Stein Power Rankings: Week 19

It might be only a fluky one-week stay at the top for the Houston Rockets.

Especially when you look at the Rockets' upcoming schedule.

On this Power Rankings Monday, though, give 2014's winningest team its due.

Dwight Howard, James Harden & Co. simply had to be elevated to No. 1 overall this week, crazy as that sounds given the skepticism that persists about the Rockets' playoff prospects, to fill the void created by the sudden struggles plaguing Miami, Indiana and Oklahoma City.

This is the first time since 1982, amazingly, that the top two teams in a given conference have simultaneously lost at least three consecutive games and managed to stay in the top two of that conference. You've done it again, East: Indiana and Miami, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, are the first two teams to pull off that trick since Seattle and the Los Angeles Lakers way back in February 1982.

Throw in Oklahoma City's collapse on the road against the lowly Lakers -- combined with Miami's three-game skid and Indiana's 106 points per game allowed in suffering four straight defeats -- and your result is the first batch of rankings all season where neither the Heat nor the Pacers can be found in our top two.

Houston made the big jump from No. 6 to No. 1 on the strength of its 23-6 record since Jan. 1 -- tops in the league in that span -- and last week's massive home wins over Miami and Indy. Those factors were just enough for the Rockets to nose past the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio, who are respectively riding their own seven- and six-game win streaks.

Other notable movers this week are Chicago (up to No. 7), Portland (down to No. 12 after what arguably ranks as the most agonizing week of the Blazers' season) and New York, which unexpectedly rose to No. 20 thanks to a playoff race that somehow keeps giving the Knicks life.