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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Lakers maintain hold on No. 1 spot but things shuffle among the elite

week5-powerrank
The Lakers held on to the top spot, but who rounds out the top five? (Getty Images)

We're just over a month into the 2019-20 NBA season and again, there are plenty of changes abound in our power rankings.

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 placed in the previous week's rankings.

This week, the Lakers remain at the top while the Clippers fearsome duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard has allowed them to leap five spots into the top three. Dallas is back in the Top 10 while a subpar ending to the week from the Houston Rockets has dropped them to 11th.

Where did your favourite team fall in our Week 5 rankings?

10. Dallas Mavericks

Last week's ranking: 12th

Record: 11-5

Last week: 4-0 (win vs. SAS, win vs. GSW, win vs. CLE, win at HOU)

This week: vs. LAC, at PHX, at LAL

Luka-mania and the five-game win streak it has sparked has propelled the Dallas Mavericks into the Top 10 this week.

Dallas' 20-year-old superstar is leading the charge, nearly averaging a 30-point triple-double on the season and seemingly placing his name amongst elite company in the record books on a nightly basis.

It's a win streak that began against the defending champs and most recently, includes a statement road victory over the Houston Rockets in which Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. all had big-time performances.

As the season progresses, Doncic continues to get more comfortable with the NBA game as well as his teammates, who are continuously improving by his side.

Luka is looking like every bit of an MVP candidate early on, but team success is a big part of his case.

This will be a week of tests for the Mavericks, as they open at home against the Clippers before hitting the road to take on the Suns and the Lakers and Doncic will have a few opportunities to deliver some signature MVP moments.

9. Miami Heat

Last week's ranking: 4th

Record: 11-4

Last week: 2-1 (win vs. CLE, win at CHI, loss at PHI)

This week: vs. CHA, at HOU, vs. GSW, at BKN

While it was the second night of a back-to-back, Miami saw its five-game win streak snapped in Jimmy Butler's return to Philadelphia.

It wasn't that the Heat lost, though. It was how they lost.

The rigours of a back-to-back make an underwhelming performance understandable, but with an opportunity to make a statement against one of the premier teams in the East, the Heat were flat from the get-go and trailed by as many as 41 points before eventually losing by 27 points.

Like Toronto, Miami has largely taken care of business against lesser opponents but its four losses have come to the Sixers, Lakers, Nuggets and Timberwolves - four teams that would qualify for the postseason if the season were to end today.

The good thing for the Heat is that the season doesn't end today.

Miami takes the floor against Charlotte, Houston, Golden State and Brooklyn in the upcoming week, with the biggest statement opportunity coming against the Rockets, who are looking for answers after a recent skid.

8. Toronto Raptors

Last week's ranking: 8th

Record: 11-4

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. CHA, win vs. ORL, win at ATL)

This week: vs. PHI, vs. NYK, at ORL, vs. UTA

The defending champs are essentially a mainstay in the Top 10 so far this year and they've done so by taking care of business.

The Raptors bounced back from a loss in Dallas by turning in a perfect week in which it took care of lesser opponents in the Hornets, Magic and Hawks.

Up to this point in the season, Toronto is 10-0 against teams with losing records and a perfect 6-0 at home - that's what good teams do and is the recipe for a successful season.

While they're 1-4 against teams with winning records so far, three of those five games have come while they have dealt with injuries to key players in Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry.

In their absence, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have cashed in with some big performances in addition to OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as well as undrafted rookie Terence Davis II.

This team just finds players to contribute and ways to win.

Ibaka is nearing his return, which will be big for Toronto as it welcomes Philadelphia to Scotiabank Arena before taking on the Knicks, Magic and Jazz to close the week.

7. Boston Celtics

Last week's ranking: 2nd

Record: 11-4

Last week: 1-2 (win at PHX, loss at LAC, loss at DEN)

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

Boston has dropped a few places having lost three of its last four and going 2-3 on a Western Conference road trip, with narrow losses coming to the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets.

Further complicating things for the Celtics is the sprained neck sustained by Kemba Walker, which will likely leave him sidelined for at least their first game this week.

Walker joins Gordon Hayward as Celtics starters that will miss time this week, as Hayward has missed the last seven games and is eying a return in roughly a month.

While Boston has found ways to win without Hayward, doing so without both he and Walker might be too difficult to do.

