The ultimate week of 2022 and the primary video games of 2023 supplied some thrilling NBA performances. In 12 months 20 at age 38, LeBron James recorded two 40-plus level showings in Laker wins. Luka Dončić averaged greater than 48 factors by three video games final week for the Mavericks. The Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell exploded for 71 points and recorded the third 70-point sport of the century. Klay Thompson notched 54 factors and Kevon Looney had 21 rebounds and 14 factors—together with a game-winning bucket in double time beyond regulation—to raise the Warriors to victory in opposition to Atlanta on Monday evening.
Within the standings, the Celtics maintained the league’s prime spot, whereas the Nets elevated their win streak to 12. The Nuggets sit atop the Western Convention. Within the first energy rankings of 2023, see the place all 30 groups within the affiliation stand.
1. Boston Celtics
Earlier rating: 1
The Celtics stay atop the Japanese Convention and maintain the perfect file coming into the primary week of the brand new yr. Following its big win in a clash against the Bucks on Christmas Day, Boston put collectively a 2–1 week that included wins in opposition to the Rockets and the Clippers—a group that hammered the Celtics earlier in December and held them to below 100 factors for the primary time this season—earlier than dropping to Nikola Jokić and Nuggets on Sunday. Boston nonetheless sits as the highest offensive group within the league whereas the C’s protection—the No. 7 defensive-rated group—will proceed to enhance as Robert Williams III continues to regulate in his return. The Celtics enter this week ending a street journey in opposition to the Thunder, Mavericks and Spurs.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Earlier rating: 6
Brooklyn is the most well liked group within the NBA proper now, using a 12-game successful streak, the longest energetic streak within the league. A giant purpose for the Nets’ success has been the play of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who led Brooklyn in factors in all three of its video games final week. Presently, Durant ranks sixth in factors per sport (29.7) and within the prime three in whole factors behind the Mavericks’ Luka Dončić and Celtics’ Jayson Tatum. The Nets have a three-game street journey with contests in opposition to Chicago, New Orleans and Miami forward.
3. Denver Nuggets
Earlier rating: 2
The Nuggets stay in first place within the Western Convention after a 3–2 mark that included wins in opposition to Sacramento, Miami and Boston. Denver additionally misplaced to the Kings and dropped a sport to Minnesota on Monday, however Jokić continued his dominant play, together with two extra triple doubles. Denver has a pair days off earlier than back-to-back video games in opposition to the Clippers and Cavaliers later this week.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Earlier rating: 7
The Grizzlies, who’ve received three straight and 6 of their final 10, are rolling and sit within the prime three in rebound and offensive rebound proportion. Whereas Ja Morant and Co. get a ton of reward—as they need to—credit score Steven Adams, who leads the league in offensive rebounding proportion after tying his career-high 23 rebounds against Sacramento. Memphis’s subsequent 4 video games embody two on the street in opposition to the Hornets and the Magic earlier than coming dwelling to play the Jazz and the Spurs.
5. Milwaukee Bucks
Earlier rating: 4
After dropping 4 consecutive video games to Japanese Convention opponents, Milwaukee had a dominating win in opposition to the Timberwolves—backed by a historic second half and commanding efficiency from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Then the Bucks dropped a sport in opposition to the Wizards with out Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton or Jrue Vacation. Whereas nonetheless sitting at No. 3 within the East, Milwaukee has dropped six of their final 10. However the Bucks have an opportunity to place some wins collectively this week with one other matchup in opposition to Washington, then video games in opposition to the Raptors, Hornets and Knicks.
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6. Cleveland Cavaliers
Earlier rating: 3
Cleveland went 2–1 in every week that consisted of battles in opposition to Central division opponents. After dropping to the Pacers, the Cavaliers earned two wins in opposition to the Bulls that included Donovan Mitchell’s career-high and franchise-record 71 factors—the eighth most in a sport in NBA historical past—in a come-from-behind victory in OT on Monday. With Mitchell reaching the highest-scoring sport since Kobe Bryant scored 81 in opposition to the Raptors in ’06, Cleveland continued its finest begin at dwelling because the ’16–17 season, one wherein LeBron James was nonetheless in a Cavs uniform. The Cavaliers have Phoenix at dwelling earlier than beginning a five-game street journey.
