NBA Power Rankings: Tyrese Maxey powers 76ers to top spot, Warriors and Clippers suffer dramatic falls

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1 76ers The only remaining one-loss team in the NBA looks every part of a title contender, with Tyrese Maxey putting an exclamation point on another perfect 76ers week by dropping a career-high 50 points on Sunday against the Pacers. Oh by the way, Joel Embiid averaged 32.3 points, 13 rebounds and five assists over their three games. The week ended on a somber note, however, when Kelly Oubre Jr. suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle near his Philadelphia residence. He’s expected to miss significant time and will be tough to replace, as he was off to a great start as a 76er. 2 8-1
2 Timberwolves The Timberwolf Machine just keeps rolling, with wins over the Pelicans, Spurs and Warriors this week powered by an incredibly stingy defense. Rudy Gobert is protecting the rim as well as he ever has, while Anthony Edwards averaged 29 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the week. Karl-Anthony Towns appears to be finding his place on both ends of the floor, averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds this week on 60/60/89 splits. 4 7-2
3 Celtics The Celtics nearly fought all the way back toward the end of Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia, then had no problems beating the Nets, Raptors and Knicks to close out the week. The new pieces have jelled extremely quickly, still with room to grow. After a dreadful game against the 76ers, Jaylen Brown appears on the verge of breaking out of his early season funk, averaging 26 points, four rebounds and four assists on 51/39/79 shooting splits over his last three games. 1 8-2
4 Rockets Wins over the Lakers, Pelicans and defending champion Nuggets bring the streak to six, catapulting the Rockets into the NBA’s elite — for the time being at least. Ime Udoka’s defense is no joke, allowing just over 103 points per 100 possessions in the three games this week, which is no simple feat with a group this young. Alperen Sengun has been the hub of the offense, averaging 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the week on 65% shooting. 6 6-3
5 Nuggets The Nuggets are certainly feeling the absence of Jamal Murray, averaging just 106 points in a win over the Warriors and loss to the Rockets this week. Nikola Jokic did everything in his power, averaging 35.5 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists in the two games, while Michael Porter Jr. added 21 points and nine rebounds per game on 50% shooting from the field. 4 8-2
6 Mavericks Dallas hit a bump in the road to start the week with an ugly home loss to Toronto, but bounced back to beat the Clippers and Pelicans handily. Luka Doncic continued his MVP start, averaging 35 points, eight assists and six rebounds on 43% 3-point shooting in the three games, while his cohort Kyrie Irving was only slightly less sensational, putting up 28 points, five rebounds and five assists per game on 50/58/100 shooting splits. Sheesh. 2 8-2
7 Pacers The Pacers kept up their strong start with wins over the Jazz and Bucks — withstanding 54 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo — before running out of gas in a loss to the 76ers on Sunday. The offense continues to be ridiculously efficient, but the defense is not good, allowing 123 points per 100 possessions this week. Tyrese Haliburton kept up his normal wizardry, while Myles Turner had a great week with averages of 22 points and 2.3 blocks on 51/40/85 shooting splits. 10 6-4
8 Heat Miami lost Tyler Herro for an extended period of time due to an ankle injury, but still managed to rattle off wins against the Grizzlies, Hawks and Spurs this week. The victory in Atlanta was particularly impressive given that Jimmy Butler was also absent. Bam Adebayo has been a one-man wrecking crew, putting up 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks per game this week on 57% shooting. In classic #HeatCulture fashion, Erik Spoelstra is getting meaningful minutes from guys like Dru Smith, Haywood Highsmith and Jaime Jaquez Jr. That’s five wins in a row overall. 4 6-4
9 Kings Sacramento started off the week by proving it was (finally) capable of winning without De’Aaron Fox. Then, lo and behold, Fox came back for Sunday’s win over the Cavs, which capped off a 3-0 week for the Kings. Domantas Sabonis put up a monster stat line of 17 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Friday’s in-season tournament win over the Thunder. 16 5-4
