Riding a six-game win streak, the Brooklyn Nets have moved to No. 1 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings. The Nets are the fourth No. 1 team in the eight weeks of the rankings. The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers and Utah have also been No. 1.
The Sixers move up one spot to No. 7.
Records are through Monday. Last week’s rankings in parentheses.
1. Brooklyn (20-12) (5)
The Nets have won six in a row and just finished a five-game West Coast trip with wins over Golden State, Sacramento, Phoenix, and the LA Lakers and Clippers. The final four games were without Kevin Durant (hamstring). Without both Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets overcame a 24-point deficit last Tuesday to win, 128-124, at Phoenix. In the 109-98 win over the Lakers, Joe Harris shot 6-for-7 from three-point range. James Hardin had 37 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in Sunday’s 112-108 victory over the Clippers. The Nets are 6-1 against the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks and Sixers.
2. Utah (25-6) (1)
After having a nine-game win streak snapped with Friday’s 112-108 loss at the Clippers, the Jazz bounced back Monday with a home 132-110 win over Charlotte. In that game, Utah had three reserves score at least 20 points: Joe Ingles (21), Georges Niang (21) and Jordan Clarkson (20).
3. LA Clippers (22-10) (3)
The Clippers split two home games vs. Utah and lost Sunday to the Nets. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 63 of the 108 points against the Nets, but getting production from others is going to be a key for the Clippers.
4. Phoenix (20-10) (6)
After losing last Tuesday at home to Brooklyn, the Suns won three in a row, with road victories at New Orleans and Memphis and Monday’s 132-100 home win against Portland. Against Portland, Phoenix survived a rare off-game from Chis Paul, who scored two points and shot 1-for-9. The Suns have won nine of their last 10.
5. LA Lakers (22-10) (2)
The Lakers have hit their first major slump, having lost three in a row and four of five after Monday’s 127-124 overtime home loss to Washington. On Thursday, the Lakers said Anthony Davis (calf) would be out at an estimated four weeks. Davis has missed the last four games, in which the Lakers are 1-3.
6. Portland (18-12) (7)
After a six-game win streak, the Trail Blazers have lost their last two games, 118-111 against Washington and Monday’s 132-100 loss at Phoenix. Normally reliable Gary Trent Jr. shot just 4-for-18, including 3-for-12 from three-point range against Phoenix.
7. Sixers (20-11) (8)
After home wins over Houston and Chicago, the Sixers squandered a 14-point lead in Sunday’s 110-103 loss to Toronto in Tampa. On Friday, Joel Embiid scored a career-high 50 points and had 17 rebounds in the 112-105 win over Chicago. Embiid has scored 25 or more points in 14 consecutive games. During this span, he is averaging 34.5 points.
8. Milwaukee (18-13) (4)
After losing twice at home to Toronto to increase their losing streak to five, the Bucks finished the 2-2 weeks with home wins over Oklahoma City and Sacramento. The Bucks are 3-5 since Jrue Holiday has been sidelined because of health and safety protocols.
9. San Antonio (16-11) (9)
Because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing, the Spurs had four games postponed last week. They haven’t played since a 122-110 win at Charlotte on Feb. 14.
10. Toronto (16-15) (14)
The Raptors enter Tuesday’s game in Tampa against the Sixers on a four-game winning streak, with two wins at Milwaukee and another at Minnesota before Sunday’s win over the Sixers. Norman Powell had 29 points in Thursday’s 110-96 win at Milwaukee. During the four-game win streak, Pascal Siakam has averaged 20.8 ppg., 8.8 rpg. and 6.3 apg.
11. Denver (16-14) (10)
After Nikola Jokic scored 43 points in last Tuesday’s 112-99 loss at Boston, coach Michael Malone stated the obvious: that the center needs help. The Nuggets also lost at Washington before winning at Cleveland and then losing at Atlanta to end a 1-3 week.
12. Golden State (16-15) (11)
An overtime win over Miami was followed by road losses at Orlando and Charlotte. Steph Curry was ill and missed the Charlotte game, against the team from his hometown. Curry (29.9 ppg.) is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game in New York.
13. Boston (15-15) (12)
After beating Denver at home, the Celtics split two games with Atlanta before ending the week with Sunday’s 120-115 overtime loss at New Orleans. Kemba Walker, who shot 5-for-21 against New Orleans, missed the early part of the season with a knee injury and has yet to regain his All-Star form of a year ago.
