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2023-24 NBA Power Rankings: Warriors and 76ers Make Huge Jumps

With Tuesday being election day, the NBA gets week 3 underway on Wednesday. There have been a lot of surprises in the early going, which has resulted in a lot of movement, including a massive shakeup in the top 5 of my NBA Power Rankings. The Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State were among the teams on an uphill projectory, while the Phoenix Suns dropped out of the top 10.

2023-24 NBA Power Rankings:

1. Boston Celtics (5-1), Up 1

Boston moves to No. 1 in the power ranking despite falling to Minnesota 114-109 in overtime on Monday night. Before the setback,  the Celtics — who were the league’s last unbeaten team — had gotten off to its best start since 2009-10. Jayson Tatum has scored 30 or more points in five of the six games while recording three double-doubles.

Boston has four games on the docket this week. After concluding a three-game road trip at Philadelphia on Wednesday, the Celtics will begin a three-game homestand. The Celtics host the Nets (Friday), the Raptors (Saturday) and the Knicks (Monday).

Last Week: No. 2

2. Denver Nuggets (7-1), Moved Up 1

Denver has the most wins in the Association through the first two weeks. The Nuggets have won three straight. Nikola Jokic, who posted his 108th career-double in the Nuggets 134-116 win over the Pelicans on Monday, has led the team in scoring all eight games and rebounds on seven occassions. Jokic has also topped the Nugs in assists four times.

Denver plays just twice this week. The Nuggets conclude their four-game homestand on Thursday against the Warriors. The Nuggets travel to Houston on Sunday.

Last Week: No. 3

3. Philadelphia 76ers (5-1), Up 4 Spots

Philadelphia is on a five-straight winning streak and is off to its best start since the beginning of the season, with a 7-1 record in 2020-21. Joel Embiid, who scored at least 40 points for the 40th time in his career against Washington on Monday, has led the 76ers in scoring during the winning streak and rebounding in all six games. Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, and Kelly Oubre Jr. have also played well this season.

Philadelphia concludes its season-high five-game homestand against Boston on Wednesday. The 76ers travel to Detroit on Friday and then host Indiana on Tuesday.

Last Week: No. 7

4. Milwaukee Bucks (4-2), No Movement
Milwaukee ended the week on its first winning streak of the season, having won two straight games. Three of the Bucks victories have been by five or fewer points as they are a +13 in point differential in clutch situations, which is second behind the Mavericks.
Milwaukkee has four games this week. The Bucks host the Pistons on Wednesday. The Bucks are at Indiana on Thursday and Orlando on Saturday. They conclude the week at home against the Bulls.
Last week: No. 4

5. Golden State Warriors (6-2), Up 6 Spots

Golden State went 3-1 for the second straight week.  Like LeBron James, Stephen Curry doesn’t appear like he is slowing down one bit. Curry has scored at least 28 points in his last three games and averages 30.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while producing a shooting slash line of .530/.475/.913. Per ESPN, Curry is the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points through his first eight games of a season at age 35 or older. It is the third time that Curry, who has led the Dubs in scoring in each of the first eight games, has put up those numbers through his first eight games.

Golden State, 5-1 away from home, starts the week in Denver to close out its four-game road trip on Wednesday. The Warriors then begin a six-game homestand by hosting the Cavaliers (Saturday) and the Timberwolves (Sunday).

Last Week: No. 11

6. Los Angeles Clippers (3-3),  Up 2 Spots

Los Angeles has lost two straight, including James Harden’s debut on Monday. Harden finished with 17 points, six assists, and three rebounds in 31 minutes against the Knicks.

Los Angeles concludes a four-game road trip this week. The Clippers are at the Nets (Wednesday) and Mavericks (Friday). They then end the week at home against the Grizzlies.

