In Week 7 of NBA Power Rankings, the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors are starting to round into form as legitimate contenders.
Nov 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the first weeks of the 2016-17 NBA season, and even heading into the offseason, everyone knew the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers were legitimate title contenders. Over a month into the season, we still know this to be true.
However, the surprise teams stepping up always make a new NBA season more exciting, and the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors have filled those roles early on.
Coming off four dominant wins, We The North is making an early push for the No. 1 seed in the East behind the Cavs. Coming off an impressive back-to-back that featured a road win against the league-leading Warriors, the Rockets are starting to click thanks to the MVP-caliber play of James Harden within his new offense.
Are we ready to bill either of them as legitimate title contenders? Now quite yet. But outside of our Power 4 teams, we’re having a hard time thinking of teams that have been better surprises early in the season.
Here’s a look at our Week 7 2016-17 NBA Power Rankings.
Dec 3, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) and guard Deron Williams (8) celebrate during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Bulls 107-82. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-2 Last rank: 30th
After playing the Spurs and Hornets tough only to fold late, plus Deron Williams returning to the starting lineup, it felt like it was only a matter of time before the Dallas Mavericks broke through and stole a game from someone.
That finally happened with a convincing 25-point win over the Bulls, but more importantly, it’s been good to see Wesley Matthews returning to form. He’s averaging 21.8 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting from three-point range over his last four contests.
Nov 28, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric (9) controls the ball against Toronto Raptors in the second half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3 Last rank: 27th
We’re still getting used to alternating between being excited about the Philadelphia 76ers on the nights when Joel Embiid plays and avoiding the Sixers altogether on the nights he doesn’t, but luckily Dario Saric has started to pick up the slack a little bit on those less interesting nights.
In any case, we should point out that Philly’s point differential is a -11.8 in the seven games Embiid has missed, compared to -9.0 in the 13 he’s played. Not a huge distinction, but the Philly faithful will take whatever positive news they can get at this point.
Dec 3, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) greets center Brook Lopez (11) in the fourth quarter during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-2 Last rank: 29th
Big week for the Brooklyn Nets, and not just because they earned the marquee victory of Kenny Atkinson’s early tenure with a double-overtime win over the Clippers, fueled by Sean Kilpatrick‘s career-high 38 points and 14 rebounds.
The other exciting news, aside from Joe Harris showing signs of life for Brooklyn’s bench, is the front office’s four-year, $37 million offer to the Rockets’ Donatas Motiejunas. After missing out on Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe this summer, here’s hoping the third time is the charm for the Nets in restricted free agency.
Nov 30, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (right) celebrates with teammate Eric Bledsoe in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Hawks 109-107. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-1 Last rank: 28th
Much like he did last year before his season-ending injury, Eric Bledsoe is putting up some great numbers while toiling away for a very subpar team — 19.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, to be exact.
Unfortunately, that two-point win over a floundering Hawks team doesn’t look as great when you remember the Phoenix Suns gave up 138 to the Warriors over the weekend and need plenty of improvements for an offense ranking dead last in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Dec 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 106-98. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3 Last rank: 21st
Another week, another entry about how the Sacramento Kings make us sad to look at. They were so close to forcing their way into the playoff conversation, but an 0-3 week that included an OT loss to the Wizards and all three Ls coming by double-digits put them on the back burner once again.
Despite putting up a 36-20-4-2, a 28-9-4-3 and a 36-12-4-3 stat line this week, DeMarcus Cousins was unable to carry his team to a single victory. “Fed up” probably doesn’t even come close to describing it.
Nov 25, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) greets fans on the way to the locker room following an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. The Wizards won 94-91. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-2 Last rank: 26th
Hmm. Maybe we were too hasty in declaring that Bradley Beal‘s max extension was one of the biggest flops of the summer. He still has to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season, of course, but over his last eight games, Beal has put up 27.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game on .503/.471/.795 shooting splits.
The Washington Wizards are still John Wall‘s team, and this still isn’t a very good team, but Beal may actually be approaching that breakout season we’ve all been waiting on.
Nov 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) shoots over New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and center Marshall Plumlee (40) during the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Knicks defeated the Timberwolves 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-3 Last rank: 23rd
The Minnesota Timberwolves are like the Golden State Warriors but without the success: Tons of highlight plays that make them fun to watch, but nowhere near enough wins after we spent all summer laying down tracks for the hype train.
Clawing back from a 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to force — and win — overtime in Charlotte was great, but Karl-Anthony Towns‘ career night of 47 points and 18 rebounds earlier in the week was soured by a loss to the Knicks and his fellow unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis.
