Power Rankings: Streaking Hawks

Updated: February 3, 2015, 3:41 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Monday, Feb. 2

The Atlanta Hawks are one win shy of becoming just the fifth team in NBA history to win 20 consecutive regular-season games, knowing full well that three of the previous four teams to achieve that feat went on to win an NBA championship.

But the solitary win they need to get Monday night at New Orleans, with Anthony Davis (groin) expected to return to the lineup for the Pelicans, is one of only four tough assignments in the week to come for the hottest team in professional sports. Sandwiched between Wednesday's home date with Washington and Sunday's daunting trip to Memphis is Friday night's long-awaited showdown at home with the Golden State Warriors in what we've been calling the other Super Bowl.

The Warriors have topped ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings six times this season, with the Hawks now up to five straight Mondays at the rankings summit.

Let's see what happens first, though, against the Pels. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 wins in a row), 2012-13 Miami Heat (27) and 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20) all fashioned winning streaks spanning at least 20 games on their way to winning a championship. Only the Houston Rockets, who uncorked a 22-game winning streak during the 2007-08 season, couldn't carry that lengthy spell of invincibility into the postseason.

We'll delve further into this week's order -- with Memphis, Toronto and Cleveland all in the midst of their own tidy little winning streaks -- on Stein Line Live. You can comment below on our 1-to-30 order, which as always was compiled with data and research assistance from our friends at ESPN Stats & Information and the Elias Sports Bureau, or you can rank them.

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