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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Philadelphia 76ers take the top spot, Los Angeles Lakers are on the rise

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Ben Simmons and the undefeated 76ers take over the top spot [NBA Getty Images]

We're two weeks into the 2019-20 NBA season and the power rankings have already shuffled around more this season than they did for the majority of last season.

Everything is taken into consideration in ordering these teams: results, quality of the opponent, winning streaks and losing streaks, and even where the team was ranked in the previous week's rankings.

The undefeated Philadelphia 76ers took over the top spot while the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers each fell out of the top-10. The surging Boston Celtics rose into the top-five and the Phoenix Suns are on the climb while the Golden State Warriors are free-falling toward the bottom of the rankings.

Where does your favourite team rank in our Week 2 Power Rankings?

10. Denver Nuggets

Last week's ranking: 3

Record: 4-2

Past week: 2-2 (win at SAC, loss vs. DAL, loss at NOP, win at ORL)

Next week: vs. MIA, vs. PHI, at MIN

It was an unimpressive week for the Nuggets, who have gotten off to a slower start than expected but still hold a 4-2 record.

Concerns were raised after back-to-back losses to the Mavericks and Pelicans, but the Nuggets were able to bounce back with a close win on the road in Orlando behind 20-point performances from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Jokic hasn't exactly looked like a sleeper MVP candidate - he's averaging just 15.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game - but the Nuggets still boast a solid record and their depth has prevailed early on in the season.

Denver has a big week coming up with matchups against the Heat, 76ers and Timberwolves - all teams that have had a lot of success to start the season.

9. San Antonio Spurs

Last week's ranking: 11

Record: 4-2

Past week: 2-2 (win vs. POR, loss at LAC, win at GSW, loss vs. LAL)

Next week: at ATL, vs. OKC, vs. BOS

The Spurs look poised to extend their longest playoff streak in American sports to 23 seasons in a row, though it is still early in the season.

With seven different players averaging double figures in scoring, they have a number of guys that can step up on any given night. DeMar DeRozan has efficiently averaged over 20 points per game and LaMarcus Aldridge is right there with him at 16.5 points per game.

Their rotating backcourt of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli has been a blessing for head coach Gregg Popovich as he has five different guards - in addition to his four-time All-Star in DeRozan - that he can count on to play big minutes.

Mills was the latest to explode for a big game, going for 31 points off the bench in their win over the Warriors.

The Spurs continue to prove that no matter whose on their team or in the lineup, they'll find a way to make things work to earn wins.

8. Utah Jazz

Last week's ranking: 7

Record: 4-3

Past week: 2-2 (win at PHX, win vs. LAC, loss at SAC, loss at LAC)

Next week: vs. PHI, vs. MIL

The Jazz finally got their first big game from Mike Conley, who had struggled mightily to start the season.

Conley went for 29 points in a huge win over the Western Conference-favourite LA Clippers, picking the right time to have his breakout game in a Jazz uniform.

According to NBA stats, Utah has the best defensive rating in the NBA anchored by reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. With Donovan Mitchell and offseason signing Bojan Bogdanovic both averaging north of 20 points per game to lead the offence, this team looks like a true contender to win the West early in the season.

7. Houston Rockets

Last week's ranking: 6

Record: 3-3

Past week: 2-2 (win vs. OKC, win at WAS, loss at BKN, loss at MIA)

Next week: at MEM, vs. GSW, at CHI

The Rockets offence was firing on all cylinders in 159-158 shootout win over the Wizards as James Harden led the way with 59 points and Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double.

The very next game in a loss to the Nets, Harden struggled to hit much of anything as the prolific scorer shot 2-for-16 from 3-point range, with Westbrook and Eric Gordon going a combined 1-for-11 from distance.

To close the week, it was a dreadful 29-point blowout loss to the Heat.

The Rockets are going to live and die by the 3-ball - that's just the way they're offensive strategy works. However, Harden's early issues from beyond the arc should raise some concern, as his 3-point percentage has dipped from 36.8% last season to just 21.50% this season on a league-leading 13.2 attempts per game.

Harden will continue to let 3s fly, we know that. And even though his scoring - averaging a league-best 35.3 points per game - hasn't taken a hit, Houston will need their star shooting guard to start knocking down those shots more consistently if they're going to make a run at a title this season.

