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Power Rankings: Cavaliers’ contingent clever adequate to facade abyss issue

11:34 AM ET

It’s flattering elementary sometimes.

Beat a top-ranked group in a fasten — in a premier diversion of a NBA’s Christmas Day line-up — and we fast safe to No. 1 in ESPN.com’s weekly NBA Power Rankings.

It took your loyal Committee (of One) small seconds to discriminate that a Cleveland Cavaliers would be relocating behind into a tip symbol after their remarkable quip Sunday from a double-digit necessity in a fourth entertain to disintegrate a clever Golden State Warriors.

ESPN’s NBA Basketball Power Index

ESPN’s NBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a magnitude of group strength grown by a ESPN Analytics team.

  • #NBArank All-Time Kicks: Which boots make Stein’s tip 5?

    As Marc Stein takes his talents to a sneaker world, that kicks done his list? After all, who knows some-more about rankings than a Committee (of One)?

  • The season’s initial showdown between a teams that have contested a past dual NBA Finals somehow lived adult to a hype, delivering a finish that flattering many clinches a happy 32nd Birthday for LeBron James come Friday.

    Something, meanwhile, to keep an eye on with a Warriors: They’re unexpected usually 1-3 this deteriorate opposite a rest of a tip five.

    ‎Read on for a rest of a 1-to-30 ladder. Profuse interjection and warmest holiday wishes, as always, go to ESPN Stats Information and a Elias Sports Bureau — with investigate ace Micah Adams using a indicate — for providing such low credentials information to assistance a Committee as we arrange things.

    Previous rankings: Week 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Training camp

    1. Cleveland Cavaliers
    2016-17 record: 23-6
    Previous ranking: 2

    J.R. Smith’s long-term deficiency is an definite issue. Depth is a legit worry, too, given a Cavs now have dual register spots filled by players who can’t assistance them (Chris Andersen and Mo Williams) and face vital luxury-tax implications if they try to relinquish and reinstate them. Concerns about a Cavs’ No. 13 standing league-wide in defensive efficiency, however, seem like an overreaction, given how imperishable they looked when they indispensable to be in their Christmas Day excavation opposite a Warriors. You also have to ask: Is there unequivocally anything some-more vicious than a existence that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are meshing as good as they ever have?


    2. Golden State Warriors
    2016-17 record: 27-5
    Previous ranking: 1

    The Warriors insisted after their Christmas Day unraveling in Cleveland that a prick of unwell to finish off a hosts won’t last, nonetheless it’s satisfactory to consternation how fast they’ll be means to obliterate a beating of losing a diversion they led for 41 mins and trailed for all of usually 42 seconds. Golden State had won a prior 166 regular-season games in that it had amassed a lead of 14 or some-more points in a fourth quarter, as good as 14 uninterrupted highway games opposite Eastern Conference opponents. So many for a initial devise here to write about how a Dubs had sensitively risen to No. 2 in a fasten in defensive potency streamer into Cleveland.


    3. San Antonio Spurs
    2016-17 record: 25-6
    Previous ranking: 4

    Not a initial time this doubt has been posed, nonetheless maybe it’s a many suitable time: Is this a best coaching pursuit we’ve seen from Gregg Popovich? Tim Duncan’s retirement, a delayed starts to a deteriorate by Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge, and Aldridge and Pau Gasol struggling to filigree together are a lot to manage. But maybe what we saw from Aldridge opposite Chicago will get him going; his 33 points determined a bar record on Christmas (co-shared formerly by George Gervin and Sean Elliott with 32).


    4. Toronto Raptors
    2016-17 record: 21-8
    Previous ranking: 5

    All a focus, when it comes to a Warriors, has naturally been on their Christmas Day reunion with a Cavs. But Wednesday night in Oakland binds some guarantee as well, with a Raptors visiting Oracle Arena. Although Toronto didn’t measure one of a 10 featured slots on a Christmas schedule, it does still exaggerate a league’s many fit offense, forward of even Golden State, notwithstanding a fact that a Raptors are No. 21 league-wide in gait and No. 29 in assisted baskets, compared to a top-ranked Dubs. Question for we in a interim: Does anyone out there consider J.R. Smith’s ride medicine opens a doorway for a Raps to take a tip seed in a East?


