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NBA Power Rankings: Week 5

Tommy Beer

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1. Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 11-2

We know the Lakers will score plenty of points this season, with LeBron and Anthony Davis, among the league's most explosive offensive players, surrounded by a solid supporting cast. However, it has been LA's defense that has stood out early on this season. The Lakers are currently the only team in the NBA allowing fewer than 100 points per 100 possesions. 

2. Boston Celtics
Record: 10-2

The Celtics finally had their 10-game winning streak snapped Sunday in Sacramento, as Marcus Smart's runner fell off the rim at the buzzer. Boston still has three games left on their current west coast road swing, as they travel to Phoenix on Monday, Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Wednesday, and finally, in the high altitude of Denver to face the Nuggets on Friday. 

3. Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 9-3

Coming into this season, Wilt Chamberlain was the only player in NBA history to average at least 14 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the same season. Well, Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently averaging 14.3 boards and 6.5 dimes. Oh, and the Greek Freak is scoring over 30 points a night. 

4. Houston Rockets
Record: 10-3

After pumping in 49 points (on a career-high 41 FG attempts) on Saturday, Harden has now increased his scoring average to a mind-boggling 39.5 PPG. The Rockets have played 13 games this season. Harden has scored 39-plus points in eight of those 13 games. He's scored fewer than 29 points just once. Per Basketball-Reference, the only player to score more points over the first 13 games of any season is the aforementioned Wilt Chamberlain. 

5. Utah Jazz
Record: 8-4

The Jazz had won four in a row before a disappointing loss to the Grizzlies on Friday. Utah will look to get back on track this week with a home-and-home vs. the Timberwolves. The Jazz end up the week with two winnable home games, vs. Golden State and New Orleans. 

6. LA Clippers
Record: 8-5

Kawhi Leonard (left knee contusion) has sat out four of the Clippers last nine games and is listed as questionable for Monday's matchup vs. the Thunder. Fortunately for LA, Paul George has looked fresh and is humming offensively. PG-13 is currently averaging 57.3 points on 27.8 FG attempts per-36 minutes this season. The question is when will we see these two studs on the floor at the same time. 

7. Denver Nuggets
Record: 9-3

Jamal Murray inked a five-year, $170 million maximum contract extension this summer. On Sunday, he showed why Denver was so willing to commit to Murray going forward, as he poured in a season-high 39 points (14-of-24 FGs), with eight assists, four rebounds, three steals and one block.

8. Toronto Raptors
Record: 8-4

The Raptors lost two of the three games they played last week, dropping road contests to the Clippers and Mavs. Nonetheless, they still walked away from their five-game west coast road swing with three wins. They return home this week and play three sub-.500 teams (Hornets, Magic and Hawks).  

9. Miami Heat
Record: 9-3

Bam Adebayo has been a beast all season, but he's been especially productive of late. Over Miami's last five games, Bam is averaging 15.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks, while shooting 60 percent from the floor. 

10. Philadelphia 76ers
Record: 8-5

After starting the season with five straight wins, it's been downhill for Philly. The Sixers had lost five of their previous seven contests, before beating the Cavs at home on Sunday. Fortunately for Philadelphia, they play nine of their next 12 games at home, and two of their three road games are against the Knicks and Wizards. 

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11. Phoenix Suns
Record: 7-4

Aron Baynes isn't the only Sun to provide some surprisingly strong contributions, especially of late. Over Pheonix's past two games, Dario Saric is averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 treys, while Frank Kaminsky is averaging 17.5 points, 7.5 boards and 2.5 triples. 

12. Dallas Mavericks
Record: 7-5

Over the Mavs last eight games, Luka Doncic is AVERAGING a 30-point triple-double: 30.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.3 assists. Oh, and Luka won't celebrate his 21st birthday until after this season's All-Star break. Is this 20-year old already one of the NBA's ten best players?

13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Record: 7-6

Coming into this season, Steph Curry was the only player in NBA history to shoot over 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point territory, while attempting more than five treys per game. Well, Karl-Anthony Towns is currently shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 43 percent from downtown, while attempting 8.5 triples a night. 

14. Indiana Pacers
Record: 7-6

Malcolm Brogdon (back) has been ruled out of Monday's game against the Nets. It will be the second straight game on the sideline for the Pacers PG, who started the season on fire. The good news for Indiana is that they don't play again until Saturday. It's very rare for a team to have five straight days off, so this certainly comes at a convenient time. Let's hope Brogdon is ready to rock when the weekend arrives. 

15. Orlando Magic
Record: 6-7

Markelle Fultz has provided a much-needed spark for the Magic this month. Orlando has won four of their last five games, with their most recent victory coming Sunday vs. Washington. Fultz scored a career-high 19 points vs. the Wizards, making 8-of-10 shots with two 3-pointers, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 26 minutes. His steal and dunk in the final minutes sealed the deal for the Magic. 

