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NBA Power Rankings Week 1: Did Anyone Top the Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat?

Allen KimSenior Analyst INovember 2, 2010

NBA Power Rankings Week 1: Did Anyone Top the Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat?

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    With Week 1 of the NBA season wrapped up, there was plenty of great action to be enjoyed by all.

    There were some upsets and surprises early on, but nothing that deviated too far from what was expected.

    This week, 11 of Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists—both national and team-based—contributed their own rankings based on what they saw from the first week of action.

    Without further ado, here are the power rankings for Week 1.

     

    The Bleacher Report NBA Power Rankings are done by averaging individual feature columnists' tallies. This week's contributors were: Allen Kim (NBA), Tyler Conway (NBA), Mario Gonzalez (NBA), Ahaviah Bessemer (NBA), James Schmidt (Rockets), Shams Charania (Bulls), Brian Chappatta (Bulls), Patrick Harrel (Rockets), Andrew Bailey (Mavericks), Sachin Arora (Raptors) and Bryan Toporek (NBA Team Leader).

     

    Archives: Preseason

30. Detroit Pistons

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 0-3

    Previous Rank: 28

    Injuries: Will Bynum, Jonas Jerebko, Terrico White

    The Detroit Pistons are in for a long and grueling season.

    Up until this point, only Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey have made any sort of impact for Detroit.

    Detroit is stacked at all the wrong positions and they're undersized in the frontcourt.

    Starting the season 0-3 is never a good sign. While each of their losses came by a small margin, the Pistons came up short in each contest.

    Looking at their upcoming schedule, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if the Pistons started the season 0-7.

     

    Last Week:

    L (98-101)   - Detroit Pistons at New Jersey Nets

    L (104-105) - Detroit Pistons vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    L (91-101)   - Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Boston Celtics, 7:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Atlanta Hawks, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Charlotte Bobcats, 7:30pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 vs. Golden State Warriors, 6:00 pm ET

29. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Record: 0-3

    Previous Rank: 19

    Injuries: N/A

    Doug Collins and the 76ers are off to a bad start.

    The 76ers drew the unlucky matchup against the Miami Heat for their home opener. Coming off a loss to the Celtics, Miami looked to rebound and took their frustration out on Philadelphia. While the 76ers attempted to mount a fourth quarter comeback, they fell short even after outscoring Miami 33-17 in the final quarter.

    Besides a performance that fell shy of a triple-double by four rebounds, Andre Iguodala has had a slow start to the season. His sprained wrist is most likely the cause of his poor play, but the 76ers need Iguodala to pick up his game if they expect to get their first win.

    Jrue Holiday was one of the preseason favorites to have a breakout year, but he has failed to live up to those expectations. Backup Louis Williams is outplaying him in limited minutes and a lineup change may occur if Holiday doesn't pick up the slack.

    Rookie Evan Turner had a strong debut, posting 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists against Miami, but has regressed since. As a rookie, growing pains are to be expected.

    In an unexpected turn of events, Elton Brand has been the lone bright spot for the 76ers. He has averaged 14.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.0 blocks throughout the first week.

    If the rest of Brand's teammates can improve their play, the 76ers may be able to claw their way back to respectability.

    Philly has a relatively soft schedule coming up. If they can put it all together, they will be right back in the mix in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.

     

    Last Week:

    L (87-97)     - Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat

    L (101-104) - Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks

    L (86-99)     - Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at Washington Wizards, 7:00 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Indiana Pacers, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:00 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 at New York Knicks, 12:00 pm ET

28. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Record: 0-3

    Previous Rank: 20

    Injuries: Kwame Brown, Dominic McGuire

    Larry Brown and the Bobcats are off to a rough start, and this is not how Michael Jordan wanted to start his first full season as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Bobcats have been abysmal on defense, which is odd considering this is a Larry Brown coached team.

    The same goes for Charlotte and all the turnovers they have been committing thus far. The team turned the ball over 20 times against the Mavericks, 17 times against the Pacers and 18 times against the Bucks.

    In a winnable game against the Pacers, the Bobcats committed costly mistakes as they were outscored 31-21 in the fourth quarter. Both D.J. Augustin and Stephen Jackson had opportunities to tie the game, but they both failed on their three-point attempts.

    Augustin has been playing well as a replacement for Raymond Felton, but he can't do it alone.

    While Gerald Wallace has been playing well for the most part, his five turnover average has been egregious early on.

    If Charlotte can't win either of their games against New Jersey or Detroit this week, any talk of a potential playoff berth will go out the window.

     

    Last Week:

    L (86-101)   - Charlotte Bobcats at Dallas Mavericks

    L (101-104) - Charlotte Bobcats vs. Indiana Pacers

    L (88-98)     - Charlotte Bobcats at Milwaukee Bucks

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 at New Jersey Nets, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Orlando Magic, 7:00 pm ET

27. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 30

    Injuries: Martell Webster

    Kurt Rambis continues to perplex observers around the league as he has limited his most productive and talented player, Kevin Love, to 25 minutes a game.

