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Stein Power Rankings: Week 20

3/17/2014

Don't bother trying to tell me how hard the NCAA selection committee had it.

Pity the poor committee (of one) trying to choose between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs on this Power Rankings Monday.

That was true agony.

The Spurs haven't lost a game since Kawhi Leonard returned from injury and just became the first team since the 1960s to reach 50 wins before everyone else for the fourth consecutive season.

Four in a row, people.

Still ...

Even with the Houston Rockets predictably vacating the No. 1 slot after an absolutely brutal week of road games, we simply couldn't bring ourselves to thrust the Spurs ahead of the Clippers in our latest power poll.

Not when the Clippers are in the midst of a winning streak as long and one-sided as San Antonio's. And not when the Clips have (A) replaced the Rockets as the team with the best record in 2014 at 27-8 and (B) have had greater success against the top teams than the Spurs (as explained in the rankings themselves).

There were actually tough calls throughout the top 20 for a change, thanks to the gradual improvements we're seeing from a slew of Eastern Conference teams -- Washington, Brooklyn, Charlotte and even the New York Knicks -- as well as Denver's wholly unexpected win in Miami. Most of this week's brainpower, though, was devoted to trying to break the Clippers/Spurs deadlock.

Which definitely wasn't easy on the Monday after San Antonio joined the Boston Celtics (1959-60 through 1965-66) as the only two franchises in league history to win the race to 50 wins in at least four consecutive seasons.

(The rankings, as always, were compiled with the usual robust assisting provided by ESPN Stats & Info and the Elias Sports Bureau. Click here to rank the teams yourself.)