Simmons is out against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday after aggravating a lower-back injury against the Bucks. Harris suffered a knee contusion and is listed as doubtful. That means Joel Embiid, who has averaged 27.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in his last four games, will have to carry the offense.
The Bucks have won 16 of 18. Saturday’s 119-98 victory over the Sixers was Milwaukee’s 18th win by 20 or more points, tops in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 31 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Khris Middleton continues to be an underrated All-Star. He scored 25 against the Sixers, matching his average in his last 10 games.
The No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers continue to put the pressure on the Bucks, with Sunday’s 114-112 win over the Boston Celtics increasing their win streak to five.
Houston moved from eighth to fourth. Former Sixers forward Robert Covington has averaged 12.8 points in six games for the Rockets since being acquired from Minnesota. Houston is 4-2 in those games.
Boston was without point guard Kemba Walker (knee soreness) against the Lakers. Walker has missed five of the Boston’s last nine games. He will have to be healthy if the Celtics expect to make a deep run.
Oklahoma City makes its first appearance in the Top 10. The Thunder, whom many pegged as a lottery team during the preseason, are 35-22, same as the Sixers. The Thunder have won 12 of 15 to rise to No. 7.
The Los Angeles Clippers have lost three in a row, starting with a 110-103 loss in Philadelphia. While many consider them a major contender in the Western Conference, they have been inconsistent. Starters Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley have missed a total of 51 games.
Here are the power rankings, with last week’s rankings in parentheses:
1. Milwaukee 48-8 (1)
2. Los Angeles Lakers 43-12 (2)
3. Toronto 42-15 (5)
4. Houston 36-20 (8)
5. Denver 39-18 (4)
6. Boston 39-17 (6)
7. Oklahoma City 35-22 (13)
8. Los Angeles Clippers 37-19 (7)
9. Utah 36-20 (3)
10. Sixers 35-22 (10)
Miami, which has lost five of its last seven games, drops out of the Top 10. Rookie Tyler Herro, has been sidelined those last seven games because of an ankle injury, and the Heat have missed his outside shooting. While much was made of Miami’s acquiring Andre Iguodala from Memphis at the trade deadline, Jae Crowder, also sent to the Heat in that trade, has been an under-the-radar strong addition. He has averaged 16.1 points in his five games with Miami.
Brooklyn has shown recent flashes, but likely won’t finish higher than seventh in the Eastern Conference. Former Sixer Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has been a surprise contributor for the Nets, who lost, 112-104, in overtime to the Sixers in the first game after the All-Star break. TLC scored a team-high 21 points in Saturday’s 115-98 win at Charlotte. It was the first time this season he has led the Nets in scoring. Over these last 12 games, Luwawu-Cabarrot is averaging 7.3 points in 13.0 minutes.
Another team that has played well is Sacramento, which has won eight of 12. Saturday, the Kings won at the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time this season. In the last 12 games, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has averaged 21.3 points, 6.5 assists, 3.3 turnovers and 3.9 rebounds.
11. Miami 36-20 (9)
12. Indiana 33-24 (11)
13. Dallas 34-23 (12)
14. Brooklyn 26-29 (15)
15. Memphis 28-28 (14)
16. Sacramento 23-33 (20)
17. New Orleans 25-32 (17)
18. San Antonio 24-32 (16)
19. Portland 26-32 (18)
20. Phoenix 23-34 (19)
Atlanta is starting to make a little move up the bottom 10. The Hawks have won two in a row and four of their last seven games and are 9-9 in their last 18. All-Star Trae Young, who will face the Sixers on Monday, is averaging 30 points and 9.2 assists.
21. Orlando 24-32 (21)
22. Charlotte 19-37 (23)
23. Chicago 20-38 (24)
24. Washington 20-35 (22)
25. Atlanta 17-41 (27)
26. New York 17-39 (25)
27. Minnesota 16-39 (26)
28. Detroit 19-40 (28)
29. Cleveland 15-41 (29)