NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10


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NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
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NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

NBA teams were faced with the harsh realities of our current existence this week as players dropped out of lineups left and right to enter health and safety protocols due to exposure to COVID. We even had our first postponements of the season, as the Chicago Bulls had two games pushed back because they had 10 players unavailable.

It's an unfortunate situation, and you just hope that all the players come out of it without lingering effects, but the absences also created some wonky results this week due to the half-lineups being trotted out there on a nightly basis.

One team that's remained relatively intact and has been absolutely throttling the league is the Utah Jazz, who take over the No. 1 spot from the Golden State Warriors this week after extending their win streak to eight games. Utah's 11.6 net rating is now tied with the Warriors for the best in the NBA this season, and they're just two games out of first place in the Western Conference in the loss column. The Jazz's 117.7 offensive rating this season is over four points better than the second-place Charlotte Hornets.

Also moving up this week were the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, who are both riding winning streaks of their own, while the Los Angeles Lakers have finally put a few victories together and have moved just outside the top 10. On the other side of the spectrum are the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards, who both fell significantly amid rough losing streaks.

Here are this week's NBA Power Rankings.

*Please keep in mind that our Power Rankings are based on the team's performance the previous week, not the entire season.

 
1
Jazz
There is no hotter NBA team than the Jazz, whose winning streak now sits at eight games after three more blowout victories this week over the 76ers, Wizards and Clippers. The offense has been nearly unstoppable, putting up 124.1 points per 100 possessions this week behind 25.7 points per game from Donovan Mitchell on 52/42/83 shooting splits. Rudy Gobert is doing it on both ends, averaging 19 points, 16.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this week on 74 percent shooting. Utah has rightfully earned the No. 1 spot. 2 20-7
2
Warriors
Stephen Curry is officially the 3-point king, but the Warriors did suffer a rare loss to kick off their five-game road trip in Philadelphia. They followed that up with wins over the Pacers and Knicks, and perhaps now Curry can relax a bit after securing the career 3-point record -- he shot a very un-Curry-like 30 percent this week on over 14 3-point attempts per game with as many turnovers as assists. 1 23-5
3
Suns
Losing to a Clippers team without Paul George is not ideal, but the Suns won their other two games this week against the Celtics and Blazers, though the latter required overtime. Chris Paul averaged 14.3 points and 11.7 assists per game for the week, though he struggled from the field as the primary offensive weapon with Devin Booker missing all three games and Deandre Ayton missing two of them. The Cams (Payne and Johnson) each averaged 15 points per game this week to help pick up the slack. 1 22-5
4
Nets
Normally a 3-0 week with wins over the Hawks, Pistons and Raptors wouldn't be worthy of too much celebration, but this was different with Brooklyn's roster ravaged by health and safety protocols. Tuesday's overtime win over Toronto was particularly impressive, coming with just eight active players, four of which were little-used rookies. As expected, Kevin Durant did much of the heavy lifting on offense, putting up 38.7 points, 8.7 assists and 8.3 rebounds per game for the week, including an NBA season-high 51 points in the win over Detroit. Veteran guard Patty Mills added nearly 20 points per game as the Nets increased their lead in the Eastern Conference. 1 20-8
5
Cavaliers
It was a 4-0 week for the Cavs, who are now off to their best 30-game start without LeBron James in nearly 25 years. Overall they've won five in a row, led by brilliant play from Darius Garland, who averaged 16.3 points and 8.3 assists this week on 38 percent 3-point shooting. While the offense has surged, the defense has remained stingy, allowing just 98.2 points per 100 possessions in the four wins this week. The Cavs are getting contributions on both ends from up and down the roster, and look like a legitimate contender to keep their top-four seed in the East. 3 18-12
6
Grizzlies
Four more victories for the Grizzlies this week, who have now won nine of their last 10 games. The defense has been markedly better since Ja Morant was sidelined with a knee injury, and the offense was incredibly productive this week at 117.3 points per 100 possessions. Dillon Brooks led the way with 23.3 points per game on 37.5 percent 3-point shooting, while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane served as the other main offensive weapons. Now seven games above .500, the Grizzlies are sitting comfortably in the No. 4 spot in the West. 3 18-11
7
Bucks
The Bucks went 3-1 this week with a loss to the Celtics and wins over the Rockets, Knicks and Pacers. Wednesday's win against Indiana was all the more impressive since Milwaukee was without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Jrue Holiday led the way in the win with 26 points and 14 assists, while Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton chipped in with 20 points each. 1 19-11
8
Heat
