The Spurs are the top team in the NBA right now. It goes without saying, and every power ranking our there has them number one. They're on a 17 game winning streak, and they are first in the league in every conceivable metric. They're healthy, and have been almost unbeatable with Kawhi Leonard in the lineup. They're the 800 pound gorilla.
The Clippers are in the conversation for second best pretty clearly. They are second in most advanced metrics, they have as good a record as any team since January 1 (even better than the Spurs) and their record against other contenders in recent months has been stellar. Having said that, I can accept the idea of the Thunder being ranked ahead f the Clippers based on factors like playoff experience and so forth, so I don't have a general problem with the Clippers being ranked third at present as they are in a few rankings.
I do however find it extremely strange that two different pundits (the Marcs, Stein of ESPN and Spears of Yahoo!) had the Thunder leapfrogging the Clippers since last week. Both teams went 3-1 over the course of the week, with the Clippers recording road wins in Dallas and Houston. OKC's three wins all came at home, and all against teams with losing records -- did we not expect them to beat Sacramento and Utah? If the Clippers were second last week, I fail to see how the weekly results could possibly justify sliding the Clippers to third this week. Oh well.
Also notable from this week's rankings is the preponderance of "Big Baby" comments. Get over it people.
The average ranking for this week (after tossing out the lowest ranking and highest ranking) is 2.4.
|ESPN.com||Marc Stein||3||Even accounting for Blake Griffin's back, Glen Davis' blowup with Doc Rivers and a loss in New Orleans that preceded impressive road wins in Dallas and Houston, we don't get the angst in the air about this team when the Clips are in the midst of a 15-2 run and close to getting J.J. Redick back.|
|Yahoo.com||Marc Spears||3||Coach Doc Rivers has a reputation of being cautious with injuries to his stars. Expect the same with Blake Griffin, who had back spasms.|
|CBS Sports||Matt Moore||2||The Pelicans loss was weird, but not meaningful. Like a lot of Tim Burton films|
|SI.com||Matt Dollinger||2||The league's third-most-valuable player? Chris Paul has scored 30 points in back-to-back games -- a nice rebound from a franchise-worst 0-for-12 in a loss to New Orleans -- is leading the league in assists and steals and has helped the Clippers win 15 of their last 17 games.|
|ProBasketballTalk||Kurt Helin||2||Earlier this season the Clippers proved they could win without Chris Paul when Blake Griffin stepped up, Saturday night against the Rockets the Clippers showed they can win without Griffin when CP3 steps up. Doc Rivers will not be in the top couple slots but he has earned consideration for being on the lower slots of the Coach of the Year ballot, particularly with his handling of DeAndre Jordan.|
|NBA.com||John Schuhmann||2||Though the Clippers barely beat the Bucks and came up short in New Orleans, wins in Dallas and Houston put them at 9-2 (scoring almost 112 points per 100 possessions) in their last 11 games against teams with winning records. But Blake Griffin's back spasms at this point in the season are certainly a concern, especially with Glen Davis not emotionally fit to even sit on the bench.|
|NBA.com||David Aldridge||2||Clips' franchise makes the postseason for the third straight season -- first time that's happened since it was in Buffalo in 1973-76.|
|SB Nation||Jason Patt||3||The Clippers have already seen Chris Paul and J.J. Redick miss significant time with injuries, and now they're just hoping Blake Griffin's back problems don't linger with the postseason fast approaching.|
|Sheridan Hoops||Kamenetsky Brothers||2||It's easy to overreact to stuff like this, but on the other hand you'll never see a Spurs player sent to the locker room by his coach, as Glen Davis was Saturday.|
|USA Today||3||When you call a guy "Big Baby," temper tantrums are part of the deal.|