Image licensed from USA Today Sports
We are fast approaching the conclusion of the NBA season’s first quarter. There is still a long way to go but it will definitely be a longer haul for some teams than it will be for others. One of the more interesting stories to watch over the next week or so will be the adversity that Golden State is currently facing. It will also be interesting to see if Atlanta will win another game. Here are the NBA Week 6 power rankings.
- Toronto Raptors (14-4)
The Raptors stumbled a bit with losses to Detroit and Boston but they finished the week strong with a pair of wins. A relatively easy schedule faces them this week and they should be able to improve on their league-best 14-4 record. These guys are just as good on the road as they are at home.
- Milwaukee Bucks (12-4)
Milwaukee continues to surprise and they continue to put up the most points per game while playing pretty well defensively. The Bucks look unstoppable at home but their 4-3 road mark needs to improve. Lucky for them they play their next three and six of their next eight games at home.
- Portland Trailblazers (12-5)
Portland has been lighting it up lately with six wins in their last eight outings. Their +7 point differential might not be the best but it is among the best as has been their defense. This week has them stopping in Milwaukee and Golden State before returning home to play the Clippers. It won’t be easy.
- Memphis Grizzlies (11-5)
The Memphis Grizzlies are hot with six wins and covers in their last seven games including their last four in a row. They are beating quality opponents and their next two games in San Antonio and Los Angeles will be a good challenge considering they are just 4-4 on the road. 10 of their next 16 games are on the road.
- Golden State Warriors (12-6)
A few cracks are starting to show as the Warriors have now lost three straight and four of their last five. Their offense has stumbled and while they have been very good at home, they are now 4-5 on the road. The good news is that their next four games are at home but they bad news is that their next three come against Oklahoma City, Portland, and Sacramento.
- Indiana Pacers (11-6)
Indiana has had the luxury of playing inferior opponents over the past several days but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have won three in a row. They will be playing five of their next six games on the road and it will be interesting to see whether they can keep up their very good defensive play.
- Philadelphia 76ers
These guys would be significantly higher in the ratings if they could just get their act together on the road. They are still undefeated at home where they are 9-0 but their 3-7 road record is a little troubling. It’s a good thing that they only play five of their next 15 games on the road.
- Los Angeles Clippers (11-6)
The Clippers had a nice five-game winning streak broken at the hands of the Wizards but they are still 7-2 in their last nine games and have been putting up a lot of points. On the flip side, the Clippers have also been giving up a lot of points. They have given up at least 111 points in each of their last seven games.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (10-6)
With 10 wins in their last 12 games, the Thunder continue to show that they are a serious threat. However, it’s not like they have been playing a lot of good teams. They will be making a stop in Golden State before returning home to face the Hornets and Nuggets.
- New Orleans Pelicans (10-7)
There are a few other teams that could easily be ranked here but we’ll go with the Pelicans because they have won their last three games while other similar teams are trending the opposite way. New Orleans has been very good at home but terrible on the road. On top of that, their high-scoring offense is greatly negated by their poor defense.
- Denver Nuggets (10-7)
Denver has lost their last two games and has fallen to 4-6 in their last 10 games. Granted, they have played some decent teams in the past several days but they look a little more vulnerable than they did over the past couple of weeks. Games against Minnesota and Orlando could be revealing.
- Detroit Pistons (8-6)
The Pistons are one of the hotter teams in the league right now but far from the hottest. They have won four of their last five including a big win against Toronto which must give them confidence. This team has played as well on the road as they have at home. A home-at-home set against Houston will be followed by home games versus Phoenix, New York, and Chicago.
- Houston Rockets (8-7)
It was tough to put Houston above the Celtics but the Rockets have started to play up to expectations after a brutal start. They are coming off wins versus Sacramento, Golden State, Denver, and Indy so it’s not like they’ve been playing scrubs.
- Los Angeles Lakers (9-7)
Once again, the Celtics lose out to a hotter team as the Lakers have really picked up the pace with seven wins in their last nine games. Their 5-3 home record and 4-4 road record indicates that they are relatively consistent. One of their biggest flaws is their poor defensive play.
