Monday, February 3, 2014
Stein's Power Rankings: Week 14
By Marc Stein
Kevin Durant scored 575 points in January -- good for the fourth-highest monthly total witnessed in the NBA in the past 40 years -- fueling Oklahoma City's 10-game winning streak that included six wins on the road ... and zero games with Russell Westbrook in uniform.
It should come as zero surprise, then, that the Thunder sit atop ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings for a second successive week. Saturday night's road loss in Washington, on the second night of a back-to-back after those 10 wins in a row, was not nearly enough to knock OKC off the top of the pile.
So with the Thunder and Indiana Pacers holding firm, all of the notable movement in this week's rankings happened outside of the top two.
The Los Angeles Clippers jumped from No. 6 to No. 3 by virtue of their strong January minus the injured Chris Paul, who still managed to provide a boost on this Rankings Monday because he's on the brink of rejoining them. The Memphis Grizzlies vaulted from No. 7 to a season-high No. 4 on the strength of their 9-1 record since the return of Marc Gasol. And the aforementioned Wizards made the biggest leap, up six spots from No. 18, after adding that win over the rolling Thunder to cap a week that began with an impressive road win at Golden State.
Durant, meanwhile, is bidding to become the only other player in league history besides Michael Jordan to average at least 30 points per game while shooting 40 percent or better from 3-point range in a single season. Jordan did it in 1995-96. In January, KD averaged 35.9 ppg.
This week’s rankings were compiled, as always, with the usual timely dishing that comes from ESPN Stats & Information and the Elias Sports Bureau. Click here to rank the teams yourself until we return with a fresh 1-to-30 pulse take of the league.
PS -- The only three players in the past 40 years to post a more free-scoring month than Durant, as referenced at the top, are Jordan (676 points in March 1987), George Gervin (590 in January 1980) and Kobe Bryant (578 in March 2006).