NBA Power Rankings: The Warriors can't be stopped


NBA Power Rankings: The Warriors can't be stopped

Yes, it's repetitive at this point and you've seen it everywhere. But it will bear repeating until they slow down (if they ever do): The Warriors are ridiculous.

Sunday night they squared off against the Brooklyn Nets on the road and found themselves down five late in the third quarter. It was then that Steph Curry hit the switch, scoring 10 of the Warriors' 17 points in the final 3 minutes to take a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. A 17-5 run in an instant, and they opened the final stanza scoring 22 of the first 31 points and led by 20 in what became yet another laugher, moving them to 22-0 on the year.

If the Pacers can't knock them off Monday, there's a good chance they'll be 28-0 when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day.

The Bulls' mark of 72 wins now seems well within their reach. No one should feel safe playing the defending champs. We're watching history.

On to the rankings:

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (22-0) If they get past Indiana on Monday they're looking at being 28-0 on Christmas Day against the Cavs. Us NBA fans are spoiled right now.
(2) (17-4) Kawhi Leonard has posted a career-high in both usage rate and true shooting percentage. That's downright impressive.
(7) (13-4)  Their defense hasn't dropped off in the slightest. Once Goran Dragic gets going the Heat will be downright scary. A credit to Erik Spoelstra.
4 (5) (12-7) He won't win it, but Paul George has a serious case as the NBA's Most Improved Player again. Averaging 27.6 points and 8.2 rebounds.
5 (3) (13-7)  They've now lost three straight as no Kyrie and Shumpert appears to be finally taking its toll. Luckily, both should return this month.
6 (4) (12-8)  Not an eye-opening week for the Thunder, but once they figure out how to play under Billy Donovan the Thunder will be right in the thick of it.
7 (8) (10-5)  It certainly hasn't been pretty but the Bulls are just one-half game out of the top seed in the East. Still, they haven't scored 100 points in six straight.
8 (10) (11-8)  They had the Warriors on the ropes and earned a tough road win over the Bulls, doing so in both games without the injured Al Jefferson. Steve Clifford for COY?
9 (6) (12-9)  They were one or two ridiculous Steph Curry shots from pulling off the upset. Less impressive was a loss to the Nuggets two days earlier.
10 (11) (13-9)  Mike Budenholzer's group is an impressive 6-2 against the West, with wins over Memphis and Oklahoma City to their name.
11 (9) (12-9)  The Marquette alum in me loved seeing Wesley Matthews connect on 10 3-pointers Sunday night against the Wizards.
12 (12) (12-9)  And so the roller coaster continues. Important wins over the Pelicans and Suns with a blowout loss to the Spurs sandwiched in-between.
13 (12) (11-9)  Now the NBA's third most efficient defense, the Celtics' road win over the Heat on Monday was an impressive one.
14 (15) (11-9)  They had won five straight before losing a late lead against the Clippers on the road. Even so, the Magic appear postseason-bound thus far.
15 (20) (10-11)  There we go. Some room for optimism after the Rockets win three straight, with James Harden averaging 26.7/6.7/8.0 in the process.
16 (14) (11-9)  They'll play 12 of their next 14 games away from Staples Center. Thursday night in Chicago should be a good test for both teams.
17 (17) (9-9)  Life without Rudy Gobert has been difficult as the Jazz have dropped to 11th in defensive efficiency. Still, the win over Indiana was impressive.
18 (21) (12-9)  Reggie Jackson has averaged 27 points per game during the Pistons' four-game win streak. In all those games they've scored 100+ points.
19 (22) (9-12) If they can find a consistent third scorer behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the playoffs won't be out of the question.
20 (23) (10-11)  Your weekly Kristaps Porzingis update: 16.9 points on 50 percent shooting, 10.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his last 10 games. The Knicks hit a home run at No. 4.
21 (19) (8-11) Karl-Anthony Towns had his best game as a pro on Saturday, going for 27 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in a loss to the Blazers.
22 (16) (8-13)  They've lost eight of nine, including a heartbreaker in Memphis on a last-second alley-oop to Jeff Green. A nightmare of a schedule, yes, but 1-8 is 1-8.
23 (26) (5-15) The Pellies are a different team with Tyreke Evans in the lineup. In his return, he's averaged 14.7 points and 9.3 assists. The OT win against the Cavs was huge.
24 (18) (8-10) Cruise past the Cavaliers on the road and lose to the Lakers at home the following night. And now the schedule gets more difficult in December.
25 (25) (8-13)  In the midst of a disappointing season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is again improving, shooting better than 50 percent from the field and nearly 85 percent from the stripe.
26 (27) (8-13) They had a chance to beat the Bulls on the road, and followed that up with a win in Toronto and Philadelphia. Baby steps.
27 (24) (7-15)  Sunday night's loss to Oklahoma City was a backbreaker; the Kings led by six with less than 2 minutes to play.
28 (28) (5-15) Who would've thought the Nets would play the Warriors the closest? After almost beating them in Oakland, they led by five late in the third before Steph went Steph.
29 (29) (3-17)  Kobe Bryant is shooting 27-for-104 (25.9 percent) since announcing his retirement. Do you, Black Mamba. We'll see you Feb. 21 at the United Center for one last go-round.
30 (30) (1-20)  Earning their first win of the year had to feel good, even if it came against Kobe and the circus that is the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame


Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame

Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.

NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.

Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.

He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.

Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling.