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NBA Power Rankings: Lakers drop

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

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Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant watched the Lakers get off to a tough start to the season. (AP)

Los Angeles Lakers fans were in a panic after Kobe Bryant and his teammates lost their first three games. The Oklahoma City Thunder also had reason to wonder if they'd made a mistake by trading James Harden. Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic might already be dreaming of the NBA playoffs.

Yes, it was a strange opening week to the NBA season. One thing, however, didn't change: The defending champion Miami Heat remain atop Yahoo! Sports Power Rankings. Records are through Sunday's games.

1. Miami Heat (2-1, previous ranking: first): Ray Allen saved the Heat against Denver with a late four-point play. Brooklyn Nets will give the Heat a good test on Wednesday.

San Antonio
2. San Antonio Spurs (3-0, previous ranking: sixth): Tony Parker's buzzer-beater gave the Spurs a nice win over Oklahoma City. Victory over Utah didn’t come easy either.

New York
3. New York Knicks (2-0, previous ranking: ninth): The Knicks are off to one of their best starts in years because of dependable 3-point shooting, solid performance from role players and Carmelo Anthony's scoring.

Los Angeles
4. Los Angeles Clippers (2-1, previous ranking: fifth): Give the Clippers a pass on Golden State loss after big Lakers win night before.

[Also: NBA adds two female referees to its league-wide crew]

Oklahoma City
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2, previous ranking: second): Home loss to an Atlanta team missing Josh Smith? Looks like the Thunder are dealing with some chemistry issues after trading James Harden. That includes arguing on the court.

6. Brooklyn Nets (1-0, previous ranking: 10th): The Nets' first game in Brooklyn was a victory, but there was also bad news as starting small forward Gerald Wallace sprained his ankle.

Los Angeles
7. Los Angeles Lakers (1-3, previous ranking: third): Lakers are a work in progress and losing Steve Nash to a leg injury didn’t help.

8. Boston Celtics (1-2, previous ranking: fourth): Celtics won’t say it, but they're missing Ray Allen.

9. Milwaukee Bucks (2-0, previous ranking: 17th): Brandon Jennings playing with an edge after not getting a contract extension.

10. Memphis Grizzlies (1-1, previous ranking: 11th): The Grizzlies earned a tough win at Golden State last week after losing their opener against the Clippers.

11. Philadelphia 76ers (1-1, previous ranking: 12th): The Sixers are still waiting on the debut of Andrew Bynum – and for Evan Turner to help replace Andre Iguodala’s scoring.

12. Dallas Mavericks (2-1, previous ranking: 15th): Backcourt of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo playing well enough to help make up for the scoring loss of Dirk Nowitzki.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (2-1, previous ranking: 20th): Rookie point guard Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are already looking comfortable together.

14. Chicago Bulls (2-1, previous ranking: 13th): Loss at home to a Hornets team missing Anthony Davis hurt.

15. Atlanta Hawks (1-1, previous ranking: 16th): Tough week with games against Indiana and Miami.

16. Houston Rockets (2-1, previous ranking: 26th): James Harden looks like he could challenge for the NBA's scoring title, but he needs to get his teammates more involved.

17. Orlando Magic (2-0, previous ranking: 28th): Who needs Dwight Howard? New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn doesn’t when he’s getting strong contributions from J.J. Redick and Glen Davis.

Golden State
18. Golden State Warriors (2-1, previous ranking: 22nd): With Andrew Bogut working off rust, Carl Landry has played strong. Rookie Harrison Barnes needs to step up his game.

New Orleans
19. New Orleans Hornets (2-1, previous ranking: 27th): Credit coach Monty Williams for getting the Hornets to play well, even after losing Davis.

20. Indiana Pacers (2-1, previous ranking: eighth): Big drop for the Pacers after losing to the Charlotte Bobcats on opening night.

21. Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1, previous ranking: 24th): In the midst of six-game road trip that includes visits to the Clippers, Oklahoma City and Brooklyn, the Cavs have a lot of miles in their immediate future.

[Also: Report: NBA has decided on 2014 date to introduce ads on jerseys]

22. Utah Jazz (1-2, previous ranking: 14th): Jazz play host to Lakers in interesting game for both teams Wednesday.

23. Denver Nuggets (0-3, previous ranking: seventh): No NBA team has gotten off to a more surprisingly poor start than the Nuggets.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1, previous ranking: 23rd): When Alexey Shved getting a haircut is a big story, it's a sign the T'wolves desperately need Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio back.

25. Phoenix Suns (1-2, previous ranking: 19th): Suns’ bench became shorter after Jermaine O’Neal left to attend to some personal issues.

26. Toronto Raptors (1-2, previous ranking: 26th): Kyle Lowry has been a great addition for the Raptors. Any takers for Jose Calderon?

27. Charlotte Bobcats (1-2, previous ranking: 30th): Congrats to the Bobcats for getting a tough win against the Pacers out of the gate.

28. Sacramento Kings (0-3, previous ranking: 21st): The Kings need much better play from their starting backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans. Evans is in a contract year.

29. Washington Wizards (0-2, previous ranking: 29th): Rookie guard Bradley Beal, the second overall pick in the draft, has opened the season struggling.

30. Detroit Pistons (0-3, previous ranking: 18th): Rough start included an embarrassing blowout loss to the Lakers.



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