Power Rankings: Hawks soar to No. 1 spot

Updated: November 16, 2009, 2:01 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

You had to wait a little longer than last season, when Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups were swapped on the first Monday of the regular season.

Not too long, though.

 ESPN.com Senior Writer Marc Stein
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The third Monday of the new season is a certifiable Blockbuster Monday. On top of Golden State's big trade in the morning that sent Stephen Jackson to Charlotte, you can spend the rest of the afternoon digesting this: Atlanta has claimed the top spot in ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings for the first time in the eight seasons that your faithful committee (of one) has chaired this project.

Two-game losing streaks for the Celtics and Lakers -- with Atlanta's road win Friday over Boston trumping Denver's home win over the defending champs on the same night -- created an unexpected opening at the top that the Hawks have rightfully seized. Atlanta's best start since going 11-0 to open the 1997-98 season includes a home rout of Denver and an impressive win at Portland.

Throw in Phoenix's ongoing rise and we have a top three we never expected to see, even in the unpredictable early portion of the season, with the Celtics, Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers shoved down into the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 slots, and Orlando dropping to No. 10.

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