Despite Saturday’s 109-91 loss at Dallas, the 76ers have moved back into the top 10 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings.
The Sixers, who were No. 12 in last week’s rankings, beat Oklahoma City and Boston at home before losing at Dallas. Many of the better teams suffered key losses, enabling the Sixers to move back into the top 10.
Two teams in the Sixers’ division, Boston and Toronto, lost a total of five times this past week. The Celtics lost three times.
The Los Angeles Lakers have moved into the No. 1 spot, supplanting the Milwaukee Bucks, who were No. 1 for six consecutive weeks. The Lakers have won eight in a row, including Saturday at Oklahoma City when both LeBron James and Anthony Davis were sidelined.
Milwaukee lost at San Antonio, 126-104, Monday but then won its final three of the week. The Spurs shot 19-for-35 from three-point range to hand the Bucks their first loss since their Christmas Day defeat to the Sixers.
The Utah Jazz have won nine in a row and 14 of 15 and earned Sunday’s win at Washington without Donovan Mitchell, who was ill. Utah has won 18 in a row against teams currently with sub-.500 records.
Denver rebounded from a hiccup, a home loss to Cleveland, by beating the Los Angeles Clippers the next night. Center Nikola Jokic is putting himself in the MVP conversation with his recent play.
Dallas continues to be a battling team, just 12-10 at home and 12-5 on the road. It must be noted that Dallas is 2-0 against the Sixers and won the first game without Luka Doncic and the second without Kristaps Porzingis.
Here are the rankings, with the previous week’s rankings in parentheses.
1. Los Angeles Lakers 32-7 (2)
2. Milwaukee 35-6 (1)
3. Utah 27-12 (3)
4. Denver 27-12 (9)
5. Houston 26-12 (4)
6. Los Angeles Clippers 27-13 (7)
7. Dallas 24-15 (13)
8. Sixers 25-15 (12)
9. Boston 26-11 (5)
10. Miami 27-12 (6)
Toronto continues to struggle with injuries, but the Raptors did get Pascal Siakam back during Sunday’s home loss to San Antonio. He looked rusty, but it’s huge to have him back. Toronto has done a great job of competing well despite all the injuries.
Speaking of the Spurs, DeMar DeRozan has scored 20 or more points in 11 straight games and has shot at least 50% in each. While he is criticized for taking too many mid-range shots, he makes them and remains a truly effective scorer.
Memphis continues to exceed expectations and has won five in a row and averaged 127 in those games. Second-year power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. is emerging as one of the bright young players in the NBA.
Brooklyn welcomed back Kyrie Irving in Sunday’s win over Atlanta. The Nets went 13-13 while Irving was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
11. Toronto 25-14 (8)
12. Indiana 24-14 (11)
13. Oklahoma City 22-17 (10)
14. Memphis 18-22 (14)
15. San Antonio 17-21 (15)
16. Orlando 18-21 (17)
17. Brooklyn 18-20 (16)
18. New Orleans 14-26 (19)
19. Sacramento 15-24 (21)
20. Portland 16-24 (22)
The Washington Wizards continue to play competitive basketball. The Wizards have won three of their last five, with wins in that span over Denver and Boston. Plus, Bradley Beal just returned after missing five games. He had 25 points in his return Sunday, a 127-116 loss to Utah in which the Wizards coughed up a 15-point lead.
Despite several injuries, the Wizards for the most part have played hard. They are exciting to watch on offense, but allow the most points in the NBA.
21. Minnesota 15-23 (18)
22. Phoenix 16-23 (20)
23. Washington 13-26 (26)
24. Chicago 14-26 (24)
25 Cleveland 12-27 (30)
26. New York 11-29 (27)
27. Detroit 14-26 (25)
28. Charlotte 15-27 (23)
29. Golden State 9-32 (28)