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Nuggets, Blazers moving on up in latest NBA Power Rankings

Denver and Portland climb up the ladder heading into Christmas. Here are DK Nation’s NBA Power Rankings for Week 10.

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard shoots the ball over Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Noah Vonleh during the first half at Moda Center. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Holidays everyone! We’ve finally made it to Christmas Week, arguably the most exciting time of the regular season. After we break Tuesday, there will be five games set for Christmas Day, including the long-awaited matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. LeBron James vs. Kawhi Leonard. Paul George vs. Anthony Davis. JaVale McGee vs. Ivica Zubac! But anyway, here we’ve got your Week 10 NBA Power Rankings, but there has been less and less movement the deeper we get into the season. Still, a few teams have improved their stock and are starting to turn things around, while other teams are free falling like Tom Petty.

The two most notable climbers this week are the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers. Denver has won six in a row and is back in second place behind the Lakers in the Western Conference. Sure, it was without LeBron, but the Nuggets took care of L.A. on Sunday night and are only 3.0 games back of first place. Denver continues to play solid defense, but it’s actually been the Nuggets offense lately that has stepped up. Plus, we’re seeing what depth can mean for a team like Denver. It’s not just Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and role players. The Nuggets are getting contributions from Malik Beasley, Jerami Grant, Monte Morris and youngster Michael Porter Jr.

As for the Blazers, they’re finally back in playoff seeding, the No. 8 spot in the West. Damian Lillard is looking more like the Dame we’re used to seeing. Carmelo Anthony is hurt, but I don’t think that will impact much if Hassan Whiteside keeps this up. Whiteside is playing like an All-Star and could be on track to run away with Defensive Player of the Year. He’s averaging 3.6 blocks per game in December, and has 31 blocks in his past seven games. Not to mention a double-double in every game this month. Portland could be a scary team if they were to go after a name on the trade market like Kevin Love.

In the East, we’ve got the Milwaukee Bucks still on top after defeating the Lakers last week. The Bucks also lost to the Dallas Mavericks without Luka Doncic, but Giannis Antetokounmpo also dropped 48 points. The 18-game winning streak was bound to end and I don’t think Milwaukee should worry much about maintaining first in the conference. The Toronto Raptors continue to win games despite a slew of injuries. Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell are all sidelined and the Raps still can’t seem to lose. This is a testament to great coaching and depth. Having guys like Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet stepping into bigger roles if needed is a plus. Anyway, here are my rankings for this week. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @SlateBreakerDFS with any reactions!

NBA Power Rankings, Week 10

Team Record Schedule Trending
Team Record Schedule Trending
Milwaukee Bucks 27-4 @ PHI, @ ATL, vs. ORL --
Los Angeles Lakers 24-6 vs. LAC, @ POR, vs. DAL --
Los Angeles Clippers 22-10 @ LAL, vs. UTA --
Boston Celtics 20-7 @ TOR, vs. CLE, vs. TOR Up 1
Toronto Raptors 21-8 @ IND, vs. BOS, @ BOS, vs. OKC Up 2
Miami Heat 21-8 vs. UTA, vs. IND, vs. PHI --
Denver Nuggets 20-8 @ PHX, vs. NOP, vs. MEM, vs. SAC Up 3
Philadelphia 76ers 21-10 @ DET, vs. MIL, @ ORL, @ MIA Down 4
Houston Rockets 20-9 @ SAC, @ GSW, vs. BKN, @ NOP --
Utah Jazz 18-11 @ MIA, vs. POR, @ LAC Up 2
Dallas Mavericks 19-10 vs. SAS, @ GSW, @ LAL Down 3
Indiana Pacers 20-10 vs. TOR, @ MIA, @ NOP Down 1
Brooklyn Nets 16-13 vs. NYK, @ HOU --
Oklahoma City Thunder 15-14 vs. MEM, @ CHA, @ TOR Up 1
Portland Trail Blazers 14-16 vs. NOP, @ UTA, vs. LAL Up 6
Sacramento Kings 12-17 vs. HOU, vs. MEM, vs. PHX, @ DEN Up 1
Orlando Magic 12-17 vs. CHI, vs. PHI, @ MIL Down 3
Phoenix Suns 11-18 vs. DEN, @ GSW, @ SAC Down 2
San Antonio Spurs 11-17 @ MEM, @ DAL, vs. DET Up 1
Chicago Bulls 12-19 @ ORL, vs. ATL Up 3
Charlotte Hornets 13-20 vs. OKC, @ MEM Down 3
Memphis Grizzlies 11-19 vs. SAS, @ OKC, @ DEN, vs. CHA Up 2
Detroit Pistons 11-19 vs. PHI, vs. WAS, @ SAS Down 4
Washington Wizards 8-20 @ NYK, @ DET, vs. NYK Up 1
Cleveland Cavaliers 8-21 vs. ATL, @ BOS, @ MIN Up 2
Minnesota Timberwolves 10-18 @ GSW, @ SAC, vs. CLE Down 4
New York Knicks 7-23 vs. WAS, @ BKN, @ WAS Down 1
New Orleans Pelicans 7-23 @ POR, @ DEN, vs. IND, vs. HOU Up 1
Atlanta Hawks 6-24 @ CLE, vs. MIL, @ CHI Down 1
Golden State Warriors 6-24 vs. MIN, vs. HOU, vs. PHX, vs. DAL --