    There have been rumblings that Darko Milicic will be replaced by Love in the starting lineup, but you never know what will happen in Minnesota.

    Minnesota started the season by losing to a Tyreke Evans-less Kings squad. The game came down to the wire as a missed three and putback ended up a point shy of forcing the game into overtime.

    Timberwolves fans will have to endure another brutal week as they have an incredibly difficult schedule coming up. They face three of the top teams in the East and a Rockets team looking to fight their way into the playoffs.

    Michael Beasley called the Timberwolves "the worst team in the NBA" recently and he may be right. While our contributors did not rank them that way, it may not be long before they regain their preseason ranking of worst team in the league.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (116-117) - Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Sacramento Kings

    W (96-85)     - Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    L  (89-109)   - Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at. Miami Heat, 7:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Orlando Magic, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Atlanta Hawks, 8:00pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 at Houston Rockets, 7:00 pm ET

26. Washington Wizards

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Record: 0-2

    Previous Rank: 22

    Injuries: Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard

    The Wizards started the season with two road games. Washington was blown out against the Magic, and their game against the Hawks was closely contested.

    John Wall has put up an impressive 21.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists through his first two games. His 28 point, five rebound and nine assist outing against Atlanta was particularly impressive.

    With Gilbert Arenas set to return soon, the Wizards will have the added scoring punch they have needed since starting the season.

    McGee has been a shot-blocking monster through two games, totaling eight blocks already.

    Al Thornton has come alive in the Wizards first two games, averaging 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.

    If Andray Blatche can get his game together, the Wizards may just get their first win of the season sooner than later.

     

    Last Week:

    L (83-112) - Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic

    L (95-99)   - Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at New York Knicks, 7:30pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:00 pm ET

25. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Record: 0-3

    Previous Rank: 21

    Injuries: Baron Davis, Randy Foye

    Some excitement has finally returned to Clipper-land as Blake Griffin finally made his debut in the NBA last week. He immediately wowed the crowd with his freakish athleticism, and he gives Clippers fans something to be legitimately excited about.

    In their home opener against the Trail Blazers, the Clippers entered the fourth quarter with a lead. However, they couldn't hold on as they blew their lead and ultimately lost the game by 10 points as they were outscored 28-17.

    They followed up their loss to Portland with blowout losses to the Warriors and Mavericks.

    The Clippers have a solid core for their starting five, but they have underachieved through the first three games of the season under their new coach, Vinny Del Negro.

    Del Negro is widely considered to be a poor coach, and the Clippers are in for another losing season under his guidance.

     

    Last Week:

    L (88-98)   - Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    L (91-109) - Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors

    L (88-97)   - Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks

     

    This Week:

    Mon., Nov. 1 vs. San Antonio Spurs, 10:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Denver Nuggets, 10:30pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Utah Jazz, 9:00 pm ET     

24. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 27

    Injuries: Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams

    True Cleveland fans came out to support the now James-less Cavaliers. They were rewarded in their first home game without LeBron by beating the very team that defeated the Miami Heat the night before.

    This win against the reigning Eastern Conference champs also came with one of the team's best players, Mo Williams, in street clothes.

    Even after their shocking upset of the Celtics, the Cavaliers came back down to earth as they were blown out by the Toronto Raptors on the road. They then followed that up with a close loss to the Sacramento Kings.

    Daniel Gibson, J.J. Hickson and Ramon Sessions have stepped up with their extended playing time and are posting solid numbers through the first week of action.

    While the Cavaliers are bound to be a lottery team, they are sure to improve their current record once Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison are healthy.

     

    Last Week:

    W (95-87)     - Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

    L  (81-101)   - Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors

    L  (104-107) - Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Atlanta Hawks, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Washington Wizards, 7:00 pm ET

23. Toronto Raptors

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 1-1

    Previous Rank: 29

    Injuries: Ed Davis

    Toronto started the season by losing at home to the New York Knicks and followed that up by blowing out the Cavaliers by 20 points.

    While Andrea Bargnani is a talented player, he doesn't appear to have the mettle to take on a leadership role and guide this team. It doesn't help that as the starting center, Bargnani is averaging a pitiful three rebounds per contest.

    Currently, there is instability at the point guard position, as a battle has emerged between Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon. This will be an issue, as the point guard position is vital to the success of any team.

    The Raptors were bad with Bosh in the lineup, and now that he's in Miami, the Raptors are bound for another dreadful season.

