Power Rankings: Nets, Pacers, Rockets shoot up the charts
By Marc Stein
You had to give it very serious consideration.
In the end, though, you had to keep the Detroit Pistons in the top slot of the ESPN.com NBA Power Rankings -- at least I had to -- when only five other teams in history have started as well as these Pistons have started.
The Pistons are just the sixth team in NBA annals to win 39 of their first 45 games, with the other five all going on to win the championship. Yet when Detroit lost at short-handed Indiana on Saturday night to drop from 39-6 to 39-7 -- its second defeat of the week, no less -- I flirted with bumping the Dallas Mavericks up to No. 1 in what would have been our first change at the top in 13 weeks.
The Mavericks can certainly make a strong case with their current 11-game win streak and a 15-2 record since Jan. 1. I simply couldn't ignore the fact that Detroit is 9-2 and 15-3 in the same spans ... and that San Antonio is right there as well at 10-1 and 13-2, respectively ... and that even the mighty Chicago Bulls, in their 72-win season, lost two games in a row at almost the exact same stage in early February.