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NBA Power Rankings: Week 16

Monday, January 29, 2018


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1. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 40-10
While the rest of the league endures the standard ebbs and flows of a long season, the Warriors relentlessly plug along. They are now 30 games over .500 and have yet to lose two consecutive games all season. The 2017-18 campaign also marks the third straight season they’ve won at least 40 of their first 50 games. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, no other NBA team has ever done that in more than two consecutive seasons.


2. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 35-13
Prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, no team in NBA history had ever attempted more than 50 3-pointers in a single game. Since the start of the last season, the Rockets have attempted at least 50 3-pointers in a game 19 times.


3. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 35-15
Video footage of Gordon Hayward shooting around made its way around the internet last week, causing some raised eyebrows, and raised hopes around New England. However, speaking with reporters over the weekend, coach Brad Stevens confirmed he still doesn't expect Hayward to play again for Boston in 2017-18. "We don't anticipate him being back this season," said Stevens.

 

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4. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 33-15
The Raptors beat the Lakers on Sunday night to improve to 18-4 at home on the season. That’s the second-best home record in the NBA, trailing only the Spurs (20-4).


5. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 30-20
OKC has won eight straight games, the longest current winning streak in the NBA. Dating back to December 1st, the Thunder are 22-8, the league’s second-best record behind only the Warriors. OKC was also 17-0 when they have had all five starters (Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams) healthy during that stretch. Unfortunately, they won’t be to play with that same starting five the rest of the season, as they lost Roberson to a torn patella tendon on Saturday night.


6. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 32-20
The Wolves have already exceeded their win total from 2016-17 (32), and there are still 30 games left to play this season.


7. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 33-19
Dejounte Murray has been playing well and stuffing the stat sheet since replacing Tony Parker as the team’s starting point guard. In the five games San Antonio has played since coach Gregg Popovich made the switch, Murray is averaging 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.2 steals, while shooting 51.0 percent from the floor and 91.7 percent from the free-throw line.


8. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 29-19
The Cavs finally got back on track this weekend, beating the Pacers on Friday and the Pistons on Sunday. Nonetheless, defense continues to be a significant issue in Cleveland, and the Cavs are just 11-13 against teams above .500 this season. Will Cleveland make a major move to upgrade their roster over before the trade deadline?


9. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 28-21
The Heat had lost three of their last four before securing a win over the Hornets Saturday night. Miami will now embark on a challenging four-game road trip. In total, they will play seven of their next ten away from home.


10. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 26-22
The Bucks are 3-0 since firing Jason Kidd and replacing him with interim coach Joe Prunty… Giannis Antetokounmpo has looked terrific in the two games he’s played since sitting out two contests earlier last week. Giannis tallied 41 points, 13 boards and seven assists Friday night. He followed that up by totaling 27 points, nine boards and eight assists on Sunday.


11. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 27-22
After a slide backward earlier this month, the Blazers have won four of their last five. Over Portland’s previous six games, Damian Lillard is averaging 28.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 4.3 treys, while shooting 52.8 percent from the floor, 50 percent from downtown and 89.2 percent from the charity stripe.


12. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 24-22
Joel Embiid is reportedly available to play on Monday night vs. the Bucks after scoring 27 points and grabbing ten rebounds in 36 minutes of action on Sunday in a loss to the Thunder. Embiid, who was drafted in June of 2014, has never played both ends of a back-to-back in the NBA. The last time he played in back-to-back games on consecutive nights was November 29th and 30th of 2013, when Kansas played Villanova and UTEP.


13. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 27-22
The Wizards had lost four of five before knocking off the Hawks on Saturday night. However, the bigger concern moving forward is that they had to play that game without John Wall, who was sidelined due to a recurrence of soreness and swelling in his left knee. Wall said he plans to travel to Cleveland to get a second opinion on his knee.


14. New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 record: 27-22
Can’t help but feel awful for DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans. It appeared Boogie was on his way to experiencing the postseason for the first time in his career, before he ruptured his Achilles in the closing moments of Friday night’s win over the Rockets. Cousins was in the middle of a monster season. Consider this: only three players (Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in NBA history ever averaged at least 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists per game over a full campaign. DeMarcus Cousins was averaging 25.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists.


15. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 26-23
The Nuggets have won three straight games but face a brutal upcoming schedule. Denver plays the Celtics on Monday, the Spurs on Tuesday, the Thunder on Thursday and the Warriors on Saturday. Yikes.


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