This past week, 50 NBA games were played as five teams posted perfect records: Oklahoma City (4-0), Golden State (4-0), San Antonio (4-0), Toronto (3-0), and Indiana (2-0). The wins accelerated Toronto to atop the Atlantic Division, while Golden State, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City extended their leads in their respective Western Conference divisions.
On the other side of the spectrum, five NBA teams went winless this past week: Washington (0-4), Phoenix (0-4), Denver (0-4), LA Lakers (0-3), New York (0-3), Philadelphia (0-3). The streaks allowed New York to fall from first to third in the Atlantic Division and Denver to tumble from third to last in the Northwest Division.
Some key games this week featured a San Antonio 108-88 rout of Atlanta, a Minnesota 99-95 win over Atlanta, an Oklahoma City 117-114 victory over Dallas, a Toronto 103-99 win over Cleveland, and an Indiana 104-92 win over Chicago. Majority of the games featured high-ranking teams facing off against low-rankings teams, resulting in a fairly stable rankings. The resulting r-square for the beta regression fit maintains at a high 0.7026.
The resulting rankings from this model shows Toronto making a 10 spot leap from 17th to 7th after their 3-0 run with wins over the L.A. Clippers, Washington, and most importantly, Cleveland. Similarly, Washington dropped 10 spots from 8th to 18th as they went 0-4 for the week with losses to Indiana, Charlotte, Boston, and Toronto.
An interesting note is that despite Oklahoma City went 4-0 this past week with wins over Dallas, Utah, Brooklyn, and Detroit, the Thunder are still ranked around 19th. With losses to Houston, New York, and Boston, and only one true signature win over San Antonio, Oklahoma City hasn’t put together a strong resume for a top spot. With their entire slate of games against Cleveland, Golden State, and Atlanta still ahead of them; Oklahoma City will climb merely based on the competition level and the weight of wins over the 11th through 20th ranked teams will supplement their rankings.
The projected final standings still shows the Golden State Warriors falling just short of the 72-10 mark of the Chicago Bulls but earning the top record in the league. Projected division winners are Toronto, Cleveland, Miami, Oklahoma City, Golden State, and San Antonio. Big question marks remain around Houston and Washington as they remain volatile, being capable of earning big wins, but suffer losses to perceived weaker teams. Due to their current struggles, neither team coming off their respective successful previous year are in prime position to make the playoffs.