After a 1-3 West Coast trip, the 76ers have dropped out of the top 10 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings. Ranked 10th in the previous two weeks, the Sixers have fallen to No. 13.
Losing Saturday, 118-114 at Golden State, caused the Sixers to fall. That was only Golden State’s fourth win over teams .500 or better.
After seven weeks on top, Milwaukee has been supplanted by the Los Angeles Lakers. This past week, the Lakers went 3-0, and their least impressive win was over the Sixers. They also beat both Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers.
LeBron James continues to make a run at MVP, an award that appeared to be firmly in the grip of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. James is averaging 30.1 points in his last six games and had 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the Lakers’ win over Milwaukee on Friday. Antetokounmpo suffered a minor knee sprain in that game and missed Sunday’s loss at Phoenix.
Milwaukee (53-11) lost a total of three times this past week, the defeats representing 27.2% of its losses for the season. The Bucks also suffered a 105-89 setback at Miami last Monday in their lowest-scoring game of the season.
Despite seeing their six-game win streak snapped by the Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers moved up to No. 3.
Records are through Sunday, and last week’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Los Angeles Lakers 49-13 (2)
2. Milwaukee Bucks 53-11 (1)
3. Los Angeles Clippers 43-20 (4)
4. Oklahoma City 40-24 (7)
5. Utah 41-22 (11)
6. Boston 42-21 (5)
7. Denver 42-21 (6)
8. Indiana (8) 39-25
9. Toronto 45-18 (9)
10. Miami 41-23 (12)
Houston had a miserable week, going 0-4, including losses to New York, Charlotte and Orlando. Maybe small ball is running into some difficulty.
It was an interesting week for Brooklyn and not just because the Nets went 3-1. Caris LeVert scored 51 points in a 129-120 overtime win at Boston and received this congratulatory tweet from Kevin Durant.
Saturday, the Nets and coach Kenny Atkinson decided to part ways, according to the team. Atkinson shouldn’t be unemployed very long. Player such as LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie really developed under his tutelage.
11. Houston 39-24 (3)
12. Dallas 39-26 (13)
13. Sixers 38-26 (10)
14. Memphis 32-32 (14)
15. Brooklyn 29-34 (19)
16. Orlando 29-35 (17)
17. Sacramento 28-36 (15)
18. New Orleans 28-36 (16)
19. Phoenix 26-38 (20)
20. San Antonio 26-36 (18)
While most experts are waiting for Portland to make a run, the Trail Blazers keep stumbling. Losses at Phoenix and at home against Sacramento have Portland 4 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
After missing six games because of a groin injury, Portland’s Damian Lillard has played three games. The Trail Blazers are 1-2 in those games, and Lillard is averaging 19.3 points in 34.4 minutes. For the season, he is averaging 29 points in 36.8 minutes.
Detroit, which will visit the Sixers on Wednesday, drops to the last spot. The Pistons have lost four in a row and 11 of 12. Former Sixers forward Christian Wood is averaging 12.8 points for the Pistons.
Cleveland continues to play inspired basketball. Since J.B. Bickerstaff took over as coach after the All-Star break, the Cavs are 5-5 and have beaten three playoff-bound teams: Miami, the Sixers and Denver.
21. Portland 28-37 (21)
22. Charlotte 22-41 (22)
23. Washington 22-40 (23)
24. Cleveland 19-45 (26)
25. Chicago 21-43 (25)
26. Atlanta 19-46 (24)
27. Minnesota (29)
28. New York 20-44 (28)
29. Golden State 15-49 (30)