16. Sacramento Kings
Record: 5-7

When the Kings started the season 0-5, there were rumors that coach Luke Walton was on the hot seat less than two weeks into his Sacramento stay. Well, the resurgent Kings have won five of the seven games they've played in November (the two losses were by a combined five points to the Raps and Lakers), despite losing Marvin Bagley and De'Aaron Fox. Their most recent win was arguably their most impressive, as they snapped the Celtics 10-game winning streak.

17. Charlotte Hornets
Record: 6-7

After bursting out of the gates early on, it was assumed Devonte' Graham would come crashing back down to earth. Welp, it hasn't happened. Graham roasted the Knicks for 29 points and nine triples on Saturday, and broke the hearts of MSG denizens by nailing a game-winning 3-pointer with less than three seconds left. 

18. San Antonio Spurs
Record: 5-8

Things are trending in the wrong direction for San Antonio. Not only have the Spurs lost five games in a row, but they will also have to play four road games in six days this week, starting Monday night in Dallas, and then heading out east. 

19. Brooklyn Nets
Record: 5-7

Both Nets fans and fantasy GMs that drafted Kyrie Irving are anxiously awaiting updates on Kyrie, who was ruled out of Saturday's game vs. the Bulls and is listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Pacers. However, coach Kenny Atkinson didn't provide much of an update over the weekend. "I know he wasn't 100 percent going into the Denver game [Thursday]," Atkinson said. "We all knew that. But he played through it, and the returns obviously [Saturday] morning weren't great. So I think it's a smart thing, it's a prudent thing to do. And we'll see going forward what it looks like." 

20. Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 5-8

The struggling Blazers knew they needed to shake things up and add some front-court depth. Enter Carmelo Anthony, who agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with Portland last week. Coach Terry Stotts has confirmed that Carmelo Anthony will be joining the Blazers on Tuesday in New Orleans. Melo still has plenty to contribute, assuming he embraces a limited role off the bench in Portland. 

21. Memphis Grizzlies
Record: 5-8

Despite losing to the Nuggets in Denver on Sunday, the Grizz showed some heart this week. They beat the Spurs in San Antonio, the Hornets in Charlotte and then shocked the Jazz 107-106 in Memphis on Friday night.   

22. Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 5-7

Chris Paul assist numbers are down this season (5.4 APG) as he's spent time divvying up PG duties with Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. However, CP3 is knocking down 1.8 treys per game while shooting a career-best 42.0 percent from downtown. 

23. Atlanta Hawks
Record: 4-9

The Hawks wrapped up a five-game west coast road trip this weekend and looked exhausted. After losing by 16 to the Suns on Thursday, Atlanta was blown out by Clippers on Saturday and the Lakers on Sunday. Over that three-game stretch, the Hawks were outscored by a whopping 86 points. 

24. Detroit Pistons
Record: 4-9

The Pistons have lost four of five and five of six, with their only win during this stretch coming at home against the lowly Knicks. Blake Griffin has scored 19 points in each of the two games he's played, but Detroit will have to improve defensively if they hope to snap out of this slump. 

25. Cleveland Cavaliers
Record: 4-8

Kevin Love (back) won't suit up Monday vs. the Knicks. Larry Nance will join him on the sidelines. Nance sprained his left thumb in Thursday's game against the 76ers. He was ruled out Sunday against the 76ers and will also miss the back-end of the Cavs back-to-back vs. the Knicks.

26. New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 4-9

With Brandon Ingram (knee), Lonzo Ball (groin), Josh Hart (knee) and Derrick Favors (back) all sidelined, Nickeil Alexander-Walker has stepped in and stepped up. Over the Pels two games this past weekend, NAW averaged 23.0 points, 4.5 boards 3.5 assists and 5.5 made treys in 32.5 minutes. 

27. Chicago Bulls
Record: 4-9

The Bulls have struggled, but their losses can't be pinned on Wendell Carter Jr. On the season, Carter has posted a positive plus/minus of +22. No other member of the Bulls has a net-plus higher than seven. In contrast, Zach LaVine is minus-62.

28. Washington Wizards
Record: 3-8

The good news for the Wizards is that they've been prolific on offense this season. Washington ranks first on the NBA in Offensive Efficiency, as they are the only team in the league averaging over 112 points per 100 possessions. On the flips side of the coin, they have been putrid on the other end of the floor. Washington ranks 29th in DefEff, allowing 114.4 points per 100 possessions.  

29. New York Knicks
Record: 3-10

The Knicks are 3-10, despite the fact that they've played the fourth easiest schedule in the NBA over the first month of the season, according to ESPN's RPI. After Monday's game vs. the shorthanded Cavs, they begin a brutal stretch of their schedule by traveling to Philly. 

30. Golden State Warriors
Record: 2-12

The Warriors have lost seven games in a row and play eight of their next ten games away from home, a stretch which includes a five-game east coast road trip. On Saturday, the already-shorthanded Warriors announced that D'Angelo Russell (right thumb sprain) will miss at least the next two weeks. Shockingly, it seems there is a real chance that the Warriors finish the 2019-20 season with the league's worst record.