NBA Championships are not decided in March and they aren't decided by pundits and they're power rankings. If they were, then the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers would begin a seven game series tomorrow for the title, because they are the only two choices in the power rankings right now.
Among the eight NBA teams with winning percentages over .600, the Clippers and Spurs are both on double digit winning streaks -- and the other six have all been through ugly losing streaks in recent weeks. Miami and Oklahoma City and Indiana may well bounce back and only a fool would count them out, but as of this moment in time, the Spurs and Clippers are head and shoulders above the rest.
But how to pick just one from these two top contenders? The Clippers enjoy the best margin of victory, net rating and Hollinger ranking in the league as they have for a week or so, with the Spurs close behind. The Spurs have the best record. But honestly, given how close it is, you pick the Spurs, because -- well because they're the Spurs. Most of the critics seem to agree -- only Marc Stein and Matt Dollinger had the Clippers in the first spot -- they were second in all of the other major power rankings, and that seems about right. We'll see if both teams can keep their streak alive until next week. The Clippers have a tough one in Denver tonight and the Spurs have to travel to Oakland to face the Warriors on a back-to-back Saturday.
The scary thing about the Clippers is that they are surging while still missing some key pieces. The Spurs are as healthy as they've been all season, and they may never lose again as long as Kawhi Leonard keeps playing. But the Clippers have an 11 game winning streak which has been accomplished entirely without J.J. Redick and mostly without Jamal Crawford. Who knows how good the Clippers can actually be?
The average ranking for the week (after tossing out the highest ranking and the lowest ranking) is 1.9.
|ESPN.com||Marc Stein||1||A quick glance at the schedule suggests that the Clips are likely to stretch the league's longest active winning streak, which is decorated by that rather robust average victory margin of 15.4 PPG, from 11 wins in a row to at least 15 ... if they can survive Monday night's visit to the Mile High City.|
|Yahoo.com||Marc Spears||2||The Clippers have won 11 straight and are suddenly making a run at one of the West's top two playoff seeds.|
|CBS Sports||Matt Moore||2||The defense may not hit the elite level, but who cares when they're playing like some sort of superhero team? Even Glen Davis and Danny Granger are doing things.|
|SI.com||Matt Dollinger||1||Blake Griffin's game continues evolve as he matures. On his 25th birthday on Sunday, Griffin finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a victory over Cleveland. He has scored at least 20 points in 26 consecutive games, a streak eclipsed only by Kevin Durant this season.|
|Pro Basketball Talk||Kurt Helin||2||Going into the season we said "if they can defend they are contenders." Over their last 15 games they have the second best defense in the NBA (99.7 allowed per 100 last 15; 98 in last 10 games). They are contenders. Danny Granger, given less rigid role by Doc Rivers, is thriving. Winners of 11 in a row with a soft schedule ahead.|
|NBA.com||John Schuhmann||2||Like the Spurs, the Clips are streaking (they've won 11 straight), with a pretty soft schedule over the next 10 days. Chris Paul has averaged 16.1 points, 10.7 assists and 2.4 steals in 15 games since returning from his shoulder injury, but has shot just 6-for-26 from 3-point range. So he may need a few more of those extra shooting sessions before he can make defenders pay for going under the screen.|
|NBA.com||David Aldridge||2||If the Clips make The Finals or win it all this year, Willie Green, currently starting at shooting guard with the injuries to Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick, could be the Marc Iavaroni ('83 Sixers) of otherwise unknown fifth starters on great teams.|
|SB Nation||Jason Patt||2||Not to be outdone, the Clippers have won 11 straight games and currently hold a slight edge in average point differential over the Spurs. Blake Griffin keeps doing Blake Griffin things.|
|Sheridan Hoops||Kamenetsky Brothers||2||The wins keep coming - 11 in a row - but while the Thunder are vulnerable, the Spurs show no signs of giving up the top spot. (LA has gained a grand total of 1 game during the streak.)|
|USA Today||2||Passing the Thunder and/or Spurs for more games at Staples Center, where they are 28-5.|