It didn’t take much for the Milwaukee Bucks to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers atop the DraftKings Nation NBA Power Rankings. Oh, just a historic 18-game winning streak, that’s all. The Bucks continued their run this past week by defeating the Magic, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Cavaliers (I know, tough comp). Giannis Antetokounmpo has been dealing with a quad injury, but it only held him out vs. Cleveland. Eric Bledsoe is out, however, so he won’t take on the Lakers this Thursday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the NBA.
I usually go with “Who would win a playoff series?” when considering the tiebreaker for Bucks-Lakers, but the winning streak is just too monumental. That, plus the Lakers had a tough time getting past the Magic and Heat on the road this week. We also saw some resilience from the Bucks without Giannis and Bledsoe, so I’m putting them up there at No. 1 overall.
In other news, we got some bad news Saturday night when Dallas Mavericks stud Luka Doncic went down with an ankle sprain. He’s expected to miss the next couple weeks at least, which doesn’t bode well for the Mavs or Doncic’s NBA MVP odds. This could open up things for LeBron James and James Harden to get closer to Giannis in the race for MVP.
As for teams on the rise and on the down fall, the Philadelphia 76ers had won five in a row entering Sunday to get into the top 5. I’m not going to knock them for losing to the Nets without Joel Embiid. They had an incredibly tough week, taking on the Celtics, Nuggets and Raptors, defeating all three teams. The Sixers are starting to look more like the team we thought they were heading into the season, and are 14-0 at home, the only remaining team that is undefeated at home or on the road this season.
The Pelicans, well, can’t say the same for them. The Pels are up to a league-high 12-game losing streak and we haven’t even seen the debut of Zion Williamson. That date may not come for a while considering how bad NOLA is. Alvin Gentry’s job security has to be in question right now.
NBA Power Rankings, Week 9
|Milwaukee Bucks||24-3||vs. DAL, vs. LAL, @ NYK, vs. IND||Up 1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||24-3||@ IND, @ MIL, vs. DEN||Down 1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||20-8||vs. PHX, vs. HOU, @ SAS, @ OKC||--|
|Philadelphia 76ers||20-8||vs. MIA, vs. DAL, vs. WAS||Up 6|
|Boston Celtics||17-7||@ DAL, vs. DET, vs. CHA||--|
|Miami Heat||19-7||@ MEM, @ PHI, vs. NYK||Up 1|
|Toronto Raptors||17-8||vs. CLE, @ DET, vs. WAS, vs. DAL||Down 1|
|Dallas Mavericks||17-8||@ MIL, vs. BOS, @ PHI, @ TOR||Down 4|
|Houston Rockets||17-9||vs. SAS, @ LAC, @ PHX||--|
|Denver Nuggets||17-8||vs. ORL, vs. MIN, @ LAL||Down 2|
|Indiana Pacers||18-9||vs. LAL, vs. SAC, @ MIL||--|
|Utah Jazz||15-11||vs. ORL, @ ATL, @CHA||--|
|Brooklyn Nets||14-12||@ NOP, @ SAS, vs. ATL||Up 1|
|Orlando Magic||12-14||@ UTA, @ DEN, @ POR||Down 1|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||11-14||vs. CHI, vs. MEM, vs. PHX, vs. LAC||--|
|Phoenix Suns||11-14||vs. POR, @ LAC, @ OKC, vs. HOU||Up 1|
|Sacramento Kings||12-14||@ CHA, @ IND, @ MEM||Up 5|
|Charlotte Hornets||12-17||vs. SAC, @ CLE, vs. UTA, @ BOS||Up 5|
|Detroit Pistons||11-15||vs. WAS, vs. TOR, @ BOS, vs. CHI||--|
|San Antonio Spurs||10-15||@ HOU, vs. BKN, vs. LAC||Down 2|
|Portland Trail Blazers||10-16||@ PHX, vs. GSW, vs. ORL, vs. MIN||--|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||10-15||vs. NOP, @ DEN, @ POR||Down 6|
|Chicago Bulls||10-18||@OKC, @ WAS, @ DET||Up 1|
|Memphis Grizzlies||9-17||vs. MIA, @ OKC, @ CLE, vs. SAC||Up 1|
|Washington Wizards||7-17||@ DET, vs. CHI, @ TOR, @ PHI||Down 4|
|New York Knicks||6-21||vs. ATL, @ MIA, vs. MIL||Up 4|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||6-20||@ TOR, vs. CHA, vs. MEM||Up 1|
|Atlanta Hawks||6-21||@ NYK, vs. UTA, @ BKN||Down 2|
|New Orleans Pelicans||6-21||vs. BKN, @ MIN, @ GSW||Down 2|
|Golden State Warriors||5-23||@ POR, vs. NOP||Down 1|