Through Week 5, there are, basically, 13 good teams in the league. (We'll keep the 8-8 Suns in that group because they still have a strong point differential - plus-2.9 per 100 possessions.)
The other 17 have been ... well, not good.
It makes for an interesting landscape, one where almost every team seemingly has a lot of winnable games on the horizon. Some of those not-good teams will begin to take advantage of the others and eventually arise from the morass. But there's no telling which of the 17 that will be. The quarter pole of the season is coming soon (next week) and every game counts.
Among the teams already taking advantage of an easy schedule is the Los Angeles Lakers, who are No. 1 in the Power Rankings for a second straight week.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Right Way: Kristaps Porzingis (DAL) was a plus-100 in four games last week.
- Wrong Way: Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. (CLE) were each a minus-66 in four games last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Denver (3-0) -- The Nuggets' first two wins came against teams - Houston and Boston - that arrived in Denver with 11-3 records. And on Sunday, Denver took care of business against the frisky Suns.
- Something Just Ain't Right: Portland (0-4) -- After starting their trip with a win in San Antonio, the Blazers have lost four straight, dropping games in New Orleans and Cleveland and in desperate need of a win in Chicago on Monday.
East vs. West
- The West is 45-39 (.536) against the East in interconference games after the East went 6-5 last week.
Schedule strength through Week 5
- Toughest: 1. New Orleans, 2. Cleveland, 3. Memphis
- Easiest: 1. Indiana, 2. Dallas, 3. L.A. Lakers
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Dallas (+7), Washington (+6), Chicago (+5)
- Free falls of the week: Portland (-8), Houston (-6), Boston (-4), Charlotte (-4)
Week 6 Team to Watch
- Dallas -- The Mavs are on fire, with Luka Doncic having averaged 34.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 10.8 assists over their five-game winning streak, which they take into a matchup with the Clippers on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV). After that, they'll head out for a three-game trip visiting the Suns on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday. The last time Doncic and LeBron James met, they both had 30-point triple-doubles.
- Last week: Lakers jump to No. 1, Rockets enter top 5 and Clippers face big week
- This time last year: Quarter pole a good time to assess playoff chances -- Markelle Fultz's own camp shut him down for what turned out to be the remainder of the season, and Anthony Davis recorded the first 5 x 5 game in almost three years. The Suns got their first road win of the season when Jamal Crawford hit the game-winner in Milwaukee, Danny Green hit a game-winner in Orlando, and Jimmy Butler hit his second step-back game winner in nine days.
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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 102.0 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 107.9 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
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NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.
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