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NBA Power Rankings: Week 4

Monday, November 6, 2017


1. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 8-2
Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Celtics are the hottest club in the league. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Boston is the first team in NBA history to reel off eight straight wins after dropping the first two games of the season. In addition, the C’s have held their opponent under 95 points in each of those eight victories. It’s the longest such streak by a Boston team since November of 1950.

 

2. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 8-3
The Rockets offense is firing on all cylinders right now. They are averaging 125 points per game over their last three contests and have outscored their opponents by 64 points (375-311) in the process. The catalyst has been The Beard. Harden had a game for the ages on Sunday, pouring in 56 points (on 19-of-25 shooting) and dishing out 13 assists. He joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to tally more than ten assists and shoot better than 75 percent from the floor in a 50-point performance.

 

3. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 7-3
After stumbling a bit out of the gate, it was only a matter of time before the Dubs got back on track and started obliterating opponents. The Warriors won three straight games last week, all by at least 19 points. Per NBA.com, the last team to do that was the Spurs in April of 2012. The Warriors are also the only team in the NBA to score at least 100 points and make 10 or more 3-pointers in every game this season.

 

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4. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 7-3
The Wolves have won five straight, and a winning streak of that length is rarified air for this franchise. It’s Minny's first five-game winning streak since the 2003-04 campaign. Also, the Wolves current spurt is their best 10-game start to a season since 2001, when they won nine of their first 10. Minnesota is 7-1 in games in which Jimmy Butler has played.

 

5. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 7-3
The Pistons winning seven of their first ten games is certainly surprising; almost as shocking as Andre Drummond being among the team leaders in free-throw shooting. Drummond, a career 38.9 percent shooter, has knocked down 75.0 percent (30-of-40) of his attempts from the charity stripe this season. To put that in context, Drummond has made more free throws on fewer attempts than Russell Westbrook, who is 29-of-50 from the line this season.

 

6. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 6-4
On Sunday, coach Gregg Popovich earned his 1,156th victory, passing Phil Jackson for sixth all-time. Even without the sidelined Kawhi Leonard, Coach Pop and the Spurs are still managing to find ways to win.

 

7. Memphis Grizzlies
2017-18 record: 6-4
The Grizz are off to a solid start despite subpar play from Mike Conley, who is fighting through a nagging Achilles injury. The bench has provided a massive boost for Memphis, as reserves are contributing over 44 points per game this season. Tyreke Evans has been particularly productive of late. Evans is averaging 24.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists over Memphis’ last four games.

 

8. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 6-4
Speaking of players on a scoring surge, Damian Lillard has scored at least 30 points in four straight for the Blazers. He’s averaging 34.3 points, 7.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 treys over that stretch. He pumped in a season-high 36 points and dished out 13 dimes in Portland’s impressive win over the Thunder on Sunday.

 

9. Los Angeles Clippers
2017-18 record: 5-4
The Clippers are staggering, having lost four of their last five, and now it appears Danilo Gallinari may miss some time. "I can barely walk," Gallinari told the Los Angeles Times. "I've been having pain the past two or three games, and now it's getting to a point where I'm having problems walking, so I've got to take care of it." Gallo will travel with the team on its three-game road trip (starting in San Antonio on Tuesday) but may need to rest his hip in order to let it heal.

 

10. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 5-4
The Wiz have been up-and-down over the first few weeks of the season, but registered an impressive road win Sunday in Toronto, playing without John Wall. Bradley Beal scored 38 vs. the Raps and is averaging 38.0 points (on 57.7 percent shooting) 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 triples over the Wizards last three games.

 

11. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 5-4
The Process is a bit ahead of schedule. Despite limited contributions from 2017 No. 1 overall pick, the Sixers are picking up steam, thanks in large part to the incredible all-around play of 2016 No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons. Big Ben has already recorded two triple-doubles in the first nine games of his career. The only other player in NBA history with multiple triple-doubles within his first ten career contests is Oscar Robertson.

 

12. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 5-4
The Raptors survived a tough six-game road swing last week but then dropped their first home game back in Toronto. The Raps are going to need Kyle Lowry to shake out of his early-season slumber. Lowry is averaging just 11.9 points (37.6 percent from the floor) in 30.6 minutes per game this season.

 

13. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 4-5
OKC has had a tough time closing out games this season. They’ve held fourth-quarter leads and been within one possession late in each of their four most recent losses. However, they have been better defensively than anticipated. With all that offensive firepower on the floor, it’s only a matter of time before they rip off a long win streak.

 

14. Orlando Magic
2017-18 record: 6-4
Orlando played shockingly well over the first eight games of the season. The Magic scored its most lopsided victory in franchise history when they demolished the Spurs by 27 points (114-87) and snapped a 17-game losing streak to Cleveland. Then, last Wednesday, they ended a nine-game skid at Memphis and improved to 6-2 and on the season. At that point, the Orlando offense was humming. In fact, according to Elias, they tied the 2015-16 Warriors for the most points scored (919) through the first eight games over the last 22 years. This was a remarkable feat for a team that finished 29th in offensive efficiency last season. However, the Magic followed up that strong start with back-to-back blowout losses at home to Chicago and Boston. Elfrid Payton has missed eight straight games with a strained left hamstring injury but is expected to play Wednesday against the Knicks.

 


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