Last Week: No. 8

9. New York Knicks (3-4), Up 2 Spots

New York snapped a two-game losing streak with its win over the Clippers on Monday as Julius Randle tallied a season-high 27 games and RJ Barrett, who missed the previous two games with injury, chipped in with 26 points. While Randle has been struggling with his shot this season, he does have six double-doubles. Meanwhile, Barrett surpassed reached 5,000 career points in Monday’s win.

New York starts the third week of the season with two games, hosting the Spurs (Wednesday) and the Hornets (Sunday). The Knicks then make the short trek to Boston to face the Celtics on Monday.

Last Week: No. 9

10. Los Angeles Lakers (3-4), Down 4 Spots

Los Angeles has lost two straight as they went 1-2 for the week. LeBron James upped his production this week as the 38-year-old continues not to show his age. James averaged 29.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists, along with 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks, while shooting .596/.353/.714 from the field over the three games. But Anthony Davis left the Lakers’ 108-107 loss to the Heat on Monday with groin spasms. Davis joins Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino dealing with injuries.

The Lakers, who are 0-4 on the road this year, conclude their four-game road trip this week. The Lakers travel to Houston on Wednesday and at Phoenix on Friday. They close the week at home against Portland on Sunday.

Last Week: No. 6

11. Phoenix Suns (3-4), Down 10 Spots

Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday with a 120-106 victory over Detroit behind a season-high 41 points by Kevin Durant. Durant has scored 72 points over his last two games as Devin Booker sat out both contests. Booker has only played in two of the Suns’ seven contests, while Bradley Beal has yet to play. It was Durant’s fourth straight 40-point performance against the Pistons. Booker and Beal reportedly could return to the floor after the weekend.

Phoenix has three games this week. The Suns conclude their three-game road trip at Chicago on Wednesday. They host the Lakers and the Thunder on Friday and Sunday.

Last week: No. 1

11. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2), Up 3 Spots

Minnesota went 3-0 for the week as the Timberwolves handed the Celtics and Nuggets their lone losses this year. Anthony Edwards, who has topped the 30-point mark three times, produced 69 points and 13 assists over the last two games. The Wolves are 4-0 at Target Center, which is their longest streak to begin a season since 2002-03.

Minnesota closes its four-game homestand against the Pelicans on Wednesday. The Timberwolves travel to San Antonio on Friday and Golden State on Sunday.

Last Week: No. 14

12.  Sacramento Kings (2-4), Down 7 Spots

Sacramento went on for 3 this week, including back-to-back blowout losses to Houston. De’Aaron Fox has missed all three games this week due to an ankle injury, while Trey Lyles has yet to play. The Kings are 4-8 without Fox in the lineup since the beginning of last year.

Sacramento starts a three-game homestand this week. The Kings host the Trail Blazers (Wednesday), Thunder (Friday), and Cavaliers (Monday).

Last Week: No. 5

13. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4), Drops 3 Spots 

Cleveland earned its first home victory in four games with a 115-104 triumph over Golden State on Sunday. Donovan Mitchell led the way for the Cavaliers against the Warriors with 31 points, giving him 27 points in all six appearances this year. Meanwhile, Evan Mobley posted his fourth double-double as he grabbed a season-high 16 boards, and Tristan Thompson swatted his 450th shot as a member of the organization. Thompson tied Jim Chomes for fifth place on the franchise list.
Cleveland, 2-1 on the road, begins a four-game road swing this week. The Cavaliers are at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Golden State on Friday, and Sacramento on Monday.
Last week: No. 10

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3), Drops two Spots

OKC snapped a two-game losing streak, both close setbacks, by defeating Atlanta on Monday as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tossed in 30 points in his return after missing the Thunder’s loss to the Warriors. Chet Holmgren contributed 16 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks against the Hawks, becoming the first Thunder rookie to put up those numbers.