The upcoming week sees the Celtics host the Kings before beginning a home-and-home with the Brooklyn Nets, although Kyrie Irving will not be making his much-anticipated return to TD Garden.

Boston closes its week at Madison Square Garden as it takes on the New York Knicks for the third time this season.

The Celtics' depth comes in handy during times like these, and the likes of Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards could be looked upon to assume some guard responsibilities while Walker recovers.

6. Utah Jazz

Last week's ranking: 6th

Record: 11-5

Last week: 3-1 (loss vs. MIN, win at MIN, win vs. GSW, win vs. NOP)

This week: at MIL, at IND, at MEM, at TOR

The Jazz largely took care of business in a week that began with a loss to a divisional rival in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Utah heads into the new week on a winning streak - three games to be exact - but something has to give as it travels to Fiserv Forum to take on the No. 2 ranked team in the Milwaukee Bucks.

Similar to in years past, the Jazz are doing it on the defensive end - their Defensive Rating of 101.4 is good for first in the league up to this point in the season thanks largely in part to defensive anchor Rudy Gobert, who averaged 4.3 blocks while appearing in three of the team's four games this past week.

Holding it down on the offensive end is third-year guard Donovan Mitchell, who is coming off of a week in which he averaged 27.5 points while connecting on 42.1% of his 9.2 3-point attempts per game.

Free agent acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic averaged an efficient 23.3 points (on 48.5% shooting) over the past four games and Mike Conley turned in a solid week as well.

The showdown in Milwaukee kicks off a five-game trip for the Jazz that will also include the Pacers, Grizzlies, Raptors and 76ers, so it's safe to say this team will be tested often in the coming days.

5. Philadelphia 76ers

Last week's ranking: 10th

Record: 11-5

Last week: 4-0 (win vs. CLE, win vs. NYK, win vs. SAS, win vs. MIA)

This week: at TOR, vs. SAC, at NYK, vs. IND

Philly turned in a perfect week with wins over Cleveland, New York, San Antonio and Miami.

Thus continues an interesting start to the Sixers, who are still working to figure things out while incorporating their new pieces. This past week will be remembered best for two things: The first 3-pointer of Ben Simmons career that came in the win over the Knicks

And a 27-point statement win over Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in which they lead by as many as 41 points.

This upcoming week, the Sixers return to Toronto for the first time since Game 7 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals before taking on the Kings, Knicks and Pacers. With an opportunity to sustain their success, the 76ers will continue to rise.

4. Denver Nuggets

Last week's ranking: 7th

Record: 12-3

Last week: 4-0 (win at MEM, win vs. HOU, win vs. BOS, win vs. PHX)

This week: vs. WAS, at SAC

Almost quietly, Denver has won five straight, wrapping a perfect week with a 12-point win over the Phoenix Suns.

It's been an interesting year for the Nuggets, who enter the week with the league's third-best record despite truly putting forth any performances that were notably dominant or could be considered statements.

It's early, but the fact that Denver is finding ways to string wins before completely figuring things out is an encouraging prospect for the team as it moves forward and looks to solidify itself as a true contender in the Western Conference.

One of the Nuggets' biggest strengths is their depth and it shows in the distribution of scoring amongst the team's leaders.

The team had three different scoring leaders in their four wins: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap, who each made big plays down the stretch against Boston.

Jokic, who is coming on strong as of late, is averaging 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists while Murray is averaging a team-high 18.9 points per game. For good measure, Will Barton is averaging 15.4 points per game this year.

Fittingly, it's a relatively quiet week for Denver, who takes the floor just twice against Washington and Sacramento.

3. LA Clippers#Kawhi

Last week's ranking: 8th

Record: 12-5

Last week: 4-0 (win vs. OKC, win vs. BOS, win vs. HOU, win vs. NOP)

This week: at DAL, at MEM, at SAS, vs. LAC

Kawhi Leonard. Paul George. Talk about a scary sight.

We finally got our first look at the two on the floor together as they hosted the Boston Celtics and they didn't disappoint, staging a late rally to take a win in overtime.

The Clippers followed that performance with yet another tight win over a tough opponent in the Houston Rockets despite big numbers from James Harden.

While Leonard and George finally playing together made the majority of the headlines, it was the back-to-back reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams that made some of the biggest plays in each of the Clippers' first two wins with their dynamic duo in the fold.

LA closed the week with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans and have now won five straight.

