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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Did the Los Angeles Lakers' perfect week knock the Milwaukee Bucks off the top spot?

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Did the Lakers jump the Bucks? [NBA.com illustrations]

Compared to weeks prior, there wasn't as much movement in this week's Power Rankings.

The top-10 teams remained the same, but there was some shuffling amongst the league's best. Was the Milwaukee Bucks' one loss enough for the Los Angeles Lakers to hurdle them for the top spot? How far did the Boston Celtics fall with three-straight losses? Where did the Utah Jazz's perfect week place them?

Take a look and see where your favourite squad landed this week!

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10. Toronto Raptors

Last week's ranking: 10th

Record: 25-14

Last week: 1-2 (loss vs. POR, win at CHA, loss vs. SAS)

This week: at OKC, vs. WAS, at MIN

The difference between 1-2 and 3-0 is closer than it may seem.

How close?

The Raptors opened the week with a two-point loss to the Trail Blazers in a game where they led by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter. They closed the week with a one-point loss to the Spurs in a game where they led by as many as 18 points.

In both games, big leads were blown. In both games, Toronto still had chances to win at the end.

The one win of the week was also a wild one as the Raptors earned a two-point overtime win over the Hornets after trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter. On the second end of a back-to-back.

Whew.

Credit goes to this Raptors team, as they have fought and battled through injuries since the second week of the season. They received some relief as Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam returned to the lineup vs. the Spurs but they are still without Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet.

That they've been able to stay afloat without key players is enough to keep them in the top 10 this week.

9. Oklahoma City Thunder

Last week's ranking: 9th

Record: 22-17

Last week: 2-2 (loss at PHI, win at BKN, win vs. HOU, loss vs. LAL)

This week: at MIN, vs. TOR, vs. MIA, vs. POR

Two up, two down. Essentially par for the course for this Thunder team this week.

A close road loss to a team like the Sixers is nothing to fret over, especially when you bounce back with an overtime win on the second end of the back-to-back - thanks in large part to the clutch efforts of CP3.

The Thunder also played spoiler in a big way, earning a 21-point win over the Houston Rockets on a night that was centred around the return of Russell Westbrook to a place where he called home for 11 years.

Equally as surprising as the big win over Houston was OKC's big loss to the LA Lakers, who were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

It's another busy week for the Thunder, with some big tests on the way.

8. Denver Nuggets

Last week's ranking: 8th

Record: 26-12

Last week: 3-1 (win at ATL, win at DAL, loss vs. CLE, win vs. LAC)

This week: vs. CHA, at GSW, vs. IND

The Nuggets have won three of their last five but the two losses came to the Cavaliers and the Wizards. Conversely, two of the three wins came against the Mavericks and Clippers.

Denver has been weird that way this season.

Shining this week? Nikola Jokic, who scored a career-high 47 points against the Hawks, scored a career-best 21 points in the third quarter and drilled a game-winner against the Mavs.

The Joker leads the charge for a team that continues to hold serve as the West's No. 2 seed but the Jazz are right on their heels. This week spells opportunity for the Nuggets, who host the Hornets before making a one-game trip to The Bay to take on the Warriors.

Denver closes with a difficult test at home against Indiana but the Pepsi Center isn't the easiest place for teams to come

7. Miami Heat

Last week's ranking: 7th

Record: 27-11

Last week: 1-2 (win at IND, loss at BKN, loss at NYK)

This week: vs. SAS, at OKC, at SAS

The Heat opened the week with an intense, playoff-like statement win over the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

They then proceeded to close the week with road losses to the Nets and Knicks, who entered with losing streaks of seven and five games, respectively.

Miami has the league's best home record at 17-1 but performances away from AmericanAirlines Arena caused head coach Erik Spoelstra to say his team is 'mediocre' on the road.

The Heat open at home before a two-game road trip - two opportunities to establish a better reputation away from the Sunshine State.

6. LA Clippers

Last week's ranking: 6th

Record: 27-12

Last week: 1-1 (win vs. GSW, loss at DEN)

This week: vs. CLE, vs. ORL, at NOP

The Clippers only took the floor twice this week but each game left more to be desired.

LA entered the fourth quarter down 10 to Golden State before flipping the switch to earn a nine-point win. Two days later, the Clippers trailed by as many as 20 points in a frustrating loss to the Nuggets that saw head coach Doc Rivers get ejected late in the fourth.

Injuries and a lack of continuity have been overarching issues for this team but as it approaches the midway point of the season, LA will look to find some answers and establish a concrete identity to build momentum down the stretch run.

If they do, they'll be the title contender most expect them to be.

5. Utah Jazz

Last week's ranking: 5th

Record: 26-12

Last week: 4-0 (win at NOP, win vs. NYK, win vs. CHA, win at WAS)

This week: at BKN, at NOP, vs. SAC

Don't look now, but the Jazz are the league's hottest team, as they enter the new week having won nine-straight games and 14 of their last 15.

Across the board, the team has stepped up, just look at some of the numbers over the past 15 games:

  • Donovan Mitchell - 23.4 ppg, 5.9 apg, 50.6 FG%
  • Bojan Bogdanovic - 21.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 36.2 3P%
  • Rudy Gobert - 15.3 ppg, 15.6 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 66.4 FG%
  • Joe Ingles - 16.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 51.8 FG%, 52.0 3P%

Utah has yet to lose since acquiring Jordan Clarkson, who is averaging 15.2 points (on 46.1% shooting) in his first nine games in a Jazz uniform.

