For the second week in a row, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors are the top two teams. The Celtics are riding a 15-game winning streak, including a victory over the Warriors this past week.
The Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets are still playing well and the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are hot. There’s only one change in the Power Six.
The Most Valuable Player race stayed relatively the same with some changes due to the Celtics scorching streak.
Two old nemeses face off in Oklahoma City this week.
We’ll also take a look at the league leaders in blocks.
Here we go.
1. Boston Celtics (15-2). Last week: 1st
The Celtics top the Power Six for the second week in a row. After they were left off the first rankings following an 0-2 start, they haven’t lost again. They’ve been in the top two the past three weeks.
2. Golden State Warriors (13-4). Last week: 2nd
It looked like the Warriors could drop two in a row for the first time since last March this past week. They lost to the Celtics 92-88 after giving up a big lead. They were down 24 to the Sixers on Saturday. Then, the Warriors did what the Warriors do. They quickly erased the deficit and ended up winning by eight.
3. Houston Rockets (13-4). Last week: 3rd
Along with the Warriors, the Rockets seem to be the class of the Western Conference. Nobody in the NBA is playing better than James Harden. Houston also got Chris Paul back this week and his return hasn’t seemed to affect Harden’s mojo.
4. Detroit Pistons (11-5). Last week: 4th
The Pistons started off the week with two losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. They then beat a good Minnesota Timberwolves team in Minneapolis. It still may be early to judge the Pistons, but they belong in the Power Six for now.
5. Toronto Raptors (11-5). Last week: Unranked
I’ve been waiting for an Eastern Conference team (looking at you Cavaliers and Wizards), to join the Celtics and Pistons as early season mainstays in the Power Six this year. Well, the Raptors need not be forgotten. After a close one-point loss to the Celtics, they have rattled off four straight against the Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards.
6. San Antonio Spurs (10-6). Last week: 6th
This spot came down to the Timberwolves and Spurs and, once again, I chose the Spurs because of their history. San Antonio just seems more trustworthy than Minnesota. I’m saying all of this even though the Timberwolves beat the Spurs by 12 on Wednesday. But I think the Spurs will be a better team once Kawhi Leonard returns.
Dropped out of rankings: Denver Nuggets.
Game of the Week
The Warriors visit the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Kevin Durant will be returning to his old home. He will face his old nemesis, Russell Westbrook, and a new-look Thunder team made with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. The Thunder have been above .500 only once this season. Putting it all together against the Warriors would be a great start. This is the fourth week in a row the Warriors are in the Game of the Week.
Atlantic division: The Celtics are on top followed by the Raptors. Two interesting 8-7 teams follow in the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-10 Brooklyn Nets are in last.
Central division: The Pistons are still in the lead but three teams are inching closer behind them. The Cavaliers are winners of four straight and are in second at 9-7. The Milwaukee Bucks (8-7) are in third and the Indiana Pacers (9-8) come in fourth after winning three straight. The Chicago Bulls are in last at 3-11.
Southeast division: The top three teams, Wizards (9-7), Orlando Magic (8-8) and Miami Heat (7-9) are middling around .500. The Charlotte Hornets (6-9) are right behind. The Atlanta Hawks (3-13) are far behind.
Northwest division: The Timberwolves (10-6) lead potentially the most competitive division in the league. The Portland Trailblazers and Denver Nuggets are one game behind. The Thunder are in fourth at 7-8 and the Utah Jazz are 7-10.
Pacific division: The Warriors rule this division. They are six games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers (7-10), six and a half games ahead of the Phoenix Suns (7-11), seven games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers (5-10) and eight and a half games ahead of the Sacramento Kings (4-12).
Southwest division: The Rockets lead followed by the Spurs. The New Orleans Pelicans (8-8) and Memphis Grizzlies (7-8) are chasing. The Dallas Mavericks (3-14) are in the running for worst team in the league with the Hawks, Bulls and Kings.
Stat of the Week: Block Leaders (per game)
- Rudy Gobert, UTAH, 2.50
- Kristaps Porzingis, NY, 2.29
- Kevin Durant, GS, 2.20
- Anthony Davis, NO, 2.00
- Marc Gasol, MEM, 1.87
Rookie Watch: Jayson Tatum
If it wasn’t for Tatum (and Jaylen Brown), it’s difficult to envision the Celtics playing so well. A recurring theme in these weekly recaps has been how Boston is playing so well after the injury to Gordon Hayward. Tatum and Brown are the reasons. The third overall pick is averaging 13.9 points, 1.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and a steal per game. He has scored 20 or more points in three games this season. Tatum looks polished already and the Celtics’ move to trade back in the draft looks better each time he’s on the floor.
NBA MVP Update
If the Celtics keep winning, Irving will keep moving up. Harden has the Rockets winning and is putting up insane numbers. A 40-point effort from him isn’t even surprising anymore. Curry and Durant will fight for who represents Golden State throughout the season. Right now I think Curry deserves it. Giannis and LeBron could rise if they start winning more.