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NBA Power Rankings Week 6: Lakers, Bucks, Nuggets rolling -- and here comes Luka Doncic

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Doncic goes off for 41 as Mavs beat Rockets (2:01)

Luka Doncic finishes with 41 points and 10 assists in his fourth consecutive game of 30+ points. (2:01)

The 2019-20 season is just over a month old, and we've already witnessed the abrupt fall of a dynasty, the rebirth of the Lake Show, Luka Doncic becoming appointment television and, of course, the return of Carmelo Anthony to the NBA.

Which teams are rising and falling in the final Power Rankings before the calendar flips to December?

Throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Andre' Snellings, Royce Young and Bobby Marks, and The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking stock of which teams are playing the best basketball now and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Week 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Camp | Free agency | Post-Finals

1. Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 14-2
Week 5 ranking: 1

The Lakers are rolling, but they've also had a relatively easy schedule in November (they've faced only four teams all month that are currently .500 or better). But it will get much tougher in December, with two contests each against Dallas, Denver and Portland, and matchups with Utah, Minnesota, Miami, Indiana, Milwaukee and then the LA Clippers on Christmas Day. -- Spears

This week: @SA, @NO, WSH, DAL


2. Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 13-3
Week 5 ranking: 4

The Bucks have won seven straight games despite the injury absence of Khris Middleton, and they've done it by outscoring their opponents by 9.6 points per game. Milwaukee is currently on pace to lead the NBA in scoring differential for the second season in a row. After a tough Monday matchup with the Jazz, the Bucks face five straight teams under .500. -- Snellings

This week: UTAH, ATL, @CLE, CHA


3. LA Clippers
Record: 12-5
Week 5 ranking: 5

So, this is what it looks like. And the early results are in: It looks pretty darn impressive. The Paul George-Kawhi Leonard-Lou Williams trio has played only 27 minutes together so far, and didn't have a training camp or preseason to hone chemistry, but there already is an obvious connection. The sample size is small, yes, but their net rating is plus-27.5. And in closing situations, such as the late-game comeback against the Rockets, that group is sheer horror to try to stop. -- Young

This week: @DAL, @MEM, @SA, WSH


4. Denver Nuggets
Record: 12-3
Week 5 ranking: 7

The Nuggets just keep on keepin' on -- nothing flashy, nothing overly dominant. They just win and do it with variety. Last season there was some wonder of randomness with their success in close games, but they're doing it again: 7-2 in two-possession games. Their victory Sunday over the Suns though showed a different kind of closing prowess: a close game went to double-digits down the stretch with two-way dominance. -- Young

This week: WSH, @SAC


5. Boston Celtics
Record: 11-4
Week 5 ranking: 2

Could a 2-3 road trip, including a loss to Denver that saw Kemba Walker stretchered off the court, be called a success? The answer is yes. Despite falling out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, we learned more about this Boston team not in the win over Phoenix but in the two losses -- by a combined seven points -- to the Clippers and Nuggets. The undermanned Celtics continue to show their resilience and toughness as evidenced by the near comeback win (down 20 late in the third quarter) against Denver. -- Marks

This week: SAC, BKN, @BKN, @NY


6. Houston Rockets
Record: 11-6
Week 5 ranking: 3

The Rockets have regressed to their early-season defensive form during their three-game losing streak, giving up 115.6 points per 100 possessions. Asked what they could have done different defensively after giving up 137 points in Sunday's loss to the Mavericks, James Harden said: "Everything. Everything. We allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do from the beginning of the game." -- MacMahon

This week: MIA, ATL


7. Utah Jazz
Record: 11-5
Week 5 ranking: 6

Mike Conley's slow start and inconsistency with his new franchise are major reasons the Jazz rank 21st in offensive efficiency (105.6 points per 100 possessions, a drop of 4.7 points from last season). So have Joe Ingles' struggles adjusting to his sixth-man role: Ingles is shooting only 33% from the field and 29% from 3-point range, and also misses the pick-and-roll chemistry he had with the departed Derrick Favors. Ingles' assists (3.5 per game) are down almost a couple of dimes per game from last season. -- MacMahon

