NBA Power Rankings
NBA power rankings, rating the entire league from top to bottom. Our NBA power rankings are based mostly on how good teams really are, with recent performances taken into partial consideration. Updated regularly during the regular season, InsideHoops.com's NBA power rankings focus on the big, season-long picture.
2015 NBA POWER RANKINGS
Updated December 14, 2015
John Schuhmann of NBA.com writes: The Golden State Warriors lost. It was bound to happen, and it shouldn't be a surprise that it happened at the end of a seven-game road trip, on the second night of a back-to-back, after a double-overtime thriller, even though the opponent wasn't a good one. The Milwaukee Bucks did what four teams in our top 10 couldn't do earlier on the Warriors' trip, but they had some help, especially from the Raptors, Pacers and Celtics, who all made Stephen Curry and Draymond Green play big minutes along the way.
1) Golden State (24-1)
Pace: 101.8 (3) OffRtg: 112.9 (1) DefRtg: 98.1 (5) NetRtg: +14.8 (1)
Now that the streak is over, the Warriors can focus on their long-term goals, like staying healthy, staying fresh, and getting back to being the best defensive team in the league. As they've torn other defenses to shreds, their own has taken a small step backward. Luke Walton doesn't need to start giving days off yet, because the champs are playing only five games, all at home, in the next 16 days.
2) San Antonio (20-5)
Pace: 95.9 (26) OffRtg: 104.7 (4) DefRtg: 91.9 (1) NetRtg: +12.7 (2)
The Spurs' starting lineup has had its ups and downs offensively; it's scored less than a point per possession over the last five games. But this team continues to win with its bench, which has been similarly dominant as that of the Warriors. Gregg Popovich is now 12-0 against former assistants Brett Brown and Mike Budenholzer, having beat them by a combined 76 points last week.
3) Cleveland (15-7)
Pace: 95.6 (29) OffRtg: 105.0 (3) DefRtg: 99.9 (11) NetRtg: +5.1 (5)
The Cavs are 6-6 in games they've trailed by 10 or more points after Tuesday's win over the Blazers. But it was nice to not have one of those double-digit deficits Friday in Orlando, where they built their biggest halftime lead (16 points) since the second game of the season. The easy win came with the season debut of Iman Shumpert (who shot 5-for-7) and a breakthrough for Timofey Mozgov (8-for-9). Two big games this week.
4) Oklahoma City (16-8)
Pace: 99.1 (13) OffRtg: 107.6 (2) DefRtg: 100.0 (12) NetRtg: +7.7 (3)
Though the Thunder haven't had a consistent third scorer behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (Serge Ibaka followed 23 points against Atlanta with 15 total in a home-and-home with Utah), they've scored 111 points per 100 possessions on their five-game winning streak. A third guy hasn't been all that necessary with how efficient Durant has been. He's on Stephen Curry's tail for the league lead in true shooting percentage.
5) Toronto (16-9)
Pace: 96.1 (25) OffRtg: 103.9 (6) DefRtg: 99.4 (9) NetRtg: +4.5 (6)
The Raptors are without two starters, but their four-game winning streak (with a win over the Spurs) has been a result of better starts. After losing five straight first quarters, they've won four straight (by a total score of 108-84), with DeMar DeRozan (31 points on just 17 shots) and Luis Scola (24 points) giving them some early punch. DeMarre Carroll could be missed against Paul George, Nicolas Batum and Dwyane Wade this week.
6) Boston (14-10)
Pace: 101.3 (4) OffRtg: 101.1 (18) DefRtg: 97.0 (4) NetRtg: +4.1 (8)
The Celtics came up short against the champs, but won their two more important games - vs. Chicago and at Charlotte - last week, improving to 4-5 against the other nine East teams over .500, with three more games against that group this week. Their offense continues to be shaky, but their defense has held seven of their last 10 opponents, including two top-six offenses over the weekend, under a point per possession.
More NBA Power Rankings, from Matt Moore of CBS Sports:
6) Charlotte: Charlotte has the fifth-best offense and the sixth-best defense in the league this season. They are incredibly consistent in their approach, and have little drop off from their starters to their bench unit. Nicolas Batum has been an absolute revelation this season, and they are probably my No. 1 League Pass team (since the Warriors are on national television so often).
7) Indiana: The loss to the Warriors was very much a reality check for them. You can be one of the best teams in the East and not be close to matching up with the best teams in the league when they bring it. The Pacers remain very good, Paul George is phenomenal and the win over Miami was good to settle things down ... but they've lost three of four now. Coming back to earth a bit.
8) Miami: The defense remains sharp but they just can't get all their weapons on the same page. They are 11-4 at home, 2-5 on the road. When the schedule balances out, if they don't figure out how to run the offense they're going to tumble.
9) Toronto: In the last two weeks they have wins over the Hawks and Spurs, and took the Warriors to the wire. They have random slip-ups to teams like Denver like most teams do, but their overall body of work is very strong. The only reason they've slid is because of jumps by the Celtics and Thunder. This is one of the East teams I feel the best about keeping up their success through the season.
10) L.A. Clippers: They fall two spots because of the Thunder and Celtics' jumps, just like Toronto did ... but honestly? I'm just not impressed with this team anymore. They didn't play well vs. the Magic, Wolves, Bulls or even the Nets. They went 3-1 in those games, but at this point, how do you walk away with any confidence that this team is going to end its season any differently? They're just kind of there, at the top, not really going anywhere. So much talent, such a terrible vibe.