We just had another exciting week of NBA basketball that was filled with game winners, triple doubles and the dunk of the year by Ja Morant. The top two teams in each conference (Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets) extended their win streaks to six in a row while the Memphis Grizzlies have extended theirs to nine in a row. The Houston Rockets on the other hand are going completely in the opposite direction and end the week having lost ten in a row. LeBron James has now become the second player to reach 38,000 career points and should be passing Kareem Abdul-Jabar for the career points record very soon but the Los Angeles Lakers are still struggling and currently sit in 13th place in the Western conference.
These are my power rankings based on games played through 1/15/2023.
- Denver Nuggets (30-13)
The Nuggets stay at number one in the rankings after having another undefeated week and extending their win streak to now six games in a row. They’ve also won 16 of their last 19 games. The team is now rated as the best offensive team in the league. They are clicking on all cylinders, Nikola Jokic is continuing his MVP level play and notched two triple doubles this week and the team stepped up on the road without the now MVP front runner against the LA Clippers and won big. All four games this week will be at home where they have been 19-3 on the year.
- Boston Celtics (32-12)
Like the Nuggets, the Celtics are also riding a six-game winning streak. The team has managed to keep things rolling even with guard Jaylen Brown going down early in Week 13 with an adductor strain and will miss about a week or two. Per 100 possessions the team has been scoring 120 points and averaging 118.5 points per game on the year which is second best. The big matchup this week will be when they play the Golden State Warriors at home. The Warriors lit them up in their first finals rematch game in December so I believe Boston will look to make this a statement game as the Warriors have struggled on the road all year long.
- Memphis Grizzlies (29-13)
Memphis currently has a nine-game win streak which is the second longest for any team on the year. The offense is rated 11th best in the league but over this win streak they are ranked 4th overall. Jaren Jackson Jr. who would probably be the Defensive Player of the Year if the season were to end today is a strong reason why the team is also rated first overall defensively. The Grizzlies will have two games this week at home where they are 18-3 on the year before going on a five-game road trip where they have been 11-10.
- Philadelphia 76ers (27-16)
The 76ers are now a top ten offensive team and top four defensively and getting back to full strength with Embiid, Maxey and Harden back consistently in the lineup. The team is now 7-3 in their last ten games. The addition of De’Anthony Melton has proved to be a key addition this season as he has stepped in and contributed either in the starting lineup or off the bench. The team finished week 13 with two road wins over the Jazz and Lakers and will continue into this week with three more road wins. On the year, they are 10-9 in road games.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (27-17)
The Cavaliers remain a top 2 defensive team and the road trip just got the best of them as it has all season long. In the two losses they suffered in week 13, they had leads in the fourth quarter. They lead the league with seven losses when up by at least five points in the fourth quarter. This week they have three home games and one road game so we’ll see how they fare. At home this year they are 18-4 while only 9-13 on the road. The team can score and contend with the best in the league so if they can fix those fourth quarter quarrels, they should remain in top half of the East and avoid the play-in tournament.
Next in line: New Orleans Pelicans (26-17)
Some of the top performances this week include:
- Jayson Tatum scored 32 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 107-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
- Nikola Jokic recorded his 11th triple double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds & 16 assists) while Jamal Murray chipped in with 34 points to give the Denver Nuggets a 122-109 win against the Los Angeles Lakers
- Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings dropped in 30 points and the Kings defeated the Orlando Magic at home 136-111.
- Joel Embiid poured in 36 points and teammate James Harden tallied a triple double (16 points, 12 rebounds & 15 assists) as the Philadelphia 76ers dominated the Detroit Pistons at home. Final score 147-116.
- Jordan Clarkson scored 32 points and 4 assists as the Utah Jazz defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-114. Donovan Mitchell of the Cavs scored 46 points in his first game back in Utah against his former team.
- Kawhi Leonard scored a new season high of 33 points and the Los Angeles Clippers secured a home victory against the Dallas Mavericks 113-104.
- Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks scored 27 points and the Bucks went on to win 114-105 on the road against the Atlanta Hawks.
- Ja Morant led the Memphis Grizzlies to a 135-129 victory against the San Antonio Spurs making it their eighth straight win.
- Domantas Sabonis nearly recorded a triple double (25 points, 14 rebounds & 9 assists) as the Sacramento Kings beat the Houston Rockets 135-115.
- The New York Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 119-113 at home and were led by Jalen Brunson with 34 points.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder go into Philly and take down the 76ers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the team with 37 points and 8 rebounds.
- Pascal Siakam scored 35 points and 7 rebounds which helped lead the Toronto Raptors to a 124-114 home win against the Charlotte Hornets.
- 50 points from Damian Lillard wasn’t enough for the win as the Portland Trail Blazers lose at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland with 26 points.
- Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks came up clutch against the Los Angeles Lakers and recorded a triple double with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. Mavs won in double overtime 119-115.
- The Atlanta Hawks go into Indiana and defeat the Pacers 113-111 thanks to a buzzer beating tip in by John Collins. Trae Young led the team in scoring with 26 points.
- Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors led the team with 25 points as the Warriors beat the San Antonio Spurs in front of the largest crowd in NBA history 144-113.
- Josh Giddey had 25-point, 10 rebound double-double as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Chicago Bulls 124-110 on the road.
- Lauri Markkanen’s 28-point, 12 rebound double-double helped lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-108 victory over the Orlando Magic.
- Damian Lillard racked in 32 points and 10 assists to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 136-119 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
- Joel Embiid hit the game winning jump shot and the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Utah Jazz 118-117.
- Anthony Edwards scored 26 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves took care of the Cleveland Cavaliers at home winning 110-102.
- The Atlanta Hawks go into Toronto and beat the Raptors 114-103. Hawks backcourt came up big with Trae Young scoring 29 points and Dejounte Murray added 27 points.
- Julius Randle had a monster game of 42 points and 15 rebounds and led the New York Knicks to a 117-104 victory against the Detroit Pistons.
- Nikola Vucevic matched a career high with 43 points which helped the Chicago Bulls defeat the Golden State Warriors at home 132-118.
- Nikola Jokic notched his 12th triple double of the season and also hit the game winning 3-pointer as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Orlando Magic 119-116.
- LeBron James scored 35 points and became the second player in NBA history to reach 38,000 career points but that wasn’t enough to lead the Lakers to a win against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers won 113-112 and Joel Embiid matched LeBron with 35 points in the game.
- Damian Lillard scored 40 points and helped the Portland Trail Blazers defeat the Dallas Mavericks in consecutive games. Final score 140-123.