1. Golden State Warriors (35-6, 1st in Western Conference)
The Warriors took revenge on the Cavaliers in a blowout win Monday night and claimed the top spot in this week’s power rankings. Sitting at 35-6, the 2016 Finals runner-ups have the best record in the NBA and show no sign of slowing down. Averaging an insane 117 points per game with a flexible roster, the Warriors should have no problem outscoring any opponent and shutting down all sorts of lineups. The Warriors have a relatively easy schedule leading up to All-Star weekend and should be the best team heading into the break.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-11, 1st in Eastern Conference)
The Cavaliers went a disappointing 2-3 on their first Western Conference road trip of the season. LeBron James and the rest of the Cavs will look to regain their championship ways against the lowly Suns be fore taking on the Spurs in a battle of heavyweights. The Cavaliers are still in search for another point guard to backup All-Star Kyrie Irving, so look for the defending champions to improve their roster and their chances of repeating via trades.
3. San Antonio Spurs (31-9, 2nd in Western Conference)
Once again, the Spurs are on pace to finish their seventh straight season with a winning percentage of at least 70. Yet, no one is talking about San Antonio as a championship contender, and that’s just how coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs like it. The Spurs have not shown any signs of regression despite losing Tim Duncan, their greatest player in franchise history, due to retirement. Look for the Spurs to finish as a top-three team in the West and one of the few teams that can challenge the Warriors in a seven-game series come playoffs.
4. Houston Rockets (32-11, 3rd in Western Conference)
Offense sells tickets and defense wins championships, but don’t tell that to Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets. With MVP front-runner James Harden at the point, Houston has adopted a “shoot early, shoot often” philosophy this year and it’s paying off. With the second best offensive ratings in the league, the Rockets have no problem racking up wins and impressive stat lines, but their defensive ability remains a big question mark.
5. Toronto Raptors (27-13, 2nd in Eastern Conference)
The Raptors proved their dominance in the Atlantic Division by beating the Celtics, Nets and the Knicks at home. With All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan playing at a career-best level this year, the Eastern Conference Finals runner-up should have no problem claiming its fourth straight division title despite improved competitions. The Raptors have become a powerhouse in the East in the past couple of seasons, and Toronto will have until the trade deadline to make a move to improve its chance of surpassing the Cavs in the East.