The Heat continued to stay afloat with multiple key players out of the lineup, including Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, going 2-1 this week with their only loss coming to the red-hot Cavs. It helped that Miami caught fire from 3-point range this week, with Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson and PJ Tucker all knocking down at least three 3s per game. Tucker, normally a modest contributor on the offensive end, put up 14.3 points, eight rebounds and 3.7 assists for the week. 1 17-12
9
Bulls
The COVID-ravaged Bulls lost to the Heat by 26 points to start the week before the league mercifully stepped in and postponed their next two games. Prior to the stoppage, Nikola Vucevic admitted that he's "never been through a slump like this" after going 3 for 15 in the loss to Miami. Not ideal, but step one is identifying the problem. Hopefully with several days off to regroup, the Bulls can get back to full strength in the near future. 5 17-10
10
Clippers
The Clippers managed to win four straight games, three without Paul George, before running into a buzzsaw Jazz team on Wednesday. Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Luke Kennard all stepped up to carry the Clippers offense in terms of both scoring and playmaking, while the defense remained characteristically tough. Isaiah Hartenstein was excellent off the bench, averaging 11 points, five rebounds and 4.3 assists this week in just over 22 minutes per game. 1 16-13
11
Lakers
The Lakers are finally starting to build some momentum, thanks to matchups with the Thunder and Magic this week and a game-winning 3-pointer by Austin Reaves to beat the Mavericks without Luka Doncic. LeBron James has been phenomenal, averaging 26.8 points, eight assists and 7.3 rebounds for the week on 43 percent 3-point shooting. Reaves put up 11 points and 5.3 rebounds on 7-for-11 3-point shooting in the last three games of the week, all Laker wins. 4 16-13
12
Hornets
The only time you can't get too excited about averaging 124.5 points per 100 possessions is when you allow 126.1. The Hornets are slowly starting to get their players back as they wrapped up a 2-1 week with a 131-point effort in a win over the Spurs, but they allowed at least 115 points in all three games. Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 41 points in just 29 minutes on 15-for-19 shooting in the win over the Spurs, and has now made nine of his last 11 3-pointers. Terry Rozier rejoined the fray for the final two games of the week, putting up 16.5 points per game on 5-for-12 3-point shooting. -- 16-14
13
76ers
The Sixers played perhaps their best game of the season in a gritty win over the Warriors on Saturday, but dropped their other three games to the Jazz, Grizzlies and Heat. Offense was a slog, with Joel Embiid averaging 20.7 points per game on just 43 percent shooting while sitting out the loss to Memphis due to rest. Tyrese Maxey was one of the few 76ers to have a good week offensively, putting up 18.8 points and four assists per game on 43 percent 3-point shooting. 3 15-14
14
Nuggets
Nikola Jokic is doing everything in his power to drag the Nuggets through this injury-riddled season, averaging 28 points, 14.8 rebounds and 9.5 assists on 59/45/81 shooting splits in a 2-2 week. Monte Morris and Markus Howard shot a combined 26 for 52 from behind the 3-point line this week, but it's hard for the defense to remain consistent when players are fatigued from heavy minutes. Denver's fourth-quarter defensive rating this week was 121.3. 2 14-14
15
Celtics
The Celtics saw their losing streak extend to three games after falling to the Suns to begin the week, but bounced back with an impressive win over the Bucks on Monday. Jayson Tatum scored 42 points against Milwaukee, and went 8 for 20 (40 percent) from 3-point range for the week. Jaylen Brown returned from a two-week absence to put up 19 points, five assists and four rebounds in the win over the Bucks. 2 14-14
16
Mavericks
Dallas beat the Thunder and Hornets this week, with losses to the Pacers and Lakers, the latter coming on an Austin Reaves game-winner after a wild overtime period. Luka Doncic has missed the last three games and is expected to be out at least until Tuesday due to a lingering ankle injury. Kristaps Porzingis struggled to pick up the slack this week, shooting just 25 percent from 3-point range, while Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke all averaged double-figure scoring. 2 14-14
17
Hawks
Atlanta suffered home losses to the Nets and Rockets to start the week before getting back on track with a win over Orlando. Trae Young was a monster offensively, averaging 33 points and 7.7 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field. Danilo Gallinari also continued his strong play, averaging 11.7 points while knocking down 8-of-13 3-pointers in three games this week. 4 14-14
18
Raptors
The Raptors beat the Knicks and Kings to start the week before dropping a very winnable game against a depleted Nets roster in overtime on Tuesday. Chris Boucher has gotten more playing time lately with Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa out of the lineup, averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this week on 40 percent 3-point shooting. Rookie Scottie Barnes is also playing well, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds per game this week on 49 percent shooting from the field. 4 13-15
19
Wizards
Things just aren't clicking right now on either end for the Wizards, who have lost six of their last seven games, including all three this week. Bradley Beal is starting to shoot better, averaging 23.3 points this week on 48 percent field goals and 36 percent 3s, but he received very little help offensively. Kyle Kuzma did make his return in Wednesday's loss to the Kings, so maybe he can provide some assistance on both ends of the floor. 5 15-14
20
Spurs