Oklahoma City finishes a six-game homestand by hosting the Cavaliers on Wednesday. OKC then heads out west for a pair of games as the Thunder are in Sacramento (Friday) and Phoenix (Sunday)

Last Week: No. 12


15. Dallas Mavericks (6-1), Drops 2 Spots

Dallas is off to its best start in over 15 years, but the Mavericks haven’t played the most rigid schedule. A big reason is the Mavericks lead the league in second-half scoring differential (+87) and crunch time scoring differential (+30). Kyrie Irving doled out 10 assists in each of the last two seasons, matching his total of double-digit assists last year.

Dallas plays its first two games at home this week, hosting Toronto (Wednesday) and Los Angeles Clippers (Friday). The Mavericks travel to New Orleans on Sunday.

Last Week: No. 13

16. New Orleans Pelicans (4-3), Drops 1 Spot

New Orleans has once again been beset by injuries, with CJ McCollum being the latest to miss time as he has a right collapsed lung. The Pelicans dropped their last two games to finish the week at 2-2. Rookie Jordan Hawkins tossed in a season-high 31 points in Monday’s loss to the Nuggets.

New Orleans concludes a three-game road trip this week with games in Minnesota and Houston on Wednesday and Thursday. The Pelicans host the Mavericks on Sunday.

Last week: No. 15

17. Atlanta Hawks (4-3), No Movement

Atlanta went 2-1 during the week, though the Hawks had their four-game winning streak snapped with its loss to OKC on Monday. Dejounte Murray has topped the 20-point plateau in four straight games and leads the team with 22.1 points a contest. The Hawks are the only team in the league averaging 10 points a game.

Atlanta, 2-1 at home, plays Orlando (Thursday) in Mexico City and then hosts Miami (Saturday).

Last week: No. 17

18. Miami Heat (3-4), Drops 2 Spots

Miami won its last two games to even its record over the week. Bam Adebayo, off to a fantastic start, recorded the first 20-20-10 triple-double in Monday’s victory over the Lakers. It was Adebayo’s first triple-double in three years and his sixth overall.

Miami begins a four-game road trip. The Heat travel to Brooklyn (Wednesday), Atlanta (Saturday) and San Antonio (Sunday).

Last week: No. 16


19. Indiana Pacers (4-3), Drops 1 Spot

Indiana went 2-2 this past week.  The Pacers, who lead the league with 124.9 points a game, tied a franchise record with 152 points against the Spurs on Monday while giving Rick Carlisle his 900th career win.

Indiana concludes its five-game homestand with a back-to-back affair against Utah (Wednesday) and Milwaukee (Thursday). The Pacers then head to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Last Week: No. 18

20. Brooklyn Nets (3-4), Drops 1 Spot

Brookly went 2-2 this past week. The Net losses have come to the Cavaliers, Celtics, Mavericks, and Bucks. Cameron Johnson, doubtful for Wednesday’s game, has only played one game this year, while Nic Claxton is out six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Brooklyn’s demanding early schedule continues. The Nets host the Clippers on Wednesday. They head to Boston on Friday before returning to face the Wizards.

Last Week: No. 19

21. Orlando Magic (4-3), No Movement

Orlando went 2-3 this past week as injuries have started to pile up for the Magic. Still, the Magic’s four wins this early is their most since 2020-21, when they opened the season with four straight victories.  Markelle Fultz (knee) has missed the last three games, while Wendell Carter Jr.(broken hand) is out for at least three weeks.

Orlando faces Atlanta in Mexico City on Thursday and then hosts Milwaukee on Saturday.

Last Week No. 20

22. Toronto Raptors (3-4), Up 1 Spot

Inconsistency has plagued Toronto in the early going. The Raptors finished last week with a 2-1 record, including an impressive 130-109 victory over the Bucks, after overcoming a 22-point deficit to down the Spurs (123-116) in overtime. Scottie Barnes is finally developing into the offensive juggernaut the Raps projected him to be when they took him with the No. 4 overall pick in 2021. OG Anunoby set a career-high with seven treys on Sunday.

Toronto concludes a four-game road trip this week with games in Dallas (Wednesday) and Boston (Saturday). The Raptors close the week out at home against Washington.

