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NBA power rankings: Sixers drop but stay in Top 10; Milwaukee Bucks move to No. 1

The Sixers had a 3-1 week that began with a 101-96 loss to Toronto, which jumped up in the rankings.

The Sixers' Tobias Harris splits Kings defenders Nemanja Bjelica (88) and Buddy Hield.
The Sixers' Tobias Harris splits Kings defenders Nemanja Bjelica (88) and Buddy Hield.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Last week’s 101-96 loss at Toronto has dropped the 76ers one spot to No. 6 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings.

Even with Joel Embiid being held scoreless, the Sixers still had a chance to beat a quality Raptors team on the road.

Milwaukee, winners of 11 in a row, becomes the third team in the first four weeks to occupy the top spot. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing as if he wants to win the award again.

After a 114-100 home loss Sunday to Dallas that snapped a 10-game win streak, the Los Angeles Lakers fell from the top spot to No. 2.

The surprise team has been defending NBA champion Toronto, which just got Serge Ibaka back from injury after 10 games and has had point guard Kyle Lowry sidelined the last 11. Raptors guard Fred VanVleet played so well in last year’s NBA Finals and has carried that into this season. He continues to be among the most improved players in the league.

Speaking of improved, the Dallas Mavericks, considered a potential fringe No. 7 or 8 seed, look to have what it takes to compete in the Western Conference. Luka Doncic is averaging almost a triple-double and has put himself in the MVP race. Villanova’s Jalen Brunson has been a solid contributor off the bench.

Record are through Sunday, and last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

The contenders

1. Milwaukee 17-3 (2)

2. Los Angeles Lakers 17-3 (1)

3. Toronto 15-4 (7)

4. Los Angeles Clippers 15-6 (3)

5. Dallas 13-6 (8)

6. Sixers 14-6 (5)

7. Boston 14-5 (6)

8. Denver 13-4 (4)

9. Houston 13-6 (11)

10. Miami 14-5 (10)

Next 10

Saturday’s 119-116 loss to the host Sixers showed that the Pacers should be in the Eastern Conference mix. The Pacers have great balance, and if guard Victor Oladipo comes back from a ruptured quadriceps, which has sidelined him since November 2018, they will become even more dangerous.

A week ago, we suggested that Carmelo Anthony hasn’t helped Portland. Now, the Trail Blazers have won three in a row and Anthony is averaging 17.7 points. Portland should still end up being a playoff team after such a rough start.

Sacramento, which played the Sixers tough in last week’s 97-91 loss, is among the most impressive teams with a losing record. The Kings have played well against many of the contenders and had an impressive overtime win Saturday against Denver.

11. Indiana 12-7 (12)

12. Utah 12-8 (9)

13. Sacramento 8-10 (16)

14. Minnesota 10-9 (14)

15. Brooklyn 10-10 (15)

16. Portland 8-12 (23)

17. Oklahoma City 8-11 (20)

18. Phoenix 8-10 (13)

19. Washington 6-12 (17)

20. Charlotte 8-13 (22)

Wait till next year

Atlanta displaces Golden State as the bottom team. The Hawks look nothing like the team that played so well before losing to the Sixers, 105-103, in the second week of the season. Despite the outstanding play of point guard Trae Young, the Hawks have taken a step back this year.

21. Chicago 6-14 (18)

22. Detroit 7-13 (25)

23. Orlando 8-11 (19)

24. San Antonio 7-14 (24)

25. Memphis 6-13 (21)

26. New Orleans 6-14 (26)

27. Golden State 4-17 (30)

28. New York 4-16 (28)

29. Cleveland 5-14 (29)

30. Atlanta 4-16 (27)