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NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns among teams on the rise

Welcome back to our weekly NBA Power Rankings!

Early on in the season, one really good - or bad - week can make a big difference in where you land in these rankings and that is on full display in this week's edition. Certain teams made a giant leap while others continue to make their way down the ladder in the wrong direction.

Take a look and see where your favourite team stands three weeks into the season.

NBA Power Rankings

10. Utah Jazz

Previous rank: 8

Record: 6-4

Last week: 2-2 (loss at BKN, loss at NYK, win at MIL, win at DET)

This week: at CLE, at WAS, vs. ATL, at DEN

One big thing: Donovan Mitchell scored a season-high 32 points in the Jazz's throttling of the Bucks but that wasn't the biggest story of the game. Iron man forward Joe Ingles missed the contest with Achilles soreness, ending the longest active streak in the NBA for games played at 384 regular-season games (418 games including playoffs). It was Utah's first game without Ingles since Dec. 16, 2015, the franchise's longest streak since John Stockton played in 442 consecutive games from 1997 to 2003. The NBA's all-time record is held by A.C. Green, who played in 1,192 consecutive games over 14 seasons.

9. Dallas Mavericks

Previous rank: 16

Record: 5-4

Last week: 3-0 (win at HOU, win at DEN, win vs. ORL)

This week: vs. NOP, at CHA, at MIL, vs. CHI

One big thing: Luka Doncic was incredible this past week, notching triple-doubles in two of the Mavericks' three wins while falling just one rebound short of going for a 38-point triple-double in the team's overtime win against the Nuggets. The MVP candidate averaged 30.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 11.3 assists over the perfect 3-0 week and will get his wingman Kristaps Porzingis (knee) back for the first time this season this week.

8. Golden State Warriors

Previous rank: 20

Record: 6-4

Last week: 3-1 (win vs. SAC, loss vs. LAC, win vs. LAC, win vs. TOR)

This week: vs. IND, at DEN, at PHX

One big thing: The Warriors were close to dropping consecutive games against the Clippers before Stephen Curry sparked what would become a 24-2 run in the third quarter of their second meeting to flip the game on its head and put Golden State in the driver's seat. Curry buried nine 3-pointers in the game to help tally 38 points in a double-double effort that included 11 assists. After a slow start, the Warriors have now won four of their last five games.

7. Brooklyn Nets

Previous rank: 6

Record: 5-6

Last week: 2-2 (win vs. UTA, win vs. PHI, loss at MEM, loss vs. OKC)

This week: vs. DEN, at NYK, vs. ORL

One big thing: Kevin Durant missed three of Brooklyn's four games this week due to COVID-19 protocol, while Kyrie Irving also missed three of the team's four games this week due to personal reasons. Irving played in the Nets' win over the Jazz to start the week but was absent after. Durant was able to return to action against his former Thunder squad to end the week but Brooklyn still came up with a loss. Of the Nets' 11 games this season, Irving and Durant have only played together six times, compiling a record of 3-3.

6. Philadelphia 76ers

Previous rank: 3

Record: 7-3

Last week: 2-2 (win vs. CHA, win vs. WAS, loss at BKN, loss vs. DEN)

This week: at ATL, vs. MIA, vs. MIA, at MEM, at OKC

One big thing: It was a bizarre end to the week for the 76ers, who were forced to play against the Nuggets with only six available players because of COVID-19 protocols and minor ailments to their star duo of Ben Simmons (knee) and Joel Embiid (back). As a result, they lost the game, but rookie wing Tyrese Maxey put on a show with a 39-point scoring outburst, the most by a rookie in a game this season.

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Previous rank: 4

Record: 6-4

Last week: 3-1 (win vs. DET, win vs. DET, loss vs. UTA, win vs. CLE)

This week: at ORL, at DET, vs. DAL

One big thing: Despite a middle-of-the-pack 6-4 record, the Bucks own a league-best net rating of 10.1, a full 2.0 points per 100 possessions better than the next closest team (the Los Angeles Lakers).