Last Week: No. 23

23. Memphis Grizzlies (1-6), Down 2 Spot

Memphis got its first checkmark in the win column with a 112-100 victory over Portland on Sunday, getting a little payback for their 115-113 loss to the Trail Blazers on Friday. Desmond Bane continued his hot start, pouring in 30 points in three of his last four contests. Bismack Biyombo, who made his Grizzlies debut on Friday, had eight points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in his first start on Sunday.

Memphis has three games this week. The Grizzlies host the Heat and the Jazz on Wednesday and Friday. They travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday.

Last Week No. 21

24. Utah Jazz (2-6), No Movement

Utah went 1-3 for the second straight week as they have dropped three consecutive contests. Lauri Markkanen, who has scored at least 19 points in eight games, has made at least four treys in seven straight games. Meanwhile, Walker Kessler set a career-high with 11 offensive boards in Monday’s loss to Chicago.

Utah has just two games this week. The Jazz travels to Indiana on Wednesday and Memphis on Friday.

Last week: No. 24

25. Houston Rockets (3-3), No Movement

Houston is on a three-game winning streak, with two victories over the Kings and one over the Hornets. Alperen Sengun, who has produced two double-doubles, tied Hakeem Olajuwon for the Rockets’ single-game record for assists by a center with 12 helpers on Monday.

Houston, 3-1 at home, continues its season-high seven-game homestand this week. The Rockets host the Lakers (Wednesday), Pelicans (Friday), and Nuggets (Sunday).

Last week: No. 25

26. San Antonio Spurs (3-4), Up 3 Spots

San Antonio went 2-2 this past week. The Spurs are 2-1 against teams with losing records and 1-1 in overtime contests. Victor Wembanyama, who poured in 38 points in Thursday’s victory over Phoenix, has scored in double-figures in each of the first seven games and posted three double-doubles.

San Antonio plays New York at MSG tonight. The Spurs host the Timberwolves on Friday and the Heat on Sunday.

Last week: No. 29

27. Detroit Pistons (2-6), Down 1 Spot

Detroit, who had six players out due to injury/illness, has lost five straight, with all of the setbacks being by nine or more points. Stanley Umude, on a two-way contract, produced a career-high 15 points in Monday’s loss to the Warriors.

Detroit travels to play Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Pistons host the 76ers on Friday and then travel to Chicago on Sunday.

Last week: No. 26

28. Portland Trail Blazers (3-4) Moved Down 1 Spot

Portland went 3-1 this past week. The Trail Blazers, already without Anfernee Simons until mid-December, lost Robert Williams, who underwent knee surgery, for an extended period on Monday. However, Malcolm Brogdon and Shaedon Sharpe have played well.
Portland is on the road against Pacific division rivals as they face the Kings (Wednesday) and Lakers (Sunday).
Last week: No. 28

29. Washington Wizards (1-5), Down 1 Spot

Washington has dropped four straight games. The Wizards have allowed at least 120 points in their five losses and are permitting a league-high 128.7 points on the season. Daniel Gafford, second in the league with 2.8 blocks a game, swatted away five shots in the first quarter on Monday. Gafford joins Brendan Hayward as the only players in franchise history to record 5+ in a quarter since the stat started to be tracked in 1982-1983.

Washington concludes a five-game road swing at Charlotte tonight. The Wizards host the Hornets on Friday and then travel to Brooklyn on Sunday.

Last week: No. 29


30. Charlotte Hornets (2-4), No Movement

Charlotte went 1-2 during the week, with its lone victory after rallying in the fourth quarter to defeat the Pacers on Saturday. Mark Williams is off to a fantastic start to his second campaign, while LaMelo Ball recorded his first 30-point triple-double in Sunday’s setback to the Mavericks.

Charlotte, having lost straight at home, begins the week at the Spectrum Center against Washington. The Hornets face off against the Wizards in Washington on Friday and the Knicks in New York on Sunday.

Last week: No. 30




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