    Toronto has a tough schedule coming up and our friends up north are in for a brutal week.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (93-98)   - Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks

    W (101-81) - Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

     

    This Week:

    Mon., Nov. 1 at Sacramento Kings, 10:00 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Utah Jazz, 9:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Portland Trailblazers, 10:00 pm ET

22. New York Knicks

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 17

    Injuries: Anthony Randolph

    While the Knicks currently sport a losing record, this is not the same team as in years past. This is a brand new Knicks team with nearly all fingerprints of Isiah Thomas gone from the roster.

    Knicks fans can be optimistic, even with a losing record, as they took the Celtics and Trail Blazers down to the wire in closely contested games that could have gone either way.

    As the team begins to discover their identity and find some cohesion as a unit, they will only get better as the season goes along. The team's defense and rebounding has clearly improved and those are good foundations to build on.

    Wilson Chandler has been a revelation in the sixth man role and rookie Landry Fields has been impressive as the starting two-guard.

    Danilo Gallinari is in a shooting slump, but it's only a matter of time before he shakes out of it and becomes the zone buster the Knicks need.

    As Amar'e gets more comfortable with his new teammates, he should hopefully be able to cut down on his turnovers as point guard Raymond Felton learns to get him the ball in better positions for him to score.

    New York starts the week with two tough games against the Magic and Bulls, but they get two easier games on the back end against the Wizards and 76ers. If they can finish the week with at least a 2-2 or 3-1 record, they'll be in good shape.

     

    Last Week:

    W (98-93)     - New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors

    L  (101-104) - New York Knicks at Boston Celtics

    L  (95-100)   - New York Knicks vs. Portland Trail Blazers

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Orlando Magic, 7:30 pm ET

    Thu., Nov. 4 at Chicago Bulls, 8:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Washington Wizards, 7:30pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 12:00 pm ET

21. Houston Rockets

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 0-3

    Previous Rank: 13

    Injuries: N/A

    While the Rockets have yet to record a win, they're a better team than their record currently indicates.

    The Rockets started the season with two road games that came down to the wire. A late three by Steve Blake sealed the win for the Lakers, and a 46-point effort from Monta Ellis kept the game in the hands of the Warriors.

    Their home opener was spoiled by the Nuggets as Al Harrington exploded off the bench for 28 points. Houston's poor second-half showing and combination of turnovers cost them dearly in that game.

    With Yao Ming being slowly eased back into the lineup, the Rockets are carefully monitoring his playing time and the amount of games he's able to play in. When healthy, Yao raises the level of his team to another plateau and the Rockets need him desperately.

    Kevin Martin has assumed the role of lead scorer as he's averaged 25 points over the first three games of the season. He's gotten to the line on average 10 times a game and has yet to miss a single free throw.

    However, Martin is not alone. Luis Scola has come on strong early in the season, averaging a jaw-dropping 27.3 points on 56.9 percent shooting while grabbing 14.0 rebounds.

    The Rockets are going through some early growing pains as they look to find their identity, but it won't be long before they find it, and the league better be careful, as this is a dangerous team.

     

    Last Week:

    L (110-112) - Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

    L (128-132) - Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

    L (94-107)   - Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. New Orleans Hornets, 8:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 5 at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 7:00 pm ET

T-18. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 16

    Injuries: Michael Redd, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Darington Hobson

    The Bucks started the season on the wrong foot. Their loss to the Hornets didn't come as a surprise, but their loss to the Timberwolves sure did.

    Milwaukee responded to their embarrassing loss to Minnesota by beating Charlotte the following night 98-88.

    Brandon Jennings is off to a nice start, as he is looking to expand his role as a facilitator. He's averaging 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists—much improved from last season.

    While Bogut has seen a slight dip in scoring, he picked up right where he left off after his freak arm injury last season. Andrew is grabbing 11 boards and blocking 2.7 shots. His defense will once again be key if the Bucks expect to make any noise in a much improved Eastern Conference.

    Milwaukee starts the week off with two tough back-to-back games against the Trail Blazers and the Celtics. Then, they're off to Indiana to face a much improved Pacers team and a rematch against the Hornets on Saturday.

    The Bucks could easily finish the week with four straight losses and a 1-6 record. Not where they want to be this early in the season. This is a vital stretch for Milwaukee, and they can't afford to play poorly like they did against Minnesota.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (91-95) - Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Hornets

    L  (85-96) - Milwaukee Bucks at Minnesota Timberwolves

    W (98-88) - Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Bobcats

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Portland Trailblazer, 8:00 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Boston Celtics, 8:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Indiana Pacers, 7:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. New Orleans Hornets, 8:30 pm ET

T-18. Sacramento Kings

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 26

    Injuries: N/A

    Even with Tyreke Evans out due to suspension, the Kings managed to beat the Timberwolves in their first game of the season.

    The Kings have gotten contributions from a number of players, as six members of the Kings are currently averaging double-figures in points.

    DeMarcus Cousins has made his mark as an impact rookie and he should be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.