6. Miami Heat

Last week's ranking: 14

Record: 5-1

Past week: 3-0 (win vs. ATL, win at ATL, win vs. HOU)

Next week: at DEN, at PHX, at LAL

The Heat have looked the part of one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference to start this season.

They finally got Jimmy Butler back in the lineup this week after missing the first three games of the season due to the birth of his child. Bam Adebayo is off to a solid campaign for this season's Most Improved Player award averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic have been their reliable selves but it's the Heat's rookie duo that is stealing the show.

Tyler Herro has been the consistent shooter this team needed, averaging 15.7 points per game. Undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn is making an early Rookie of the Year case averaging a team-high 19.5 points per game, setting the record for most points scored (108) by an undrafted rookie through five games in NBA history.

They closed the week strong getting out to a 46-14 lead over the Rockets in the first quarter before closing out a 29-point blowout victory to further prove that this team has the potential to be one of the scariest teams in the East when everything is clicking.

5. Boston Celtics

Last week's ranking: 9

Record: 4-1

Past week: 2-0 (win vs. MIL, win vs. NYK)

Next week: at CLE, at CHA, at SAS

The Celtics lost their season-opener to the 76ers but have been rolling since.

With only two games this week, there was still no shortage of drama for a Celtics team missing two starters in Enes Kaner (knee) and Jaylen Brown (illness). Trailing by 16 points against the Bucks, Boston used a timely third-quarter run to flip the game completely and earn a comeback win.

Kemba Walker led the way with 32 points, six rebounds and six assists and after putting up 33 points, six rebounds and five assists in a win over the Knicks, he has now posted over 30 points, six rebounds and four assists in three consecutive games for the Celtics.

The win over the Knicks came at the hands of Jayson Tatum's first-career game-winner, earning Boston their fourth-straight win.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

Last week's ranking: 4

Record: 4-2

Past week: 3-1 (win vs. CLE, loss at BOS, win at ORL, win vs. TOR)

Next week: at MIN, at LAC, at UTA, at OKC

The Bucks have had a problem with maintaining leads to start this season. They blew a 17-point lead to the Heat last week and let a 16-point lead slip away against the Celtics this week.

Milwaukee went up by as much as 26 points in the first half against a feisty Toronto Raptors team and let the defending champions cut it as close as four points in the fourth quarter before the Bucks held off their comeback to secure a win.

For a team that was a perfect 25-0 in games that they led at the half last season, this raises a few concerns that they've struggled to close out games early on. Nonetheless, their reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been as dominant as we expected to start the season averaging 26.7 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game to go with 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals and as long as he's putting up numbers like that, this team will continue to win games.

Milwaukee will be put to the test in a tough West Coast road trip with big matchups against the Timberwolves, Clippers, Jazz and Thunder ahead of them this week.

3. Los Angeles Lakers

Last week's ranking: 5

Record: 5-1

Past week: 3-0 (win vs. MEM, win at DAL, win at SAS)

Next week: at CHI, vs. MIA, vs. TOR

LeBron James' performance against the Mavericks was jaw-dropping even for his standards - but in Year 17 of his career, it's downright ridiculous.

LeBron outdueled 20-year old Luka Doncic, recording a triple-double of 39 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds to help the Lakers earn a statement victory on the road. He dished out the game-tying assist on a clutch 3-pointer to Danny Green at the buzzer, then went on to score nine of his team's 16 points in the overtime period.

He followed that outing with another triple-double of 21 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in a road win over the Spurs.

If James is competing at this level all season with Anthony Davis continuing to average 28.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game by his side, the Lakers are going to be as scary as we expected.

2. LA Clippers

Last week's ranking: 1

Record: 5-2

Past week: 2-1 (win vs. CHA, loss at UTA, win vs. SAS, win vs. UTA)

Next week: vs. MIL, vs. POR

Every time he steps on the floor, Kawhi Leonard continues to prove why he's considered by many to be the best player in the NBA today.

The Clippers suffered a tough loss to the Jazz with Leonard sitting out on "load management", but the two-time Finals MVP made sure his team bounced back by going for 38 points in a win over the Spurs.

