NBA Power Rankings: 76ers take No. 1 spot as Knicks, Nuggets stumble; Kings and Lakers move up



Four straight wins this week brings the Sixers’ streak to five overall, earning them the top spot in this week’s rankings. Joel Embiid has been on a mission, possibly moving himself up the MVP pecking order in the process (pun intended). He averaged a monster 39 points, seven rebounds and four assists this week on 62 percent shooting. 3 45-22

Great week for the Kings, who beat the Pelicans, Knicks and Suns to reach 40 wins for the first time since 2006. The offense has been simply unstoppable since the All-Star break, putting up 121.5 points per 100 possessions this week. 6 40-26

The Bucks were on their way to a 3-0 week without Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they saw an eight-point lead disappear with two minutes left in the fourth quarter in an overtime loss to the Warriors on Saturday due to a Steph Curry flurry. Brook Lopez had a career-high nine blocks in their win over the Nets, and averaged 23 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 blocks for the week. — 48-19

The Celtics lost their second straight overtime game to start the week with a depleted roster against the Cavs, but bounced back to handily beat the Blazers and Hawks. Jayson Tatum was rested for the Cleveland loss, but put up 32 points and 11 rebounds per game in the two wins on 11-for-24 3-point shooting. 2 47-21

The Cavs went 3-1 this week, including an overtime win against the short-handed Celtics on Monday. Donovan Mitchell averaged 31 points for the week, while Darius Garland added 23.3 points and 8.3 assists in the three games he played. 2 43-27

Still without Ja Morant, the Grizzlies lost to Lakers to start the week before picking up a solid win over the Warriors that involved some mild Dillon Brooks theatrics. Saturday’s victory over the Mavs without Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving wasn’t exactly dominant, but a win is a win given the current situation in Memphis. 3 40-26

How about those Brooklyn Nets? They rattled off wins over the Rockets, Wolves and Nuggets this week, with their only loss coming to the Bucks. Those who thought Brooklyn would fall into the play-in may be sorely disappointed, as Mikal Bridges put up another impressive week with 25 points per game on 45 percent 3-point shooting. 3 39-29

Michael Malone downplayed the Nuggets’ three-game skid (which includes a home drubbing at the hands of the Bulls and a loss to the Spurs … yikes), saying that fans have been spoiled by the team’s excellence this season. As usual, Nikola Jokic did all he could, averaging 27 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the week on 47 percent 3-point shooting. 6 46-22

Kevin Durant tweaked his ankle during warmups before what would have been his home debut for Phoenix. Boo. The Suns still won that game, but lost to the Kings in a valiant effort on Saturday. Devin Booker scored 44 points in 28 minutes in the win over OKC, while Chris Paul averaged 17 points and 12.5 assists in the two games on 57 percent shooting. 4 37-30

The Clippers only had two games this week, winning both against the Raptors and Knicks. Defense was the name of the game (finally), as they held both opponents to 100 points or less. 6 36-33

Bing bong turned into womp womp as the Knicks dropped three straight games to start the week. Jalen Brunson’s injury clearly played a big part in the struggles, as the Knicks offense fell from its lofty standard. RJ Barrett has done his best with the extra opportunity, averaging 23.3 points this week, while Julius Randle struggled with the added attention, shooting just 33 percent from the field. 10 40-30

The Heat beat the Hawks to start the week, before splitting a two-game set with the Cavs and losing to the Magic in overtime. Jimmy Butler averaged 31 points, six rebounds and five assists in the four games, and hit a clutch pull-up jumper late in the win over Cleveland. 1 36-33

The Lakers beat the Grizzlies and Raptors to start the week, prompting LeBron James to tweet about how much he loves this team, but the magic ran out against the Knicks on Sunday despite a 33-point effort from D’Angelo Russell. Anthony Davis has been conspicuously quiet in the Lakers’ last two games, putting up just 25 total points. 1 33-35

The Wolves were blown out by the 76ers to start the week, then suffered a tough overtime loss to the Nets on Friday. Anthony Edwards averaged 32 points in the two games, but didn’t get much help on the offensive end. 3 34-34