This upcoming week, Utah takes on three teams below-.500 with an opportunity to extend the streak and continue to rise up the Western Conference standings.

4. Boston Celtics

Last week's ranking: 2nd

Record: 26-11

Last week: 1-3 (loss at WAS, loss vs. SAS, loss at PHI, win vs. NOP)

This week: vs. CHI, vs. DET, at MIL, vs PHX

It was a difficult week for the Celtics, who closed with a win over the Pelicans after losing three in a row.

Each were baffling losses, too.

A road loss to a Bradley Beal-less Wizards, a home loss to the Spurs where they trailed by as many as 23 and a road loss to a Joel Embiid-less Sixers team. The bright spot of the week was undoubtedly Jayson Tatum's career-high 41 points (in 30 minutes) against the Hornets.

This week proves that nothing is given but Boston has a chance to rebuild some momentum as it hosts Chicago and Detroit before taking a one-game trip to Milwaukee for a playoff rematch with the Bucks.

3. Houston Rockets

Last week's ranking: 4th

Record: 26-12

Last week: 2-1 (win at ATL, loss at OKC, win vs. MIN)

This week: at MEM, vs. POR, vs. LAL

Aside from a blowout loss in OKC, it was a successful week for Houston.

In the Rockets defence, there was an overflow of emotion as Russell Westbrook returned to Chesapeake Energy Arena for the first time since being traded this past offseason. While it doesn't necessarily excuse the loss, it does make sense of it.

Houston closed the week with a big win over Minnesota in which James Harden (32-12-8) and Westbrook (30-6-10) combined for 62 points, 18 rebounds and 18 assists and Isaiah Hartenstein put up a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double in his second career start.

The Rockets haven't quite put it all together yet and are still just a half-game out of second in the West. That speaks volumes on just how good they can be once it does come together.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Last week's ranking: 3rd

Record: 32-7

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. NYK, win at DAL, win at OKC)

This week: vs. CLE, vs. ORL, at HOU

After yet another perfect week, the Lakers have now won eight straight games and have a five-game cushion as the West's No. 1 seed.

A closer look at this past week makes it all the more impressive.

LA opened the week with a rout over New York but lost Anthony Davis in the process. Without Davis, a sick LeBron James led the Lakers to another rout over Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.

To close the week, the Lakers earned a convincing road win over the Thunder without Davis and James. It was a big week for Kyle Kuzma, who averaged 26.0 points and 6.3 rebounds over the week, including a 36-point (on 15-24 FG) performance in OKC.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Last week's ranking: 1st

Record: 35-6

Last week: 3-1 (loss at SAS, win at GSW, win at SAC, win at POR)

This week: vs. NYK, vs. BOS, at BKN

It was bound to happen eventually.

This week saw the Bucks suffer their first loss of the season to a sub-.500 team, as the Spurs knocked down 19 triples while their defence made things difficult for Giannis Antetokounmpo on the offensive end.

But Milwaukee responded in a manner worthy of remaining at No. 1.

The Bucks bounced back with road wins over the Warriors, Kings and Trail Blazers, closing the trip out west with a 3-1 record. At 35-6 through 41 games, they're right on pace to reach the 70-win mark.

Rest of the NBA

11. Indiana Pacers

Indiana went 2-1 this past week but its biggest win came with the announcement that Victor Oladipo is just weeks away from making his debut.

Adding an All-Star calibre player to a team that is just three games out of the East's second seed is a major development. This Pacers team has the potential to make a deep playoff run should all the pieces fall into place.

12. Dallas Mavericks

13. Philadelphia 76ers

14. San Antonio Spurs

After a rough start to the regular season, DeMar DeRozan has truly turned over a new leaf since the calendar flipped to the year 2020. In January, DeRozan is averaging 29.6 points, 5.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 59.6% from the field.

As DeRozan has improved, so have the Spurs, who are beginning to find their rhythm from beyond the arc. San Antonio has recently earned big wins over Milwaukee, Boston and Toronto and is right in the thick of the race for the West's eighth seed.

15. Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies enter the week with the league's third-longest win streak at five games.

The play of Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas, specifically, has propelled Memphis into the West's eighth seed, and the Grizz are looking more and more like a legitimate playoff contender as time passes.

16. Orlando Magic

17. Portland Trail Blazers

18. Phoenix Suns

19. Brooklyn Nets

20. Sacramento Kings

21. New Orleans Pelicans

22. Charlotte Hornets

23. Chicago Bulls

24. Minnesota Timberwolves

25. Washington Wizards

26. Detroit Pistons

As of late, it's essentially been a one-man show in Detroit, as Derrick Rose continues to strengthen his case to win Sixth Man of the Year. Over the last five games, Rose is averaging 24.2 points, 5.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds, serving as a bright spot for a team that's dealing with injuries to Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard. Meanwhile, Andre Drummond works to play through a number of trade rumours.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers

28. New York Knicks

29. Golden State Warriors

30. Atlanta Hawks

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