Power Rankings Watch: CP3 is back edition

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers held in the four-five-six range in Power Rankings this week, but the return of Chris Paul could see them climbing quickly after the All Star break.

It was something of a mixed week for the Los Angeles Clippers, at least as far as the rankings corps was concerned. The Clippers rose in about half of the rankings, and sank in the other half -- though never by very much. The Clippers were just 2-2 during the week (with two tough losses at Denver and against the Heat) but they also got Chris Paul back in impressive fashion on Sunday. So depending upon whether the ranker paid more attention to the immediate past (a so-so 2-2 week) or the immediate future (a fully healthy squad with the best point guard in the world and a new and improved Blake Griffin) you might have seen the Clippers rise or fall. Overall, the average was pretty much the same as last week.

In several key data metrics, the Clippers are fairly solidly entrenched as the fourth best team in the NBA at this point. By margin of victory and simple rating system and net rating, not only are the Clippers fourth, but there's a decent gap between them and the fifth team (Miami). But I have no problem with currently ranking the Clippers fifth behind the Heat, as we've seen that Miami has the ability to turn it on when they need to.

The average ranking for the week (after tossing out the highest ranking and the lowest ranking) is 5.0.

************

Source Pundit Rank(LAC) Comment
ESPN.com Marc Stein 4 You don't want to get carried away with what we saw against a Philly team almost as supine as Chris Kaman on the Lakers' bench. But you struggle to resist now that CP3 is back. Blake Griffin and Co. lost no real ground without him and look legitimately tougher than they did when he went down.
Yahoo.com Marc Spears 4 As of late, Blake Griffin is playing the best ball of his career. An improved Griffin with a returned Chris Paul makes the Clippers scary post-All-Star break.
CBS Sports Matt Moore 4 Blake Griffin is like a fire-breathing hippogriff on the court right now. He deserves so much credit for keeping the Clippers up top until CP3 returned.
SI.com Matt Dollinger 6 The Clippers' search for bench production continues with the arrival of Sasha Vujacic. But the second unit's deficiencies won't seem so glaring with the return of Chris Paul, who came back in time for the most lopsided win in franchise history.
Pro Basketball Talk Kurt Helin 6 They got Chris Paul back Sunday night and the offense exploded (thanks in large part to the Sixers "defense"). Now come the two big questions: Can they build on the impressive play of Blake Griffin and the offense while CP3 was out? Can they improve their defensive consistency to a level that has them challenging the Thunder?
NBA.com John Schuhmann 6 Upon Chris Paul's return, the Clippers' offense scored 46 points in the first quarter on Sunday and could be (scary thought) even better when J.J. Redick gets back. But the thing to watch will be L.A.'s defense, which suffered some slippage and allowed 106.0 points per 100 possessions in the 18 games Paul missed with his shoulder injury. And look, they play the league's No. 2 offense on Wednesday.
NBA.com David Aldridge 5 CP3 returns to the lineup Sunday night against the 76ers, and thus makes himself eligible to play in next Sunday's All-Star Game in his beloved New Orleans.
SB Nation Jason Patt 4 The Clippers got Chris Paul back and did bad, bad things to the poor 76ers. I mean, don't do 'em like this Blake Griffin.
Sheridan Hoops Kamenetsky Brothers 6 In 16 January games (14 without CP3), Blake Griffin went for 25.7/8.1/4.3, on 55 percent shooting from the floor and a totally competent 72.1 percent from the line. February - 35 points, 11.3 rebounds - has been even better.
USA Today 5 Chris Paul could not miss returning to his old town, New Orleans, for the All-Star Game.

WP MOV RPI SRS Hollinger NetRtg
Total .667 6.39 .545 6.50 107.441 6.7
Rank 6 4 6 4 2 4
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