The road woes continued for Golden State with losses to the Thunder and Grizzlies, but Steph Curry willed his way to a late comeback and overtime win against the Bucks at home on Saturday. As usual, the defense was the issue away from home, allowing over 130 points to both OKC and Memphis. 3 35-33

The Hawks lost to the Heat and Celtics this week, but squeezed in consecutive wins over the Wizards in between. Quin Snyder hasn’t figured out how to get this team to defend quite yet, as they allowed 120.9 points per 100 possessions in the four games. 3 34-34

Strong week for OKC, who beat the Warriors, Pelicans and Spurs while getting blown out by the Suns without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He was outstanding, as usual, in the two games he played this week, averaging 34 points on 53 percent shooting. 5 33-35

The Pelicans lost to the Kings and Thunder this week, with big wins (standings-wise) over the Mavs and Blazers. With Brandon Ingram out of the lineup, Trey Murphy went off for a career-high 41 points on 9-for-14 3-point shooting in just 29 minutes against Portland on Sunday. 2 33-35

The Mavs beat the Jazz to start the week, but then Luka Doncic’s thigh started acting up, which led to losses to the Pelicans and Grizzlies. The Mavs hung in there with Memphis despite being without Doncic and Kyrie Irving, as Josh Green and rookie Jaden Hardy combined for 43 points. 4 34-34

The Pacers beat the Rockets and Pistons this week, with their only loss coming in a 147-143 barnburner against the 76ers. Saturday’s win in Detroit came without Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, Bennedict Mathurin and TJ McConnell. 1 31-37

The Bulls broke out their biggest win of the season on Wednesday, drubbing the Nuggets on their home floor while holding them to fewer than 100 points. They followed that up with a closer-than-necessary win over the Rockets, in which Zach LaVine put up 36 points on 14-of-26 shooting. 5 31-36

Utah lost to the Mavs to start the week before beating the Magic and Hornets. Talen Horton-Tucker has thrived in extra playing time with various Jazz guards missing time, averaging 27 points, 7.3 assists and five rebounds on 55/39/88 shooting splits in the three games this week. 3 33-35

Rough three-game road trip for the Raptors, who lost to the Nuggets, Clippers and Lakers. Fred VanVleet’s wallet is also $30,000 lighter after unleashing a profanity-laced diatribe aimed at officials, particularly Ben Taylor. 6 32-36

The Wizards eked out a two-point win over the Pistons to start the week, then lost twice to the Hawks before getting blown out by the 76ers on Sunday. Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal each averaged over 24 points per game this week, while Corey Kispert put up 14.5 points per game on 48 percent 3-point shooting. 6 31-37

Trail Blazers
The Blazers beat the Pistons to start the week, before losing to the Celtics, 76ers and Pelicans as they watch the play-in get farther and farther out of reach. Anfernee Simons came back from injury to light up the Sixers for 34 points on 8-for-12 3-point shooting. 2 31-37

Charlotte got back on the winning track with road victories over the Knicks and Pistons to start the week, but finished up with home losses to the Jazz and Cavs. Kelly Oubre Jr. missed Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, but led the team with 26 points per game on 52 percent 3-point shooting in the three games that he played. 1 22-48

The Magic lost to the Bucks and Jazz to start the week, but held on for an impressive overtime win against Miami on Saturday. Seven players scored in double-figures against the Heat, led by 27 points and 11 rebounds from Wendell Carter Jr. in his first game back from a three-game absence. 3 28-40

Four days off served the Spurs well, as they pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season against the Nuggets on Friday. They followed that up with a tank loss to the Thunder with most of their best players sitting out. Zach Collins continues to put up big numbers as the starting center, averaging 16.5 points and 10 rebounds in the two games, despite getting ejected midway through the win over Denver following a dust-up with Michael Porter Jr. 1 17-50

The Rockets’ modest two-game winning streak was, alas, short-lived, as they lost all three games this week. They nearly pulled off a win in Indiana behind a career-high 30 points from rookie Jabari Smith Jr., but they ran out of gas in overtime. 1 15-52

No wins in four tries for the Pistons this week, falling to the Blazers, Wizards, Hornets and Pacers. James Wiseman put up 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this week on 64 percent shooting. — 15-53

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Publish Date:2023-03-13 21:14:37

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