NBA Power Rankings: Clippers rolling along without Blake Griffin


NBA Power Rankings: Clippers rolling along without Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin's quad injury came at a difficult time for the Clippers, who had lost three of four and had just started a five-game road trip.

But Chris Paul rallied the troops and helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week and a league-best six-game win streak.

Paul shot just 32 percent from the field in those contests but handed out 11.0 assists per game. He's a big reason why Los Angeles moved up into the top five of this week's NBA power rankings.

Here's how this week shook out:

Previous power rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

Rank (LW) Team
Record Comment
1 (1) (31-2) Loss No. 2 comes with Stephen Curry sidelined with a calf injury. In his absence, Draymond Green averaged 16.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 11.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 block in three games. Hello.
(2) (29-6)  Ho, hum. Another perfect week for Western Coach of the Month Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Next up? Four straight against sub-.500 opponents.
(3) (24-10) They've won 13 of 15 and are an impressive 16-2 against the Western Conference. Kevin Durant's sprained big toe will be something to keep an eye on.
4 (5) (22-9) The Cavaliers have won nine of 11, including three easy ones last week. Kyrie Irving is still shaking off some rust, shooting just 34 percent since returning to the lineup.
5 (9) (22-13) The Clippers have won a league-best six games in a row, including five without the services of Blake Griffin. DeAndre Jordan in that span: 14.0 points, 81.0% FG 14.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks.
6 (4) (21-14) The Hawks are up to No. 6 in offensive efficiency, but allowing 111 points to the Knicks like they did on Sunday is a recipe for disaster.
7 (7) (20-13)  Ugly, ugly start to the week was finished with a 24-point win over Dallas and a 22-point win over Washington. Hassan Whiteside has 51 (!!) more blocks than anyone in the league.
8 (13) (20-12)  How good was Jimmy Butler's 40-point second half in Sunday's victory over the Raptors? Michael Jordan never did it. The Bulls have now won four straight.
9 (6) (21-14)  See above: Jimmy Butler's historic night included the Raptors watching a 14-point home lead in the second half disappear. Raptors are fine, but that was one they had wrapped up.
10 (10) (19-14) Paul George went 7-for-7 with 21 points in the fourth quarter of a crucial win over the Pistons to avoid a 1-3 week. Now they play four straight tough ones on the road.
11 (11) (19-15)  Chandler Parsons losing his minutes restriction is big. Expect him to play a major role in the Mavs' playoff push once he's back to 100 percent.
12 (8) (18-15)  Yuck. Home losses to both the Nets and Lakers was not the way to follow up a four-game win streak. Still, just two games back of Toronto in the Atlantic.
13 (12) (18-16) They look like world beaters one night and Lottery-bound the next. Consistency is a major issue for the Pistons, who have now lost four of five.
14 (14) (19-15)  The calendar has flipped to 2016 and the Orlando Magic have the 11th best record in the NBA. A 10-5 December record earned Scott Skiles East Coach of the Month honors.
15 (15) (15-17) Whatever the reason, Sunday's 22-point home loss to Miami was a stark reminder that John Wall can't do it all himself. They really need Bradley Beal back sooner than later.
16 (17) (17-16) The defense isn't good enough to win games, and right now the offense is struggling, failing to top 100 points in five of their last seven games. They've lost six of eight.
17 (18) (18-17) Zach Randolph's first five games off the bench: 8.6 points on 51% shooting and 6.2 rebounds. Randolph's last five games off the bench: 14.4 points on 54% shooting and 6.6 rebounds.
18 (16) (16-19)  The Rockets failed "finals week," losing to Atlanta, Golden State and San Antonio while allowing at least 114 points in each. Winning just one of those would have been a positive sign.
19 (22) (16-19)  Kristaps Porzingis was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, averaging 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He's seventh in the NBA in rejections per game.
20 (19) (14-21)  Yes, he was expected to start slow after ACL surgery. But Jabari Parker is averaging 10.7 points on 9.3 FGA in 25.8 minutes. The Bucks need him to be more aggressive.
21 (21) (11-22)  Don't look now but the Pelicans have won five of 10 and are just four games out of the final playoff spot in the West. A win in Dallas was impressive last week.
22 (24) (15-17)  Utah has won three of four, and Rodney Hood has been a big reason why. The sophomore has averaged 17.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers in that span.
23 (23) (15-21) Another week, another C.J. McCollum praising. In six games without Damian Lillard, McCollum is averaging 26.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. And Portland is 4-2.
24 (20) (13-20) Lose at home to the Sixers and you fall in the power rankings. Pretty simple. Still, Saturday's 142-point effort against the Suns was mighty impressive.
25 (27) (12-22)  Remember that exciting 8-8 start? They're 4-14 since, and the youth movement has begun in Minnesota; Kevin Martin has been a healthy scratch in six straight.
26 (28) (10-23) Brook Lopez earns East Player of the Week honors after a monster three-game stretch, averaging 26.7 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. He's an All-Star.
27 (25) (12-23)  It was great to see Kenneth Faried back in action on Sunday night after being taken off on a stretcher Friday night with a neck scare.
28 (29) (8-27)  Rookie Larry Nance has really impressed of late, averaging 11.6 points on 70% shooting and 10.4 rebounds in his last five games.
29 (26) (12-25)  Rock bottom is when your team scores 22 points in the first half against a team with the league's second worst record. Jeff Hornacek's days are numbered.
30 (30) (3-33) Signing Elton Brand makes no difference on the court, but he'll do wonders as a mentor for fellow bigs Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.

