Going 2-1 in a week with wins over the 29th and 30th ranked teams in these rankings wouldn’t normally be a reason to jump five spots in the rankings, but when those wins are accompanied by the return of MVP Kevin Durant? Yeah, that’s a reason to shoot up the rankings.

After rising 10 spots last week with the return of Russell Westbrook, the Thunder rose once again with the return of Durant. It seems voters do need to see some quality wins before ranking them among the Western Conference elite, but with the return of their two superstars the Thunder may be in the top five in no time.

Phinally out of the basement

For the first time all season the 76ers are not in last place in the NBA Today power rankings. Following their first two wins of the season, the 76ers jumped the Pistons and moved into 29th. Previously, Philadelphia had not even received a vote for anything other than last. Two road wins, though, were enough to convince the NBA Today voters to give the young 76ers a little love and at least temporarily, give another team the dubious honor of last place.

The Bestern Conference

After spending much of last week discussing how to fix the imbalance of power between conferences with callers and guests such as Darren Collison, it’s not a surprise to see the Western Conference dominate the top of the rankings. And this week is particularly extreme. For the first time all season not one Eastern Conference team is ranked inside the top five.  In fact, the top ranked Eastern Conference team this week (Cavaliers) don’t even check in until the No. 8 spot. The Bulls are a perfect example of the imbalance of power: The Bulls were the top ranked team in the East last week (No. 5), but ran into two top Western Conference foes at home (Mavericks and Warriors) and dropped both games – and in the process, five spots in the rankings.

NBA POWER RANKINGS (THROUGH 12/7/14)

Rank (LW) Team
1 (1) Golden State Warriors
2 (3) San Antonio Spurs
3 (4) Portland Trail Blazers
4 (2) Memphis Grizzlies
5 (6) Los Angeles Clippers
6 (7) Houston Rockets
7 (9) Dallas Mavericks
8 (11) Cleveland Cavaliers
9 (8) Toronto Raptors
10 (5) Chicago Bulls
11 (10) Washington Wizards
12 (12) Atlanta Hawks
13 (14) Phoenix Suns
14 (19) Oklahoma City Thunder
15 (16) Milwaukee Bucks
16 (18) New Orleans Pelicans
17 (17) Denver Nuggets
18 (20) Brooklyn Nets
19 (15) Sacramento Kings
20 (13) Miami Heat
21 (22) Orlando Magic
22 (21) Indiana Pacers
23 (25) Boston Celtics
24 (24) Charlotte Hornets
25 (23) Utah Jazz
26 (27) Los Angeles Lakers
27 (26) Minnesota Timberwolves
28 (29) New York Knicks
29 (30) Philadelphia 76ers
30 (29) Detroit Pistons

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