This week: @MIL, @IND, @MEM, @TOR


8. Philadelphia 76ers
Record: 11-5
Week 5 ranking: 10

If there was ever a statement win in the first month of the season, the 76ers' 27-point blowout of Jimmy Butler and Miami would qualify. The win proved that when engaged, Philadelphia has the most formidable starting five in the NBA. It should also be noted that while the return of Butler was the headline entering the game, it was Philly's Josh Richardson, a former Heat second-round pick, who stole the show. After missing the New York game because of a hip injury, Richardson would go on to score 32 points on only 15 shots, including six 3-pointers. -- Marks

This week: @TOR, SAC, @NY, IND


9. Dallas Mavericks
Record: 11-5
Week 5 ranking: 12

Luka Doncic is historically productive, especially for a 20-year-old. He had a 41-point, 6-rebound, 10-assist performance in Sunday's road rout of the Rockets, and it was maybe his third-most impressive performance during Dallas' five-game winning streak. And Kristaps Porzingis, who struggled as he chipped off rust early in the season, is looking more and more like a legitimate co-star. He has four double-doubles during the winning streak and has been dominant defensively. -- MacMahon

This week: LAC, @PHX, @LAL


10. Miami Heat
Record: 11-4
Week 5 ranking: 8

A solid five-game winning streak was snapped, and in quite embarrassing fashion. The 76ers stomped all over Butler and the Heat, and it had the feel of a putting-you-in-your-place game. The Heat have two really good wins on the season (Bucks on Oct. 26 and the Rockets on Nov. 3), and outside of that have mostly just beat everyone they're supposed to. Against the top tier, they've looked much more average than their record suggests. -- Young

This week: CHA, @HOU, GS, @BKN


11. Toronto Raptors
Record: 11-4
Week 5 ranking: 9

The Raptors have been consistently strong all season, with all four of their losses competitive road affairs against teams a combined 28 games over .500. They continue to have contributors step up around Pascal Siakam, who is in the midst of an MVP-level campaign. During the past four games, Norman Powell has chipped in 19.5 points per game on 54.4% shooting from the field to provide a stable scoring option on the wing and help keep the offense humming even with Kyle Lowry's (thumb) continued injury absence. -- Snellings

This week: PHI, NY, @ORL, UTAH


12. Indiana Pacers
Record: 9-6
Week 5 ranking: 14

The Pacers have quietly reestablished themselves among the six teams to separate from the field in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are doing it with defense, holding their past five opponents to an average of 96.2 points per game, even with two of those games coming against the high-powered offenses of the Rockets and Bucks. -- Snellings

This week: MEM, UTAH, ATL, @PHI


13. Phoenix Suns
Record: 8-8
Week 5 ranking: 11

The Suns have fallen of late, losing four of their past five games and six of the past nine after a strong start. Phoenix can blame the injury bug: Starting point guard Ricky Rubio has missed four of the past five games because of back spasms and starting center Aron Baynes has missed four straight games because of a hip flexor strain (Deandre Ayton remains out as he serves a 25-game suspension that will sideline him until mid-December). -- Spears

This week: WSH, DAL


14. Minnesota Timberwolves
Record: 8-8
Week 5 ranking: 13

The Timberwolves got Andrew Wiggins back this week after an illness had sidelined him for three games, but in his first two games he has reverted to his old scoring inefficiencies with averages of 21.5 points on 22.5 attempts per game (Wiggins had averaged 31.6 points on 23.8 attempts per game during the five games leading into his illness). The Timberwolves will need him to rediscover his form quickly, as they have lost four of their past five games to fall to .500 on the season. -- Snellings