14. Indiana (15-14) (13)
In Wednesday’s 134-128 OT win at Minnesota, Domantas Sabonis had 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the only game of the week after a game at Houston was postponed because of the weather and a home game vs. San Antonio was postponed due to health and safety protocols with the Spurs.
15. Dallas (14-15) (16)
The Mavs have won five of six, including Monday’s 102-92 home win over Memphis as former Villanova star Jalen Brunson scored 19 points. Brunson is averaging 11.9 points.
16. New York (15-16) (17)
The surprising Knicks have won four of five, capped by Sunday’s 103-99 home win over Minnesota. Since joining the Knicks, Derrick Rose is averaging 10 points and 3.2 assists and New York is 4-2 in those games.
17. Miami (14-17) (19)
The Heat are starting to play a little better. Bam Adebayo (16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) and Jimmy Butler (13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists) had triple doubles in a 118-110 win over defensively deficient Sacramento on Thursday. That snapped a three-game losing streak and began a three-game win streak, which also includes victories at the Lakers and at Oklahoma City.
18. Memphis (13-14) (15)
After home wins against Oklahoma City and Detroit, the Grizzlies suffered losses to Phoenix and Dallas. In Saturday’s 128-97 loss to Phoenix, Justise Winslow returned from a hip injury and played for the first time since Jan. 8, 2020. He is still shaking off the rust, having shot 4-for-24 in his first two games back.
19. Charlotte (14-16) (18)
The Hornets split two games, winning against Golden State and losing at Utah. In the 102-100 win over Golden State, Terry Rozier had 34 points. During the last six games, Charlotte has won, lost, won, lost, won and lost.
20. Chicago (14-16) (24)
The Bulls have won four of five, with the loss coming Friday to the Sixers. They bounced back with Saturday’s 122-114 home win over Sacramento as Zach LaVine scored 38 points. Monday’s 120-100 victory at Houston gave the Bulls an 8-7 road record, better than both the Sixers and Bucks.
21. Atlanta (13-17) (22)
After splitting two games at Boston, the Hawks ended their week with a 123-115 win over visiting Denver as Trae Young had 35 points and 15 assists. Young is averaging 26.9 points and 9.5 assists.
22. Orlando (13-18) (27)
With home wins over New York, Golden State and Detroit, the Magic have their longest win streak since opening the season with four victories. During the three-game streak, Nikola Vucevic has averaged 27.7 points, 14.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
23. New Orleans (13-17) (23)
The Pelicans’ D hit a new low in Friday’s 132-114 home loss to Phoenix. New Orleans led, 102-91, before being outscored, 41-12, in the fourth quarter. After winning at Memphis on Tuesday, the Pelicans lost home games to Portland and Phoenix before winning an overtime game against Boston. Zion Williamson is averaging 25.1 points and 6.8 rebounds in 32.1 minutes.
24. Washington (11-17) (28)
The Wizards are playing their best basketball of the season, having won five in a row with Monday’s 127-124 overtime win at the Lakers as Bradley Beal scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 32. During the five-game win streak, Beal is averaging 33.4 points.
25. Oklahoma City (12-19) (21)
The Thunder have lost four of five. They have won just two of their last nine games.
26. Sacramento (12-18) (20)
The Kings have lost seven in a row, a streak that began with a 119-111 loss to the Sixers. The Kings are allowing an average of 124.2 points during the losing streak.
27. Houston (11-18) (25)
After Wednesday’s loss to the Sixers, Houston had home games with Dallas and Indiana postponed because of the weather. Then Monday, Houston lost its eighth straight, 120-100, to visiting Chicago. All eight losses have been without Christian Wood (right ankle sprain).
28. Cleveland (10-21) (26)
The Cavs have lost 10 in a row, including the last four after deciding not to play center Andre Drummond, who is expected to be dealt to a contender.
29. Detroit (8-22) (29)
The Pistons suffered three straight road losses, at Chicago, Memphis and Orlando. Former Sixer Jerami Grant is leading the Pistons in scoring (23.5 ppg.) and blocked shots (1.2 bpg.).
30. Minnesota (7-24) (30)
Ryan Saunders became the first NBA coaching casualty. The Wolves are on a four-game losing streak but at least they provided one of the top highlights. This was the dunk of the year by overall No. 1 draft choice Anthony Edwards in Friday’s 86-81 home loss to Toronto.