NBA power rankings: Kings beam into top 10; Cavs rise as Clippers, Mavericks, Blazers fall

Xavier Mascareñas/

* Through games played 11/23

1. Boston Celtics (14-4)

Last week: 1

Boston’s nine-game winning streak ended with a loss to the Bulls, but the Celtics bounced back with a 125-112 win over the Mavericks on Wednesday. The Celtics will entertain the Kings on Friday in a Beam Team vs. Beantown battle between the NBA’s two highest-scoring teams.

2. Milwaukee Bucks (12-5)

Last week: 2

The Bucks lost to the Bulls on Wednesday despite 36 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP is averaging 30.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Milwaukee will play host to Cleveland on Friday.

3. Phoenix Suns (11-6)

Last week: 3

The Suns have won three of their last four despite the absence of Chris Paul (heel), who could be close to a return after participating in Wednesday’s practice. Devin Booker is averaging 27.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (12-6)

Last week: 13

The streaky Cavs won eight in a row, lost five in a row, and now they’ve won four in a row going into Friday’s showdown with the Bucks. Donovan Mitchell is averaging 29.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

5. New Orleans Pelicans (11-7)

Last week: 7

Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum have helped the Pelicans win five of their last six, including wins over the Grizzlies, Bulls and Warriors. Williamson had 32 points and 11 rebounds against San Antonio.

6. Denver Nuggets (11-7)

Last week: 5

Nikola Jokic had 39 points in an overtime victory against the Thunder on Wednesday. The two-time reigning MVP is averaging 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists. Michael Porter Jr. is shooting 42.7% from 3-point range.

7. Atlanta Hawks (11-7)

Last week: 8

Trae Young scored 35 points as the Hawks ended Sacramento’s seven-game winning streak on Wednesday. Atlanta has won seven of 11, including victories over the Pelicans, Bucks (2), 76ers and Raptors.

8. Utah Jazz (12-8)

Last week: 6

Utah has lost five of seven after suffering back-to-back losses to the Clippers and Pistons. The Jazz will be tested further with three games in four nights against the Warriors, Suns and Bulls.

9. Sacramento Kings (10-7)

Last week: 12

The Kings won seven in a row – their longest winning streak since 2004 – before suffering a 115-106 loss to the Hawks. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will lead the Beam Team into Boston to face the Celtics on Friday.

10. Indiana Pacers (10-7)

Last week: 14

Indiana’s five-game winning streak ended with a 115-101 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. The Pacers had won seven of eight behind Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Bennedict Mathurin and Myles Turner.

11. Memphis Grizzlies (10-8)

Last week: 9

Ja Morant returned from a sprained ankle to score 34 points against the Kings on Tuesday, but he couldn’t prevent the Grizzlies from losing for the fourth time in five games.

12. Los Angeles Clippers (11-8)

Last week: 15

The Clippers have lost four of five and coach Ty Lue says there’s no timetable for the return of Kawhi Leonard (right ankle sprain) and Paul George (right hamstring tendon strain).

13. Washington Wizards (10-8)

Last week: 17

The Wizards won six of seven before losing to the Heat on Wednesday. They’ve received big contributions from Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (10-8)

Last week: 20

The Timberwolves jump six spots this week after winning five in a row. Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 21.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

15. Dallas Mavericks (9-8)

Last week: 11

The Mavs have struggled a bit lately, losing five of their last eight games. They suffered a 13-point loss to the Celtics on Wednesday despite 42 points from Luka Doncic.

16. Portland Trail Blazers (10-8)

Last week: 4

Damian Lillard is out again with a right calf strain and the Blazers suddenly find themselves falling, losing four in a row and five of six after going 9-3 to start the season.

17. Toronto Raptors (9-9)

Last week: 10

The Raptors are coming off back-to-back losses to the Hawks and Nets. They’ve lost four of six with upcoming games against the Mavericks, Cavaliers, Pelicans and Nets.

18. New York Knicks (9-9)

Last week: 16

The Knicks suffered back-to-back double-digit losses to the Warriors and Suns before Jalen Brunson matched his career high with 34 points in Monday’s win over the Thunder.

19. Philadelphia 76ers (9-9)

Last week: 18

The injury report isn’t pretty in Philadelphia with Joel Embiid (foot), James Harden (foot), Tyrese Maxey (foot) and Matisse Thybulle (ankle) all on the mend.

20. Brooklyn Nets (9-10)

Last week: 24

Kevin Durant voiced his frustration following a 32-point loss to the Kings on Nov. 15. The Nets have won three of four since then, including a 112-98 victory over the Raptors.

21. Golden State Warriors (9-10)

Last week: 23

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole have helped the Warriors win six of nine after going 3-7 to start the season.

22. Chicago Bulls (8-10)

Last week: 22

The Bulls lost four in a row and six of seven before DeMar DeRozan led them to back-to-back wins over the Celtics and Bucks. DeRozan had 36 points vs. Milwaukee.

23. Miami Heat (8-11)

Last week: 19

Kyle Lowry scored 28 points to help the Heat snap a four-game losing streak with a 113-105 victory over the Wizards on Wednesday. Miami and Washington will meet again Friday.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder (7-11)

Last week: 21

The Thunder has lost eight of 11 despite huge performances from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has put up recent point totals of 31, 30, 42, 37, 37, 37, 39, 33, 37, 34 and 38.

25. Los Angeles Lakers (5-11)

Last week: 28

The Lakers’ three-game winning streak ended with a loss to the Suns despite 37 points and 21 rebounds from Anthony Davis. LeBron James (groin) expects to return Friday vs. the Spurs.

26. Charlotte Hornets (5-14)

Last week: 27

The Hornets had lost three in a row and 11 of 12 before Terry Rozier led them to a 107-101 win over the 76ers on Wednesday. LaMelo Ball (ankle) is out again.

27. San Antonio Spurs (6-13)

Last week: 25

The Spurs went 5-2 to start the season, but they’ve lost 11 of 12 since then. They will carry a six-game losing streak into a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against the Lakers.

28. Orlando Magic (5-13)

Last week: 26

Rookie of the Year candidate Paolo Banchero has been out since Nov. 7 with an ankle injury, but he could be nearing a return.

29. Detroit Pistons (5-15)

Last week: 30

Cade Cunningham is out indefinitely with a possible stress fracture in his shin. Rookie Jaden Ivey is averaging 16.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

30. Houston Rockets (3-14)

Last week: 29

Kevin Porter Jr. scored 30 points in Sunday’s loss to the Warriors. The Rockets had four days off ahead of Friday’s game against the Hawks.