NBA Power Rankings: Here come the Jazz; Cavs cut down the Nets (twice!)

The Utah Jazz have won eight straight games and sit a half-game behind the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers for the best record in the league.

It's early, but the Jazz -- backed by quality wins against the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors during the run -- have the look of a contender in the West.


And they're not alone; the top three teams in the conference are rolling right now, as the Clippers' win streak hit seven after Sunday's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The defending-champion Lakers, meanwhile, have won eight of their past 10.

Check out which other teams are cruising into Week 6, and which teams are sliding.

Note:Throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, Eric Woodyard, Royce Young and Ohm Youngmisuk) 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 1 | Week 2| Week 3| Week 4| Week 5





1. Los Angeles Lakers

2020-21 record: 13-4

Previous ranking: 1

Anthony Davis was blunt about his recent play, declaring, "I suck right now," when his sub-20 scoring streak reached five games last week. He responded with a season-high 37 points on 14-of-21 shooting in his next game, a 101-90 win over the Bulls on Saturday. "You sometimes let a guy go through it and figure it out themselves, but at the same time let him know we're here for him," LeBron James said after Davis busted out of his slump. -- McMenamin

This week:@CLE, @PHI, @DET, @BOS



2. LA Clippers

2020-21 record: 13-4

Previous ranking: 2

Since blowing a 22-point lead to Golden State, the Clippers have won seven straight. Tyronn Lue's team has taken advantage of a favorable portion of the schedule, but the streak has been impressive considering the Clippers haven't played to full potential yet and are prone to offensive dry spells and defensive breakdowns. Kawhi Leonard is getting stronger with each game, averaging 32.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in the past three wins. But Patrick Beverley (knee) and Paul George (hamstring) did not finish Sunday's win over the Thunder. -- Youngmisuk

This week: @ATL, @MIA, @ORL, @NYK



3. Utah Jazz

2020-21 record: 12-4

Previous ranking: 7

The Jazz are the most prolific 3-point shooting team in NBA history at this point, averaging 16.8 made 3s per game. The Jazz have made at least 20 3s in six games this season -- before this season, Utah had six total in franchise history -- with five such outings during their NBA-best eight-game winning streak. Donovan Mitchell is averaging 27.3 points with .510/.500/.895 shooting splits during the roll.-- MacMahon

This week: NYK, DAL, DAL, @DEN



4.Philadelphia 76ers

2020-21 record: 12-5

Previous ranking: 5

Joel Embiid continues to dominate, the Sixers have their full complement of players available again, and Philadelphia is beginning to separate itself from the competition atop the Eastern Conference. It's early in the season, but for a team that has historically been far better at home than on the road, securing a high seed and home-court advantage would be no small feat. -- Bontemps

This week:@DET, LAL, @MIN, @IND



5.Milwaukee Bucks

2020-21 record: 10-6

Previous ranking: 3

In a tough week, the Bucks dropped games against the Nets and Lakers, but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer says Milwaukee is continuing to find its rhythm as back-to-back reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is trying to hit his stride. Although there isn't as much emphasis placed on the regular season, as they look for postseason success, the Bucks are still a competitive bunch and aren't satisfied with six losses in the first 15 games. -- Woodyard

This week: @TOR, @NOP, @CHA



6.Boston Celtics

2020-21 record: 9-6

Previous ranking: 4

The Celtics emphatically snapped a three-game losing streak by routing the Cavaliers in Boston on Sunday night and are expected to have star Jayson Tatum back in the lineup Monday in Chicago. Looming this weekend: a showdown with the defending champion Lakers at TD Garden before heading out for a five-game, eight-day West Coast trip. -- Bontemps

This week:@CHI, @SAS, LAL



7. Brooklyn Nets

2020-21 record: 10-8

Previous ranking: 6

In two games, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have played 63 minutes together with an offensive rating of 125.7, which is outrageously good. Their defensive rating, though, is 120.7, which is ... not outrageously good. Coach Steve Nash is exploring some rotational adjustments to maximizing the three stars, but there will be nights like Saturday against the Heat, when Durant and Irving went off and James Harden scored only 12 points on eight shots. -- Young

This week: MIA, @ATL, @OKC, @WAS



8. Denver Nuggets

2020-21 record: 9-7

Previous ranking: 11

The Nuggets are starting to look more like the team that reached the Western Conference finals last season. They've won three straight and eight of their past 11 games, Nikola Jokic is off to an MVP-caliber start, and Jamal Murray is gutting his way through an elbow issue. And Michael Porter Jr. is back after missing 10 games because of the league's health and safety protocols. -- Youngmisuk

This week: @DAL, @MIA, @SAS, UTA



9. Phoenix Suns

2020-21 record: 8-7

Previous ranking: 8

It was an up-and-down week for the Suns after returning from three postponements a week ago. After splitting their first two games, the Suns dropped back-to-back overtime games to Denver, going one extra period on Friday and two on Saturday. Still, it was a big week for center Deandre Ayton, who averaged 22 points and 14.8 rebounds on 64.3% shooting. Also, point guard Chris Paul's 135 assists are the most by a Suns player through 15 team games since Steve Nash (140) in 2011-12,according to ESPN Stats & Information research. -- Lopez

