Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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HomeFootballFIFANBA power rankings: Surging Celtics, Nets, Nuggets vie for No. 1; Bucks,...

NBA power rankings: Surging Celtics, Nets, Nuggets vie for No. 1; Bucks, Cavaliers fall

* Through games played 12/31

1. Boston Celtics (26-10)

Last week: 2

The Celtics regain the top spot in this week’s rankings after winning four in a row, including a 139-118 beatdown of the Bucks on Christmas Day. Jayson Tatum scored 41 in the win over Milwaukee. Jaylen Brown had 39 in a win over the Rockets.

2. Brooklyn Nets (24-12)

Last week: 4

The Nets went 9-11 to start the season, but now they are the hottest team in the league with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons all doing their parts. The Nets have won 11 in a row and 15 of 16 dating back to Nov. 27.

3. Denver Nuggets (23-12)

Last week: 5

Denver’s five-game winning streak ended with a 127-126 loss to the Kings on Wednesday despite another 40-point game from Nikola Jokic. The two-time MVP had 41 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a Christmas Day win over the Suns.

4. New Orleans Pelicans (23-13)

Last week: 8

Zion Williamson erupted for a career-high 43 points in a 119-118 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Pelicans had won four in a row and 11 of 15 before losing to the Grizzlies on Saturday.

5. Milwaukee Bucks (23-12)

Last week: 1

The Bucks fall four spots in this week’s rankings after losing four in a row to the Cavaliers, Nets, Celtics and Bulls. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 45 points, 22 rebounds and seven assists in the loss to Chicago.

6. Memphis Grizzlies (22-13)

Last week: 6

The Grizzlies lost four of five before beating the Raptors 119-106 on Thursday and the Pelicans 116-101 on Saturday. That included a loss to the Thunder and a Christmas Day loss to the Warriors.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers (23-14)

Last week: 3

The Cavaliers lost three in a row to the Raptors, Nets and Pacers before beating the Bulls on Saturday. Darius Garland scored 46 points in the loss to Brooklyn. Donovan Mitchell went 5 of 16 vs. Chicago and shot 33.3% during the team’s losing streak.

8. Philadelphia 76ers (21-14)

Last week: 7

Philadelphia’s eight-game winning streak ended with a 116-111 loss to the Wizards on Tuesday despite 48 points and 10 rebounds from Joel Embiid. Embiid averaged 37.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in December.

9. Dallas Mavericks (21-16)

Last week: 15

The Mavericks jump six spots after winning six in a row. Luka Doncic posted back-to-back triple-doubles in wins over the Knicks and Rockets. He had a historic performance with 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists vs. New York.

10. Sacramento Kings (19-15)

Last week: 10

Domantas Sabonis is attempting to play through injury after suffering an avulsion fracture to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. He missed only one game before returning to resume his double-double streak in wins over the Nuggets and Jazz.

11. Los Angeles Clippers (21-17)

Last week: 11

The Clippers won four of five before Thursday’s loss to the Celtics and Saturday’s loss to the Pacers. They will be tested further in the weeks ahead with tough matchups against the Heat, Nuggets (2), Timberwolves, Hawks (2), Mavericks (2), 76ers, Jazz and Cavaliers.

12. Phoenix Suns (20-17)

Last week: 9

The Suns have lost five of six without Devin Booker, who is expected to miss at least a month with a left groin strain. Phoenix is also missing Cameron Johnson (meniscus), Cameron Payne (foot) and Landry Shamet (Achilles).

13. Indiana Pacers (20-17)

Last week: 16

Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner have helped the Pacers win three in a row and five of their last six. That stretch includes wins over the Celtics, Heat, Hawks, Cavaliers and Clippers.

14. Miami Heat (19-18)

Last week: 18

Bam Adebayo scored 32 points in Saturday’s win over the Jazz following a loss to the Nuggets. Miami has won seven of 10 after going 12-15 to start the season. The Heat will conclude a tough road trip against the Clippers, Lakers and Suns.

15. New York Knicks (19-18)

Last week: 12

The Knicks lost five in a row before Julius Randle posted 35 points and 12 rebounds in a 108-88 victory over the Rockets on Saturday. They are tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference, one game behind the Pacers for the No. 6 seed.

16. Golden State Warriors (19-18)

Last week: 20

The Warriors climb four spots this week after winning four in a row despite the absence of Stephen Curry, who is out with a shoulder injury. Jordan Poole scored 41 points in Friday’s win over the Blazers.

17. Portland Trail Blazers (18-17)

Last week: 14

Jerami Grant scored 32 points in a win over the Hornets on Monday, but the Blazers have lost four of their last five despite a couple of 34-point games from Damian Lillard.

18. Utah Jazz (19-20)

Last week: 13

Lauri Markkanen is healthy and playing at an All-Star level, but Utah has lost four in a row and six of its last eight.

19. Atlanta Hawks (17-19)

Last week: 19

Hawks coach Nate McMillan has strongly considered resigning amid a tumultuous season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Atlanta has lost three in a row and four of five.

20. Chicago Bulls (16-20)

Last week: 23

The Bulls have won five of seven. DeMar DeRozan scored 42 in an overtime win over the Bucks on Wednesday. Zach LaVine had 43 in Friday’s win over the Pistons.

21. Washington Wizards (16-21)

Last week: 26

The Wizards jump five spots this week after winning four in a row and five of their last six, including impressive victories over the Suns (2), Kings and 76ers.

22. Toronto Raptors (16-20)

Last week: 21

The Raptors lost eight of 10 before Gary Trent Jr. scored 35 points in Friday’s win over the Suns. Up next are the Pacers, Bucks and Knicks.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-21)

Last week: 17

The Timberwolves have struggled without Karl-Anthony Towns, who is out with a calf injury. They’ve lost six in a row to fall to 11th in the West.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-21)

Last week: 22

First-time All-Star candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 44 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in an overtime loss to the Pelicans.

25. Los Angeles Lakers (15-21)

Last week: 24

LeBron James scored 47 points on his 38th birthday in Friday’s win over the Hawks. The Lakers had lost five of six without Anthony Davis.

26. Orlando Magic (13-24)

Last week: 25

Orlando won six in a row and eight of nine during a December surge, but now the Magic has lost three in a row.

27. San Antonio Spurs (12-24)

Last week: 27

Keldon Johnson had back-to-back 30-point games in a win over the Knicks and a one-point loss to the Mavericks.

28. Houston Rockets (10-26)

Last week: 28

The Rockets have lost eight of nine with the Mavericks, Pelicans, Jazz, Timberwolves, Kings (22) and Clippers coming up.

29. Charlotte Hornets (10-27)

Last week: 29

LaMelo Ball helped Charlotte pick up recent wins over the Lakers and Thunder, but the Hornets have lost 12 of 15.

30. Detroit Pistons (10-29)

Last week: 30

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points to help the Pistons pick up a rare win over the Timberwolves on Saturday.

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