    Sacramento has two difficult games this week against the Lakers and Grizzlies. If they can finish the week out with a .500 record, they should be in good shape.

     

    Last Week:

    W (117-116) - Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves

    L  (100-106) - Sacramento Kings at New Jersey Nets

    W (107-104) - Sacramento Kings at Cleveland Cavaliers

     

    This Week:

    Mon., Nov. 1 vs. Toronto Raptors, 10:00 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 10:00 pm ET

T-18. New Jersey Nets

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 25

    Injuries: Troy Murphy

    The Nets started the season off right by recording their first win of the season in their debut game. This is a far cry from last season when the Nets took 19 tries before they finally got a win. The Nets were on a roll until they were blown out by the Heat on Sunday.

    Brook Lopez is on a tear and appears determined to make the Nets respectable once again.

    With a healthy Devin Harris running the point, the Nets will unquestionably improve their record from last season.

    After coming on strong at the end of last season, Terrence Williams is off to a slow start, but will most likely pick up his production soon.

    Rookie Derrick Favors has been solid in place of an injured Troy Murphy in the starting lineup. He's averaging a double-double and it's clear that he can be an impact player out of the gate.

    However, most of the Nets offseason acquisitions have been unimpressive.

    New Jersey has an easy matchup against the Bobcats on Wednesday, but then they face Orlando and Miami in back-to-back games.

     

    Last Week:

    W (101-98)   - New Jersey Nets vs. Detroit Pistons

    W (106-100) - New Jersey Nets vs. Sacramento Kings

    L  (78-101)   - New Jersey Nets vs. Miami Heat

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Charlotte Bobcats, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Orlando Magic, 7:00pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Miami Heat, 7:30 pm ET

17. Phoenix Suns

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 15

    Injuries:

    Phoenix started the season with a brutal schedule. They were pitted against Portland, Utah and the Lakers all in a three-day span.

    Jason Richardson and Steve Nash have been consistent, but the rest of the team has had an erratic start to the season.

    The new addition, Hedo Turkoglu, has had trouble filling in at the power forward position Amar'e Stoudemire once occupied. He's generally considered to be one of the most overrated players in the NBA.

    Phoenix had an opportunity to beat Portland on the road, but they blew it in the fourth quarter and gave up the lead they had at the start of the quarter.

    The Suns followed up their fourth quarter meltdown by taking care of the Jazz on the road with relative ease, as they won by 16 points.

    In their home opener, they were pitted against the reigning champs, and they submitted to them like everyone has thus far. The Suns actually put up a fight, but they ended up losing by eight.

    Things don't get any easier for the Suns, as their upcoming schedule is against three potential playoff teams.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (92-106)   - Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers

    W (110-94)   - Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz

    L  (106-114) - Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. San Antonio Spurs, 10:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 10:00 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 at Atlanta Hawks, 5:00 pm ET

16. Indiana Pacers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 24

    Injuries: N/A

    Indiana is one of the surprise teams in the East.

    After trading for Darren Collison over the summer, the Pacers finally have a competent point guard to run their offense.

    Danny Granger is healthy and motivated to take this team into the playoffs. He's averaging 27 points in three games.

    Roy Hibbert dedicated the offseason to getting into shape and learning from Bill Walton. His early season success is a clear indicator of the hard work he has put in over the summer. Hibbert is averaging 18.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 blocks.

    The Pacers have a light week with only two games scheduled. Both games are easily winnable, and the Pacers could have a 4-1 record by Friday night.

     

    Last Week:

    L (109-122)  - Indiana Pacers at San Antonio Spurs

    W (104-101) - Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Bobcats

    W (99-86)     - Indiana Pacers vs. Philadelphia 76ers

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 7:00pm ET

T-14. Golden State Warriors

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 23

    Injuries: Stephen Curry, Ekpe Udoh, Louis Amundson

    Monta Ellis has been tremendous in his first three starts. He's on pace for a career year, as he's currently averaging 27.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists. His 46-point explosion against the Rockets in the Warriors home opener led them to a win.

    The Warriors followed their first win of the season by beating the Clippers at home by an 18-point margin. This was due in large part to the playmaking abilities of Monta Ellis as he dished out 11 assists.

    The Warriors' prized offseason acquisition, David Lee, has been unspectacular in his first three games as a Warrior. While David posted solid numbers in his first two games, his average currently falls at a pedestrian 10.7 points and 10.0 rebounds. Not the sort of production the Warriors were expecting when they traded for him.

    There is cause for concern in Golden State, as David Lee was held scoreless against the Lakers on Sunday. They were manhandled by the reigning champs as they lost by a 24-point margin.

     

    Last Week:

    W (132-128) - Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets

    W (109-91)   - Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    L  (83-107)   - Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 10:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Utah Jazz, 10:30pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 at Detroit Pistons, 6:00 pm ET

T-14. Utah Jazz

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Record: 1-2

    Previous Rank: 10

    Injuries: Mehmet Okur, Jeremy Evans

    The Jazz began the season on shaky ground. They were blown out at Denver, as they lost by a 22-point margin. The following day, they were routed in their home opener to the Phoenix Suns by 16 points.

