It's no secret the NBA schedule is brutal, particularly the second of back-to-back games. Dealing with that component separates teams at the top. Look no further than this week's Power Rankings for a few examples.
The Pacers fall because they got smoked by the Suns and then lost on a back-to-back in Denver, a schedule loss. The Trail Blazers drop because they struggled with Denver, then lost to the Warriors ... on a back-to-back.
Teams finished play Saturday night 127-184 on the second night of a back-to-back. It's going to end up costing somebody home court in the playoffs. Yet some teams work through it. The Thunder have faced up to the challenge -- going 5-3 on those back-to-backs -- and capped off a 5-0 week with Russell Westbrook still out. That consistency is what makes the good teams great. But the Rockets, for instance, don't match that consistency and are ranked lower than their record may indicate.
Still, we'd rather the schedule let clubs show who's the best rather than so much being decided by unnecessary quirks.
With that, here are this week's Power Rankings.