After an impressive 108-91 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, the 76ers have moved up one spot to No. 8 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings.
Milwaukee, which beat Charlotte, 116-103, Friday in France for its eighth straight win, remained No. 1 for the second week in a row and eighth in the last nine weeks. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is again playing at an MVP level and Khris Middleton is quietly having a great season and should again be an All-Star. He is shooting 41.9% from three point range and averaging 19.4 points.
Utah has moved up to No. 2, its highest ranking this season. The Jazz have won four in a row and 14 of 15. Center Rudy Gobert, the two-time defending NBA defensive player of the year, could make it a three-peat. He is blocking two shots a game.
Toronto, which went 4-0, including the victory over the Sixers, made a big leap, from 10th to fourth. The Raptors have won seven in a row and are 7-1 since All-Star Pascal Siakam returned from injury.
The Lakers, after losing to Boston and the Sixers by a combined 49 points, dropped from second to fifth.
One team barely hanging onto a Top 10 spot is Dallas. The Mavericks continue to struggle at home, with just a 13-11 record, but they are 15-6 on the road.
Here are all the rankings. Records are through Sunday, and last week’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Milwaukee 40-6 (1)
2. Utah 32-13 (5)
3. Los Angeles Clippers 33-14 (3)
4. Toronto 32-14 (10)
5. LA Lakers 36-10 (2)
6. Denver 32-14 (7)
7. Indiana 30-17 (4)
8. Sixers 30-17 (9)
9. Miami 31-14 (8)
10. Dallas 28-17 (6)
Oklahoma City continues to be among the most pleasant surprises this season. The Thunder have won five in a row, including all four games last week. Forward Danilo Gallinari, who can be an unrestricted free agent after the season, continues to see his name in trade rumors, but the Thunder have received great production from him and should attempt to re-sign him instead of shopping him.
Boston had a chance to move back into the Top 10, but the Celtics lost Sunday at New Orleans, 123-108. It was their second straight game without Jayson Tatum (groin injury). The Celtics will host the Sixers on Saturday, the final regular-season meeting between the teams.
That win for New Orleans was the first for Zion Williamson, who is averaging 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in just 22.2 minutes in his first three games. He just returned last week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery the day before the regular season.
With Williamson back, the Pelicans could make a run at that eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
11. Oklahoma City 28-19 (13)
12. Boston 30-15 (12)
13. Houston 28-17 (11)
14. Memphis 22-24 (14)
15. San Antonio 20-25 (15)
16. New Orleans 18-29 (17)
17. Portland 20-27 (18)
18. Orlando 21-26 (16)
19. Phoenix 19-27 (19)
20. Sacramento 16-29 (21)
Special mention goes to the Atlanta Hawks, who were 2-2 this past week, including a win over the Clippers. Sunday, the Hawks offense flourished in a 152-133 win over Washington. All-Star Trae Young had 45 points and 14 assists, his eighth game of 40 or more points this season.
What made the win over the Clippers more impressive is that Young didn’t play because of a thigh contusion. The Clippers played without three starters — Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverly and Paul George — but this was still a big win for the Hawks, who will host the Sixers on Thursday.
21. Chicago 18-30 (23)
22. Brooklyn 19-26 (20)
23. Atlanta 12-35 (29)
24. Washington 15-30 (25)
25. Detroit 17-30 (24)
26. Minnesota 15-31 (22)
27. New York 13-34 (27)
28. Charlotte 15-31 (28)
29. Cleveland 12-34 (26)