are looking to be big players at the trade deadline, kind of an anti-Maloof strategy.

 
source:  27. Jazz (11-25, LW 28). This is a 5-5 team in their last 10 games as they get some good play from Trey Burke, plus Enes Kanter has stepped up his game. If Richard Jefferson isn’t traded for Andrew Bynum to Cleveland he could land somewhere else at the deadline.

 
source:  28. Cavaliers (11-23, LW 25). No matter where Andrew Bynum ends up by the end of this week, we have another question about the Cavaliers: Could Pau Gasol really have lifted them into the playoffs? Even in the East I’m not sold he’s enough on this roster.

 
source:  29. Magic (10-23, LW 27). They head out on a five-game West Coast road swing this week, which could get ugly. Arron Afflalo is upping his trade value, and trade talk is maybe the only kind of interesting Magic talk right now.

 
source:
30. Bucks (7-26, LW 30). Larry Sanders was the guy getting hyped this summer — a new $44 million deal and he was going to be a franchise cornerstone. Now he has missed games after an injury suffered in a bar fight and he is arguing with teammates like Gary Neal. That’s not good. At all.

  1. phillysports1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    If my Sixers keep it up ,and keep Thad we can have a shot at the playoffs as a 8th or 7th seed !!!!!

    • philadelphiafan - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Thad is on a tear lately!!

  2. pukpokito - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I hope the Celtics and Nets keeps on losing.I would love for the Celtics to get # 1 # 2 or #3 pick and ge a chance to draft Spidey,Wiggins,Exum, Embid. At # 8 the best they could get is Saric.

    • basketballhooper1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Wait, but doesn’t Atlanta have the right to swap picks with the Nets? And then the Celtics get the worse of those two picks if I’m not mistaken?

      • bougin89 - Jan 7, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        That is correct. The Hawks get the right to swap the Nets 2014 pick because of the Joe Johnson trade.

  3. nflcrimerankingscom - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    The updated Algorithmic Rankings have OKC in 1st place with a momentum adjusted True Win % of 70.19 %, followed by Indiana (), San Antonio, Miami, and Golden State. They recursively adjust each team’s weighting until they balance out when accounting for each opponents weighting and the point differential of each game (large differences tapered to dampen effects of blowouts). Ideally will add points per possession margins which will be more accurate.

    http://nbapowerranking.blogspot.com/p/2013.html

    In addition, efficiency-based algorithm rankings have been added. These are based on the per-possession rating metric from Basketball Reference.com that again are recursively weighted by opponents to get more accurate ratings. These are similar (but perhaps more advanced in the weight) to Hollinger’s Rankings.

    In this case, both the Clippers and Blazers fare better.

    http://nbapowerranking.blogspot.com/p/efficiency-based-rankings.html

  4. phillysports1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Celtics and Nets fan ?

  5. bucrightoff - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I don’t know if anyone has ever won Executive of the Year back-to-back, but Masai has pretty much got it sewn up again. And the Nuggets didn’t resign him? Whoops…

  6. shanelsweet - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    The Wizards still in the top half. Yippee! They could be a nice underdog team to cheer on come playoffs time. They’ve got some starters that match up well with most teams, and their young backcourt of Wall and Beal is very exciting to watch. When things start to shake out later in the season and it becomes apparent that some of the teams most of you are used to seeing in the playoffs aren’t going to be there this year, watch the underdog Wizards. Not a knucklhead or thug in the bunch of them, and a coach who doesn’t make very many late game mistakes. Not his fault he hasn’t won more with the talent he’s had to coach over his career.teams. Let’s go Wiz

  7. money2long - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    where are all the people who were feeling so sorry for the thunder in the summer time ? they look just fine to me, as anticipated.

  8. ProBasketballPundit - Jan 7, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    I love that the Warriors are winning and the New York teams are losing… but for some reason I’m having a hard time getting into this season. I watched so many freaking games the last three years, including all summer with the 2012 olympics, that I’m a little burnt out. Maybe I should just try watching random teams like the Pelicans to see if one of them sparks my interest.

  9. gostlcards5 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    By the way, also of note, if you haven’t, you should hear him talk. He wants to stay, and he accepts the reduced role, because of his age and the injuries. I hope they find a way to keep him.

    • gostlcards5 - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      How is it that my first comment was deleted? I didn’t say anything remotely bad…

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