7. New Orleans Pelicans
Earlier rating: 5
The Pelicans earned wins in opposition to Minnesota and Philadelphia final week however ended ’22 with a loss to the Grizzlies and began ’23 with a loss to the 76ers wherein Zion Williamson suffered a hamstring harm within the fourth quarter. With out Williamson, who had 26 factors by three quarters in opposition to Philadelphia on Monday, New Orleans got here up brief. The Pelicans get Houston and Brooklyn at dwelling subsequent earlier than beginning a five-game street journey.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
Earlier rating: 8
The 76ers are 8–2 of their final 10 video games and are coming off two wins in opposition to New Orleans and Oklahoma Metropolis after dropping to Washington and the Pelicans final week. Joel Embiid and James Harden mixed for 69 factors within the win in opposition to the Pelicans on Monday, additional showcasing the ability of what the duo will be for the franchise. Philadelphia’s slate this week contains video games in opposition to Indiana, Chicago and Detroit.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Earlier rating: 10
The Mavericks earned 4 wins final week and prolonged their successful streak to seven video games on Monday, overcoming an 18-point, second-half deficit to defeat the Rockets. Luka Dončić, the league’s main scorer (averaging 34.3 ppg this season), earned Western Convention Participant of the Week honors after averaging 48.7 factors by three of the Mavs’ video games final week. Whereas Dončić is undoubtedly having an unimaginable yr, it’s price noting the impression of Christian Wooden, who has notched 20.9 factors, 8.6 rebounds and a couple of.7 blocks per sport within the Mavs’ final 10 video games. Dallas will face Boston, New Orleans and Oklahoma Metropolis this week.
10. Indiana Pacers
Earlier rating: 18
Indiana put collectively an ideal 4–0 mark with wins in opposition to the Hawks, Cavaliers, Clippers and Raptors. The undefeated week got here from a group effort with large contributions from Tyrese Haliburton, who has elevated his sport tremendously in 12 months 3, Buddy Hield, Bennedict Mathurin and Myles Turner. The Pacers have now received seven of their final 10 video games and sit 5 video games above .500 for the primary time because the finish of the ’19–20 season. Indiana is again in motion on the street in opposition to Philadelphia on Wednesday and residential in opposition to Portland and Charlotte this week.
11. Sacramento Kings
Earlier rating: 12
The Kings ended ’22 with two dwelling wins in opposition to the Nuggets and Jazz earlier than dropping to Memphis on New 12 months’s Day. Regardless of the Grizzlies loss, Sacramento bounced again robust. Domantas Sabonis, who missed the primary of a back-to-back in opposition to Denver due to a proper thumb avulsion fracture, delivered three big performances for Sacramento that included a 30-point outing in opposition to the Nuggets. The Kings will begin the primary week of the yr with a street matchup in opposition to the Jazz earlier than kicking off a five-game homestand with three in opposition to the Hawks, Lakers and Magic.
12. Los Angeles Clippers
Earlier rating: 11
The Clippers went 1–3 final week, recording losses in opposition to Boston, Indiana and Miami on Monday evening. However it was good to see Kawhi Leonard lead the group in scoring in opposition to the Celtics, regardless of the loss. L.A. has misplaced three in a row however nonetheless sits three video games above .500 and has the No. 6 defensive-rated group within the league. The Clippers’ subsequent three video games embody two street video games in opposition to Denver and Minnesota earlier than dealing with the Hawks.
13. Portland Path Blazers
Earlier rating: 13
After selecting up a win in opposition to Charlotte the day after Christmas, the Path Blazers went 1–1 with a loss to the Warriors and a victory in opposition to the Pistons. Whereas Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons needed to cope with some issue in scoring within the earlier week, each had no less than one 30-point efficiency throughout their final two video games. Jerami Grant additionally stepped up large, pouring in 36 in Portland’s win in opposition to Detroit. The Blazers await a three-game street journey with matchups in opposition to Minnesota, Indiana and Toronto this week.