In redemption for a few days prior, Leonard scored 30 points in a payback with over Utah to close things out for the week.

He's scored at least 20 points in all six of the games he's played in and has already scored over 30 points four times. His passing has improved with Montrezl Harrell as the perfect pick-and-roll partner and the Clippers as a whole continue to impress as one of the best teams in the league.

1. Philadelphia 76ers

Last week's ranking: 2

Record: 5-0

Past week: 3-0 (win at ATL, win vs. MIN, win at POR)

Next week: at PHX, at UTA, at DEN, vs. CHA

The 76ers put their undefeated record on the line in a tough road test against the Trail Blazers without their All-Star centre Joel Embiid, who served the first game of his two-game suspension for a fight with Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns.

Portland led by as much as 21 points in the contest before the 76ers came roaring back in the fourth quarter on a balanced scoring attack as different players stepped up to make shots each time down the floor. The Blazers buried a clutch shot that was thought to be a game-winner until Furkan Korkmaz became the unlikely hero to keep Philadelphia out of the loss column.

The 76ers have been the best team in the NBA through the first two weeks with a suffocating defence and an evenly-distributed offensive attack with all five of their regular starters averaging double figures in scoring.

A three-game West Coast swing to start their week will serve as a good test to further prove that this team is a true title contender.

Rest of the NBA

11. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks may have lost their overtime battle to the Lakers, but 20-year-old sensation Luka Doncic battling big play-for-big play against his idol LeBron James was the best thing we've seen early on in this NBA season.

Doncic's triple-double against James and the Lakers was just another moment showcasing how good he already is and how great he is going to be. Even more impressive was following it up with his second-consecutive triple-double in a win over the Cavaliers.

Doncic has this Mavericks team looking like a playoff team in a gruelling Western Conference, nearly averaging a triple-double, achieving the feat in three of his first six games this season.

12. Phoenix Suns

The Suns have been arguably the biggest surprise to start the NBA season as this young team has hit its stride through two weeks - all without starting centre Deandre Ayton.

Devin Booker has been their catalyst averaging 23.8 points per game but players like Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio and Frank Kaminsky have also stepped up on the offensive end. Their X-factor has been their fill-in starting centre Aron Baynes whose had three big games in a row to keep this team going with Ayton out.

The most shocking stat that you would have never predicted - according to NBA stats, through the first two weeks of the season, the Suns have the second-best net rating (8.5) in the NBA.

13. Portland Trail Blazers

14. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have picked up right where they left off last season as one of the hardest-playing teams in the league.

Pascal Siakam continues to grow every game, though he had a minor setback in his matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo due to foul trouble. Siakam's foul trouble has been one of the Raptors' biggest issues to start the season, as the reigning Most Improved Player has already fouled out of two games and had five fouls in two of Toronto's other six games.

Kyle Lowry has looked every bit of a five-time All-Star, averaging 24.0 points, 6.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds to help get this team out to a 4-2 start and also nearly single-handedly lead a historic comeback against the Bucks.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves

16. Brooklyn Nets

17. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers got off to a rough start with three bad losses to open the season but have rallied around the play of their biggest free-agent signing in point guard Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon has been one of the best guards in the league through the first two weeks, averaging 22.5 points and 9.7 assists per game. Once Victor Oladipo returns in December/January, they'll be one of the best backcourts in the league.

18. Detroit Pistons

19. Atlanta Hawks

20. Orlando Magic

21. Oklahoma City Thunder

22. Sacramento Kings

23. Cleveland Cavaliers

24. Charlotte Hornets

25. New Orleans Pelicans

26. New York Knicks

27. Chicago Bulls

28. Memphis Grizzlies

29. Golden State Warriors

Things are going from bad to worse for the Warriors. They started their week with the news that their two-time MVP point guard Stephen Curry will miss "at least three months" with a broken hand.

Later on, in the week, it was announced that Draymond Green will miss "a few games" with a finger injury and D'Angelo Russell tweaked his ankle and is considered day-to-day. The team that ran the NBA for five years is now relying on a group of unknown players to hold things down with their four stars out and things could get rocky for the Warriors fast.

One bright spot - rookie forward and second-round pick Eric Paschall has looked like a promising young player for fans to be excited about.

30. Washington Wizards

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