    However, Utah got back on track against Oklahoma City on Halloween day. Tired of getting beat, the Jazz decided to dole out some pain as they punished the Thunder with a 21-point margin of victory.

    Deron Williams played poorly in Utah's first two losses, but he ran the team's offense to perfection in their first win of the season, as he dropped 15 dimes on the Thunder.

    Al Jefferson had a rough outing in his first game as a member of the Utah Jazz, but he bounced back by posting 20 points and nine rebounds against the Suns and 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Thunder. Al seems to be slowly learning the system employed by Jerry Sloan, and with enough time, the combination of Jefferson and Williams in the pick-and-roll should be a devastating play for the Jazz to turn to.

    Milsap has been patiently waiting for a permanent promotion to the starting lineup and he's paid off in a big way thus far. Through three games, Milsap is averaging 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

    The people of Utah will quickly forget about Carlos Boozer.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (88-110) - Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

    L  (94-110) - Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns

    W (120-99) - Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Toronto Raptors, 9:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 9:00 pm ET

13. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 18

    Injuries: Zach Randolph

    The Grizzlies have quietly put themselves behind New Orleans and ahead of Dallas and San Antonio in the Southwest division.

    The Grizzlies were blown out in their home opener against the Atlanta Hawks, but they were without the services of Zach Randolph—who's currently still sidelined—and Marc Gasol.

    Memphis edged out Dallas on the road by a single point and took care of the Timberwolves with a 20-point thrashing.

    Rudy Gay is off to a strong start posting career highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals. So far, he's working hard to prove that he was worthy of the big contract he signed over the summer.

    Mike Conley is also putting together a great season thus far. His 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists through three games impressed the Memphis front-office enough to reward him with a fat contract. Conley signed a five-year, $45 million extension.

    In Zach Randolph's absence, Darrell Arthur has emerged as a legitimate post threat. While he still needs work in the rebounding and shot-blocking department, his 17-point average on 60 percent shooting has been a bit of a surprise.

    Aside from a meeting with the Lakers, the Grizzlies have three winnable games on their schedule after that.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (104-119) - Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks

    W (91-90)     - Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks

    W (109-89)   - Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Phoenix Suns, 10:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Sacramento Kings, 10:00 pm ET

12. San Antonio Spurs

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Record: 1-1

    Previous Rank: 9

    Injuries: Matt Bonner

    The Spurs have been the model franchise over the past decade, but with father time creeping up on their core players, their window for a championship comes closer to closing every year that goes by.

    San Antonio may have pulled out a win against the Pacers in their home opener, but it wasn't pretty. While they scored 122 points against the Pacers, they also gave up 109. Hibbert dropped 28 points, Granger 26 and Collison 19.

    Facing the Hornets on Saturday, the Spurs were even worse, as they couldn't get anything going on both sides of the ball. Duncan posted only seven points and seven rebounds in the loss while Tony Parker put up 13 points. The Spurs offense rode on the backs of Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson in a failed effort.

    While the Spurs are always dangerous with the nucleus of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, they're no longer the dominant force they once were.

    As long as the Spurs can make it into the playoffs and avoid an early round matchup against the Lakers, they still have a shot to make it to the Western Conference Finals.

     

    Last Week:

    W (122-109) - San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers

    L  (90-99)     - San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Hornets

     

    This Week:

    Mon, Nov. 1 at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Phoenix Suns, 10:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Houston Rockets, 8:30 pm ET

T-10. Denver Nuggets

21 of 31

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 12

    Injuries: Kenyon Martin, Chris Anderson

    The Nuggets started the season with a lot of uncertainty surrounding their star player, Carmelo Anthony. While 'Melo Watch will continue until Anthony has signed an extension with his team or is traded to another, he's a Nugget for now and that's what counts.

    Aside from the Timberwolves, the Northwest Division is arguably the toughest division in the NBA, and the Nuggets have their work cut out for them.

    With George Karl making his triumphant return to the sidelines, the Nuggets thoroughly defeated the Jazz on opening night. At one point in the third quarter, Denver led by 27 points and they had no trouble dispatching Utah.

    The Nuggets' next game was a different story. Facing a resurgent Hornets squad, the Nuggets blew an early fourth quarter lead as Chris Paul scored 10 points in the last nine minutes, leading the Hornets to a come-from-behind victory.

    On the back of Al Harrington, the Nuggets took care of the Rockets the following night as they won in convincing fashion. The Nuggets outscored the Rockets by 16 points in the second half and finished the game with a 13-point lead.

    While the Nuggets are undoubtedly talented, they will only go as far as Carmelo is willing to take them. All signs point to him being traded, and if that happens, it can only end in disaster for the Nuggets.

     

    Last Week:

    W (110-88) - Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz

    L  (95-101) - Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Hornets

    W (107-94) - Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Dallas Mavericks, 9:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Dallas Mavericks, 9:00 pm ET

T-10. Chicago Bulls

22 of 31

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Record: 1-1

    Previous Rank: 6

    Injuries: Carlos Boozer

    Derrick has been a man on a mission in his first two outings. Facing the Thunder in their first game of the season, Rose dropped 28 points in a losing effort. While the Bulls lost, they didn't go down without a fight, and it was a closely contested match for most of the game.

    Against the Pistons, Rose exploded by matching his career high of 39 points as he led the Bulls to a victory.

    Fresh off a new contract, Joakim Noah is playing inspired basketball, as he has averaged 16.5 points, 18 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in his first two games. Coach Thibodeau and the Bulls' front-office must be ecstatic with the production he's provided so far.

    Luol Deng has looked lost in the Bulls' first two games of the season. He only scored 13 points on 38.5 percent shooting against the Thunder, and nine points on 20 percent shooting against the Detroit Pistons. Deng sat out the entire fourth quarter as Derrick Rose led a furious comeback win over the Pistons.

    Until Carlos Boozer returns from injury, it looks like the combination of Rose and Noah is more than capable of picking up the slack. Their upcoming schedule won't be easy, but if they manage to pick up at least two wins, they should be in good shape.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (95-106) - Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City

    W (101-91) - Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons

     

    This Week:

    Mon., Nov. 1 vs. Portland Trailblazers, 8:00 pm ET

    Thu., Nov. 5 vs. New York Knicks, 8:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Boston Celtics, 8:00 pm ET

9. Dallas Mavericks

23 of 31

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 5

    Injuries: Rodrigue Beaubois

    Hate Mark Cuban all you want, but give the man credit for constructing a model franchise and team.

    The Dallas Mavericks have recorded 50-plus win seasons in 10 straight years, and this year should mark the 11th, as Dallas has a stacked squad. With a year and a summer to get their bearings, the Mavericks should have developed some strong chemistry that will help them throughout the season and into the playoffs.

    Dirk has been the model of consistency for the past 11 years. His 28 points and 13 rebounds in the first game against the Bobcats set the tone, and he has started the season on a hot streak. He's averaging 23.7 points on 69.1 percent shooting, and he's been nearly unstoppable on offense.

    Jason Kidd has found the fountain of youth, as he's off to an incredibly strong start to the season. He opened the season by dropping 18 dimes on the Bobcats. Paired with Jason Terry in the backcourt, the two are playing exceedingly well in tandem with one another.

    If it weren't for a late meltdown against the Grizzlies, the Mavericks would have started the season with an undefeated record.

     

    Last Week:

    W (101-86) - Dallas Mavericks vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    L  (90-91)   - Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    W (99-83)   - Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Denver Nuggets, 9:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Denver Nuggets, 9:00 pm ET

8. New Orleans Hornets

24 of 31

    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Record: 3-0

    Previous Rank: 14

    Injuries: N/A

    The Hornets are one of the early surprises of the season, as they looked awful in preseason action. They're one of only three teams in the West to have a perfect record.

    New head coach, Monty Williams, is off to a strong start, as the Hornets have made an impact on the defensive end. They've held all three of their opponents—all widely considered to be playoff teams—to 95 points and under.

    Chris Paul is playing like a man possessed as he looks to take the Hornets back into the playoffs. While his numbers are slightly down—by his standards—Paul is showing why he's widely been considered the best point guard in the league for the past four years. He's averaging 20 points, 6.0 rebounds and 9.3 assists in three games.

    Outside of David West, Paul hasn't gotten any consistent help from his teammates as he has essentially carried the team to their first three victories.

    Even with the Hornets playing well, they have some tough matchups coming up this week. The Rockets are desperate, looking for their first win of the season, and then there's Miami on their plate after that. Plus, a rematch with the Bucks on the road could easily result in a loss if the Hornets are not on top of their game.

     

    Last Week:

    W (95-91)   - New Orleans Hornets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    W (101-95) - New Orleans Hornets vs. Denver Nuggets

    W (99-90)   - New Orleans Hornets at San Antonio Spurs

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Houston Rockets, 8:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Miami Heat, 8:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 pm ET

7. Oklahoma City Thunder

25 of 31

    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 8

    Injuries: Nick Collison

    Expectations are running high for the Thunder after they gave the Lakers a serious challenge during the first round of the 2010 NBA playoffs.

    While Kevin Durant has been inefficient shooting from the field in his first three games, he's still averaging 29.3 points while getting to the line 11.7 times.