14. Miami Warmth
Earlier rating: 19
The Warmth completed 3–1 final week with wins in opposition to the Lakers, the Jazz and the Clippers and a loss to the Nuggets. The wins have been sufficient to maneuver Miami up within the rankings because the franchise now sits a sport behind the Pacers for No. 6 within the East. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo performed large roles to raise Miami in its current wins. The truth is, Adebayo posted back-to-back, 30-plus level performances. The Warmth will end the ultimate two contests in a six-game West Coast street journey this week earlier than returning dwelling to face Brooklyn.
15. New York Knicks
Earlier rating: 14
New York recorded its longest dropping streak of the season (5 video games) final week. However the Knicks ended ’22 with a much-needed win in opposition to Houston behind Julius Randle’s 35-point efficiency to finish the skid, and notched their first victory in ’23 in opposition to the Suns on Monday. The Knicks get San Antonio, Toronto and Milwaukee subsequent.
16. Phoenix Suns
Earlier rating: 9
The Suns misplaced for the sixth time of their final seven video games when the Knicks defeated Phoenix on Monday. They’re 14–5 at dwelling and 6–13 on the street. One factor is for sure: Phoenix wants Devin Booker, who has been out with a left groin pressure because the Suns’ loss to the Nuggets on Christmas Day and won’t be re-evaluated till the final week of this month. The Suns’ slate this week contains two video games in opposition to Cleveland and one in opposition to Miami.
17. Golden State Warriors
Earlier rating: 16
The Warriors went from not successful a whole lot of video games the week previous to notching 4 wins within the final week in opposition to Charlotte, Utah, Portland and the double-OT squeaker in opposition to the Hawks on Monday. With out Steph Curry, who has missed 9 straight video games together with his left shoulder harm, Klay Thompson put the NBA group on discover with a 54-point efficiency on 10 made three-pointers in opposition to Atlanta. In Golden State’s final three video games, Thompson has averaged 38 factors. Regardless of the wins, the Warriors are nonetheless 3–16 on the street and might want to enhance.
18. Utah Jazz
Earlier rating: 15
It’s now January and Utah sits one sport under .500. The Jazz’s slate to finish ’22 was a tricky one which included three losses to the Warriors, the Kings and the Warmth. Whereas there could possibly be some potential change inside the franchise within the new yr, if the postseason began this week, the Jazz could be in a play-in matchup in opposition to the Warriors. Utah’s slate this week contains the Kings adopted by a three-game street journey with stops in Houston, Chicago and Memphis.
19. Atlanta Hawks
Earlier rating: 17
The Hawks have been above .500 forward of final week. After 4 straight losses that included a double-overtime thriller on the street in opposition to Golden State, Atlanta is three video games under .500 and has misplaced seven of its final 10. On the intense aspect, Dejounte Murray is getting again in rhythm and Trae Young’s manufacturing is strong. The Hawks sit at No. 9 within the Japanese Convention with a three-game California street journey this week in opposition to the Kings, the Lakers and the Clippers.
20. Washington Wizards
Earlier rating: 26
Since their loss to the Jazz three days earlier than Christmas, the Wizards have been on a roll, ripping off 5 consecutive wins. Three of these victories additionally got here with out Bradley Beal, who’s coping with left hamstring soreness and has not performed because the Wizards’ win in opposition to Philadelphia on Dec. 27. Kristaps Porzingis and Rui Hachimura have stepped up within the final a number of video games. Washington will get two street matchups this week in opposition to the Bucks and the Thunder earlier than a house conflict in opposition to the Pelicans.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves
Earlier rating: 21
The Timberwolves concluded ’22 with six consecutive losses however began off the brand new yr proper with a much-needed victory in opposition to Denver, the top-ranked group within the West. Minnesota has handled prolonged absences from gamers together with Karl-Anthony Cities, Taurean Prince and Jordan McLaughlin, in addition to D’Angelo Russell and Naz Reid lacking motion. Minnesota’s subsequent three video games embody the Path Blazers, the Clippers and the Rockets.
