The NBA: Power Rankings: Week 2

After two weeks of basketball, the Indiana Pacers remain at the top of the Power Rankings with an unblemished record of 8 straight wins to start the season. This is their best start in franchise history besting their 6-0 start close to 40 years ago. Looking ahead to their schedule, the Pacers might (not jinxing them) win 5 more games before playing the T'wolves on November 25.

On the other side of the standings/rankings, the Utah Jazz remain win-less with 8 straight defeats and their first win is hard to predict seeing that they are last in point differential. Only their first loss of the season versus the Suns was below 10 points. Every other loss was a blowout.

One more week and one more surprise loss for the Miami Heat. The champs are playing like chumps so far.

How about those tanking teams? Phoenix, Boston and Philly are at 0.500 or better while so-called playoff contenders (Knicks, Nets, Nuggets) are close to the bottom of the standings.

The standings are current up to November 12, 2013 and the rankings from Last Week refer to Week 1.

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Roy Hibbert tweeted that he wants to win DPOY.
If the Pacers continue to be great, it will happen. 

1. Indiana Pacers | 8-0 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The Pacers are tops in points allowed and tops in winning margin. They managed to win all their 5 games in 7 days against quality teams. Paul George is 4th in scoring and top ten in PER. Lance Stephenson recorded a triple-double recently and more good news: Danny Granger is expected to practice this week.


2. San Antonio Spurs | 7-1 | Last Week: 5 | +3
The always steady Spurs lead the West even with Tim Duncan missing some games due to injury and rest. Danny Green is starting to heat up. He is 11-16 on threes over his last 2 games. No one on their roster is playing more than 32 minutes a game (Parker 31.6 mpg).

3. Oklahoma City Thunder | 5-1 | Last Week: 6 | +3
The Thunder is 4-0 since Westbrook got back but they almost lost to the Wizards when Russ got ejected. Kevin Durant is back on top of the scoring race with defenders giving more attention to Westbrook. Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson have been solid in providing additional offense (combined 19 ppg).

4. Los Angeles Clippers | 5-3 | Last Week: 2 | -2
The Clips had a poor road trip in Florida losing to Orlando and Miami but they bounced back by beating the Rockets (for the 2nd time) and T'wolves. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are both averaging double-doubles. Meanwhile, their bench scoring has been anemic outside of Jamal Crawford.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves | 5-3 | Last Week: 8 | +3
Kevin Love and Kevin Martin are in the top 5 in scoring. Love is tops in rebounds while Martin is 56% from downtown. The T'wolves are relatively healthy and their offense is performing well (#3 in points). Ricky Rubio had a triple-double in a win vs the Lakers.

6. Houston Rockets | 5-3 | Last Week: 4 | -2
The Howard and Asik combo has worked for the Rockets who are tops in team rebounds. Dwight's FT woes (47%) have already cost them one loss and if that continues, more losses are coming. The Rockets are having problems preserving big leads (vs Jazz, Raptors, Lakers) due to Hack-A-Dwight.

7. Portland Trailblazers | 5-2 | Last Week: 11 | +4
Strong start by the Blazers by beating teams they should defeat. Their bench play has been a lot better this year with the minutes more evenly distributed within the rotation. Damian Lillard is shooting well from three (46%) but his overall shooting is below 40%.

8. Miami Heat | 4-3 | Last Week: 7 | -1
The champs are tops in offensive efficiency and tops in assists but their defense is struggling (over 100 pts/game) and they are last in team rebounds and last in fast break points. LeBron James is being bothered by back spasms while D-Wade cost them a win with boneheaded decisions during clutch time vs the Celtics.

9. Golden State Warriors | 4-3 | Last Week: 3 | -6
The Dubs have lost 2 straight but the more important part is the health of Steph Curry's ankles. They lost vs the Spurs without him and Curry was a tad slow in a loss vs the Grizzlies. Harrison Barnes has been slowed down by his recovery from injury. In 3 games back, Barnes is averaging only 7.7 ppg in 18 minutes.

10. Phoenix Suns | 5-2 | Last Week: 18 | +8
The Suns are not tanking just yet with 5 wins (4 wins over sub-500 teams). Eric Bledsoe has been amazing as their go-to-guy (21 pts, 7 assts) and the support he is getting from much improved players (Markief Morris, Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee) has made the Suns a tough team to beat this early.

11. Dallas Mavericks | 4-3 | Last Week: 12 | +1
Monta Ellis is leading the Mavs in scoring which is a big surprise but to do it in a slightly more efficient way is the bigger surprise. The biggest surprise: the Mavs are 2nd in team scoring at 107 per game without playing an overtime game. Sophomore Jae Crowder is averaging almost 10 points a game.

12. Atlanta Hawks | 4-3 | Last Week: 22 | +10
Kyle Korver is an excellent shooter. He has made a three in 80 straight games which is the 2nd best streak. Next up is 89 consecutive games with a three held by Dana Barros. The Hawks, led by Teague's 10 assists per game are tied with Miami for tops in assists per game.

13. Philadelphia 76ers | 4-4 | Last Week: 9 | -4
The Sixers are starting to lose more games but that wont take anything away from great starts by Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and MCW. Turner is among the early candidates for MIP with his 23 ppg on almost 51% shooting while MCW still has a firm hold on ROY after 2 weeks.

14. Chicago Bulls | 3-3 | Last Week: 14 | Same
The Bulls' defense is excellent as usual (#2 in points allowed) but their scoring is horrible at 27th even with Derrick Rose playing and Carlos Boozer shooting 60% with 18 ppg. Some reasons for the lack of points: Luol Deng is 1-18 from threes and Derrick Rose is at 33% from the field.