This week: @ATL, @SA, MEM


15. Brooklyn Nets
Record: 8-8
Week 5 ranking: 16

There are finally signs that Brooklyn can compete on the defensive end. In their three wins during the week (Charlotte, Sacramento and New York), the Nets held their opponent to an average of 96.3 points -- this after giving up an average of 114.5 over the previous 13 games. Besides the effort on the defensive end, the highlight of the week goes to the play of Jarrett Allen. The former first-round pick averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds in the three wins. Though the Nets have downplayed the injury to Kyrie Irving, the guard has not played since Nov. 14 and will miss the road trip this week, including Wednesday's return to Boston. -- Marks

This week: @CLE, @BOS, BOS, MIA


16. Sacramento Kings
Record: 7-8
Week 5 ranking: 22

The Kings have quietly won seven of their past 10 games. What's stunning about this run is they are without arguably their two best players because of injury in De'Aaron Fox (ankle) and Marvin Bagley III (ankle). Keep an eye on guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has scored 52 points over his past two games. -- Spears

This week: @BOS, @PHI, DEN


17. Orlando Magic
Record: 6-9
Week 5 ranking: 18

The Magic had won four of five games before back-to-back road losses to the Raptors and Pacers. With both Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon lost to injury for the near future, the Magic have leaned more heavily on their young, athletic big men. Jonathan Isaac continues to be the most productive of that crew, averaging 15.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and a whopping 4.4 combined blocks and steals during his past seven games. -- Snellings

This week: @DET, @CLE, TOR, GS


18. New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 6-11
Week 5 ranking: 25

No. 8 overall pick Jaxson Hayes, a lean 19-year-old with significant long-term upside, has responded well to recent starting duty with Derrick Favors dealing with injuries. Hayes has averaged 9.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks during his five-game stint as a starter. Those numbers might not jump off the page, but the rookie center has a team-best net rating of plus-14.2 points per 100 possessions during that span. -- MacMahon

This week: LAL, @OKC, OKC


19. San Antonio Spurs
Record: 6-11
Week 5 ranking: 15

The Spurs managed to snap an eight-game losing streak, the longest of the Gregg Popovich era, with a win Saturday over the Knicks. That victory certainly doesn't alleviate concerns about San Antonio's defense, which ranks 27th in the league with 113.1 points allowed per 100 possessions. That number rises to 115.3 in November, when the Spurs are 3-13. -- MacMahon

This week: LAL, MIN, LAC, @DET


20. Oklahoma City Thunder
Record: 5-10
Week 5 ranking: 17

The Thunder are five games under .500 but have a net margin of only minus-0.7. They are 1-7 in two-possession games, featuring a three-game losing streak last week against the Los Angeles teams, all by fewer than five points. One culprit that needs addressing: coming out flat after halftime. The Thunder are a minus-18.4 per 100 possessions in the third quarter. -- Young

This week: @GS, @POR, NO, @NO


21. Portland Trail Blazers
Record: 5-12
Week 5 ranking: 19

The Blazers' current losing streak is far less about Carmelo Anthony, and far, far more about the injury to Damian Lillard. The Blazers haven't been themselves for basically the entire season, and while adding Melo was desperate and necessary all at the same time, there's nothing they can do to absorb Lillard missing games. -- Young

This week: @CHI, OKC, CHI


22. Charlotte Hornets
Record: 6-11
Week 5 ranking: 20

We will learn a lot about the Hornets this week. In the midst of a four-game losing streak (2-8 in past 10), Charlotte plays at Miami on Monday and ends the week at Milwaukee on Saturday, sandwiched around two games against Detroit. However, before we look ahead, we cannot dismiss what happened to Charlotte last week. What started as a 36-point loss at Toronto ended with a complete collapse against Chicago. The loss to the Bulls, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, saw Charlotte blow a five-point lead with 15 seconds after consecutive 3s by Tomas Satoransky and Zach LaVine. -- Marks