22. Chicago Bulls
Earlier rating: 24
The Bulls began off the week on a really excessive word, selecting up wins in opposition to the Bucks in time beyond regulation behind DeMar DeRozan’s 40-point efficiency and the Pistons. However after its two-game win streak, Chicago misplaced to Cleveland on New 12 months’s Eve and suffered one other defeat in time beyond regulation to the Cavaliers on Mitchell’s historic evening. The Bulls’ upcoming slate doesn’t get any simpler. Chicago will face Brooklyn earlier than contests in opposition to Philadelphia, Utah and Boston.
23. Los Angeles Lakers
Earlier rating: 25
The Lakers put collectively a 3–1 mark after going 0–4 the week prior. The most important key within the Lakers’ final two wins was the brilliance of LeBron James, who dropped two 40-point performances—a season-high of 47 factors on his thirty eighth birthday and 43 in opposition to Charlotte—in 12 months 20 of his profession. Nevertheless, with Anthony Davis nonetheless out, the Lakers are nonetheless twelfth within the West. They’ve 4 video games—in opposition to Miami, Atlanta, Sacramento and Denver—this week.
24. Toronto Raptors
Earlier rating: 20
After securing back-to-back to wins for the primary time in almost a month final week, the Raptors adopted up the intense spot with two losses in opposition to the Clippers and the Grizzlies. Then, following a win in opposition to a Devin Booker-less Phoenix squad, Toronto began the brand new yr with a street loss to Indiana. Each Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. had large contributions in Toronto’s slate of video games final week. The Raptors open a three-game homestand that embody the Bucks, the Knicks and the Path Blazers.
25. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder
Earlier rating: 23
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the glue to the Thunder. Regardless of OKC going 1–2 final week—with losses to the Hornets and the 76ers—SGA continued to showcase his rise as a star within the league. SGA is averaging 30.8 factors per sport this season, the best mark of his five-year NBA profession. Oklahoma Metropolis has Boston, Orlando, Washington and Dallas to kick off the primary week in ’23.
26. Orlando Magic
Earlier rating: 22
Earlier than Christmas, the Magic received eight of their final 9 video games. However throughout the closing week of ’22, Orlando dropped three video games to the Lakers, the Pistons and the Wizards. After rising in final week’s rankings, Orlando will search to finish its three-game skid. Orlando’s slate this week contains OKC and Memphis together with street matchups in opposition to Golden State and Sacramento.
27. San Antonio Spurs
Earlier rating: 27
San Antonio went 1–3 in its slate of video games, with the Spurs’ lone win coming in opposition to the Knicks, a sport wherein Keldon Johnson notched one among his two 30-point performances final week. Johnson additionally delivered 22 in San Antonio’s loss to the Nets to start out ’23 on Monday. The Spurs have now misplaced seven of their final 10 and sit two video games forward of the Rockets for the worst group within the Western Convention. San Antonio has a matchup in opposition to New York on Wednesday and back-to-back dwelling video games in opposition to Detroit and Boston earlier than a Southwest division conflict with Memphis.
28. Houston Rockets
Earlier rating: 28
After snapping a five-game dropping streak the day after Christmas, the Rockets ended ’22 with one other four-game skid with two street losses to Boston and Dallas earlier than dropping two at dwelling to New York and the Mavs. Jalen Inexperienced and Kevin Porter Jr. have performed nicely regardless of not getting the wins to point out for it. Houston has New Orleans, Utah and Minnesota on the schedule this week.
29. Charlotte Hornets
Earlier rating: 29
Charlotte reached 10 wins on the season with a victory in opposition to Oklahoma Metropolis. However the Hornets additionally added to their loss column, dropping three video games to Golden State, Brooklyn and the Lakers. After a house sport in opposition to Memphis on Monday, the Hornets will open a four-game street journey that features two video games in opposition to the Bucks and the Pacers this week.
30. Detroit Pistons
Earlier rating: 30
Detroit averted its second seven-game dropping streak this season when it picked up a win in opposition to Orlando. Nevertheless, the league’s worst group adopted up the win with a loss to the Bulls. Jaden Ivey continues to play nicely as a brilliant spot. The Pistons sit a sport under Charlotte within the standings with two video games—Golden State and San Antonio—left in a five-game street journey earlier than returning dwelling to face the 76ers this week.