Marc Stein’s Week 9 rankings

December 31, 2017


The Golden State are two wins away from another small slice of history leading into their Christmas Day showdown with and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Victories this week over Utah (at home) and Brooklyn (on the road) would nudge the Warriors to 26 4 after last season’s 29 1 mark through 30 games. Only twice before in NBA history has a team started 26 4 or better in consecutive seasons: Boston (2007 08 and 2008 09) and Chicago (1995 96 and 1996 97).

The surprising Houston Rockets have unexpectedly moved up to No. 3 on the strength of a 10 game winning streak entering their showdown Tuesday with visiting No. 4 San Antonio. The Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, have slipped to an equally unexpected No. 9 in a nod to the news that All StarBlake Griffin, after missing 47 games last season, will have to miss some more time this season.

This week, though, is obviously all about the reloaded Warriors. Armed withKevin Durant, Golden State visits Ohio, where LeBron will play in his 10th successive Christmas Day showcase but only his fourth at home.

There should be plenty more for you to dig into within the rest of our 1 to 30 order. No other team has recorded any such games this season. Tuesday night, then, will offer a contrast when Utah visits. The Jazz have allowed a league low 95.4 points per game and are known for slowing the pace down better than anyone. While James inevitably gets most of the credit for the Cavs’ ability to avoid a championship hangover, Lue is partly responsible for not only keeping Cleveland sharp but also nudging cheap women jerseys
the Cavs toward a greater reliance on the 3 that might come in handy down the road. Co. are on a 62 win pace. So, while we applaud the passion of Rockets Twitter, we also have to share this counsel: Smell the roses. It doesn’t mean our April vote has been decided in December. It doesn’t mean our MVP criteria have changed. We always vote for who we feel has assembled the best season based on a number of factors. After 27 (or so) games on this scorecard Westbrook has had the best season in the West. So far. The jury’s still out on and as a frontcourt partnership. And is averaging just 10.1 points per game. Put all of that together and it sounds like a recipe for standings slippage. The , though, still look like a reasonable facsimile of the at 22 5, fueled by that league best 14 1 road record that only two other teams in history last season’s Warriors and the 1971 72 can identify with. Like we said in our Coach of the First Trimester dispatch: The job being done by Gregg Popovich is being taken for granted yet again. Not by us, though. DeRozan’s backcourt buddy is not just averaging 23.6 points per game this month he’s shooting a crazy 55.8 percent from the field . along with 58.7 percent from deep. The Raptors, meanwhile, find themselves at 0 6 against Cleveland, Golden State and (curiously) Sacramento, but a robust 19 2 against the rest of the league, despite Friday night’s home loss to the Hawks. A big test is coming, though, with Toronto soon to begin a six game road trip against Western Conference teams, starting with a rough opener at Utah. The Raptors are a very passable 11 9 on the road against the West since the start of the 2015 16 season to go with a 22 11 road mark against the East in that same span.

Previous ranking: 9

The Jazz have only five wins against .500 or better teams, tied with Memphis for second fewest among the West’s seven teams with winning records.


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