NBA Power Rankings: Despite loss, the Golden Age continues

Updated: February 22, 2016, 3:32 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Monday, Feb. 22
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With the annual trade deadline behind us and the few deals that did occur changing little about the championship landscape, prepare to hear over and over about the following two stories in the NBA for the remaining 52 days of the regular season:

1. The Golden State Warriors' quest to win 73 games ... and become the first team in the history of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings to hold the top spot in all 26 editions of the rankings.

2. Kobe Bryant's final 25 games as a Laker ... with remaining road stops in Milwaukee, Memphis, Denver, Phoenix, Utah, New Orleans, Houston and Oklahoma City.

The question we've been asking ourselves for ages here at Stein Line HQ hasn't gone away, either: How many losses in a week would it take for us to bump the Warriors out of the top spot? Two? Three? Golden State's lead over San Antonio for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference was a mere three games as of Monday morning, but the Spurs' 1-4 record against Golden State, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and Toronto means that the gap on our ladder is realistically bigger than that.

In this week's most notable developments, Portland continued its Cinderella season by moving up to a season-high No. 9, while Phoenix -- mired in a 6-33 nosedive since Dec. 1 -- is the only team keeping Kobe's Lakers out of the dreaded No. 30 cellar.

You can comment on the last 1-to-30 order assembled by the Committee of One, which offers its deepest thanks to our pals within the NBA wing of ESPN Stats & Information, as well as the Elias Sports Bureau, for the invaluable data assistance they faithfully provide week after week to help us with all of our calculations.

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