    5. Houston Rockets
    2016-17 record: 22-9
    Previous ranking: 3

    Give a Rockets this much: They’re adult to 6-0 this deteriorate on 0 day’s rest after responding to final Tuesday’s home tumble to San Antonio with a robust bounce-back win in Phoenix. But there’s no approach to dance around a beating stemming from a improved that brought a hindrance to a longest Houston winning strain given a epic 22-gamer fashioned by a Yao-McGrady Rockets in 2008. Houston had a 13-point lead with 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining over a longtime lords of Texas and couldn’t reason it, notwithstanding a fact that teams were 1,388-1 in those same resources over a past 3 seasons. Just a unpleasant week all around for a Rockets when we cause in a damage detriment of a unheralded Clint Capela.


    6. Memphis Grizzlies
    2016-17 record: 20-12
    Previous ranking: 7

    A tighten diversion finally went opposite a Grizzlies, nonetheless it took 44 points from Boston’s Isaiah Thomas (more than any other Celtic given Paul Pierce’s 50-point diversion in 2006) to finally green an overtime for them. The consolation, of course, is that Marc Gasol looks improved than ever, during both ends, as a anchor for a league’s top-ranked defense, promulgation Memphis into Christmas as one of usually 7 20-game winners in a fasten — and a many doubtful of a seven, alongside a Rockets, given how many time Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons have missed.


    7. Boston Celtics
    2016-17 record: 18-13
    Previous ranking: 10

    The Celtics’ league-best run of 230 uninterrupted games nonetheless surrendering a triple-double was usually brought to a hindrance by Russell Westbrook, withdrawal ‎Memphis with a longest such active strain during 172 games. Most of a news here these days, though, is deceptively enlivening for Boston, that sports a record of 12-4 when it can dress a Isaiah Thomas/Avery Bradley/Jae Crowder/Al Horford/Amir Johnson starting lineup. The Celts are also an East-leading plus-6 when we subtract home waste from their sum of highway victories, suggesting that their third-in-the-East record is indeed a small improved than it looks.


    8. Oklahoma City Thunder
    2016-17 record: 19-12
    Previous ranking: 8

    Maybe we feel as nonetheless you’ve already replete yourself on too many Russell Westbrook this holiday season. Perhaps your wish to Santa was some-more accumulation in a Thunder criticism territory of these rankings from a Committee. We’re truly sorry. We’d like to oblige. But how do we mangle a robe when he goes to Boston and savages a Celtics for 45, 11 and 11? Or when he follows that adult by attack bad Minnesota with usually a third 30-point, 15-assist diversion in Christmas Day history? Only Oscar Robertson (22) and Wilt Chamberlain (seven) have some-more career triple-doubles featuring 40-plus points than Westbrook’s six. Only Robertson and Tiny Archibald, meanwhile, had formerly managed 30-and-15 games on Christmas.


    9. Utah Jazz
    2016-17 record: 18-13
    Previous ranking: 6

    Even nonetheless a Jazz are entrance off back-to-back defeats during home, we still feel compelled to discuss that Quin Snyder, during a unequivocally least, deserved an honest discuss in a new Coach of a First Trimester dispatch. Considering he’s had his first-choice starting 5 for all of 12 mins this season, Snyder and a Jazz had any reason to deteriorate this Christmas, even after those unsatisfactory slight defeats to Sacramento and Toronto. Three games this week opposite bottom-feeders (Lakers, Sixers and Suns) should offer as a good sendoff before Utah’s five-game outing to open a 2017 schedule.


    10. LA Clippers
    2016-17 record: 22-10
    Previous ranking: 9

    The Clippers have inflicted dual of San Antonio’s 6 waste this season. That’s a border of a good news to pass along from Los Angeles these days after Chris Paul, who started a deteriorate so well, assimilated Blake Griffin on a sideline interjection to a tweaked hamstring. In their initial dual games nonetheless a services of their dual best players, manager Doc Rivers Co. mislaid to Dallas (which was 2-13 on a road) and a Lakers (who had mislaid 11 loyal games to their Staples Center co-tenants).


    11. Charlotte Hornets
    2016-17 record: 17-13
    Previous ranking: 12

    Something we didn’t design to see this Christmas: Charlotte is tied with Memphis for a 10th-best contingency to win it all (100-to-1), according to a Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. That’s a prolonged approach from observant these Hornets are a legit pretension contender, of course, nonetheless tip 10 is tip 10. The Hornets, for a record, are also one of usually 6 teams in a fasten (along with Memphis, Chicago, Cleveland, Utah and San Antonio) that have never surrendered a triple-double to Russell Westbrook. Something to keep in mind with a Hornets due to horde a Thunder on Jan. 4.