It's another busy week for the Clippers, who hit the road to face three opponents from the Southwest Division - highlighted by Kawhi's second game in SA as an opponent - before returning home to host the Wizards.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

Last week's ranking: 3rd

Record: 13-3

Last week: 3-0 (win vs. CHI, win at ATL, win vs. POR)

This week: vs. UTA, vs. ATL, at CLE, vs. CHA

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounpmo and the Bucks have won seven straight to surge out to the East's best record at 13-3.

And they've essentially done so without All-Star Khris Middletown, who has missed the team's last six games with a leg injury.

Led by 29.5 points per game from Giannis, the Bucks' offence was particularly potent in the past week, averaging 122.8 points over four games. He hasn't been connecting at a high rate, but Antetokounmpo hasn't been shy about letting it fly from behind the arc, as he's taken nearly six triples per game (.227 3P%).

After the MVP, it was Eric Bledsoe that put up big numbers (19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists) in the past week to provide a big boost for Milwaukee.

From top-to-bottom, it's been a full team effort, as they've enjoyed the production of Brook Lopez, Donte DiVencenzo, George Hill, Wesley Matthews, Pat Connaughton and Sterling Brown.

With Middleton out for another week or two, this team-wide production will continue to be key, especially considering the Bucks open the week with a tough test vs. the Jazz before playing the Hawks, Cavaliers and Hornets

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Last week's ranking: 1st

Record: 14-2

Last week: 4-0 (win vs. ATL, win vs. OKC, win at OKC, win at MEM)

This week: at SAS, at NOP, vs. WAS, vs. DAL

Make it seven-straight wins for the Lakers, who turned in yet another perfect week to improve their NBA-best record to 14-2.

As time passes and their comfort level grows, the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis looks increasingly scary. James hasn't shown a sign of slowing down in Year 17 as his 10.8 assists per game are still a league-best - all while averaging 25.2 points per game and providing weekly reminders that the athleticism is still there.

As for Davis, he stuffed the stat sheet this past week, averaging 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 blocks in the Lakers' last three. Most impressive of all? Davis knocked down 3.3 triples per game at a 55.6% clip.

The team backslid some defensively in the past week as they felt the absence of Avery Bradley but still found ways to win, signalling just how good they can be.

This week, the Lakers wrap up a four-game trip, highlighted by Davis' return to New Orleans in what is sure to be an electric environment before returning home to host the Wizards and Mavericks.

11. Houston Rockets

It's a bit of a steep drop for the Rockets, who fall six spots after losing three straight to the Clippers, Nuggets and Mavericks, three of the West's top teams.

While Houston has yet to earn that true signature win this season, it has a good opportunity to take care of business at home against the Heat and Hawks this week.

12. Phoenix Suns

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

14. Indiana Pacers

15. Sacramento Kings

After an 0-5 start to the season, the Kings have won seven of their last 10 despite injuries to De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III.

While Bagley is inching closer to a return from a thumb injury, Fox will be out for some time with a severely sprained ankle but this team deserves credit for finding ways to win with two of its most talented players.

If they can hover around .500 until they return, the Kings will still have a shot at being a playoff contender.

16. Brooklyn Nets

17. Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC has dropped three straight but in its defence, the losing streak began with the vicious back-to-back in LA before returning home to face the Lakers…again.

Working on the Thunder's favour is the fact that it was competitive in all three ballgames, a testament to their resilience and competitiveness as a team. They're back in action four times this week as they take on the Warriors, Trail Blazers and Pelicans (twice).

18. Washington Wizards

19. Orlando Magic

20. New Orleans Pelicans

21. San Antonio Spurs

The fall continues for the Spurs, who dropped another three spots after going 1-3 this past week.

San Antonio now sits at 6-11 on the season and is 2-8 in its last 10 games; it gets no easier as the Spurs take on the Lakers, Timberwolves, Clippers and Pistons in the upcoming week as they seek the answers to turn things around.

22. Portland Trail Blazers

23. Detroit Pistons

24. Memphis Grizzlies

25. Charlotte Hornets

26. Atlanta Hawks

27. Chicago Bulls

Chicago closed the week with a thrilling win in Charlotte…

but the win can't overshadow some of the overarching issues present with the team, who does have an opportunity to get back on track in the upcoming week with two meetings against the Trail Blazers and a game against the Warriors.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers

29. Golden State Warriors

30. New York Knicks

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