4. LA Clippers

Previous rank: 2

Record: 7-4

Last week: 2-2 (loss vs. SAS, win at GSW, loss at GSW, win vs. CHI)

This week: vs. NOP, at SAC, vs. IND

One big thing: The Clippers are shooting a league-leading 42.4% from beyond the arc this season with eight different players shooting above the league average of 36.6% from 3. Six of those players, led by Paul George's blistering 51.2% on 8.2 3-point attempts per game, are shooting over 40.0% from the perimeter to help propel the league's third-best offence.

3. Phoenix Suns

Previous rank: 5

Record: 7-3

Last week: 2-1 (win vs. TOR, loss at DET, win at IND)

This week: at WAS, vs. ATL, vs. GSW, vs. IND

One big thing: A career-high 34 points to help beat a tough Pacers team is just the latest from what has been a breakout season for Mikal Bridges, a prominent candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year through the first few weeks of play. The biggest surprise is that the Suns have become a top five defence with a defensive rating of 106.4, a major upgrade from a team that ranked below the league average on that end of the floor just a season ago.

2. Boston Celtics

Previous rank: 7

Record: 7-3

Last week: 3-0 (win at TOR, win at MIA, win vs. WAS)

This week: vs. ORL, vs. ORL, vs. NYK

One big thing: To put into perspective just how good Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been this season, they are the third pair of teammates in the last 20 seasons to each record 250-plus points in their team's first 10 games, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant (2001-02) and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant (3x, 2016-17 through 2018-19). They have the Celtics on an NBA-best four-game win streak, although Brown will have to keep things going himself over the next two weeks while Tatum recovers from COVID-19.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Previous rank: 1

Record: 8-3

Last week: 3-1 (win at MEM, loss vs. SAS, win vs. CHI, win at HOU)

This week: at HOU, at OKC, vs. NOP

One big thing: Playing on the road is different than ever before without fans this season but that doesn't make the inconvenience of travelling any easier and the Lakers still have not been affected by playing away from home. Los Angeles has yet to lose a road game, owning an NBA-best 5-0 record away from the STAPLES Center. The only other team that has yet to lose on the road is the Pacers at 2-0.

The Rest of the NBA

11. Miami Heat

12. Denver Nuggets

After a slow start to the season, the Nuggets have now won four of their last five games. Nikola Jokic has been playing MVP-level basketball averaging 24.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. He has had a double-double in every contest so far this season.

13. Indiana Pacers

14. Portland Trail Blazers

Typically a lot of Portland's praise falls on Damian Lillard's shoulders, and rightfully so, but C.J. McCollum has been incredible to start this season. The star guard is averaging a career-high 27.9 points and 5.0 assists per game while shooting a career-best 44.4% from 3-point range. His 37-point effort helped the Blazers close off the week with a win over the Kings.

15. San Antonio Spurs

16. Atlanta Hawks

17. Houston Rockets

18. Orlando Magic

19. New Orleans Pelicans

20. Charlotte Hornets

LaMelo Ball has arrived. One game after falling one assist shy of becoming the youngest player to record a triple-double in NBA history (against his older brother Lonzo, nonetheless), Ball responded by going for 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to accomplish the feat in a win over the Hawks.

21. New York Knicks

22. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors continue to freefall in our power rankings after starting the season 2-7. Despite the team's struggles, All-Star forward Pascal Siakam has strung together four consecutive encouraging performances, averaging 24.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field and 40.0% from 3 over that stretch. Between his improved play and Fred VanVleet producing at an All-Star level, things have to start looking up for Toronto sooner rather than later.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder

24. Sacramento Kings

25. Cleveland Cavaliers

26. Chicago Bulls

27. Minnesota Timberwolves

28. Memphis Grizzlies

29. Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal scored 101 points in two games this week - a 60-point outing against the 76ers and a 41-point outing against the Celtics, with each scoring outburst coming in a loss for the Wizards. Defence is the team's biggest weakness with Beal claiming they "can't guard a parked car," but the star guard is averaging an NBA-best 35.0 points per game.

30. Detroit Pistons

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