It’s week six, which is when we are halfway through the first half schedule (on Wednesday) and when we’re playing 25% off the full schedule, 1080 games, 2020-21. That will be Friday, unless several more matches are postponed.
Usually the quarter is when teams can make a real decision about where to stand. But things are clearly different this season. Not only were there prolonged postponements and absences due to the Coronavirus, but this was the first season of the new rules of play.
So instead of drawing just one line after the first eight teams in each conference, we need to imagine two lines: one separating the first six teams from the rest of the group, and the other for the participating teams from seventh to tenth. This makes everything a little more mysterious, especially in the East, where defense currently shines Sitting in the 13th position at 6-9. Only five teams from the East have record wins, and the Miami Heat are thirteenth, one and a half behind the sixth-placed Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the West, the situation is clearer and perhaps more realistic for 15th and 14th New Orleans Pelicans. Where things are really interesting is at the top, with the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz all losing only four.
These three teams top the rankings this week, with the champions staying at the top for the sixth straight week after a big win in Milwaukee. They will play the other two teams at the top of the eastern standings this week, while Jazz will play some big matches inside the conference.
Plus minus players of the week
Teams of the week
- Make it last forever: Philadelphia (3-0) – The Sixers are 9-0 when Seth Curry and Joel Embiid are available, and the Lakers come to town.
- Something is not right: New Orleans (0-3) – The Pelicans lost two games to Hot Jazz, but ended their six-game journey with a loss in Minnesota, trailing up to 18 points against a team that was 3–11 and missing two of the previous all-stars.
East versus West
Schedule strength during the fifth week
- Harder: 1. Charlotte, 2. Oklahoma City, 3. Memphis
- Easier: 1. Orlando, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Atlanta
- Table strength depends on the opponent’s cumulative record, and is adjusted for home versus absences and rest days before the match.
Movement in order
- High jumps per week: Denver (+6), five teams (+5)
- Free Fall of the Week: New Orleans (-9), Phoenix (-6), three teams (-4)
The sixth week of the watch team
- Dallas – Ninth-placed Mavs are supposed to recover some bodies this week as they face the most important period in their schedule in the first half. They host Nuggets on Mondays before heading out for two games in Utah on Wednesday and Friday. Then they return home in two matches against the Suns on Saturday and next Monday.
Previous strength ratings
Speed: Crop count per 48 minutes (league standings)
turning off: Points scored per 100 properties (league rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 properties (league rank)
NitGet: Point difference per 100 properties (League Rank)
The league averaged 100.7 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 109.8 points per 100 property this season.
The NBA.com strength rankings, which releases every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have a rating issue, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an email or Connect with him on Twitter.