NBA Power Rankings: Mavericks, Nets move in opposite directions; Bucks stay No. 1, but Celtics, Cavs close

Whoever said “the more things change, the more they stay the same” obviously doesn’t watch NBA basketball. The changes fueled by the frantic period leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline dramatically changed the league’s landscape, with the Phoenix Suns catapulted to the top of championship chances by acquiring two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets.

However, we need to slow down when it comes to Power Rating and try not to be swayed by assumptions about how teams going perform as soon as their new players are assembled. But even if you look at what the teams have done on the court, the change in deadlines has already paid off.

The Dallas Mavericks, for example, jumped five spots after a pair of wins after acquiring point guard Kyrie Irving. The Nets, by contrast, are down seven spots since parting ways with Irving and Durant.

The No. 1 spot remains unchanged as Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have 10 straight wins. They face pressure from both the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but in the end, the Bucks are just too good.

In addition to the Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers also had their biggest drop this week, dropping seven spots after a pair of losses. The Oklahoma City Thunder climbed the most, ruining LeBron James’ record breaking night in Los Angeles.

It will be interesting to see how the teams move up and down after these massive trades, but for now, here’s this week’s NBA strength rankings.

*Please be aware that our NBA Power rankings are based on weekly results, not full season results.

Biggest driving forces








The Bucks’ winning streak reached a beautiful round of 10 with convincing wins over the Blazers, Lakers and Clippers this week. On top of their stellar performance of late, Milwaukee also secured a stated trade deadline for Jay Crowder, who will presumably enter the rotation once his fitness picks up speed. Giannis Antetokounmpo is back in the MVP race (if he’s ever eliminated), averaging 32.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists this week on 58% shooting.




Boston has picked up four wins this week, including over the 76ers and the Grizzlies, three without Jalen Brown and Marcus Smart. Normally that would be enough to put them in first place, but that’s how good the Bucks have been lately. Derrick White is feasting with Brown and Smart off the roster, scoring at least 19 points in every game this week, including an explosion against the Hornets in which he tallied career highs in points (33) and three-pointers (eight). .





The Cavs ended a week of routing by closing a 13-point lead in the second half to beat the Bulls on Saturday. The defense went 4-0 out of control this week, scoring just 98.9 points per 100 possessions.





The 76ers lost a showdown with the Celtics earlier in the week but bounced back by beating the Knicks and Nets, though the latter fell into milliseconds after being sent into overtime. Joel Embiid was even more effective than usual, posting 33.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game on 65 percent shooting, while rookie Jalen McDaniels made his debut in a win over Brooklyn with five points and four rebounds. in 15 minutes.




Not the best week for the Nuggets on or off the court, as they conceded a winning game to the Magic and also saw the Western Conference add Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to their potential run to the Finals. Jamal Murray has missed all three games this week, four in a row overall, with a problem with his right knee (thankfully not the one on which he had anterior cruciate ligament surgery).





The Kings have had consecutive two-pitch Texas games this week in which they went 3-1 in doubleheaders against the Rockets and Mavs. Saturday’s win was one of the most spectacular games of the season as it ruined Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving’s backcourt debut.





The Grizz were back on the winning track against the Bulls and Wolves earlier in the week but lost in Boston on Sunday. Ja Morant was a regular maniac, averaging 30.3 points, 7.7 assists and seven rebounds in three games on 41% three-point shooting. Trade Deadline Acquisition Luke Kennard was successful in his first game with the team, posting four points and two rebounds in 21 minutes.





What’s happened? I must have passed out for a second. The Suns beat the Nets on Tuesday and then acquired their best player on Wednesday, officially starting the Kevin Durant era at Phoenix. They went from middleweight to Western Conference favorites overnight, and it comes as Devin Booker is just starting to get back into shape, posting 20 points and 5.5 assists in 26 minutes per game this week.




The Knicks beat the Magic and Jazz this week, losing to the 76ers in between. Jalen Brunson is in tears, averaging 31 points and 6.3 assists per week on 59/47/88 shooting, while new signing Josh Hart played 25 minutes in his Saturday debut to fill the stats with 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.





The Heat have gone 3-0 this week, but it certainly hasn’t been easy given tough wins against the Pacers, Rockets and Magic. Miami was notably calm at the deal deadline, expecting him to be active in the buyout market. Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler averaged 20 points per game for the week.





The Kyrie Irving era in Dallas ended with a roaring success, with Irving victories over the Clippers and Kings. Ironically, the first game they lost was when Luka Doncic returned to the lineup on Saturday as the offense looked great but the defense couldn’t get enough stops – perhaps a preview of the near future with a lineup like this.





Gaining some momentum, the Clippers lost to the Mavericks without Luka Doncic in Kyrie Irving’s first game with the team, then saw Giannis Antetokounmpo pass them for the second time in nine days, losing to the Bucks. Clippers updated…


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