15. Boston Celtics | 4-4 | Last Week: 30 | +15
A week makes a big difference for the Celtics as they won 4 straight after dropping their first 4 games. Jeff Green was spectacular vs the Heat with 24 points. That includes an early favorite for buzzer-beater of the year with his fadeway shot in the Ray Allen corner three spot.

16. New Orleans Pelicans | 3-4 | Last Week: 23 | +7
The Pelicans won impressive games vs the Grizzlies and Lakers. Anthony Davis scored a career-high 32 points with 12 rebounds and 6 blocks vs the Lakers. Davis is 1st in PER, 5th in double-doubles and 2nd in blocks. Tyreke Evans has yet to show up for the Pellies (7 ppg on 32% shooting).

17. Memphis Grizzlies | 3-4 | Last Week: 10 | -7
The Grizzlies are an average defensive team after implementing a faster pace to their style but the points have not piled up (22nd in offense). They only have 3 players averaging double figures while Quincy Pondexter who was recently given a contract extension has fallen out of the rotation (4 ppg, 14 mpg).

18. Charlotte Bobcats | 3-4 | Last Week: 27 | +9
Al Jefferson has only played 2 games but the Bobcats seem okay without him going 3-2. Kidd-Gilchrist has been an improved scorer this year at 12 ppg on 56% shooting. The trio of Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson is shooting below 40%.

19. Brooklyn Nets | 2-4 | Last Week: 15 | -4
Everybody on the Nets except Brook Lopez is struggling offensively. Pierce, Deron and Johnson are all under 14 points a game. Garnett is only at 7 ppg. Part of their slow starts could be the questionable rotations by Jason Kidd (sitting Pierce in the 4th and no minutes for AK47).

20. New York Knicks | 2-4 | Last Week: 16 | -4
The Knicks wont have Tyson Chandler for 4-6 weeks after a leg injury. That leaves a huge void in the middle for the Knicks. Their second game without Chandler resulted in 120 points to the Spurs. Good news: JR Smith is back. Bad news: he shot 1-9 for 5 points and 4 turnovers.

21. Milwaukee Bucks | 2-3 | Last Week: 24 | +3
The Bucks are having early injury problems with Brandon Knight and Irsan Ilyasova already out. Things got worse with Larry Sanders out for 4-6 weeks after thumb surgery. Sanders got that injury from a night club fight. On the bright side, rookie Nate Wolters has been solid playing PG with 9 ppg and 6 apg.

22. Los Angeles Lakers | 3-5 | Last Week: 19 | -3
The Lakers wont have Steve Nash for the next 2 weeks with back problems. They hope it wont be longer than that. Pau Gasol is having a tough time being the focal point of their offense (12 ppg on 36% shooting). Xavier Henry has quickly fallen back to earth with 4 ppg over the last 4 games.

23. Cleveland Cavaliers | 3-5 | Last Week: 20 | -3
For all their young talent, the Cavs are struggling scoring (26th in points) with Kyrie Irving leading the way with only 19 ppg on 38% shooting. Some good news: Anthony Bennett finally made his first basket. He is now 1-21 in 7 games. Andrew Bynum also got his first start with 11 points and 6 boards in a loss.

24. Toronto Raptors | 3-5 | Last Week: 17 | -7
The Raptors are last in assists per game and only had 10 in a double OT loss to the Rockets. Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan are both in the top 5 in shot attempts and both are under 37% shooting. Jonas Valanciunas is not getting enough  minutes (26 mpg) and when he plays, he is not getting enough touches.

25. Detroit Pistons | 2-4 | Last Week: 13 | -12
The Pistons' big lineup has not been dominating last week. Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith have been outscored by 122 points when playing together. The latest result is a 3-game losing streak. Brandon Jennings has been great in his first 4 games back from an injury: 20 ppg, 6 apg.

26. Orlando Magic | 3-5 | Last Week: 21 | -5
Nic Vucevic dominated the Clippers with 30 points and 21 rebounds in a win but the Magic followed that up with 3 straight losses including two to the Celtics. Victor Oladipo has been steady with 12 points and 4 rebounds. Reserve Andrew Nicholson has been very effective in 22 minutes with 11 points and 7 boards.

27. Washington Wizards | 2-4 | Last Week: 28 | -1
The Wizards won in OT vs the Nets and then they fell short to the Thunder in OT. They are struggling defensively: 29th in points allowed and last in opponent FG percentage. Offensively, Bradley Beal and John Wall are finding their rhythms with the duo combining for almost 40 points a night.

28. Denver Nuggets | 2-4 | Last Week: 26 | -2
The Nuggets lost JaVale McGee to a leg injury indefinitely. Those extra minutes should fall to Kenneth Faried who has not played much while recovering from an injury. JJ Hickson should also get more minutes and hopefully more production. Hickson has been underwhelming with his 7 points and 8 rebounds.

29. Sacramento Kings | 1-5 | Last Week: 25 | -4
DeMarcus Cousins has been steady with his 24 points and 10 rebounds. He is in the top 5 in PER plus has only 1 technical foul and zero ejections in 6 games. Isaiah Thomas is an early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year with his 18 ppg and 5 apg. Marcus Thornton is struggling finding his shot: 33% shooting and 9 ppg.

30. Utah Jazz | 0-8 | Last Week: 29 | -1
Jazz is last in scoring, 29th in assists and last in point differential. Six of their losses were in double digits including back-to-back 24 point losses to the Bulls and Raptors. They are on pace to get 10 wins for the season. Rookie Trey Burke is still weeks away from playing. 

Biggest Jump of the Week: Celtics +15

Biggest Drop of the Week: Pistons -12


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