For the second straight game, the Clippers gave up at least 115 points but Chris Paul and Blake Griffin each posted a double-double to help Los Angeles overcome their defensive deficiencies. Paul had 42 points and 15 assists while Griffin contributed 23 points and 10 caroms.
This article will look at each Western Conference team’s chances of winning the conference. Every Monday of each week, a new Power Rankings will be unveiled. The power ranking will rank each team 1-15 and have a ranking system between 50 and 100.
91-100: NBA Championship Contender
85-90.9: Conference champion sleeper
73-84.9: Playoff team
66-72.9: Borderline playoff team
50-65.9: Lottery team
1. Los Angeles Clippers (1-1), Rating 93.5: The Clippers completely overhauled their roster after winning the Western Division for the first time ever. The Clips added Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick and Darren Collison to their core of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
Los Angeles is a very athletic and talented team though they must hunker down defensively as surrendering 116 points to the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 29, is inexcusable.
2. San Antonio Spurs (1-0), Rating 93.0: The Spurs made a surprising appearance in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat and took the Heat to the brink. San Antonio is a year older and did not do much in the offseason, however, you cannot count out Tim Duncan and his teammates.
Duncan left the Spurs game against Memphis on Oct. 30, with a chest contusion and is day-to-day. The Spurs shot 52.6 percent from the floor and got 51 points from their bench in their 101-94 victory over Memphis.
3. Houston Rockets (1-0), Rating 92.7: The Rockets went all out for Dwight Howard this offseason and he cleaned up the boards, grabbing a career-high tying 26 caroms and scored 17 points in Houston’s 96-83 victory over Charlotte.
The Rockets held the Bobcats to 36.7 percent shooting and outrebounded Charlotte 54-37. However, Houston was just 15-of-24 from the charity stripe and forced only seven Bobcat turnovers.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0), Rating 89.9. As long as Kevin Durant is in OKC, the Thunder are in very good shape. While OKC probably won’t have the conference’s best record, they have the talent to participate in the Western Conference finals once Russell Westbrook returns and they get consistent production from their bench.
Durant scored 42 points against Utah 101-98 on Oct. 30.
5. Golden State Warriors (1-1), Rating 85.0. The Warriors like to get up and down the court and have the guards to put up a ton of points with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala as well as Klay Thompson, who tallied 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 30. Golden State defeated Los Angeles 125-94.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (0-1), Rating 82.5. The Grizzlies are solid defensively and have people who can score inside the paint, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but the big question is who is going to consistently score from the perimeter? Mike Miller and Quincy Pondexter are the two likeliest candidates.
Memphis tallied 40 points in the paint versus the Spurs and was 8-of-15 from beyond the arc but they gave up 19 fast break points to the Spurs.
7. Dallas Mavericks (1-0) 79.0.Dallas has a lot of firepower with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis along with Vince Carter, who is coming off the bench. The Mavericks, who put up 118 points, are going to have to learn how to defend someone as they permitted the Atlanta Hawks 109 points on Oct. 30.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0), Rating 78.0. The Wolves scored 118 points without Chase Budinger and little production from the bench, which will be an issue unless Derrick Williams or Shabazz Muhammed is able to produce at least until Budinger returns from his injury.
Minnesota scored 103 points during regulation against Orlando but outscored the Magic 17-12 in overtime. The Wolves shot 34 free throws and committed 14 turnovers. Minnesota permitted Orlando to shoot 47 percent and lost the rebounding battle 54-49.
9. New Orleans Pelicans (0-1), Rating 77.5. The Pelicans have solid young players in Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. The Pelicans will need to get production from their bench if they want to make a run at a playoff spot.
10. Portland Trailblazers (0-1), 73.0. LaMarcus Aldridge’s, who scored 28 points in the Blazers opening game loss to the Phoenix Suns, health is key for Portland to break into the top-eight in the conference as is their bench, which only produced 12 points and nine caroms against the Suns.
11. Los Angeles Lakers (1-1), 72.9. The big question is will the Lakers be in playoff contention when Kobe Bryant returns?
12. Denver Nuggets (0-1), 72.0. The athletic Nuggets have won at least 55 games the last seven seasons but they will have to get healthy to be in contention to make it eight straight. Danilo Gallinari is out til December and several others, like Wilson Chandler are banged up.
13. Sacramento Kings (1-0), 71.9. This maybe the year DeMarcus Cousins finally gets it.
14. Utah Jazz (0-1), 68.5. The Jazz are clearly rebuilding but they have some nice young pieces in Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Enes Kantner.
15. Phoenix Suns (1-0), 65.0. There will be some growing pains for the young Suns but they are off to a good start with their victory over Portland. The Suns are expected to be led by Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe but Miles Plumlee’s double-double against the Blazers was a pleasant surprise.