NBA power rankings: 76ers rolling, Bucks inconsistent, Lakers looking lost – AZCentral.com - Techy Hunters

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

NBA power rankings: 76ers rolling, Bucks inconsistent, Lakers looking lost – AZCentral.com

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Best and worst NBA City Edition uniforms

Sports Seriously: Mackenzie Salmon and Charles Curtis review the best and worst NBA City Edition uniforms for the 2021-22 season.

Sports Seriously, USA TODAY

The Philadelphia 76ers are making more noise outside of fining Ben Simmons for missing games.

Winners of six straight, the 76ers have handed Chicago two of its three losses with Joel Embiid’s fist nearly connecting to Lonzo Ball’s face as he threw an punch in the air out of frustration Saturday night.

“I didn’t intend to do that,” said Embiid, who received a technical foul. “I would never do that. I’m not a dirty player. Just got mad at myself.”

The 114-105 win Saturday was Doc Rivers’ 1,000th as an NBA coach in becoming the 10th coach in NBA hisetory to reach that milestone.

“I don’t know what that was,” said Rivers, after Embiid doused him with a bucket of icy water to begin the celebration in the 76ers locker room. “That was a lot of ice.” 

They’re the NBA’s hottest team, but did they punch their way into the Arizona Republic’s Top 5 power rankings? Here’s how it stacks up through Saturday’s games:

More: Arizona Republic’s NBA power rankings: Heat, Bulls rampaging, Lakers, Suns slip

1. Miami Heat (7-2, Last week 2nd)

Beating the top team in the previous power rankings is enough to overcome looking horrible in a loss to the Boston Celtics the game before to claim the top spot.

The Heat edged the Jazz by three with Kyle Lowry posting a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists while Tyler Herro continued to impress with a 29-point effort, hitting 6-of-8 3s. 

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are the Heat’s inside-outside punch, but Lowry and Herro are their X-factors.

2. Utah Jazz (7-2, Last week 1st)

Donovan Mitchell nearly forced overtime against the Heat, but missed a 29-footer as time expired that would’ve given him 40.

He fell down on the shot as Lowry contested it.

Hey, refs aren’t calling that this year with the emphasis on non-basketball moves.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak, but the Jazz are having a great start as they’re second in the league in offensive rating.

3. Brooklyn Nets (6-3, Last week 4th)

Winners of four straight since losing to Miami, the Nets picked up two of those victories against one-win Detroit.

Kevin Durant has been special so far in leading the league in scoring at 28.3 points a game to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists. 

Got a major test coming Monday at Chicago in the second of a back-to-back.

4. Philadelphia 76ers (8-2, Last week Next 5)

Embiid’s frustration punch aside, the All-Star big went for 30 points, hitting 4-of-5 from 3, and grabbed 15 rebounds in Saturday’s win.

Probably his best game against a really good team.

The 76ers lead the NBA in offensive rating and 3-point shooting percentage as they have seven players averaging double figures.

5. Golden State Warriors (8-1, Last week Next 5)

The Warriors have the most prolific shooter ever in two-time MVP Stephen Curry, but are winning with defense.

First in the league in defensive rating, Golden State is holding teams under 100 points a game. This doesn’t mean the Warriors aren’t scoring.

They’re third in the league in points per game. If Klay Thompson comes back 80% of himself and stays healthy, Golden State will be an even bigger problem. 

Next 5 

Chicago Bulls (6-3). Fell from top five after consecutive losses to the 76ers. Going to find out a lot more about the Bulls as their next five games are against Brooklyn, Dallas, Golden State, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.

Phoenix Suns (5-3). They’ve won four straight, all at home, with two victories against one-win teams. However, with team owner Robert Sarver allegations of racism and misogyny swirling and Deandre Ayton battling a leg injury, Phoenix is finding a way.  

Dallas Mavericks (6-3). Luka Doncic does it again with a game-winning, stepback 3 at the buzzer to top Boston. The guy is insane, but Jalen Brunson playing a bigger role with Jason Kidd as head coach has improved the Mavs.

New York Knicks (6-3). They beat the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks after losing to Indiana and Toronto. Derrick Rose continues to show it’s OK for someone who was once that dude to come off the bench and shine.

Milwaukee Bucks (4-5). Just not ready to drop them out of the rankings despite having a losing record. Denver (5-4) could easily be right here, but they needed a last-second block by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic to top one-win Houston, 95-94, to avoid 4-5.

One last thing

It’s still early, but the Lakers (5-5) are having problems.

Not only is LeBron James having nagging injuries and Russell Westbrook struggling, but they’ve blown large leads in two losses to Oklahoma City (2-6) and just got drummed by 15 at Portland as Anthony Davis left that game in the first half with a stomach illness.

What else can go wrong?

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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