The Celtics tied MJ's and the '96 Bulls' record for consecutive home playoff wins


The Celtics tied MJ's and the '96 Bulls' record for consecutive home playoff wins

The Boston Celtics have been the surprise of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and after last night's Game 5 win against LeBron James and the Cavs are one game away from a trip to the NBA Finals.

They've done it with some of the most interesting splits in league history for a team that's advanced this far: they're 10-0 at home and  1-6 on the road.

The six road losses are something else, but with the convincing 96-83 victory over Cleveland, the Celtics tied a record held by the 1996 Bulls for the most consecutive postseason home wins in a season.

Boston earned home wins against the Bucks in Round 1 in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. They crushed the heavily favored Sixers in five games, earning home wins in Games 1, 2 and 5 (and their only road win in Game 3). They took the first two games of the series from the Cavaliers at home and then again in Game 5. If they can't close the series in Cleveland they'll have a chance to break the record Sunday in a potential Game 7. If they do close the series in Cleveland their next chance will be in Game 3 of the NBA Finals; Boston will be on the road regardless of whether Houston or Golden State comes out of the West.

Jordan's Bulls won 10 consecutive games during their historic 72-10 season. They swept the Heat in Round 1, winning at home by 17 and 31 points. In the second round they knocked off the Knicks in Games 1 and 2 at the United Center, winning by 7 and 11 points. After the Knicks earned a Game 3 win at Madison Square Garden the Bulls won the final two games of that series, including a 13-point win at home to clinch the series and a fifth straight home win.

The conference finals were no problem for the Bulls at home or on the road. They began their eventual sweep of Orlando with a 38-point shellacking in Game 1 at home. A five-point win in Game 2 gave them their seventh consecutive home win and they wouldn't be back at the United Center until Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

They smoked the Sonics by 17 in Game a 1 and held on for a four-point win in Game 2. Seattle took Games 4 and 5 at their place to avoid being swept, but when the series returned to Chicago the Bulls were back to their winning ways, earning a 12-point win - their 10th consecutive in the postseason - and their fourth NBA title.

Yes, the Bulls lost just three times (half as many as the Celtics) and actually won the title. Boston, of course, has plenty to do before they reach that status, and they'll do so with at least six losses. We're not comparing the two teams. Simply pointing out a record.

And if you're wondering, Steph Curry and the Warriors have simply been too good to get to 10 wins. Last year they swept all three rounds of the West playoffs, giving them six straight home wins. Then they only needed five games to beat the Cavaliers in the Finals, with three of those coming at home. So they went 9-0 at Oracle Arena before winning it all. They recently had their streak of 16 consecutive postseason home wins, regardless of year, snapped when the Rockets earned a Game 4 win on Tuesday.

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts


Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill discuss the NBA Draft and what happened at the NBA combine that shifted most experts mock drafts.

Kendall also explains why a "promise" to draft a player isn’t guaranteed. He also shares his experience on getting drafted by the Hornets and why he initially felt they were the wrong team for him.

North Carolina "News and Observer" Duke basketball beat writer Jonathan Alexander gives us his opinion on Wendell Carter and the other Duke draft prospects including why he thinks Carter will be a future all-star. Also includes an interview with Carter from the draft combine.

Listen to the full Bulls Talk Podcast right here: