NBA Power Rankings: Celtics and Suns surging into December

There is not any means round it, the Boston Celtics are the most well liked workforce within the NBA.

4 straight wins and 9 wins out of their final 10 video games have been sufficient for Boston to assert the perfect report within the league at 17-4. However whereas the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks are in a category of their very own record-wise, there are a couple of under-the-radar contenders within the East which may have the juice to problem them down the stretch.

The Miami Warmth may have one other likelihood to avenge their Jap Convention Finals loss to Boston of their second and third conferences of the season over the following three days, and Miami will accomplish that with their very own momentum having received three straight after a gradual begin. The Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks have not had the consistency to match Boston within the standings, however each groups have confirmed to be big slayers up to now this season with wins in opposition to Boston and Milwaukee.

In the meantime, the Western Convention has slowly fallen again into order after a chaotic begin headlined by the Utah Jazz holding the convention’s greatest report for quite a lot of weeks, together with final week. However a current five-game shedding streak by Utah has allowed a number of the anticipated contenders within the West to get again within the driver’s seat.

The Phoenix Suns are driving the NBA’s longest energetic win streak with 5 in a row to assert the highest seed within the West, whereas the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies spherical out the highest 4.

Observe: All through the common season, our panel (Kendra Andrews, Tim Bontemps, Jamal Collier, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk is rating all 30 groups from prime to backside, taking inventory of which groups are enjoying the perfect basketball now and which groups are trying most like title contenders.

Earlier rankings: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

1. Boston Celtics
2022-23 report: 17-4
Earlier rating: 1

Boston’s offensive onslaught to begin the season continued with a rout of the undermanned Hornets Monday. The Celtics now have a staggering 120.9 offensive score on the season — a full 5 factors forward of Phoenix in second; the identical hole between Phoenix and the Wizards in nineteenth. — Bontemps

2. Milwaukee Bucks
2022-23 report: 14-5
Earlier rating: 2

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated ahead Khris Middleton is “getting shut” to creating his 2022-23 season debut. Middleton has been training with the workforce’s G-League affiliate over the previous few weeks and went by means of a lightweight follow with Milwaukee earlier this week. Middleton’s return ought to assist inject some life right into a Bucks offense ranked 18th within the NBA in factors per 100 possessions. — Collier

3. Phoenix Suns
2022-23 report: 14-6
Earlier rating: 3

With the Suns as soon as having the perfect report within the West by means of 20 video games, Phoenix introduced that normal supervisor James Jones was being promoted to additionally function the president of basketball operations. “It is a good time as a result of once you’re successful video games, there’s lots of pleasure and enthusiasm,” Jones stated at a information convention Tuesday. “However on the similar time, it creates an inside stress to attain extra. And that is what we now have to proceed to do if we wish to obtain our desires of successful championships.” — McMenamin

4. Denver Nuggets
2022-23 report: 13-7
Earlier rating: 6

Jamal Murray put collectively his greatest sport since coming back from harm on Tuesday evening, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been large on each ends for Denver. It seems that Nikola Jokic is lastly getting the help he wants for the Nuggets to take the workforce to the following degree. To this point that is gotten them to the No. 2 spot within the West. — Andrews

5. Cleveland Cavaliers
2022-23 report: 13-8
Earlier rating: 4

Donovan Mitchell scored fewer than 10 factors for the primary time all season — his first single-digit scoring effort since Jan. 26, 2021 — and the Cavs loss to the Raptors on Monday. Toronto is now 2-0 in opposition to Cleveland this season which may make issues fascinating down the road. If the playoffs began as we speak, the No. 3-seeded Cavs would host the No. 6-seeded Raps within the first spherical. — McMenamin

6. Memphis Grizzlies
2022-23 report: 12-8
Earlier rating: 7

Jaren Jackson Jr., who missed the primary month of the season whereas recovering from foot surgical procedure, is performing like a franchise cornerstone once more. After a poor taking pictures evening in his season debut, Jackson has averaged 22 factors with a 64.8 true taking pictures proportion over a four-game span. He is additionally been a defensive pressure, as Memphis is permitting solely 104.5 factors per 100 possessions with Jackson on the ground. — MacMahon

7. New Orleans Pelicans
2022-23 report: 12-8
Earlier rating: 9

Zion Williamson has confirmed to be an offensive pressure in his first 100 profession video games, however he is beginning to present progress on the defensive finish as effectively. In Monday evening’s 105-101 win in opposition to Oklahoma Metropolis, Williamson held the Thunder to 2-14 (14%) taking pictures because the closest defender in response to Second Spectrum knowledge. That is the lowest proportion he is allowed in any sport in his profession (min. 10 shot makes an attempt in opposition to, common season and playoffs). — Lopez

8. Philadelphia 76ers
2022-23 report: 12-9
Earlier rating: 17

Joel Embiid declared Philadelphia’s season started on Nov. 7, when he returned from an sickness and the Sixers beat the Phoenix Suns. Since then, not solely has Philly had the league’s greatest protection, but it surely has by a major quantity. Solely Boston has a greater web score over that span of 11 video games, wherein the 76ers have gone 8-3. — Bontemps

9. LA Clippers
2022-23 report: 13-9
Earlier rating: 8

Whereas the Clippers await Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Luke Kennard to return, Ivica Zubac made a case to get the ball extra whereas the celebrities are out. Name him “Shaq Zu” as a result of Zubac put up Shaq-like numbers on Sunday in opposition to Indiana, detonating for 31 factors, 29 rebounds and three blocks. He grew to become simply the sixth participant to report 30 factors, 25 rebounds and shoot 80% in a sport, becoming a member of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Satch Sanders and Bob Pettit. The earliest Leonard and George — who’re each out throughout the Clippers’ two-game highway journey in Portland and Utah — may return will likely be Saturday in opposition to Sacramento. However till they’re again, Zubac is rising his sport. — Youngmisuk

10. Golden State Warriors
2022-23 report: 11-11
Earlier rating: 21

The Warriors lastly received their second highway win, however that is nonetheless all they’ve, as they’re 2-11 away from dwelling. Nonetheless, there are indicators of enchancment from the defending champs, particularly on the defensive finish and from their bench unit. Jonathan Kuminga particularly has been a breathe of contemporary air, and in opposition to Dallas he performed what Steve Kerr referred to as “the perfect sport I’ve ever seen him play.” — Andrews

11. Indiana Pacers
2022-23 report: 12-8
Earlier rating: 14

The Pacers proceed to shock. Their 12-8 begin has been led by guard Tyrese Haliburton, who’s averaging 19.9 factors, a league-leading 11.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds with 1.8 steals. He squares off in opposition to his former workforce in Sacramento on Wednesday. — Collier

12. Toronto Raptors
2022-23 report: 11-9
Earlier rating: 16

With Pascal Siakam again on the courtroom, Toronto can push forward after surviving the previous few weeks with out their all-NBA ahead. It must be thought of successful that the Raptors nonetheless sit inside 1.5 video games of third place regardless of a sequence of accidents 1 / 4 of the best way by means of the season. — Bontemps

13. Portland Path Blazers
2022-23 report: 11-10
Earlier rating: 11

The Blazers have misplaced seven of their final 9 video games and will use Damian Lillard again as quickly as attainable. If there’s a silver lining from this powerful stretch it’s Jerami Grant persevering with his spectacular begin with the Blazers. Grant had 32 factors in a loss to the Clippers and 44 in opposition to New York. He is scored not less than 21 in 10 of his 14 video games in November, one thing that ought to profit the Blazers when Lillard returns from harm. Anfernee Simons additionally has been spectacular, scoring 37 and 38 factors in two of his final three video games. — Youngmisuk

14. Sacramento Kings
2022-23 report: 10-9
Earlier rating: 12

The Kings have misplaced three video games in a row, albeit to groups atop their respective conferences, so there is not any want for Sacramento to panic. What needs to be a explanation for concern although is their protection. Mike Brown was the defensive mastermind and coordinator behind Golden State’s championship-caliber protection, and but the Kings sit twenty sixth within the league in that class. — Andrews

15. Washington Wizards
2022-23 report: 11-10
Earlier rating: 15

After successful six of seven video games, the Wizards dropped three straight, together with two in a row at Miami. Nonetheless, they did not let the slide linger any longer, dealing with Minnesota at dwelling because of Kristaps Porzingis doing one thing no Washington huge man has accomplished since Moses Malone. Porzingis exploded for 41 factors — probably the most by a Washington heart since Malone scored 50 in 1987. Porzingis additionally grew to become the fifth 7-footer to have 40 factors and make not less than 5 3’s in a sport. The Wizards will want much more of this as a result of they’re about to enter a brutal stretch wherein they are going to play 14 of their subsequent 19 on the highway. — Youngmisuk

16. Dallas Mavericks
2022-23 report: 10-10
Earlier rating: 13

Luka Doncic’s favourite statistic from his 41-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist efficiency in Tuesday’s skid-stopping win over the Warriors: 4 steals. Doncic stated he’s happy with having “taken an enormous step ahead” defensively this season. He ranks fourth within the league with 1.8 steals per sport and is tied for twelfth in deflections (3.2). — MacMahon

17. Brooklyn Nets
2022-23 report: 11-11
Earlier rating: 20

The excellent news: Kevin Durant remains to be on the Nets and stays superior — evident by his 45 level domination of the Magic on Monday. The dangerous information: Ben Simmons’ left knee issues proceed to be a problem, and the Nets nonetheless cannot discover the consistency they should begin making noise within the East. — Friedell

18. Atlanta Hawks
2022-23 report: 11-10
Earlier rating: 10

Trae Younger had 10 assists for the 139th time in his younger profession on Monday evening when the Hawks confronted the Philadelphia 76ers. That gave him probably the most double-digit help video games in franchise historical past. The earlier proprietor of the report: Doc Rivers, the identical Doc Rivers teaching Philadelphia, which the Hawks confronted on Monday. — Lopez

19. Miami Warmth
2022-23 report: 10-11
Earlier rating: 22

Bam Adebayo has actually come on robust because the Warmth await Jimmy Butler (knee) to return again. Adebayo is averaging 35 factors and 10 rebounds over his final two video games and racked up 22.3 factors and 10.3 rebounds within the month of November. — Friedell