10 Thunder OKC picked up big wins over the Cavs and Suns this week, with a loss to the Kings sandwiched in between. The defense has been impressive, allowing 108 points per 100 possessions over the three games, but the real story is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The All-NBA guard averaged 37 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the week on absurd 65% shooting from 2-point range. Redshirt rookie Chet Holmgren continues to impress, putting up 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game this week on 53/40/88 shooting splits. 6 6-4
11 Bucks Milwaukee was forced to launch a furious comeback to avoid an upset loss to the Pistons on Wednesday, then fell to the Pacers and Magic before beating the Bulls on Monday. Not exactly how most envisioned the Bucks’ season going to this point. Giannis Antetokounmpo went off for 54 points against Indiana, but it wasn’t enough as his late turnovers cost the Bucks down the stretch. If you’re a Milwaukee optimist, you’ll point to the fact that they won both games this week in which Damian Lillard played. Eye of the beholder. 4 6-4
12 Lakers Things were looking bleak for the Lakers after a blowout road loss to the Rockets on Wednesday, but they bounced back for a huge win in Phoenix before handling the Blazers on Sunday without the services of LeBron James due to a calf injury. The offense finally woke up in the two wins, averaging 119 points per 100 possessions, coinciding with Darvin Ham’s decision to start Cam Reddish and bring Austin Reaves off the bench. Reddish responded brilliantly, averaging 17.5 points and five rebounds in the two starts on 6-for-11 3-point shooting, including the nail in the coffin from the corner with just over a minute to play against the Suns. 1 5-5
13 Hawks The Hawks picked up a last-second win in Mexico City thanks to an excellent Trae Young pass and a clutch Dejounte Murray 3-pointer, then lost to the Heat without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro in their return to U.S. soil. Young dropped 41 points against Orlando, and followed that up with 27 in a poor shooting effort in the loss to Miami. 5 5-4
14 Magic Orlando lost to the Hawks by a point in Mexico City before picking up an impressive win over Milwaukee on Saturday. Jalen Suggs had a breakout week, averaging over 20 points and three steals per game on 6-for-9 3-point shooting. 1 5-4
15 Raptors Toronto picked up a big win in Dallas to start the week, then lost to the Celtics before erasing a 23-point second-half deficit in Monday’s win over the Wizards. Pascal Siakam went bonkers against Washington, putting up a season-best 39 points — including the go-ahead bucket with seven seconds left — to go along with 11 rebounds and seven assists. Scottie Barnes struggled this week after a hot start to the season, averaging 14 points while shooting just 34% from the field. 7 5-5
16 Knicks The Knicks took care of business against two struggling opponents in the Spurs and Hornets to start the week, then lost on Monday to the Celtics — who are certainly not struggling. RJ Barrett looked great in the two wins, averaging 24 points on 9-for-15 3-point shooting before missing the loss to Boston with a migraine. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle each averaged 24 points for the week, with Randle tacking on 10 rebounds and five assists per game. 3 5-5
17 Nets The Nets beat the Clippers in James Harden’s latest return to Brooklyn to start this week, then lost to the Celtics in an In-Season Tournament game before taking down the Wizards on Sunday. The offense has been absolutely dreadful due in part to Cam Thomas’ ankle injury, but at least the already stout defense received a boost with the return of Nic Claxton, who put up 10 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes against Washington. 6 5-5
18 Suns The good news is, Bradley Beal made his Suns debut in Wednesday’s overtime win against the Bulls, but the bad news is Phoenix lost its next two games to the Lakers and Thunder. The offense has missed Devin Booker, with Beal shooting just 39% from the field this week en route to 17 points per game. Kevin Durant carried the load, as expected, averaging 30 points on 56% 3-point shooting. — 4-6
19 Cavaliers The Cavs picked up an excellent road win over the Warriors on Saturday, but that was sandwiched between losses in Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Last year’s No. 1 defense was just so-so in the losses, putting more pressure on the offense to perform. Caris LeVert averaged nearly 26 points in the games against the Thunder and Kings. 1 4-6
20 Warriors The honeymoon is over for the Warriors, who hit a massive roadblock following their hot start as Stephen Curry appears to be the only one capable of taking the wheel. No other Warrior has scored more than 20 points in a game this season, with Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins combining to average 25 points on 37% field goals in consecutive losses to the Nuggets, Cavs and Timberwolves this week. Can’t blame Curry, who’s trying valiantly with over 30 points per game this week on 38% 3-point shooting. 15 6-5
