NBA Power Rankings: Steph Curry, No. 1 Warriors stay red-hot

Originally Published: January 8, 2018
ESPN.com

The Boston Celtics are back with the NBA's longest active winning streak, which currently sits at six games heading into a London showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite Boston's run, it's nowhere near enough to unseat Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who have won four straight of their own with an average of 127.8 points per game during their streak.

Every week throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz, Amin Elhassan and Ramona Shelburne, The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring) will rank the league's 30 teams from top to bottom, with research notes on each team provided by ESPN Stats & Information.

Previous rankings: Week 1211 | 10 | 9 | 87654321

1. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 32-8

Stephen Curry scored a season-high 45 points on Saturday, tallying at least 40 points in 30 minutes or fewer for the third time in his career. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, that's the most such games for any player in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55). Curry's outburst helped the Warriors win their 12th straight game over the Clippers, their longest active winning streak over any opponent. -- Michael Schwartz


2. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 33-10

The Celtics held an opponent under 90 points for an NBA-best 10th time this season in their victory over the Nets on Saturday. Boston has won all 10 of these games, and they're 24-1 when holding an opponent under 100. -- Michael Schwartz


3. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 26-13

Isaiah Thomas has been ultra efficient in the two games he has played, scoring 36 points on 13-of-25 shooting in 40 total minutes. Thomas and LeBron James were more effective together on Saturday than in their first game together Tuesday. With Thomas and James on the floor, the Cavaliers outscored the Magic by seven points and were outscored by 10 points when Thomas was on the floor without James. On Tuesday against the Trail Blazers, the Cavaliers were outscored by one when the two shared the floor; they outscored Portland by 18 when Thomas was on the floor without James. -- Jose De Leon


4. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 27-10

Over their past 19 games, the Raptors are 16-3 with the best net efficiency in the NBA. Just how good are they? We could find out this week when the NBA's best home team (at 14-1) hosts the Cavs on Thursday and the Warriors on Saturday. -- Michael Schwartz


5. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 27-11

With James Harden out, the Rockets are relying on Chris Paul more than ever. Over the past two games without Harden, Houston has recorded a plus-15.8 net efficiency with Paul on the court. When CP3 is off the court, the Rockets' net rating drops to minus-24.4, largely because their defensive efficiency skyrockets to 137 points per 100 possessions. -- Matt Williams


6. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 27-14

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Vince Carter is the only other player at least 40-years-old to score at least 20 points off the bench in a game in NBA history. With 26 points Sunday against the Blazers, Manu Ginobili has now done it in back-to-back games. -- Jose De Leon


7. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 25-16

The Timberwolves' bizarre struggles against the Eastern Conference continued this week with losses to the Nets and Celtics. Minnesota dropped to 4-10 against the East. By contrast, only the Celtics and Warriors have a better winning percentage against Western Conference teams. -- Michael Schwartz


8. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 22-18

Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook have combined to score at least 80 points in three of their past five games. They have combined to score 80 points more often than any other trio in the NBA since Christmas. -- Jose De Leon


9. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 23-17

While John Wall and Bradley Beal grab the headlines for the Wizards, Otto Porter Jr. should not be forgotten. After signing a max offer sheet this past offseason, Porter has recorded career highs in points, rebounds, assists and 3-point percentage. Porter also ranks sixth in the NBA in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus and second among small forwards behind only LeBron James. -- Matt Williams

 


10. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 21-17

The Bucks host the Warriors on Friday (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are squaring off for the seventh time, and Durant has won the previous six matchups. In their only head-to-head meeting last season, both scored at least 30 points. -- Jose De Leon


11. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 21-18

On Wednesday against the Suns, Gary Harris matched a career-high with 36 points. He scored 20 points in the first quarter, his most in a quarter in his career, going 9-for-10 from the field. -- Jose De Leon


12. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 21-18

C.J. McCollum's jumper with 5 seconds remaining gave the Blazers a 111-110 victory over the Spurs on Sunday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, San Antonio had won 143 of its previous 144 games regulation games in which it scored at least 110 points, dating back to March 2011.


13. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 21-17

After starting 6-4 in their first 10 road games of the season, the Pistons are 2-8 since, tied for the fourth-worst road record over that span. Detroit begins a three-game road trip on Monday against the Pelicans. -- Matt Williams


14. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 22-17

While five games above .500, the Heat have struggled against other teams currently at .500 or above. They are 6-13 against these teams, the fewest such wins among current playoff teams. Miami plays the Raptors, Pacers and Bucks this week, all of which are at .500 or above. -- Matt Williams


15. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 19-19

After falling to 15-19, the 76ers have won four straight to get back to .500. They last played on Friday against the Pistons and won't play again until Thursday against the Celtics. They will be the first team to play a game on five days' rest this season. -- Jose De Leon


16. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 record: 20-19

Without Victor Oladipo in the lineup, the Pacers' offense has struggled greatly. Indiana is 20-14 when Oladipo plays, averaging 108.2 points per game, but when he is out, the Pacers are 0-5, scoring 98.0 points per contest. -- Matt Williams


17. New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 record: 19-19

The Pelicans are every bit a .500 team. They have been more than two games away from .500 only one time all season, and they are currently exactly .500 for the 12th time. -- Michael Schwartz


18. LA Clippers
2017-18 record: 17-21

The Clippers have lost 12 straight games against the Warriors dating back to Christmas Day 2014 after Saturday's defeat in L.A. The past five games have been particularly ugly, with the Clippers allowing over 132 points per game and losing by 22.6 per game. The Clippers get another chance at the Warriors on Wednesday at Oracle Arena. -- Michael Schwartz


19. New York Knicks
2017-18 record: 19-21

Kristaps Porzingis played in his seventh overtime game on Friday. Porzingis, who leads the team in field goal attempts per game, played all five minutes of overtime but did not take a field goal attempt, his first overtime period without taking a shot. Meanwhile, Jarrett Jack, who averages 12 fewer shots per game than Porzingis, led all players with four shot attempts. -- Jose De Leon


20. Utah Jazz
2017-18 record: 16-24

Joe Johnson's jumper gave Utah 75 points with 1:09 left in the third quarter on Sunday. In their first meeting with the Heat this season, the Jazz scored 74 total points.


21. Chicago Bulls
2017-18 record: 14-26

The Bulls have fallen back to earth, losing four of five after a 10-2 stretch, including a 36-point loss at Indiana on Saturday. With that defeat, the Bulls became the first team to lose three games by at least 35 points by the 40th game of the season since the 2014-15 76ers. -- Michael Schwartz


22. Charlotte Hornets
2017-18 record: 15-23

Dwight Howard passed Charles Barkley for 18th on the all-time rebounding list in Friday's win over his former team, the Lakers. Howard and DeMarcus Cousins are the only players averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds per game this season. -- Michael Schwartz


23. Brooklyn Nets
2017-18 record: 15-24

Spencer Dinwiddie is the only Nets player to attempt a go-ahead shot in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter/overtime this season (he has attempted four). On Wednesday against the Timberwolves, he made his first of the season with 10.1 seconds left to beat Minnesota. -- Jose De Leon


24. Dallas Mavericks
2017-18 record: 13-28

Dirk Nowitzki played in his 1,435th game on Sunday, exceeding the total of games that Karl Malone played for the Jazz to move into second place in NBA history for most games played with one team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The record is 1,504 games, set by Malone's Utah teammate, John Stockton.


25. Phoenix Suns
2017-18 record: 16-26

Those hoping the Suns draft in the top five are in luck as Phoenix has the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to BPI. The slate has already stiffened, as the Suns are currently in the midst of playing nine games in row against teams over .500. -- Michael Schwartz


26. Sacramento Kings
2017-18 record: 13-25

Willie Cauley-Stein recorded seven steals in the Kings' win over the Nuggets on Saturday. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, that's the most by a starting center in a victory since David Robinson stole the ball seven times on Feb. 18, 2000, against the Rockets. -- Michael Schwartz


27. Los Angeles Lakers
2017-18 record: 12-27

Lonzo Ball missed six straight games and the Lakers lost each of those (part of an overall eight-game losing streak). During that span, the Lakers had the NBA's sixth-worst offensive efficiency and the second-worst defensive efficiency. -- Jose De Leon


28. Atlanta Hawks
2017-18 record: 10-29

On Tuesday, the Hawks had a 10-point lead with less than three minutes to play against the Suns and lost. Entering that game, teams were 326-0 when leading by double-digits in the final three minutes this season. The Hawks were 400-0 when leading by at least 10 points in the final three minutes over the past 20 seasons. -- Vincent Johnson


29. Memphis Grizzlies
2017-18 record: 12-27

Tyreke Evans is having a bounce-back season, scoring 19.7 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the floor and shooting a career-best 42 percent from 3-point range. He has scored 30 points four times this season, which is already tied for his most in a season during his career. -- Jose De Leon


30. Orlando Magic
2017-18 record: 12-28

Since the Magic's 8-4 start, Orlando's 4-24 record is the worst in the NBA. Their offensive efficiency ranks last in the league over this stretch, and their defensive efficiency is second worst, ahead of only the Kings. -- Michael Schwartz

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