This week: @MIA, DET, @DET, @MIL


23. Washington Wizards
Record: 5-9
Week 5 ranking: 28

Before Sunday, the Wizards had won three of four, and despite the continued atrocious defense, were flat outscoring opponents. That slowed against the Kings in a somewhat more defensive battle -- 113-106 -- but the Wizards continue to compete. No doors are slammed on the back end of the East, and while the chances are extremely slim the Wizards actually get into the playoff mix, they might have the motivation to think they can for much of the season. -- Young

This week: @DEN, @PHX, @LAL, @LAC


24. Memphis Grizzlies
Record: 5-10
Week 5 ranking: 23

Memphis followed up a season-best three-game winning streak with an 0-3 week. Such is life with a young, rebuilding franchise. The Grizzlies' rookie duo provided a silver lining for the losing streak: No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant averaged 19.7 points and 6.0 assists in the three games, and No. 21 overall pick Brandon Clarke contributed 14.7 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 62.1% off the bench. -- MacMahon

This week: @IND, LAC, UTAH, @MIN


25. Chicago Bulls
Record: 6-11
Week 5 ranking: 27

Zach LaVine gave the struggling Bulls a temporary reason to forget their woes. LaVine scored 49 points -- with 13 3-pointers -- and hit a winning 3 in a 116-115 win at Charlotte on Saturday. LaVine joined Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as the only NBA players to make 13 of more 3-pointers in a game. This big performance was on the heels of LaVine saying he sensed a lack of trust from coach Jim Boylen. -- Spears

This week: POR, @GS, @POR


26. Detroit Pistons
Record: 5-11
Week 5 ranking: 24

The Pistons sandwiched a blowout win over the struggling Hawks with two blowout losses of their own to the Bucks and Bulls this week. They continue to free fall, now having lost seven of their past nine games, but they have the chance to turn things around with their next five games coming against teams a combined 24 games under .500. The key to that stretch will be a home-and-home with the Hornets, whom they lost to in mid-November in their first matchup. -- Snellings

This week: ORL, @CHA, CHA, SA


27. Atlanta Hawks
Record: 4-12
Week 5 ranking: 21

About the only thing soaring with the Hawks is Trae Young. The second-year guard recently became the sixth-fastest player in NBA history and the 10th-youngest in league history to make 200 career 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Atlanta has lost nine of its past 10 games, six straight overall, and only Golden State has fewer than their four wins. -- Spears

This week: MIN, @MIL, @IND, @HOU


28. Cleveland Cavaliers
Record: 5-11
Week 5 ranking: 26

Here is what you need to know about the state of the Cavaliers before their win at home Saturday night against Portland. Cleveland was in the midst of six-game losing streak (2-9 in its past 11), including four straight losses of 19, 18, 24 and 42 points. The Cavs were also about to play a desperate Trail Blazers team without Kevin Love, who was out because of back tightness. What transpired was a 25-point, nine-rebound night from Tristan Thompson, and Jordan Clarkson having one of his most efficient games in his career: 28 points on only nine shots, including six 3-pointers. -- Marks

This week: BKN, ORL, MIL


29. New York Knicks
Record: 4-13
Week 5 ranking: 29

We thought that the Knicks had somewhat turned a corner based on the stretch of the previous four games -- two wins and two losses by a combined six points, including a defeat against Philadelphia that saw New York lead by five entering the fourth quarter. That changed Saturday night against a San Antonio team that limped into New York on an eight-game losing streak and was on the second night of a back-to-back. New York had a much better showing at the Garden on Sunday, albeit in a 103-101 loss against the Nets. -- Marks

This week: @TOR, PHI, BOS


30. Golden State Warriors
Record: 3-14
Week 5 ranking: 30

It's more of the same for the injury-plagued Warriors. Golden State listed forward Draymond Green (right heel) as questionable for Monday's game against Oklahoma City after he did not practice Saturday. Injured forward Kevon Looney continues to deal with a nerve condition and will not play against Oklahoma City or Chicago this week. There is expected to be an update this week on rookie forward Alen Smailagic, who has yet to make his NBA debut because of a sprained right ankle. -- Spears

This week: OKC, CHI, @MIA, @ORL