The MILWAUKEE BUCKS, PHOENIX SUNS, and CLEVELAND CAVALIERS are the top three teams in the NBA Power Ranking Week 2.
Week 2 NBA Power Ranking: MILWAUKEE BUCKS ON TOP
- MILWAUKEE BUCKS
- PHOENIX SUNS
- CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
- PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
- BOSTON CELTICS
- UTAH JAZZ
- NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
- DENVER NUGGETS
- GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
- DALLAS MAVERICKS
- MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
- SAN ANTONIO SPURS
- ATLANTA HAWKS
- PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
- TORONTO RAPTORS
- CHICAGO BULLS
- NEW YORK KNICKS
- MIAMI HEAT
- MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
- WASHINGTON WIZARDS
- OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
- INDIANA PACERS
- CHARLOTTE HORNETS
- BROOKLYN NETS
- LA CLIPPERS
- DETROIT PISTONS
- LOS ANGELES LAKERS
- SACRAMENTO KINGS
- ORLANDO MAGIC
- HOUSTON ROCKETS
Let’s get started.
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1.MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Record: 5-0
The Bucks became the league’s last unbeaten team on Wednesday, owing in part to the fact that they had only played three games at the time. However, they have remained unbeaten with victories over 7-3 teams in New York and Atlanta. Following an abysmal first half against the Nets, they’ve only lost one of their last ten quarters, a 33-32 third quarter against the Hawks on Saturday.
2.PHOENIX SUNS – Record: 5-1
In any case, there’s no denying the new starting lineup’s success, as it has outscored opponents by 28.9 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among 20 lineups that have played at least 50 minutes.
The starting lineup was a plus-13 in less than 17 minutes as the Suns blew out the Warriors on Tuesday, and the Suns have been able to keep rolling when they’ve replaced Deandre Ayton with another center, as they did last season.
3.CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Record: 5-1
The Cavaliers have been without their point guard since the second quarter of their first game, but they enter Week 3 on a five-game winning streak, one of four teams with fewer than two losses, and one of two that rank in the top five on both ends of the floor.
4.PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – Record: 5-1
The Blazers are on a four-day break, but Lillard is unlikely to be available when they host the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
They’re the only team with three six-game road trips this season (only two other teams have more than one trip of six games or more), and the first of the three starts with a back-to-back in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday.
5.BOSTON CELTICS – Record: 4-2
With games against the Cavs and Bulls this week, the Celtics will have more chances to defend the same teams that just destroyed them. And they’re in New York on Saturday, having lost their last three games at Madison Square Garden (by a total of 11 points).
6.UTAH JAZZ – Record: 5-2
That win over Memphis came without Ja Morant (illness), who is listed as questionable for Monday’s rematch.
The Jazz will go from playing three games in a row against two of the league’s top three offenses (the Grizzlies and Mavericks) to three games in a row against the league’s bottom two offenses (the Clippers and Blazers) (the Lakers and Clippers).
7.NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – Record: 4-2
The Pelicans began a five-game stretch without three starters – Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, and Zion Williamson – that could have been a true test of where they stood in the Western Conference early in the season. But they’re still as tough as they were at the end of last season, when they won two of the first three games.
8.DENVER NUGGETS – Record: 4-3
The Nuggets are on the road for the majority of the first six weeks of the season, but they have three days off before their game in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
9. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – Record: 3-4
When the Warriors defeated the Lakers on opening night, it appeared that they had resumed their winning ways. However, they have gone 2-4 since then, were thrashed by the Suns last week, and have now lost to both the Hornets and the Pistons in the span of 26 hours.
Through Week 2, the champions are one of only four teams – the others are the Pistons, Rockets, and Heat – that have scored less than the league average (112.2 points per 100 possessions) on both ends of the floor.
10. DALLAS MAVERICKS – Record: 3-3
Despite having the league’s fourth-best point differential, the Mavericks are 3-3. (plus-7.3 per game). They won in overtime in Brooklyn on Thursday (scoring 11 points on the first four possessions of overtime), but their defense let them down in close losses to the Pelicans and Thunder.
11.MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Record: 4-2
The Grizzlies will have played six of their eight games on the road after their second game in Utah and a visit to Portland on Wednesday. The Grizzlies begin a three-game homestand on Friday, and they are 12-1 in regular-season games at FedEx Forum since the All-Star break last season, with the lone loss coming in the final game of last season, when they rested their starters.
12.SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Record: 5-2
Despite the turnovers and the absence of Devin Vassell for the last three games, the Spurs remain 11th in the league in terms of offense. They continue to shoot well (and more frequently) from 3-point range, and they’re one of five teams that have outscored their opponents from beyond the arc by more than 10 points per game. (They were 22nd in 3-point differential last season, at minus-2.5 points per game.) Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott were both 12-for-24 from long range in the Spurs’ win over Minnesota on Sunday, and they are both 6-for-7 on left-corner 3s this season.
13.ATLANTA HAWKS – Record: 4-2
The Hawks went 4-1 against their cupcake start to the season, sweeping a two-game series in Detroit with Trae Young totaling 71 points and 18 assists (with only two turnovers). The Pistons’ defense has been abysmal this season, but their Friday victory was the second most efficient game (136 points on 98 possessions) for any team.
14.PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Record: 3-4
They’re starting to realize their offensive potential, as they held their opponents to 102.6 points per 100 possessions in two quality road wins over the weekend. The Sixers’ four-game road trip concludes on Monday in Washington, and believe it or not, the Knicks (who rank fifth in the percentage of possessions in transition) will test the Sixers’ transition defense later in the week.
