We’re back with another overview of the power rankings of some of the Internet’s most popular hotbeds of basketball discussion. Mostly–okay all–we’re concerned with, however, is how these Golden State Warriors stack up.
Golden State, even in dropping a game last week on the road to the Brooklyn Nets, moved up in ESPN’s ranking to no. 2, knocking the Heat back to no. 4 after the two-time defending champions lost two games last week. Golden State stayed at the no. 2 spot on CBS sports and was leapfrogged by the San Antonio Spurs at Sports Illustrated, dropping the Warriors to no. 3.
Last week’s loss to the Nets was, I’m sure, an infuriating one for Warriors fans. The loss ended Golden State’s 10-game win streak and effectively ended the Warriors’ chance to become the first team in NBA history to go 7-0 on one road trip. (I wrote a couple weeks back that his road trip was actually fairly easy and was one to kick start the team, though I had no idea just how much it would).
Still, that loss–as disappointing as it was down the stretch–was a small and meaningless one on this journey. It was the second game of a back-to-back and the seventh road game in 11 days. The Nets are actually making strides towards not being completely useless and, in going small with Kevin Garnett at center and Paul Pierce at power forward, actually matched Golden State’s usual match up destroying lineups.
By CBS sports not dropping the Warriors and by ESPN actually bumping them up, that no. 2 is fair. What Golden State did on the road–regardless of its competition–is impressive. Pulling out a close game against the scrappy Boston Celtics, thanks to Stephen Curry heroics, is impressive.
But it’s also fair for SI to drop the Warriors to no. 3. Dropping them any further may have been a bit of an overreaction to a trap-game loss to the Nets and the Spurs have cruised along, winning all three games last week on their way to a 29-8 record, with four more wins and six less losses than the Warriors.
San Antonio’s net rating last week was a blistering 16.7, over 14 points higher than the Warriors, via NBA.com/stats. So arguing that the Spurs, at this point in time, are worse than the Warriors would come off as a little petty. The Spurs are rolling, just as the roll seemingly every season.
This upcoming week, however, gives Golden State some room to grow. Games against Denver and New Orleans are nothing to sneeze at, but it’s the road game in Oklahoma City on ESPN that all NBA eyes will be watching. The Thunder, as you likely know, are without Russell Westbrook and thus aren’t at full strength, but taking down Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and their slew of young talent on the road is never an easy task. A win there could catapult the Warriors into first place contention.
But next Monday is the real test. The next time one our Power Rankings posts are up, we’ll be just hours from the Pacers and Warriors game set in Golden State. Indiana is tearing through teams defensively and have a firm grip on the no. 1 spot on every major network’s rankings. These next four games aren’t easy, but they are a good way for us to measure up these Warriors.