It was a rough week for the NBA powers that be, leading an old, familiar team to claim the Power Rankings throne as we embark on a new year.
The Spurs might have played possum in Thursday night's clash with the Knicks, but they climb to the top of this week's rankings thanks to the futility of their peers. The Clippers ended their two-week run as No. 1 -- and their 17-game winning streak -- with back-to-back blowouts on the road. The Thunder have dropped three of their last six games, including a disturbing loss at home to the Nets. And the Heat are coming off their worst spell of the season, losing back-to-back games last week and needing overtime to squeeze out two others.
San Antonio held the league's longest winning streak at seven games before losing to the Knicks on Thursday. But one regular-season loss won't make anyone on the Spurs sweat (see: Popovich, Gregg). The Spurs own top-four units on offense and defense and have bounced back nicely from their mid-December doldrum. Tim Duncan's renaissance has been fueling the Spurs' fire, with the big man playing his best basketball in years at age 36. Duncan is one of three players averaging at least 17 points and nine rebounds this season and has San Antonio poised for another run deep into the playoffs. With Popovich at the helm, you can expect Duncan to be well rested, too.