15.TORONTO RAPTORS – Record: 3-3
After shooting 41% from 3-point range in their first five games, the Raptors cooled off (9-for-39) in the second of two games against the Sixers. Fred VanVleet’s 0-for-11 performance matched Russell Westbrook’s from eight days earlier, and the Raptors couldn’t stop Tyrese Maxey. They defeated the Sixers despite the absence of Joel Embiid.
16.CHICAGO BULLS – Record: 3-4
The Bulls are 28th in the league in terms of 3-point shooting percentage (33.0%). Only the Nets (minus-13.5) have been outscored from beyond the arc by more points per game than the Bulls (minus-12.4). In their loss in San Antonio on Friday, they were outscored on 3-pointers 48-27. (The Bulls are also 0-for-7 on clutch 3s, going 0-3 in games where the score was within five points in the final five minutes.)
17.NEW YORK KNICKS – Record: 3-3
There have been plenty of perplexing results in the first two weeks of the season, but none have come from the Knicks. They’re 3-0 against teams they should probably beat (Detroit, Orlando, and Charlotte), and 0-3 against teams they should probably beat (Memphis, Milwaukee, and Cleveland). They’re also 3-0 at home and 0-3 away. Steven, too!
18.MIAMI HEAT – Record: 2-5
In four days, the Heat handed the Blazers their first defeat and the Kings their first victory. The biggest difference between the two games was on defense, where the Heat let Golden State and Sacramento score nearly 122 points per 100 possessions in the final two games of their three-game trip.
19.MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – Record: 4-3
More potent offenses are on the way, and the Wolves’ schedule is getting tougher. The next five games are against Phoenix (twice), Milwaukee, Memphis, and Cleveland. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games against the Suns, who are ranked second in offensive efficiency through Week 2.
20.WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Record: 3-3
Despite the success of the starting lineup and the flammability of Barton, the Wizards rank 25th in offensive efficiency, and they will most likely need more from Beal, whose usage rate of 24.2% is his lowest mark in the last eight seasons.
21.OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – Record: 3-3
The Thunder, one of six teams without a win in Week 1, were one of four teams without a loss in Week 2, culminating in a stunning comeback (down 16 with less than four minutes to go in regulation) in Dallas on Saturday.
22.INDIANA PACERS – Record: 3-4
The Pacers have already won twice as many road games in a row as they did all of last season (once). After returning to Brooklyn on Monday, they’ll only play once more in the next six days (Friday against the Heat), which is probably bad news given how hot their offense has been.
23.CHARLOTTE HORNETS – Record: 3-3
Last season, the Hornets had the widest gap between their record with rest (41-26,.612) and their record in the second game of a back-to-back (41-26,.612). (2-13, .133). And in the first game of their first back-to-back this season, they were defeated by the 0-5 Magic by a score of 20 points. But, just 24 hours later, the Hornets defeated the Warriors thanks to P.J. Tucker’s 31 points (his second-highest total in his career). Washington.
24.BROOKLYN NETS – Record: 1-5
The Nets’ first five games were against tough opponents. And they had very good stretches against Memphis, Milwaukee, and Dallas last week, leading by at least five points in all three games in the second half. However, Game 6 was at home, with a day off, and against the Indiana Pacers. And their defense was even worse than it had been in the previous five games.
25.LA CLIPPERS – Record: 2-4
The Lakers have been worse than the Clippers, but they aren’t the L.A. team that is expected to win a championship. And the Clippers’ struggles (four straight losses) are accompanied by concerns about Kawhi Leonard, who has missed the last three games (and will miss another on Monday) due to stiffness in his surgically repaired right knee.
26.DETROIT PISTONS – Record: 2-5
Only one of the Pistons’ seven games have been against a team ranked in the top 10 defensively (the 10th-ranked Wizards), but their next four games will be against teams ranked first, third, and sixth, respectively (Milwaukee (x 2), Cleveland, and Oklahoma City). A win over the Bucks in January ended a 16-game losing streak (including a playoff sweep), but Milwaukee then beat Detroit by 30 points in the final week of the season.
27.LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Record: 1-5
The Lakers finally hit some jump shots on Sunday, going 9-for-15 from mid-range and 13-for-30 (43%) from 3-point range to beat the Nuggets. They went from missing a lot of jumpers to missing a lot of layups (21-for-42 in the restricted area), but with 25 second-chance points and only nine turnovers, they scored 19 more points per 100 possessions – 122.2 (121 on 99) – than they had in any of their previous five games.
28.SACRAMENTO KINGS – Record: 1-4
The Kings were 0-4 despite outscoring their opponents by 11 points in 56 total minutes with the four players who had started all four games. They were outscored by 22 points in 17:09 with Domantas Sabonis on the bench in their loss to the Grizzlies on Thursday (Keegan Murray’s first start).
29.ORLANDO MAGIC – Record: 1-6
The Magic are one game into a seven-game stretch against the Western Conference after losing in Dallas on Sunday (their third defeat after leading by double digits).
30.HOUSTON ROCKETS – Record: 1-6
So a 1-6 start with the league’s worst point differential isn’t as bad as it appears. The Rockets are the only team that ranks in the bottom five on both ends of the floor, but they did hand the Jazz their first loss of the season, two of their losses were within five points in the final five minutes, and their Sunday loss to the Suns was one second away from being within five in the final five.