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NBA Power Rankings: Pacers hold onto No. 1

Marc J. Spears
Special to Yahoo Sports

 

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The Pacers are still tied for the NBA's best record after losing to the Bulls. (USA Today)

 

Indiana
1. Indiana Pacers (9-1; last week's ranking: 1): The Pacers tied the franchise record with a 9-0 start before losing to Chicago on Saturday. Danny Granger is expected to soon return.


San Antonio
2. San Antonio Spurs (9-1; last week's ranking: 2): The Spurs have won seven straight and are 4-0 at home. Tim Duncan is averaging career-lows of 12 points and 39.4 percent shooting.


Miami
3. Miami Heat (7-3; last week's ranking: 5): The Heat finally look like they're back to their winning ways with a three-game streak. LeBron James has averaged 34 points during the three straight wins.


Los Angeles
4. Los Angeles Clippers (7-3; last week's ranking: 7): The Clippers have won four straight. Blake Griffin is quieting naysayers with a double-double average of 22.9 points and 10.9 rebounds.


Golden State
5. Golden State Warriors (7-3; last week's ranking: 8): The Warriors have won three straight games. The Warriors are running low on healthy players.


 

Portland
6. Portland Trail Blazers (8-2; last week's ranking: 11): The surprising Blazers have won six straight. Damian Lillard faces the Bulls' Derrick Rose for the first time Friday.


Minnesota
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4; last week's ranking: 4): Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota when Brooklyn visits on Friday. Garnett led the T'wolves to their last playoff appearance in 2004.


Oklahoma City
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3; last week's ranking: 3): The Thunder have a chance to avenge a testy loss to the Clippers at home Thursday. What kind of reception will Matt Barnes get?


Houston
9. Houston Rockets (7-4; last week's ranking: 9): Omer Asik has been benched two straight games since his trade request. Keep an eye on Dec. 15 when offseason signees can be included in trades.


Dallas
10. Dallas Mavericks (6-4; last week's ranking: 13): What will owner Mark Cuban say when Houston's Dwight Howard visits Wednesday for the first time since Howard rejected the Mavs' free-agent advances?


Phoenix
11. Phoenix Suns (5-4; last week's ranking: 6): The Suns' last three losses have been by an average of two points. Journeyman guard Gerald Green is averaging 13.1 points.


Chicago
12. Chicago Bulls (5-3; last week's ranking: 14): Derrick Rose scored 20 points for the first time this season in a win over Indiana on Saturday. Rose averaged over 20 points in each of the three seasons he played before having knee surgery.


Atlanta
13. Atlanta Hawks (6-4; last week's ranking: 17): The Hawks received a scoring boost with the recent return of Lou Williams, who averaged 14.1 points last season.


Memphis
14. Memphis Grizzlies (5-5; last week's ranking: 10): The Grizzlies reached .500 with a win in Sacramento. Memphis is on the road against the Clippers and Warriors next.


Charlotte
15. Charlotte Bobcats (5-5; last week's ranking: 16): After facing Chicago on Monday, Charlotte will play five of its next six games at home. Al Jefferson is still hampered by a bad ankle.

 

Philadelphia
16. Philadelphia 76ers (5-6, last week's ranking: 12): The Sixers have lost four of their past five games and have a losing record, but are still in first in the horrible Atlantic Division.


Denver
17. Denver Nuggets (4-5; last week's ranking: 28): The Nuggets are on the right track after winning three of their past four games. Oklahoma City, Chicago and a back-to-back with Dallas await.


New Orleans
18. New Orleans Pelicans (4-6; last week's ranking: 18): Ryan Anderson scored 26 points, including six 3-pointers, in his return from a broken toe last Saturday against the Sixers.


Los Angeles
19. Los Angeles Lakers (5-7; last week's ranking: 20): Golden State visits on Friday. Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon the last time the Lakers hosted the Warriors. Could this be his return?


Cleveland
20. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7; last week's ranking: 21): Guard Kyrie Irving is averaging 27.5 points in wins – including 41 in his last game – and 17.7 points in losses.


Toronto
21. Toronto Raptors (4-7; last week's ranking: 24): The Raptors have dropped three of their past four games and need someone other than Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to score.


Orlando
22. Orlando Magic (4-6; last week's ranking: 25): Despite lots of interest in guard Arron Afflalo last summer, the Magic refused to trade him. Smart move. Afflalo is averaging a team-high 21.7 points.


Boston
23. Boston Celtics (4-7; last week's ranking: 26): Ex-Celtics star Paul Pierce said he doesn't feel bad for Rajon Rondo still being in Boston because Rondo now gets a chance to be the face of the franchise.

 

Detroit
24. Detroit Pistons (3-6; last week's ranking: 15): Pistons newcomer Josh Smith goes to Atlanta on Wednesday to face the Hawks for the first time since leaving last offseason.


New York
25. New York Knicks (3-6; last week's ranking: 16): Carmelo Anthony, a free-agent-to-be, continues to express frustration saying, "We ain't playing worth a [expletive] right now."


Brooklyn
26. Brooklyn Nets (3-6; last week's ranking: 22): Deron Williams (ankle), Paul Pierce (groin), Kevin Garnett (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle) and Andrei Kirilenko (back) are all hampered by injuries.


Washington
27. Washington Wizards (2-7; last week's ranking: 19): After a poor start for a team that has aspirations to make the playoffs for first time since 2008, coach Randy Wittman could be on the hot seat.

 

Milwaukee
28. Milwaukee Bucks (2-7; last week's ranking: 27): Milwaukee, loser of five straight games, is hopeful that Brandon Knight (hamstring) and Caron Butler (shoulder) will be back soon.


Sacramento
29. Sacramento Kings (2-7; last week's ranking: 29): The Kings have yet to win back-to-back games this season and have only one win in November. Three of the next four games are on the road.


Utah
30. Utah Jazz (1-10; last week's ranking: 30) The Jazz's first win in nine games prevented them from matching their worst start since opening their inaugural 1974-75 season with 11 consecutive losses.

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