    Russell Westbrook has been playing out of his mind in the first week of the season. He's averaging career highs in points, rebounds and steals. Westbrook is also uncharacteristically shooting an efficient 46.3 percent from the field and 93.6 percent from the line.

    Like his teammate Durant, Jeff is shooting an identical 38.8 percent from the field. While his shooting woes are an issue, he's averaging a career high 19.7 points per game. If it wasn't for Green—who made the game-winning layup against the Pistons last Friday—the Thunder would sport a 1-2 record.

    Serge Ibaka has emerged as a dominant defensive force in the middle. Even though he's coming off the bench, Serge is getting plenty of run, averaging 10.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a game.

    Led by MVP and scoring-title favorite, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City is a dangerous force to be reckoned with.

     

    Last Week:

    W (106-95)   - Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls

    W (105-104) - Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons

    L  (99-120)   - Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz

     

    This Week:

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 pm ET

    Thu., Nov. 4 at Portland Trailblazers, 10:30 pm ET

    Sun, Nov. 7 vs. Boston Celtics, 7:00 pm ET

6. Orlando Magic

26 of 31

    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Record: 1-1

    Previous Rank: 4

    Injuries:

    Orlando started the season strong with a blowout win over the Washington Wizards.

    In their next game against the Heat, the tables were turned, as Miami ran right over them.

    While only a small sample size, Dwight has shown some new moves to his offensive arsenal. In only 29 minutes a game, Howard has averaged 21 points. It looks like his limited sessions with Hakeem have paid off and Dwight may have turned a new leaf on the offensive side of the ball.

    However, Dwight's teammates have been less than stellar. Vince has averaged 11 points through two games, and Rashard is even worse at 7.5 points on 31.6 percent shooting.

    If Orlando is expected to have any success, everyone on the team must step up collectively if they anticipate competing in the top-heavy Eastern Conference.

    Orlando has a relatively easy four-game schedule coming up, so that should help the Magic get back on track.

     

    Last Week:

    W (112-83) - Orlando Magic vs. Washington Wizards

    L  (70-96)   - Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at New York Knicks, 7:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. New Jersey Nets, 7:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 at Charlotte Bobcats, 7:00 pm ET

5. Atlanta Hawks

27 of 31

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 3-0

    Previous Rank: 11

    Injuries: Maurice Evans, Pape Sy

    The Hawks are currently the only team in the Eastern Conference with a perfect record.

    They started the season on the road, and they trounced the Grizzlies by a 15-point margin. Their next two games were much closer, as they narrowly edged out the 76ers on the road and the Wizards in their home opener.

    The Hawks grossly overpaid for Joe Johnson, who has been a bit of a mixed bag early in the season. He's averaging 23 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists, but he's also averaging 4.0 turnovers. The turnovers are a bit uncharacteristic, as he's generally had at least a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio for the majority of his career.

    Mike Bibby has seen a resurgence, as he's playing far better than he did last season. Zaza Pachulia joins Bibby as a productive surprise early in the season.

    Josh Smith has had a slow start on offense, but the defense has been there. Smith is averaging 4.3 blocks in his first three outings, and it's only a matter of time before his offense begins to fire on all cylinders.

    Al Horford posted a dud in the Hawks' first game of the season with only two points and seven rebounds. However, in the next two games, Horford bounced back by averaging 20.5 points and 11 rebounds. He was rewarded over the weekend with a five-year, $60 million contract.

    The Hawks are probably looking at a fourth or fifth seed in the Eastern Conference where they're most likely to be matched up with the Chicago Bulls. Their narrow wins over the 76ers and Wizards sure aren't a vote of confidence, but their record speaks for itself right now.

     

    Last Week:

    W (119-104) - Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies

    W (104-101) - Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers

    W (99-95)     - Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:00 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Detroit Pistons, 7:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8:00 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 vs. Phoenix Suns, 5:00 pm ET

4. Portland Trail Blazers

28 of 31

    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Record: 3-0

    Previous Rank: 7

    Injuries: Greg Oden

    Even after Portland lost some key contributors over the summer, the Blazers didn't miss a beat. They're one of only several teams to start the first week with an unblemished record.

    Portland trailed going into the fourth quarter of each matchup and they managed to pull out a win in each contest. In the final quarter of their first three games, the Blazers outscored the Suns 31-11, the Clippers 28-17 and New York 26-21.

    As the team's leader and best player, Brandon Roy has set an example by posting some of the best numbers of his career. He seems determined to lead the Blazers on a path to challenge the Lakers for supremacy of the West.

    Now that Steve Blake and Jerryd Bayless are no longer in town, Andre Miller has been given more control of the team's offense and he has responded by playing some of the best basketball of his career.

    Batum has lived up to the breakout candidate tag he's had from preseason and he's playing amazing basketball through the first week of the season. Nicolas has averaged 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 threes.

