The top five of the MVP Power Rankings remains the same as last week, with James Harden hanging on to the top spot by a thread over Anthony Davis. There was some shuffling in the bottom half of the top 10, and Russell Westbrook made a charge up the rankings thanks to some monster performances.
1. James Harden (Last week: 1)
The Rockets may have lost to the Blazers on Sunday, but Harden had 45 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in defeat. He went to the line a whopping 23 times, making 19 of those attempts. That was after attempting 17 free throws in the win over Milwaukee.
Oh, and did I mention Harden torched Butler?:
2. Anthony Davis (Last week: 2)
I was tempted to put Davis No. 1 just based on the awful play of the Pelicans after the big man got hurt in an ugly loss to the Bulls over the weekend. When Davis left the game with a sprained shoulder in the second quarter, the game was tied. The final margin was 35 points. New Orleans then lost at home to Utah with Davis sidelined.
When Davis was on the court last week, he wasn't too shabby. What's the big deal about 41 points and a three-point buzzer-beater?:
The three was Davis's first of the season. He's now 11-of-12 on shots to tie or take the lead in the last five minutes of fourth quarter or overtime, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
3. Stephen Curry (Last week: 3)
Curry's last three games -- which weren't bad but weren't great -- could have easily dropped him down a slot, but he gets to stay at No. 3 thanks to a 51-point masterpiece against the Mavericks:
Curry scored 26 points in the third quarter, the most ever in a quarter for the point guard and the second-most in a quarter this season. The sharpshooter knocked down 10 three-pointers in the thrilling performance.
4. LeBron James (Last week: 4)
Since James returned from injuries in mid-January, the Cavaliers have outscored opponents by 18 points per 100 possessions with him on the court, per NBA.com. When James has been on the bench, Cleveland has been outscored by 7.2 points per 100 possessions.
Going even further, the Cavaliers' starting lineup of James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov has outscored opponents by nearly 22 points per 100 possessions during that span, per NBA.com. Many are making a big deal of the James-Love Twitter fiasco, but it's not a big deal if this type of domination continues.
5. Marc Gasol (Last week: 5)
The Grizzlies mysteriously lost to the Timberwolves last week, only to turn around and beat the Hawks in a classic grind-it-out performance. Gasol had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the victory, but it was the defense that was the real key. The high-flying Hawks shot just 41.3 percent in the game, and Gasol helped hold Al Horford to 2-of-11 shooting. Paul Millsap didn't fare much better, shooting 2-of-10.
6. Russell Westbrook (Last week: 12)
Westbrook was a one-man wrecking crew in both games against the Pelicans last week. In the first game, without Kevin Durant, Westbrook put up 45 points in a crucial victory on the road:
Westbrook one-upped himself the next game, scoring a career-high 48 points even with Durant back in the lineup. While it came in a loss thanks to the Davis three-pointer seen above, it's hard to take anything away from the brilliant effort. Thanks to the two straight star efforts, Westbrook joined an exclusive club:
Russell Westbrook joins Wilt Chamberlain on a very exclusive list pic.twitter.com/aJzHMxsKQZ— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 7, 2015
7. Jeff Teague (Last week: 8)
Teague was excellent over the past week, putting up 26 points and eight assists in a duel with John Wall and then following that up with 23 points and seven assists in a marquee win over the Warriors.
Teague was one of the few Hawks to have any type of success in the loss to the Grizzlies, scoring 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting while also handing out six assists. The point guard is showing few signs of regression as his career year continues.
8. John Wall (Last week: 6)
Wall has been steady throughout the entire season, but he hasn't had many signature performances of late. He has come close to notching several triple-doubles over the last few weeks, only to fall just short.
9. LaMarcus Aldridge (Last week: 10)
Since deciding to forgo surgery on his left thumb, Aldridge has been better than ever. The big man has averaged 26 points and 11 rebounds over the last eight games, all the while shooting a solid 48.8 percent from the field.
The Trail Blazers are starting to find their mojo again now that they're getting healthy, so Aldridge could rise in these rankings if these latest trends keep up.
10. Klay Thompson (Last week: 7)
Thompson had a big game against the Hawks, but his shooting has been U-G-L-Y the last two games. The shooting guard went 5-of-22 in a win over the Knicks. That was followed up by a 4-of-14 performance in Philadelphia.
Even with these horrendous shooting efforts, Thompson is still shooting 47.3 percent overall and 44.1 percent from three on the season. Both marks would be career-highs by a wide margin.
Next five: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry, Al Horford