Even though the 76ers lost to struggling Washington on Thursday, they remained No. 6 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings.
Seven of the current Top 10 teams lost at least once in the past week.
The Milwaukee Bucks remained first for the second straight week, while the Los Angeles Lakers stayed at No. 2.
The Bucks have won 14 in a row and look like world beaters, especially after a 119-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in which no Milwaukee starter played more than 26 minutes. The Clippers are ranked third.
People talk about the Lakers’ easy schedule, and there is a point to that. The Lakers have played seven teams with current winning records and are 5-2 against them. The schedule might get tougher, but this is still a legitimate NBA-title contender, one that, like so many others, could use a scorer off the bench.
While Sixers coach Brett Brown keeps talking about Ben Simmons as a candidate for defensive player of the year, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis looks like the leading contender at this point. He also might enter the MVP conversation.
Boston, which will host the Sixers on Thursday, moved up three spots to No. 4. Jayson Tatum, who had a disappointing second season, has rebounded and is showing why he is among the bright young talents in the league.
The Dallas Mavericks were poised to moved up but stayed at No. 5 after Sunday’s loss to Sacramento. The Mavs are another team that could use another bench scorer.
Records are through Sunday, and last week’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Milwaukee 20-3 (1)
2. LA Lakers 21-3 (2)
3. LA Clippers 17-7 (4)
4. Boston 16-5 (7)
5. Dallas 16-7 (5)
6. Sixers 17-7 (6)
7. Miami 17-6 (10)
8. Houston 15-7 (9)
9. Toronto 15-7 (3)
10. Indiana 15-8 (11)
Brooklyn, after a terrible start, is playing good basketball despite the absence of Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. Spencer Dinwiddie (20.6 ppg.) has been carrying the offense and might be earning himself an all-star berth.
Denver, which many consider a Western Conference contender, has hit its first extended skid of the season, having lost four of five entering Tuesday’s game vs. the Sixers.
One team that has exceeded expectations is Oklahoma City, which keeps climbing. Chris Paul might not be the all-star player he used to be, but he has been a solid addition and still knows how to run an offense.
11. Brooklyn 13-10 (15)
12. Denver 14-7 (8)
13. Utah 13-10 (12)
14. Oklahoma City 10-12 (17)
15. Orlando 11-11 (23)
16. Minnesota 10-12 (14)
17. Phoenix 10-12 (18)
18. Portland 9-15 (16)
19. San Antonio 9-14 (24)
20. Sacramento 9-13 (13)
Detroit is a strange team to handicap. The Pistons are 3-0 against an Indiana team that looks like it will be a factor in the Eastern Conference. Then again, Detroit is 6-14 against the rest of the NBA.
Atlanta escaped the basement by winning two of three, but the Hawks have been a major disappointment. Atlanta has been hurt by the suspension to power forward John Collins, but second-year point guard Trae Young has received little help from his teammates. Young is playing at an all-star level.
The Knicks fired another coach (David Fizdale), but the problem with that franchise for the past two decades remains at the ownership level.
21. Detroit 9-14 (22)
22. Chicago 8-16 (21)
23. Charlotte 9-16 (20)
24. Washington 7-15 (19)
25. Atlanta 6-17 (30)
26. Memphis 6-16 (25)
27. Golden State 5-19 (27)
28. New Orleans 6-17 (26)
29. New York 4-19 (28)