The Sixers have lost four games in a row for the first time since December of 2017. Where do they sit in our power rankings?
Let’s take a look:
1. Milwaukee Bucks (32-5)
The Bucks have won five straight after their Christmas loss to the Sixers and are on pace to top 70 wins.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (29-7)
Anthony Davis only needed 21 field goal attempts to score 46 points in a win Friday over the Pelicans, and he had eight of the Lakers’ 20 blocks Sunday vs. the Pistons. The Lakers have followed up a stretch of four losses in a row with five straight wins.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (26-12)
It’s very tight in the No. 3 through No. 10 range in these power rankings. The Clippers sitting at No. 3 is more a reflection of this writer’s opinion that they’re built well to succeed in the playoffs than of them playing good basketball lately. Montrezl Harrell thinks they’re “not a great team,” and they gave up 140 points to the Grizzlies on Saturday and 132 to the Knicks on Sunday, but the Clippers are still finding ways to win most games and only have one losing streak this season, a two-game hiccup in mid-November.
4. Boston Celtics (25-8)
Boston has won eight of its last nine games, including the last two without Kemba Walker, who’s been sidelined by the flu. Jayson Tatum received more than twice as many votes as Jaylen Brown in the first returns from All-Star voting, which doesn’t seem right. Brown has made the big leap the Celtics were hoping for and is one of six players in the NBA shooting over 50 percent while averaging over 20 points.
5. Miami Heat (26-10)
Miami had two bad road losses recently to the Wizards and Magic, but they keep winning at home and are now 17-1 at AmericanAirlines Arena. Jimmy Butler missed Sunday’s win over the Blazers because of a back injury.
6. Houston Rockets (24-11)
“I think that he could quite possibly be the best offensive basketball player ever, honestly,” Josh Richardson said Sunday of James Harden. Behind Harden, whose 38.4 points per game would be the most since Wilt Chamberlain’s 44.8 in 1962-63, Houston earned quality home wins this week over the Nuggets and Sixers.
7. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic averaged 35.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists over the past week, but Dallas dropped two of three.
8. Denver Nuggets (24-11)
Since December, the Nuggets are No. 23 in defensive rating. Michael Porter Jr.’s 25-point performance Thursday vs. the Pacers was a major bright spot.
9. Sixers (23-14)
Until they start winning games again, it’s difficult to justify putting the Sixers higher than this. The issues with offensive structure and fit, defensive breakdowns and more won’t disappear with a victory, but they’d perhaps be easier to address in a less frustrated environment.
10. Utah Jazz (23-12)
Utah is undefeated in the Jordan Clarkson era.
11. Toronto Raptors (24-12)
The Raptors were held to a season-low 76 points Thursday against the Heat and are now 5-4 without Pascal Siakam.
12. Indiana Pacers (22-14)
After crushing the Sixers on New Year’s Eve, Indiana lost to Denver and Atlanta. The big question remains what they’ll look like when Victor Oladipo is back.
13. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-15)
Oklahoma City comes into Monday night's game vs. the Sixers on a real roll, having won five straight and nine of 10.
14. Brooklyn Nets (16-18)
Kyrie Irving met with the media Saturday to discuss his shoulder injury. He won’t be back anytime soon, and surgery is a possibility. In better injury news for Brooklyn, Caris LeVert returned after a 24-game absence.
15. Orlando Magic (16-20)
The Magic’s best road win this season is over the Pelicans. Orlando’s offense is the worst of any team currently in a playoff spot.
16. San Antonio Spurs (14-20)
San Antonio would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, though the standings in the West are constantly shifting. The Spurs’ starters have taken just 12.7 threes per game, by far the fewest in the league.
17. Memphis Grizzlies (15-22)
Ja Morant is building a long, extensive highlight tape, and Jaren Jackson Jr. is shooting over 40 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game.
18. Portland Trail Blazers (15-22)
At 35 years old, Carmelo Anthony played 37 minutes Sunday in Miami, a sign of just how much the Blazers have been affected by injuries. Hassan Whiteside has been putting up huge numbers in losing efforts.
19. Charlotte Hornets (15-23)
The Hornets might have a theme song. Head coach James Borrego sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” in the huddle during the fourth quarter Saturday night in Dallas, and Charlotte pulled out an overtime win.
20. New Orleans Pelicans (12-24)
Lonzo Ball has led the team in scoring the past three games, and the Pelicans have won six of eight.
21. Phoenix Suns (14-22)
Monty Williams delivered a short statement about his team’s inconsistency after the Suns’ loss Sunday to Memphis, then left without taking questions.
22. Chicago Bulls (13-23)
The Bulls are in the middle of a tough stretch and have struggled this season in third quarters.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-21)
Shabazz Napier is starting for the Timberwolves and has an ongoing streak of four games with 20 or more points.
24. Detroit Pistons (13-24)
This team could look very different in a month. Blake Griffin is considering season-ending knee surgery, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
25. Sacramento Kings (13-23)
Dewayne Dedmon publicly said he would like to be traded and was fined $50,000 for doing so. The Kings have had several unfortunate breaks with incorrect calls late in games.
26. Washington Wizards (11-24)
Isaiah Thomas was ejected for the second time this season and fined $25,000 for making physical contact with a referee Friday. The Wizards are severely shorthanded, but Ish Smith’s career-high 32 points led them to an improbable win Saturday over the Nuggets.
27. New York Knicks (10-26)
Thirty-six games into the year, the Knicks are six games back of the No. 8 seed in the East. The season obviously hasn’t gone as planned.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (10-26)
There’s been a lot of drama lately with Kevin Love and the Cavs. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Joe Vardon, Love on Saturday had an “emotional verbal outburst directed toward general manager Koby Altman.”
29. Golden State Warriors (9-28)
Villanova product Omari Spellman wants more playing time, and Steve Kerr thinks he’s earned it. Golden State has lost four straight.
30. Atlanta Hawks (8-28)
Trading for Andre Drummond would shake things up, for better or for worse.
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