21 Pelicans It’s never great when your star player says he’s “trying my best to buy in,” so Zion Williamson’s comments have to strike a note with a Pelicans team that’s lost five in a row, including games this week to the Wolves, Rockets and Mavs. New Orleans has struggled on both sides of the ball, with various injuries depleting the roster along the way. Brandon Ingram led the team with 25 points per game this week, but shot just 25% from 3-point range, while Williamson averaged 21 points in the two games he played. 12 4-6
22 Bulls The Bulls lost to the Suns in overtime to start the week when DeMar DeRozan’s potential game-winner came up woefully short with less than a second left. Chicago bounced back to beat the Pistons, but then lost to the Bucks on Monday for a 1-2 week. Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine all averaged over 20 points for the week, but that didn’t exactly lead to a dynamic offense. 2 4-7
23 Jazz The Jazz lost to the Pacers to start the week, but beat the struggling Grizzlies in their only other game, precipitating an epic rant about officiating from Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins. Jordan Clarkson went on one of his vintage scoring binges, averaging nearly 30 points on 50/38/100 shooting splits in the two games. 4 3-7
24 Hornets The Hornets avoided consecutive losses to the Wizards by erasing a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit in Friday’s In-Season Tournament win in the nation’s capital. That was followed up by a laugher of a loss to the Knicks at MSG. The defense allowed over 127 points per 100 possessions in the three games, which — needless to say — is not a recipe for success. LaMelo Ball led the way offensively with averages of 30 points, six assists and six rebounds on 44% 3-point shooting, but he was a combined minus-35 in the box score. 2 3-6
25 Grizzlies On the bright side, the Grizzlies are undefeated after Taylor Jenkins’ viral rant against the officiating following Friday’s loss to the Jazz, which cost him $25K. Memphis got that much-needed win, just the team’s second of the season, in Los Angeles against a desperate Clippers squad. Desmond Bane continues to carry the brunt of the offense, averaging 26 points and six assists this week on 38% 3-point shooting, while Bismack Biyombo has filled in admirably for the injured Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman, putting up 12 points and 12 rebounds per game this week on 70% shooting. 3 2-8
26 Wizards Washington started off the week by putting up 132 points in a win over Charlotte, but things went straight downhill from there. The Wizards blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead to lose the rematch with the Hornets, then fell to the Nets before giving up a 23-point second-half lead and being held without a field goal for the final seven minutes of an ugly loss to the Raptors on Monday. Kyle Kuzma scored a season-high 34 points in Toronto, but running mate Jordan Poole had a rough week, averaging just under 13 points on 37% field goal shooting. Rookie Bilal Coulibaly has been a pleasant development, putting up 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and nearly two steals per game this week. 3 2-8
27 Clippers Ty Lue insists everything will be fine, but the panic meter is damn near broken after losses this week to the Nets, Mavs and Grizzlies made it five in a row, and four straight since acquiring James Harden. You can conceivably chalk up the offensive struggles to unfamiliarity, but the defense allowed 144 points to Dallas in Friday’s In-Season Tournament rout. Lineups featuring Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook have a net rating of minus-15.4 in 65 minutes, scoring just over 101 points per 100 possessions. 13 3-6
28 Trail Blazers The shorthanded Blazers mounted a valiant effort in an overtime loss to the Kings on Wednesday, then failed to take advantage of LeBron James’ absence in Sunday’s loss to the Lakers. With Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon all on the shelf, converted two-way guard Skylar Mays averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 assists over the two games, while playing nearly 35 minutes per contest. Jerami Grant had a season-high 38 points in the loss to Sacramento. 7 3-6
29 Spurs Victor Wembanyama’s MSG debut was a forgettable one, as he managed just 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting and turned the ball over three times in the blowout loss. Games against the Wolves and Heat were more competitive, but still resulted in defeats for San Antonio. Wembanyama averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for the week, dishing out a career-best seven assists against Miami on Sunday (though he also had seven turnovers). 6 3-7

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