The sample size is certainly small, but this first, glorious week of NBA basketball has done nothing to knock the Clippers down any power rankings. In fact, their decisive victories against the Trail Blazers and Jazz have even given a couple of pundits reason to move the Clippers up their lists.
ESPN (Marc Stein) - 4
I can't quibble with the Week 1 results after the Clippers went to the unfriendly confines of Portlandia and won before turning back the stubborn Jazz at home. Yet it still feels like L.A. has lost a little ground, early as it is to even say such a thing, simply because of the warning shot that the Spurs uncorked with their performance in Oakland. Maybe the Clips can still secure Biggest Threat to Golden State status, but it's clearly a mantle San Antonio has no interest in surrendering.
NBA.com (John Schuhmann) - 4
Two good signs for the Clippers... No. 1: Their five-man bench unit is a plus-22 in 23 minutes (even though the reigning Sixth Man of the Year has been as inefficient as ever) and gave them a huge lift in Thursday’s win in Portland. No. 2: Blake Griffin has taken more shots in the restricted area (20) than from mid-range (9), something he hasn't done the last two seasons. Doc Rivers has never been a fan of offensive rebounds, but his team grabbed 29 of them (more than they had in any two-game stretch last season) last week.
CBS Sports (Matt Moore) - 3
A great win on the road at Portland, and Blake Griffin looks like he's back to his dynamic self. Maybe more importantly, Griffin's defense looked the best it ever has against the Blazers and the team absolutely crushed the Jazz Sunday.
NBC Sports (Kurt Helin) - 3
Here’s the thing that has to make Doc Rivers smile: His bench is playing more cohesively than his starters so far. In two games, his bench is +22. “We talk a lot about if you aren’t doing what you do well, what can you do for the team,” Rivers said after his team beat the Jazz Sunday. “Mo Speights was 1-of-8 (shooting), but he drew four charges.” We’ll see if they can sustain it against the Thunder and Spurs this week.
While it’s encouraging to see the Clippers maintain their spot in the power rankings hierarchy, the slight uptick is, more than anything, a product of overreaction to the Warriors stumble out of the gates. CBS Sports and NBC Sports dropped the Dubs to #6 and #4, respectively, a decision which seems to eschew any sort of benefit of the doubt for the super-est of super teams. Regardless, let that hiccup be a lesson in the value of continuity, as this run-it-back Clippers squad has impressed against two probable Western Conference playoff foes.
The Cavaliers and Spurs appear to be firmly entrenched as the other top-4 staples, but the Clippers will have the opportunity to shake up the rankings Saturday evening as they travel to San Antonio for what will surely be their most formidable test of the young season. That game will come on the heels of a tough week (vs. PHX, vs. OKC, @MEM) that should, for better or worse, make next week’s roundup one to keep an eye on.