    12. Milwaukee Bucks
    2016-17 record: 14-14
    Previous ranking: 11

    The Bucks woke adult on Christmas ranked tied for 10th in a fasten in offensive efficiency and No. 9 in defensive efficiency. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of a league’s rising darlings, while Jabari Parker — averaging 22.3 points per diversion in a best month of his career — is creation a cat-like All-Star push. All that things we listened final week about “rivaling” Cleveland is ridiculously premature, nonetheless a Bucks have been a fun (and welcome) story in a discussion that could desperately use an distillate of frivolity, variety, etc.


    13. New York Knicks
    2016-17 record: 16-14
    Previous ranking: 16

    Houston, Utah, Oklahoma City and Cleveland were a usually visiting teams to have cowed Madison Square Garden this deteriorate before a Knicks, sporting a glossy home record of 11-4, surrendered 119 points on Christmas to tumble to Boston. The detriment forsaken a Knicks to 3-10 opposite .500-or-better teams, that ranks as a second-worst record in those matchups among a East’s stream tip 8 — improved usually than Milwaukee’s 2-9 mark. It would so seem correct to refrain from proclaiming New York to be a playoff tighten in a confused East, even if we (like us) have Porzingis Fever.


    14. Indiana Pacers
    2016-17 record: 15-16
    Previous ranking: 13

    We’re substantially not articulate adequate about a swell Myles Turner is creation in Indiana. One-third of a approach into a season, Turner is on march to spin usually a fifth actor aged 20 or younger to normal during slightest 15 points and dual blocks per game, fasten a starry likes of Anthony Davis (2013-14), Kevin Garnett (1996-97), Chris Webber (1993-94) and Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93). It’s understandably tough, mind you, for a Pacers carefree to concentration on anything else when Paul George, as he did a other day, comes out and says: “Our temperament is inconsistency.”


    15. Atlanta Hawks
    2016-17 record: 15-15
    Previous ranking: 18

    The Hawks did win a integrate of highway games final week, nonetheless it’d be beforehand to contend they’re fixed. The victories in Oklahoma City and Denver, sandwiching an unsightly home detriment to Minnesota, came by a sum of usually 3 points and compulsory (A) Dennis Schroder and Paul Millsap mixing for 61 points in OKC and (B) some-more of a Nuggets’ informed late-game imprecision to bind Atlanta’s escape. It should be forked out, though, that Atlanta has sensitively won 4 in a quarrel on a highway and has had a few damage disruptions (Dwight Howard, Kyle Korver and Tim Hardaway Jr.) to a lineup of late.


    16. Washington Wizards
    2016-17 record: 13-16
    Previous ranking: 15

    Bradley Beal had scored during slightest 20 points in 8 uninterrupted games — a longest such strain of his career — until a Wizards ran into a Giannis Antetokounmpo buzzsaw final Friday night during Milwaukee. Playing during a faster dash has certainly helped a Wiz; they’re in a tip half of a fasten in gait now, during No. 14, as partial of a 10-7 response to their awful 3-9 start. Yet Washington usually mislaid large male Ian Mahinmi for another 6 weeks interjection to ongoing knee trouble. Since signing a $64 million understanding in a summer, Mahinmi has usually managed to play in one game.


    17. Sacramento Kings
    2016-17 record: 13-17
    Previous ranking: 25

    Could there be a improved holiday present for a beleaguered Kings than glancing during a standings on Christmas morning and anticipating themselves in a eighth symbol in a West — right on march for a first-round playoff array with Vivek Ranadive’s aged friends from Golden State — after dual suddenly dirty highway wins in Utah and Minnesota? Could those who suffer following a Kings’ many dramas ask for many some-more than Wednesday’s rematch that sends Sacramento to Portland so shortly after DeMarcus Cousins rumbled for 55 points opposite a Blazers? You competence wish to compensate sold courtesy to a Boogie vs. Meyers Leonard matchup.


