As we enter Week 5 of the 2021-22 season, teams have played an average of 13 games. And with two more weeks until we hit that magical 20-game mark, this feels like a pivot point for couple of contenders.
The Golden State Warriors have the best record in the league. But when they began a four-game trip in Charlotte on Sunday, it was just their second game outside the state of California and just their fifth against one of the other 14 teams that enter Week 5 with a winning record.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a more home-heavy schedule than the Warriors, having played 11 of their 14 games at the Staples Center. Their visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday begins a stretch where they’re playing 11 of 16 on the road.
The Brooklyn Nets have played a relatively easy schedule. But beginning with their game against the Warriors on Tuesday, they’ll play seven of 10 against teams that are currently over .500. The Phoenix Suns, winners of eight straight games, will see a similar uptick in strength of schedule. And beginning Wednesday, the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers will play four straight games against the Nets, Warriors and Suns.
The next seven days could also be important in regard to the returns of Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid, LeBron James and Khris Middleton from injuries and illnesses. In all, it feels like a big week. And it starts with the Warriors on top of the Power Rankings.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Denver (4-0) — So, is Nikola Jokic a Defensive Player of the Year candidate?
- Something Just Ain’t Right: Sacramento (0-3) — The Kings are supposed to be on the tier above the Spurs and Thunder.
East vs. West
Schedule strength through Week 4
- Toughest: 1. Atlanta, 2. Indiana, 3. Boston
- Easiest: 1. Phoenix, 2. Brooklyn, 3. Golden State
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: LA Clippers (+8), Charlotte (+7), Chicago (+7)
- Free falls of the week: Memphis (-10), New York (-7), Philadelphia (-7)
Week 5 Team to Watch
- Cleveland— The 9-5 Cavs continue to surprise, entering Week 5 in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and 4-4 in games played between the 15 teams that are currently over .500. They’re not on national TV, but they’ll be in the spotlight this week, playing a Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back against the Nets (in Brooklyn) and Warriors (in Cleveland). Before that, they’ll host one of the teams (Boston) they’re surprisingly ahead of in the East.
Previous Power Rankings
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 99.5 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 107.0 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.