20. Utah Jazz
2022-23 report: 12-11
Earlier rating: 5

Utah has misplaced eight out of 10 video games, together with 5 in a row with out level guard Mike Conley Jr., who’s sidelined with a strained muscle close to his knee. The Jazz offense has continued to rank among the many league’s most effective, however Utah has been dreadful defensively, permitting 119.6 factors per 100 possessions throughout the 10-game hunch. — MacMahon

21. New York Knicks
2022-23 report: 10-11
Earlier rating: 19

New York continues to play proper about to the extent it was alleged to be, usually successful the video games it ought to and shedding those it should not, with a pair exceptions on all sides of the ledger. However over the following eight days, 4 video games with playoff-caliber groups loom, which may shortly dump the Knicks in a gap if that pattern does not change. — Bontemps

22. Minnesota Timberwolves
2022-23 report: 10-11
Earlier rating: 18

The Timberwolves proceed to wrestle, and to make issues worse they are going to be with out Karl-Anthony Cities for a number of weeks after he left Monday’s sport in opposition to the Wizards with a proper calf pressure. It’s unclear who will maintain Minnesota afloat in his absence when the workforce as an entire remains to be not gelling. — Andrews

23. Chicago Bulls
2022-23 report: 11th of September
Earlier rating: 23

The Bulls have received three of their final 4 video games, together with victories over the Celtics, Bucks and Jazz to assist stabilize an already rocky season. Chicago went 1-10 in opposition to the highest three seeds within the East final 12 months, so now already proudly owning victories over Milwaukee, Miami and Boston (twice) this season may go a great distance in proving that this 12 months’s workforce is completely different. — Collier

24. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder
2022-23 report: 8-13
Earlier rating: 24

Oklahoma Metropolis’s three-point shot has seemingly gone lacking within the final three video games because the workforce has shot simply 29-of-111 (26.1%) over that span. Nonetheless, they defeated the Bulls in additional time and performed the Pelicans powerful on Monday due to the continued excellence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his capacity to attract fouls. Gilgeous-Alexander was 14-of-15 from the road in opposition to the Bulls after which set new profession highs in free throw makes and makes an attempt going 16-of-18 in opposition to the Pelicans. Gilgeous-Alexander is fourth within the league in free-throw makes an attempt per sport trailing simply Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic. — Lopez

25. Los Angeles Lakers
2022-23 report: 7-12
Earlier rating: 25

There have been loads of issues that went flawed down the stretch of the Lakers’ 17-point collapse to the Pacers on Monday. However one stat was inexcusable: Anthony Davis solely had 4 touches within the remaining three minutes, with the ball in his arms for 10 seconds complete and resulting in no shot makes an attempt, per ESPN Stats & Info analysis. “That is one thing we now have to do higher,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham stated of the dearth of touches. “I, myself, must do higher, for certain.” — McMenamin

26. Charlotte Hornets
2022-23 report: 6-15
Earlier rating: 27

Charlotte truly received two straight earlier than getting demolished by the Celtics on Monday. Kelly Oubre Jr. continues to be the offensive spark plug for a beleaguered group that will likely be lacking Gordon Hayward for some time with a shoulder harm. Oubre is averaging 21.2 factors and 5.3 rebounds a sport within the month of November. — Friedell

27. Orlando Magic
2022-23 report: 5-16
Earlier rating: 26

Orlando has dropped 5 straight and continues to be overwhelmed by accidents. On a shiny word, younger huge man Bol Bol had a great evening in opposition to the Nets on Monday and continues to indicate enchancment. Bol had 24 factors, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in 39 minutes. — Friedell

28. Houston Rockets
2022-23 report: 5-15
Earlier rating: 30

Second-year taking pictures guard Jalen Inexperienced is displaying main progress as a playmaker, averaging 6.1 assists together with 22.6 factors over the past 9 video games. To place that in perspective, Inexperienced had six or extra assists in solely three video games as a rookie. He had a career-high 9 assists in Saturday’s win over the Thunder, which got here the evening after Inexperienced’s first 30-5-5 efficiency in a victory over the Hawks. — MacMahon

29. San Antonio Spurs
2022-23 report: 6-15
Earlier rating: 28

San Antonio has misplaced a league-high eight consecutive video games, tying the workforce for the longest shedding streak ever beneath coach Gregg Popovich (in addition they misplaced eight in a row in Nov. 2019). San Antonio did have a season-high 138 factors final Saturday in a five-point loss to the Lakers. It was the third-highest scoring output for the Spurs in a loss beneath Popovich. San Antonio did hit a season-high 18 threes within the defeat with six gamers hitting a number of triples. — Lopez

30. Detroit Pistons
2022-23 report: 5-18
Earlier rating: 29

The Pistons discover themselves in a holding sample with second-year guard Cade Cunningham, who has missed the previous 11 video games with a shin harm. Each he and the workforce are nonetheless making an attempt to find out the perfect path ahead with the hope of avoiding what can be a season-ending surgical procedure. — Collier