Power Rankings: Spurs on the climb

Updated: November 18, 2013, 4:08 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Monday, Nov. 18
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You might find it harsh to see that there's a new No. 1 in ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings when the Indiana Pacers have only one loss on their ledger.

So let us explain.

While it's true that Indiana just suffered its first defeat of the new season -- on the second night of a back-to-back, too -- it's a tough world out there. So tough that the San Antonio Spurs, whose 9-1 record matches Indy's, have capitalized on the Pacers' solitary slipup to emerge as our new No. 1.

Since San Antonio's loss to the scorching-in-their-own-right Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 2, the Spurs have won seven in a row, even with Tim Duncan averaging a career-low 12 points per game on career-worst 39.4 percent shooting. Not a bad start for a group of 30-somethings who have been telling us since training camp opened in late September that they're still nowhere close to getting over what happened in the NBA Finals last June.

When you combine the Spurs' strong statement out of the gate in the face of that depressing hangover with the fact that we expected Indiana -- fairly or unfairly -- to scarcely even feel the effects of a back-to-back against hated Chicago on Saturday night after beating undermanned Milwaukee ... boom. That's the combination that prompted your faithful committee (of one) to bump the Spurs up a slot and drop the Pacers to No. 2 after the 110-94 shellacking they absorbed from the Bulls.

The Blazers are the other big newsmakers in this week's top 10, riding a six-game winning streak to move to a season-high No. 7 and add another P team to Philadelphia and Phoenix on the list of franchises that have surprised us at this early juncture.

The latest rankings, as always, were compiled by the committee with the ever-helpful dishing that comes from ESPN Stats & Information and the Elias Sports Bureau. You can click here to rank the teams yourself until we return next Monday with a fresh 1-to-30 pulse take of the league.

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