    18. Chicago Bulls
    2016-17 record: 14-16
    Previous ranking: 14

    At a tighten of November, Chicago sported a league’s fourth-best normal scoring margin, behind usually a Warriors, Clippers and Cavs. But a Bulls’ Dec has usually been rather some-more beguiling than a Lakers’ Dec … and you’ll entirely comprehend how gloomy that regard unequivocally is when we get down to a sum in a Lakers’ comment. Entering a Christmas Day home date with San Antonio, Chicago’s minus-9.6 PPG scoring dump from final month to this month was a league’s second-most, behind usually Atlanta’s minus-11.1 and narrowly forward of a Lakers’ minus-8.5.


    19. Denver Nuggets
    2016-17 record: 12-18
    Previous ranking: 19

    The Nuggets bookended their final week before a holidays with a stirring second-half quip to take down a Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavericks … and afterwards an complete meltdown from 108-100 adult on a visiting Hawks ‎with reduction than dual mins to play in an contingent 109-108 defeat. Denver will tighten out a calendar year with winnable home dates opposite Minnesota and Philadelphia; it still usually doesn’t demeanour right when we see in a standings that a Nuggets have a losing record (6-8) in a Pepsi Center and a barbarous altitude.


    20. Detroit Pistons
    2016-17 record: 14-18
    Previous ranking: 17

    The alarm bells sounded aloud in Motown early final week, when a Pistons responded to a players-only assembly by surrendering 69 points in a initial half to a struggling Bulls and wound adult removing throttled by 31 … when Chicago was entrance off of a possess 26-point smoking by Milwaukee. Volume on a Pistons’ struggles with round transformation and congruity given a lapse of Reggie Jackson continues to rise, nonetheless manager Stan Van Gundy is plainly scoffing during a idea that Detroit competence start to emporium Jackson in allege of a Feb. 23 trade deadline. Says SVG: “You can’t be charting your organization’s march formed on 10 [bad] games when we went by 82 games and a playoff series.”


    21. Orlando Magic
    2016-17 record: 14-18
    Previous ranking: 21

    Most opposition executives design a Magic to arrange among a league’s many active teams between now and a Feb. 23 trade deadline; Nikola Vucevic, Mario Hezonja and Elfrid Payton have all been rumored to be in play. Orlando, though, is sensitively 11-8 opposite sub-.500 teams, that indeed ranks as a East’s best record among a 7 clubs in a discussion now outward a tip eight. The Magic, in other words, are holding their possess opposite teams of a same customary in their bid to hide into a postseason.


    22. Minnesota Timberwolves
    2016-17 record: 9-21
    Previous ranking: 23

    The fact that a Wolves were one of 10 teams scheduled to play on Christmas Day — for a initial time in authorization story — tells we all we need to know about a arrange of expectations outsiders had for this group entrance into a season. Going on to remove a diversion is frequency heinous, meaningful that a highway date in Oklahoma City is no gimme, nonetheless Friday’s home detriment to Sacramento still stings, given that a Wolves squandered Zach LaVine’s initial 40-point game. If usually it helped in a standings when we hear that a Wolves are a initial group in NBA story to underline 3 players underneath a age of 22 (LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins) to any post a 40-point diversion in one season.


    23. Dallas Mavericks
    2016-17 record: 9-21
    Previous ranking: 24

    After an deficiency of 14 games, Dirk Nowitzki is behind during final for a Mavericks, who are also reveling in some clever new contributions from Deron Williams and a initial game-winning bucket of Harrison Barnes’ career. Dallas is by no means whole, with Andrew Bogut still sidelined and J.J. Barea not definitely behind yet, nonetheless some within a Big D sports proletariat — when they’re not wrapped adult in what’s function with a Cowboys — are starting to worry that a Mavs are staid to start winning some-more frequently … and so discredit internal dreams of a high lottery pick.


    24. Miami Heat
    2016-17 record: 10-21
    Previous ranking: 22

    A splendid symbol amid a ongoing discuss about Hassan Whiteside’s loyal efficacy and a flourishing oddity surrounding a Heat’s skeleton with Goran Dragic between now and a Feb. 23 trade deadline is a swell of Tyler Johnson. Miami’s $50 Million male uncorked 32 points in a double-overtime detriment to Orlando final week, accounting for a tip sum for a Heat haven in authorization history. Johnson’s 13.4 points per diversion is a second-highest scoring normal among players with no starts this season, behind usually a Lakers’ Lou Williams (19.7 PPG) and forward of OKC’s Enes Kanter (13.1 PPG).