- Boston Celtics (9-8)
This team is truly frustrating and has yet to play with much consistency. Last week saw them start strong with a win over the Raptors but they followed that up with a pair of losses They are just 4-6 over their last 10 games and they play three of their next four on the road. These guys should be much better.
- Houston Rockets (8-7)
The Rockets got off to a very rocky start but have managed to claw their way back over the .500 mark with four consecutive wins and seven wins in their last nine games. Their offense has been clicking and they have shown spurts of really good defensive play. A relatively easy schedule awaits them over the next couple of weeks.
- Charlotte Hornets (8-8)
The Hornets have definitely been trending down with just a pair of wins in their last five games. Most concerning was their lopsided loss to the lowly Cavaliers. Upcoming matches against Indian and Oklahoma City are going to be a serious challenge.
- Orlando Magic (9-9)
Orlando has been one of the hotter teams in the league having won seven of their last ten games but a lot of those wins have come against bad teams. Their defense is an issue but they have found the scoring touch recently and they have played as well on the road as they have at home. They are about to embark on a very difficult road trip which should bring them down to Earth.
- Sacramento Kings (9-8)
Sacramento had a nice winning streak going a couple of weeks back but they have since struggled to find consistency. A pair of games against the Utah Jazz should tell us a little more about this team as should their upcoming games against Golden State and the Clippers.
- San Antonio Spurs (8-8)
It’s difficult to get a feel for this team especially after such a rough stretch in which they have gone 1-4. They have been pretty good at home with six wins in eight games but their 2-6 road record against some questionable teams is a red flag. They face Memphis at home before visits in Indiana and Milwaukee.
- Dallas Mavericks (7-9)
The Mavericks might have a losing record but they are trending up on the heels of a stretch in which they have won five of their last seven including last week’s win over the stumbling Warriors. What’s more is that they are also covering spreads which indicates they are playing above expectations.
- Minnesota Timberwolves (7-10)
Minnesota has put together a nice little stretch of three wins in their last four games. That might not seem to be anything particularly special but two of those wins came last week against Portland and New Orleans. They have some winnable games on the horizon but we will see how they do.
- Brooklyn Nets (7-10)
The Brooklyn Nets are ranked here simply because they have won two of their last three games and they hung in with the Clippers for the most part. They play in a tough division but have only played three divisional games in which they went 2-1.
- Washington Wizards (6-11)
There are a few crummy teams in the NBA and Washington is one of them. However, they haven’t been as awful as most of the other crummy teams in the past several games. They are 4-2 in their last six games both SU and ATS and they have been playing a lot better than they did earlier in the year.
- Miami Heat (6-10)
Three straight losses and just a single win in their last seven games have certainly brought the Heat crashing down to Earth after a decent enough start. Their two-game losing streak isn’t as bad as some of the other similarly bad teams but make no mistake, these guys aren’t even as good as their six wins would indicate.
- Chicago Bulls (4-13)
After picking up their fourth win of the season last week, the Bulls have gone on to drop their last four straight and they have failed to tally 100 points in five of their last six games. To be fair, Chicago has faced some tough competition recently and they won’t have a better chance to pick up a couple of wins as they do this week before they play another stretch against some good teams.
- New York Knicks (4-14)
Now we are getting into the dregs. New York is a very bad team that lost their last six in a row. This is a testament to how bad the remaining teams are. The one thing that keeps the Knicks from ranking further down in the rankings is the mere fact that their point differential is better than the rest.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2-13)
The Cavaliers jump over the Suns and Hawks in the standings based on the fact that they walloped Charlotte and they have the better point differential than the other bottom of the barrel teams. They have actually held opponents to under 100 points in four of their last five games.
- Phoenix Suns (3-13)
The Phoenix Suns somehow managed to beat the San Antonio Spurs this week but they have just that one victory to show for their last seven games. A combination of shaky offense and bad defense is resulting in a point differential of minus 10.7 which is the second-worst in the entire league. They are about to hit the road starting with a stop in Chicago.
- Atlanta Hawks (3-14)
With eight straight losses and just one win in their last 13 games, the Atlanta Hawks are redefining the word “futility”. They seem unable to stop opponents from racking up points against them and their -10.8 point differential is the worst in the league.