NBA Power Rankings: Rough patch for Warriors, streaking Spurs

Updated: January 18, 2016, 2:48 PM ET
By Marc Stein |
Monday, Jan. 18

The gap here is even narrower than it is in the standings. In truth? There's really no gap.

The San Antonio Spurs, at worst, deserve to be tied with the Golden State Warriors atop's weekly NBA Power Rankings, thanks to a 11-game winning streak in which they've posted five wins by 25 points or more and have trailed in the fourth quarter only once.

However ...

Since we don't and have never done ties here, Golden State has hung on to the No. 1 spot -- at least with your trusty Committee of One -- even after suffering its first two-loss week of the season.

I know, I know: San Antonio has been a juggernaut for the past six weeks and had sliced Golden State's lead in the West to just a game and a half entering this Rankings Monday. Yet we're just not prepared to demote a team that, as covered in greater detail below in the comment space, has lost exactly one game all season when (A) it was fielding its full complement of players and (B) it wasn't playing in the second half of a road back-to-back.

Saturday night's drubbing in Detroit, in Draymond Green's annual homecoming to Michigan, means that the Warriors have suddenly fallen a game behind Chicago's pace in 1995-96, when the Bulls were 38-3 at the same stage en route to a historically best record of 72-10. But Golden State's supposed slump -- going 9-2 over the past 11 games with a comparatively modest average nightly margin of plus-4.8 points per game -- simply isn't slump-y enough for us to ditch 'em.

Stay tuned, though. Monday's visit to Cleveland continues a really r-u-g-g-e-d stretch of schedule for the Dubs, with a stop to come Wednesday night in Chicago before challenging home dates with Indiana, San Antonio and Dallas. The Spurs might well snatch the No. 1 ranking away before the teams finally meet next Monday night in the most anticipated game of the regular season so far.

But let's wait and see. A return to Cleveland for the first time since clinching the franchise's first championship in 40 years could also prove to be the spark Golden State needs to dial its defensive intensity and overall energy back up to the levels witnessed during its 28-2 rampaging start.

More on the Committee's thinking in assembling this week's ladder can be found, as always, via Stein Line Live. Thanks as always, furthermore, to Micah Adams and all of our pals within the NBA wing of ESPN Stats & Information, as well as the Elias Sports Bureau, for the priceless data assistance they provide week after week in helping us with all of our calculations. You can comment on the latest 1-to-30 order below:

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