    25. Portland Trail Blazers
    2016-17 record: 13-19
    Previous ranking: 20

    We always contend that profitable too many courtesy to a L10 difficulty in a standings feels rather calming in this epoch of modernized stats, nonetheless a Blazers’ ongoing 1-9 despondency is like a automobile pile-up we can’t demeanour divided from. Washington was an early pace-setter in a league’s Most Disappointing Team derby before a Wiz began to right themselves — while Minnesota, Atlanta and Detroit are all still on that list — nonetheless a Blazers have to tip it as 2016 dribbles to a close. There’s a risk for serve beating as good Monday night, with Damian Lillard’s ankle woes melancholy to derail a scheduled showdown between a league’s dual highest-scoring backcourts: Lillard and C.J. McCollum contra Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.


    26. New Orleans Pelicans
    2016-17 record: 11-21
    Previous ranking: 27

    Anthony Davis leads a fasten with 9 30-point, 15-rebound games already this season. The rest of a fasten has total for usually 10, and no other actor has some-more than DeMarcus Cousins’ three. Now for a severe stuff: Two games into what Pels manager Alvin Gentry dubbed a season-defining homestand, New Orleans is 1-1 with home dates remaining opposite a Mavericks, Clippers and Knicks. All 3 would seem to be personal as winnable given a Clips’ health issues, nonetheless a Mavericks, by contrast, are as healthy as they’ve been all season. And a aforementioned Brow, rather ominously, pronounced before a homestand even started that “everybody in here knows we need to win all 5 games.”


    27. Philadelphia 76ers
    2016-17 record: 7-22
    Previous ranking: 26

    At Christmas 2014, Philly had accurately one win. At Christmas 2015, Philly had all of dual wins. The Sixers’ 7-22 symbol by this Christmas, then, contingency sound pleasing by comparison. Philly was positively anticipating to have found a trade taker for Nerlens Noel by now — wouldn’t that have been something if a Sixers could have done another understanding on Christmas Eve to follow adult their Ish Smith merger on Dec. 24, 2015? — nonetheless it appears we’ll have to widen a Nerlens Watch into 2017, along with a breathless wait to see Ben Simmons make his NBA entrance alongside a matchless Joel Embiid.


    28. Phoenix Suns
    2016-17 record: 9-21
    Previous ranking: 29

    The aim here is not to be overly vicious of Devin Booker, who won’t spin 21 until subsequent October. But Booker’s PER continues to be a statistic of interest for a Committee, given a 20-year-old is still hovering next a fasten normal during 13.23. Despite a apparent vigour in these tough resources that have been bearing onto Booker’s shoulders, you’d like to see him in a 16 or 17 operation during worst. As a possess Zach Lowe remarkable a other day in his weekly “10 Things” dispatch, meanwhile, Suns vets Tyson Chandler, Jared Dudley and Leandro Barbosa are all delivering radically what was expected.


    29. Los Angeles Lakers
    2016-17 record: 12-22
    Previous ranking: 28

    Luke Walton was legit Western Conference Coach of a Month element in November, nonetheless his Dec has been definitely forgettable. The Lakers were 1-12 this month and threatened to register to misfortune month in authorization story (worse than a 1-11 symbol in Dec 2016) before production a Christmas Day feat over a Clippers. A unique delight in Philadelphia was all they had to uncover for a month before Sunday’s much-needed respite, nonetheless final week will be remembered some-more for a 19-point lead they blew in Miami and a detriment of renouned haven Larry Nance Jr. (knee) to a bone hash for 4 weeks.


    30. Brooklyn Nets
    2016-17 record: 7-22
    Previous ranking: 30

    Did we come here for a full-on autopsy on how a Nets incited a 16-point halftime lead on clever Golden State on Thursday night into a 16-point defeat? Of march not. You certainly came here to review about how Brook Lopez has assimilated army with DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol to make this a initial season, already, in that 3 opposite NBA centers have stage adult during slightest 40 3-pointers to go with during slightest 40 blocked shots. ‎(We should note, for posterity’s sake, that a Nets are a initial group to remove during home by 15 or some-more points after heading by 15-plus during halftime in — sup — 30 years. It hasn’t happened given a Suns endured a likewise unpleasant turnaround opposite a visiting Clips on Dec. 30, 1987.)

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18350797/nba-power-rankings-marc-stein-week-10-rankings

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