The Spurs split with the Nuggets this week, with a win over the Pelicans and a loss to the Hornets. Offense wasn't a problem, though San Antonio had trouble getting stops in the 2-2 week. Derrick White averaged 18.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds over the four games, while Keldon Johnson put up 17.3 points on 9-for-15 3-point shooting in the three games he played. 1 10-17
21
Timberwolves
After a loss to the juggernaut Cavs to start the week, the Wolves got back on the winning track with victories over the Blazers and Nuggets. Anthony Edwards went bonkers in Wednesday's win at Denver, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to make 10 3-pointers in a game and setting a franchise record in the process. Karl-Anthony Towns struggled from 3-point range this week, but still averaged over 25 points per game, while D'Angelo Russell returned from a three-game absence to put up 17 points per game on 7-for-16 3-point shooting in the two wins. 4 13-15
22
Knicks
After losing to the Raptors, Bucks and Warriors this week, the Knicks have now dropped four in a row and seven of their last eight games. It certainly doesn't help that RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin were each limited to one game this week, which perhaps helped contribute to the team's dreadful 99.6 offensive rating, as they failed to reach the century mark in any of their three losses. Julius Randle led the way with 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and five assists per game, but shot just 41 percent from the field. 3 12-16
23
Pacers
The Pacers won their third straight game to start the week, then put up a strong fight in a two-point loss to the Warriors before being blown out by the Bucks, who were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Caris LeVert continued his aggressive play, averaging 20.3 points on 18 shots per game, including 9 of 18 from 3-point range, while dishing out 4.7 assists per game. Domantas Sabonis led the team with 23.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. -- 12-18
24
Rockets
The Rockets saw their seven-game winning streak snapped by the Bucks to start the week, but Houston was able to pick up a victory over the Hawks in a 1-3 week. The other two losses came to the Grizzlies and Cavs, two of the hottest teams in the NBA. Eric Gordon only played in two of the games, but continues to look great with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. out of the lineup, averaging 23 points on 8-for-15 3-point shooting. 4 9-19
25
Kings
Two missed De'Aaron Fox free throws cost the Kings a potential win against the Hornets to start a 1-3 week, with their only victory coming against the Wizards on Wednesday. Sacramento missed Richaun Holmes in the middle all week, then lost Marvin Bagley III and Terence Davis to health and safety protocols before the Washington game. Fox led the team with 25.3 points per game but struggled from 3-point range, while Buddy Hield averaged 16.3 points on 37 percent from deep for the week. 1 12-17
26
Pelicans
After a dreadful start, the Pelicans are now 5-5 in their last 10 games after winning two of three this week. Devonte' Graham provided fireworks in Wednesday's win over the Thunder with a miraculous three-quarters court heave to beat the buzzer and avoid overtime. Brandon Ingram continued his stellar play, averaging 29 points, six rebounds and six assists on 36 percent 3-point shooting for the week, while Jonas Valanciunas and Josh Hart both averaged a double-double. 2 9-21
27
Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard returned this week, but that couldn't stop the Blazers from dropping three more games, bringing their losing streak to seven as answers continue to evade head coach Chauncey Billups amid injury issues. The offense has lost some pop with CJ McCollum out indefinitely and Lillard struggling from an efficiency standpoint, and the defense just hasn't been able to keep up. Norman Powell stepped up this week, averaging 21 points on 43 percent 3-point shooting, but nothing seems to be enough for Portland these days. 1 11-18
28
Thunder
OKC nearly salvaged a winless week on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's absurd game-tying 3-pointer against the Pelicans that would have forced overtime were it not for an even more ridiculous three-quarters court heave from Devonte' Graham that gave New Orleans the win at the buzzer. As a result, the Thunder now have the worst record in the Western Conference. The offense, barely competent with Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor, descends into ineptitude by mustering just 93.6 points per 100 possessions without him. 1 8-19
29
Magic
That's now six straight losses for the Magic, who fell to the Clippers, Lakers and Hawks this week. The silver lining is that Terrence Ross has started to produce after a rough start to the season, leading the team with 18.3 points per game this week ... though he did shoot just 39 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3-point range. At least if he keeps putting up points, he could become valuable enough to garner an asset or two as the trade deadline approaches. 1 5-24
30
Pistons
The Pistons lost two more games by double digits this week, bringing their overall skid to 12 games. Adding injury to insult, leading scorer Jerami Grant is expected to miss at least six weeks due to torn thumb ligaments suffered in Friday's loss to the Pelicans. Without him, Cade Cunningham put up 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Sunday's loss to Brooklyn before Tuesday's matchup with the Bulls was postponed. One of the league's worst offenses is now even less potent with Grant out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. 1 4-22
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10
  • NBA Power Rankings: Surging Jazz jump Warriors for No. 1 spot; Knicks plummeting; Lakers inching toward top 10