Dec 3, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) shoots the ball against Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson (6) in the second quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3 Last rank: 18th
There’s been a lot of talk about the positive culture that Michael Malone has fostered in Denver, much like he was praised for his work with DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. But after such a lifeless 0-3 week from the Denver Nuggets, someone should probably point out his 79-129 overall record (.380) as a head coach.
Wilson Chandler looks like he actually gives a damn, but it’s hard to say the Nuggets have been anything more than disappointing after getting blown out at home by a Rockets team on the second night of a back-to-back, which started with a double-overtime game at Golden State.
Dec 4, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) handles the ball in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans
Last week: 1-2 Last rank: 22nd
Make that 5-4 since Jrue Holiday returned, compared to a paltry 2-10 start without him. Anthony Davis is still the driving force here, as his 41-16-4-3-2 stat line showed against the Lakers in a game he outscored LA’s starters by himself, but there’s no question he needed some help.
Unfortunately, the Pelicans can ill-afford losing weeks like the one they just had, nor can they afford any missed time for the Brow, who was banged up in Sunday’s loss and reportedly underwent X-rays after the game.
Dec 3, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson (8), guard Goran Dragic (7) and head coach Erik Spoelstra during a break in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. The Trail Blazers won 99-92. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2 Last rank: 24th
One thing is certain: The Miami Heat are a very different team when they have a healthy Goran Dragic on the floor. Even with Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow out, the Heat managed a 2-2 week with the Dragon back in the lineup.
So you’ll forgive us if we take a break from our normally scheduled ranting and raving over Hassan Whiteside‘s gaudy numbers to appreciate Miami’s 6-9 record with Dragic on the court compared to their 1-4 mark without him. With Gogi averaging 18.3 points, 6.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game on .455/.462/.818 shooting splits, it’s not hard to see why. Related note: Wayne Ellington‘s return has been a welcome one too.
Dec 4, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) reacts after a play with forward Serge Ibaka (7) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Magic win 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1 Last rank: 25th
Typical Orlando Magic. Right we were berating their 6-11 start despite having the most favorable early schedule in the NBA, they rattle off a 3-1 week, including a double-digit win over the Spurs. In fact, if Elfrid Payton had a jump shot, the Magic were one broken last-second play from pulling out a W in their only loss of the week too.
Serge Ibaka has been playing better, Aaron Gordon had a 20-point performance with the starters and Evan Fournier continues to quietly put up consistent numbers. Is Frank Vogel’s squad finally starting to come together?
Dec 3, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Dennis Schroder (17) of the Atlanta Hawk and Dwight Howard (8) head back to the bench in the third quarter at an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Raptors won 128-86. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-4 Last rank: 11th
Not having Paul Millsap for the last three games is obviously a problem, but nobody was expecting the Atlanta Hawks to combust quite like this. Mike Budenholzer’s squad has now lost nine of its last 10 games, including a hard-fought loss to the Dubs, an ugly two-point loss to the Suns, a 26-point rout to the Pistons and a 44-point trouncing at the hands of Toronto.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has been playing well off the bench and Dennis Schroder dropped a career-high 31 in Phoenix, but Atlanta’s 27th ranked offense has become brutal to watch. Tim Hardaway highlights, anyone?
Dec 2, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lou Williams (23) goes up to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Lucas Nogueira (92) at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers
Last week: 1-3 Last rank: 15th
Pumping the brakes on those “The Los Angeles Lakers going to the playoffs!” talks is probably a good idea, or at least until D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr. are healthy.
Despite the 1-3 week, despite the Lakers’ starters being outscored by Anthony Davis by himself in a loss to the Pelicans, and despite a 33-rout at the hands of Toronto, Lou Williams continues to impress in Sixth Man of the Year conversation. Even in a loss to the Mike Conley-less Grizzlies, his 40 points were the highlight of the week.
Nov 25, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless (4) dunks the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. The Blazers won 119-104. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers
Last week: 2-0 Last rank: 17th
Decent enough bounce-back week for the Portland Trail Blazers, right when it seemed like everything was falling apart. Their opponents included a Pacers team missing Paul George and a Miami side missing several key players, but hey, Rip City will take it right now.
The Blazers are still the league’s worst defense, but with Allen Crabbe putting up 31 points off the bench over his last two performances and Maurice Harkless showing early signs of a breakout year, offense will have to be Portland’s focus.
Dec 3, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) reacts with forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) after scoring a basket in the fourth quarter during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Henson scored 20 points to help the Bucks beat the Nets 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-0 Last rank: 20th
We’re running out of superlatives to describe the outlandish 22-9-6-2-2 stat line that Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging, so we’ll give that a rest this week and instead focus on Michael Beasley‘s resurgence, John Henson finally showing serious signs of life and the Milwaukee Bucks being on a four-game win streak.