    Camby looks more comfortable in Portland's system after a full summer to gel with his team. He has been a defensive force in the middle for a Blazers team in desperate need of stability at the center position.

     

    Last Week:

    W (106-92) - Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns

    W (98-88)   - Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers

    W (100-95) - Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks

     

    This Week:

    Mon., Nov. 1 at Chicago Bulls, 8:00 pm ET

    Tue., Nov. 2 at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:00 pm ET

    Thu., Nov. 4 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 10:30 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. Toronto Raptors, 10:00 pm ET

    Sun, Nov. 7 at Los Angeles Lakers, 9:30 pm ET

3. Boston Celtics

29 of 31

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Record: 2-1

    Previous Rank: 3

    Injuries: Kendrick Perkins

    In the most hyped game leading into opening night for the NBA, the Celtics took down the three-headed monster that is the Miami Heat. The game was a defensive battle, as Boston withstood a second-half barrage by LeBron James.

    The Celtics followed up their opening night win over the Miami Heat by losing to the lowly Mo Williams-less Cleveland Cavaliers. They were taken completely by surprise and it surely took some of the air out of their victory against Miami.

    On the back of their star point guard, Rajon Rondo, the Celtics squeaked out a win in their next game against the Knicks. Rondo recorded his first triple-double of the season as he posted an absurd line of 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 24 assists.

    Rondo is averaging 16.7 assists in his first three games, and he appears dead set on claiming the assist title and putting himself into the conversation as best point guard in the NBA. He's off to a good start, as he was selected as Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

    Boston has two tough matchups this week against the Bulls and Thunder. Milwaukee is also not a team to overlook, as they upgraded significantly during the offseason. Luckily, they start the week off with what should be an easy meeting against the Pistons.

     

    Last Week:

    W (88-80)     - Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

    L  (87-95)     - Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers

    W (105-101) - Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 8:00 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Chicago Bulls, 8:00 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7:00 pm ET

2. Miami Heat

30 of 31

    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Record: 3-1

    Previous Rank: 2

    Injuries: Mike Miller

    Miami stumbled out of the gate as they got off to a slow start against the Boston Celtics. While LeBron James led a valiant effort in an attempt to mount a comeback, they ultimately fell short as the Celtics walked away with a win.

    In the Heat's next contest, they faced the 76ers as Dwyane Wade led the charge and showed that he only needed a little time to shake off the rust.

    For their home opener, Miami was given a true test with an in-state rivalry against the Orlando Magic. The first half was a relatively equal battle, but the Heat came out in the second half and absolutely smothered the Magic on defense.

    The New Jersey Nets were next on the list, and the Heat won by a 23-point margin.

    The Heat are starting to get into a groove. While the offense hasn't been the most efficient through the first four games, it is only a matter of time before their offense really comes to life.

    With a foundation built on defense already in place, the Heat are off to a good start. The rest of the league better watch out.

     

    Last Week:

    L  (80-88)   - Miami Heat at Boston Celtics

    W (97-87)   - Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers

    W (96-70)   - Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

    W (101-78) - Miami Heat at New Jersey Nets

     

    This Week:

    Tue, Nov. 2 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 7:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 at New Orleans Hornets, 8:00 pm ET

    Sat., Nov. 6 vs. New Jersey Nets, 7:30 pm ET

1. Los Angeles Lakers

31 of 31

    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 3-0

    Previous Rank: 1

    Injuries: Andrew Bynum, Luke Walton

    The Lakers started their title defense in an exciting, closely contested matchup with the Houston Rockets. When push came to shove, the Lakers pulled through and showed why they're the reigning champs.

    L.A. continued to display their championship mettle by extending their winning streak to three by taking care of Phoenix and Golden State in convincing fashion.

    Even with Andrew Bynum out until late November, the rest of the Lakers squad has stepped up and contributed tremendously over the first week of action.

    Lamar Odom has been an absolute beast in the starting lineup, as he has averaged 16 points on 67.7 percent shooting while corralling in 13.7 rebounds.

    Not to be outdone, Pau Gasol has put up 25.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, five assists and two blocks through three games. He nearly recorded a triple-double against the Suns, as he missed the mark by one assist and two rebounds. His efforts through the first week of action were good enough to earn him Western Conference Player of the Week honors.

    The Lakers are stacked and deeper than ever and they look even better than they did last season.

    With Kobe Bryant's knee injury no longer an issue, L.A. will continue to be a dominating force in the NBA all season long.

     

    Last Week:

    W (112-110) - Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

    W (114-106) - Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns

    W (107-83)   - Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

     

    This Week:

    Tue., Nov. 2 vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 10:30 pm ET

    Wed., Nov. 3 at Sacramento Kings, 10:30 pm ET

    Fri., Nov. 5 vs. Toronto Raptors, 10:30 pm ET

    Sun., Nov. 7 vs. Portland Trailblazers, 9:30 pm ET

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