NBA Power Rankings Heading Into February
Welcome to the dog days of the winter. We have major shake ups going on in the power ranking. It gets tiresome writing about the Warriors all the time, but this week, it’s time for some straight-up, simple praise. Not only are the Warriors the best team in the land with the No. 1 offense, No. 1 defense and No. 1 record, and not only is Stephen Curry back to setting worlds on fire, but there’s something to be said for their evolution. The Cavs have reached that mental roadblock in the season. With so much going on, let’s take a look at the top 10 power teams heading into February.
1. Golden State Warriors (41-7) : This team is the most adaptable of any team in the league. Their rim protection was bad? Kevin Durant has become a weak-side flyswatter and their schemes have tightened. Steph Curry was more of a nice garnish than the centerpiece? He’s moved back into being the main engine of the team, averaging 28.6 points, 6.6 assists and shooting 50 percent from both the field and the perimeter over the past five games. As if beating the Warriors wasn’t hard enough this season, they continue to methodically address their weaknesses.
2. San Antonio Spurs (37-11) : San Antonio’s dropped back-to-back games for just the second time this season and the fourth time in two calendar years. With the top of the league as messy as it is, it’s not enough to budge them from their perch this week. Still, they’re now 4.5 back of the Warriors. That ship hasn’t sailed, but it’s needs to start going if they want to secure home court in the playoffs.
3. Houston Rockets (36-16) : Led by MVP frontrunner James Harden, the Rockets — who dropped back-to-back games (to Milwaukee on Monday and Boston on Wednesday) for just the second time all season — were able to bounce back in Philadelphia on Friday. Harden poured in 51 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to become the first player in NBA history with multiple 50-point triple-doubles in a single season.
Six of their next seven games at home looks welcoming for the Rockets, who have been seriously taxed by January travel. James Harden’s scoring is up this month, but the peripherals have taken a small, indicative dip, too.
4. Boston Celtics 30-18) : Boston has finally pulled into a tie with Toronto for the 2-seed. What’s interesting is that the East is considered to be the less flashy conference, but those two teams are living on offense. Boston’s back into the top 15 in defense over the past two months with an easy overall schedule over the next month. Their matchup with Toronto this week is huge; a loss by Boston and the Raptors clinch tiebreaker head to head.
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas is averaging 29.1 points per game (second in the NBA) to go along with 6.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds while shooting a career-high 46.6% from the field. He’s also averaging 10 points per fourth quarter, which leads the NBA. The Celtics have won their last three games (Houston, Orlando and Milwaukee).