It’s enough to make us lament what we might have seen from Jason Kidd‘s squad with a healthy Khris Middleton this year, but how can we not be high on the Bucks after a 17-point win against the Cavs? Oh, and speaking of which, that brings us to MORE GIANNIS!
Dec 4, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Magic win 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1 Last rank: 19th
Reggie Jackson‘s 18-point return/season debut Sunday night was surprisingly spoiled by the Magic, but the Detroit Pistons still managed a 3-1 week regardless, including two dominant wins over the Hornets and Hawks and a hard-fought victory over Boston.
Jackson returning is great news for Stan Van Gundy’s squad, but we should give a shout-out to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for seriously expanding his playmaking duties, not to mention backup point guard Ish Smith for holding down the fort as well as he could in the meantime.
Dec 3, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) and guard Troy Daniels (30) celebrate after the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeats the Los Angeles Lakers 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2 Last rank: 5th
Any win the Memphis Grizzlies get without Mike Conley is a blessing, so we’ll call that three-point win over the Lakers exactly that — a blessing. There are quite a few things to watch for with Conley out, but let’s just say that six weeks is a long time.
On the brighter side of things, how about Troy Daniels making the most of his opportunity? His career-high 31 points off the bench was the reason Memphis enjoyed its first “blessing,” and he’s averaging 23 points per game over the Grizzlies’ last three games.
Nov 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots the game-winning basket over Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Knicks defeated the Timberwolves 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks
Last week: 3-1 Last rank: 16th
Here come the New York Knicks? Despite enjoying a favorable stretch that included the Timberwolves twice and the lowly Kings, Carmelo Anthony and company are doing something they haven’t been able to do for years: Beat teams they should be beating.
Derrick Rose is starting to look stable again, Melo has overcome a couple of rough shooting nights with more late-game magic, and Kristaps Porzingis is one horn away from being an actual unicorn. Dare we say it, but the Knicks might be fun again.
Dec 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) guards Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-1 Last rank: 14th
Short week for the Indiana Pacers, who made up for an ugly 22-point loss to Portland by beating the mighty Clippers in their second and final game of the last seven days.
Guys like Aaron Brooks, Glenn Robinson III and Rodney Stuckey have been stepping up off the bench, but the most important piece to the puzzle was Paul George returning for Sunday’s game, putting up a well-rounded 16-7-5-3 line in the process. Fingers crossed he stays healthy and we finally get to see what this team can do at full strength.
Dec 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1-2 Last rank: 8th
Wildly inconsistent week for the Chicago Bulls, who came out flat in a loss to the Lakers, regrouped with a great win over Dwyane Wade‘s old friend LeBron James, and then got trounced by 25 against the lowly Mavericks. Wade rested that game, but the inconsistencies were hard to ignore.
On a more positive note, Chicago temporarily climbing into third place in the Eastern Conference standings over the weekend served as a stark reminder that after all the summer doomsday proclamations, these Bulls are a serious threat to finish with a top-four seed in the East.
Dec 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Frank Kaminsky (44) shoots the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) in the second half at Spectrum Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Hornets 125-120 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-2 Last rank: 9th
Kemba Walker continues to be the story of the 2016-17 Charlotte Hornets, but we should also shine some light on a bench unit that’s seen some individual performers step up.
Frank Kaminsky has been starting lately, but he’s been proving a lot of people wrong about their “draft bust” predictions. Jeremy Lamb rejoining his old UCONN teammate on the floor has been fun to watch, and Marco Belinelli is starting to get comfortable. Blowing that 10-point fourth quarter lead against Minnesota was disappointing, but even as the Hornets gravitate closer to .500, they’ve still been a lot better than most were expecting.
Nov 30, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) dunks the ball in front of Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder
Last week: 3-0 Last rank: 13th
You won’t find us mention any player’s name other than Russell Westbrook, who led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a perfect 3-0 week by the power of five straight triple-doubles. Not only is Russ the only player other than Oscar Robertson to be averaging a triple-double in December, but he’s also on the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan in 1989.
With 47 career triple-doubles to move past LeBron James for sixth on the all-time list, Westbrook isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Who else could start 7-for-28 in a game against Washington before hitting the game-tying three to force overtime and THEN scoring 14 points in the extra period? #RussForPresident.
Dec 1, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) dribbles up the court during the second half against the Miami Heat at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Miami won 111-110. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1 Last rank: 12th
As is becoming a weekly tradition, we must dedicate our Utah Jazz section to lamentations over how good this team would be if they could just stay healthy, since Derrick Favors is still out and George Hill has missed Utah’s last two games with a toe injury.
However, Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert have been getting the job done in the meantime, with Trey Lyles filling in admirably. In spite of all their injury-related absences, Utah was one basket away from a perfect 4-0 week thanks to the NBA’s third ranked defense.
Dec 3, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) walks off the court after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics defeated the 76ers 107-106. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3-1 Last rank: 10th
With all the focus on the Boston Celtics’ record with/without Al Horford and Jae Crowder, we probably haven’t given as much attention to Isaiah Thomas as his play deserves.
But as he continues to rack up points — like his 37-point night to carry his team to a win over the 76ers — we should note that at this rate, IT is most certainly heading toward his second straight All-Star appearance.
Dec 3, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kyle Lowry (7) of the Toronto Raptors reacts after scoring a basket against the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. Raptors won 128-86. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 4-0 Last rank: 7th
We haven’t been high on the Toronto Raptors early in 2016-17, but this week provided the wakeup call we needed to change our minds. Not only did We The North rattle off four straight wins to climb back under the Cavaliers for the top seed in the East, but they did so by a combined 119 points.
Their competition — Philly, Memphis, Lakers and Hawks — wasn’t great, but the Raptors are doing what good teams are supposed to do: convincingly handle inferior opponents. Plus, with Lucas Nogueira getting some run and Jakob Poeltl doing things like this, how could we not be high on Toronto right now?
Nov 27, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates after hitting a three point shot during the fourth quarter of the game at the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. The Rockets won 130-114. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 2-1 Last rank: 6th
Are the Houston Rockets dark horses in the West? Because after that eye-opening double-overtime win at Golden State, we’re starting to get some serious 2014-15 vibes thanks to the best ball of James Harden’s career, Mike D’Antoni and an offense that’s really starting to click.
In the meantime though, a more time-sensitive question needs to be answered: After offering Donatas Motiejunas a deal annually worth around $8 million, will the Rockets match Brooklyn’s four-year, $37 million offer?
Nov 29, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0), forward LeBron James (23) and guard J.R. Smith (5) sit on the bench during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 0-3 Last rank: 2nd
It’s starting to feel like every year LeBron James lets his foot up off the gas just long enough for some sort of drama to creep in, turning it into adversity and the team’s basis for motivation the rest of the way. Maybe we’re giving him too much credit, as his 20 turnovers over the last three games were downright sloppy, but no one should be worrying about the Cleveland Cavaliers just yet.
That being said, even with the Cavs mired in their first three-game losing streak of the Tyronn Lue era, they’re still in possession of the No. 1 seed in the East, and all three losses came to playoff-caliber teams. It was a down week, but Cleveland should bounce-back in no time.
Dec 2, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) controls the ball against New Orleans Pelicans guard Tim Frazier (2) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. The Clippers defeat the Pelicans 114-96. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Clippers
Last week: 2-2 Last rank: 4th
Everyone welcome back those good ol’ inconsistent Los Angeles Clippers! This team’s red-hot start has proven what they can be at their best, but a double-OT loss to the Nets — their third straight at that point — proved they may not have broken through just yet, even in a game Blake Griffin sat out.
They bounced back nicely with a 19-point smackdown of the Cavaliers, but rather than build on it, they wound up splitting the next two games with New Orleans and Indiana. Perhaps we’re being overly critical, but the Clips seem like they’re destined to fall back into the same old trap.
Dec 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio Spurs
Last week: 2-1 Last rank: 3rd
The San Antonio Spurs have quietly won 11 of their last 12 games and still have a perfect 11-0 road record, but for some reason, we’re having problems buying into this team’s playoff potential.
Kawhi Leonard has been great and Patty Mills is off to a hot start, but whether it’s the Spurs’ mediocrity at home or the way they’ve played with their food far too often in games against inferior opponents, this San Antonio team feels a bit more human. At the very least, a 12-point loss to Orlando, a measly seven-point win over Dallas and a two-point escape act against Washington didn’t make for the most convincing week, even with Kawhi’s game-winner mixed in.
November 28, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) celebrates with forward Kevin Durant (35) and guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Hawks 105-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors
Last week: 2-1 Last rank: 1st
That win streak had to come to an end at some point, though the Stephen Curry vs. James Harden arguments were only given additional fuel when it was the Rockets’ ending it at 12 games. Still, the Golden State Warriors bounced back well enough by throttling Phoenix by 29 points and slapping up 138 on the scoreboard in the process.
Important question though: How many Defensive Player of the Year votes is Draymond Green costing himself with each and every new kicking incident?