This week: OKC, GSW, @DAL



10. Indiana Pacers

2020-21 record: 9-7


Previous ranking: 9

Domantas Sabonis continues to perform at an All-Star level, and on Sunday he became the fifth player since the 1976-77 ABA/NBA merger to record a double-double in each of his first 16 games in a season. Despite a 107-102 loss to Toronto, Sabonis put up 10 points, 19 rebounds and 5 assists. Pacers center Myles Turner missed just two games after fracturing his right hand and is playing elite defense, averaging 4.1 blocks per game. -- Woodyard

This week:TOR, @CHA, @CHA, PHI



11.Portland Trail Blazers

2020-21 record: 9-6

Previous ranking: 12

The Blazers are quietly managing their injury misfortune, and with Sunday's game against the Knicks as the most recent example, they're doing it with a tried and true method: Dame. Damian Lillard has dropped 35-plus points in three straight games, with a 40-point, 13-assist game a couple before that. Lillard is a supreme carrier, and that's what he'll need to do for the next few weeks while the Blazers wait on the return of CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. --Young

This week: OKC, @HOU, @CHI



12.Dallas Mavericks

2020-21 record: 8-8

Previous ranking: 10

It's no surprise Kristaps Porzingis thrived in his first two starts at center this season, averaging 24 points on 65.5% shooting in a pair of wins. It's clear playing Porzingis at center provides him the space to maximize his offensive potential, but the Mavs are still at their best defensively when they play big. Maxi Kleber's eventual return after recovering from COVID-19 provides a best-of-both solution, because he's a 6-foot-10 quality defender and a 3-point threat. -- MacMahon

This week:DEN, @UTA, @UTA, PHX



13. San Antonio Spurs

2020-21 record: 9-8

Previous ranking: 13

Good luck predicting who is going to lead the Spurs in scoring on a given night. In the past seven games, San Antonio has had six different leaders: Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson, DeMar DeRozan (twice), LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills. The 24-year-old Murray also is coming off his second career triple-double on Sunday (11 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists). It was almost identical to Murray's other triple-double, which came the day after Christmas (11 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in a win over Toronto. -- Lopez

This week: @NOP, BOS, DEN, MEM



14. Cleveland Cavaliers

2020-21 record: 8-8

Previous ranking: 21

With the basketball world tuning in to get a first glimpse of Brooklyn's big three, Cavs guard Collin Sexton stole the show. Sexton scored a career-high 42 points -- including a stretch of 20 straight -- and helped clip the Nets in double-overtime. Two nights later he put up 25 points and nine assists in an encore performance, racking up another win over the NBA's latest super team. -- McMenamin

This week:LAL, DET, @NYK, @MIN



15.Golden State Warriors

2020-21 record: 8-8

Previous ranking: 14

The up-and-down nature of this Warriors season never seems to stop. The week started with a 19-point comeback win over the Lakers at Staples Center, followed by a blowout win over the Spurs that coach Steve Kerr said was his team's best of the season. Losses to the Knicks and Jazz followed -- although Stephen Curry took some of the sting from the Utah loss by passing Reggie Miller for No. 2 on the all-time 3-pointers list. -- Friedell

This week: MIN, MIN, @PHX, DET



16. Toronto Raptors

2020-21 record: 7-9

Previous ranking: 19

Things didn't look good for the Raptors when they started the season 1-6, but now they've won five of their past six games -- including a great win at Indiana on Sunday without All-Stars Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. Toronto is beginning to look like itself again. After cutting Alex Len, however, Toronto is still looking for another reliable center option beyond Chris Boucher. -- Bontemps

This week: @IND, MIL, SAC, ORL



17. Atlanta Hawks

2020-21 record: 8-8

Previous ranking: 25

The Hawks got back on track with three wins over the teams currently ranked last in each conference -- two over Minnesota and one overtime victory over Detroit -- and Sunday's loss to Milwaukee was played without point guard Trae Young or center Clint Capela. Atlanta surely missed Capela, who turned in back-to-back stellar performances prior to sitting. Capela had 27 points and 26 rebounds against Detroit on Wednesday and followed that up with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks on Friday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player with 15 rebounds, 10 blocks and no personal fouls in a game. -- Lopez

This week:LAC, BKN, @WAS



18.Miami Heat

2020-21 record: 6-9

Previous ranking: 15

Miami is still playing without Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley (health and safety protocols), Tyler Herro (neck spasms) and Meyers Leonard (left shoulder strain), but Bam Adebayo is doing his best to keep the Heat afloat. The All-Star big man posted a career-high 41 points in Saturday's loss to the Nets, but this group needs to get healthy to recreateany magic from inside the bubble. -- Friedell

This week:@BKN, DEN, LAC, SAC



19.Memphis Grizzlies

2020-21 record: 7-6

Previous ranking: 20

Memphis' momentum from a five-game winning streak was halted when the NBA opted to park the Grizzlies because of health and safety protocols. Backup point guard Tyus Jones has 31 assists and only six turnovers during the streak, filling in quite capably while Ja Morant recovered from a sprained ankle before returning for the past two games. -- MacMahon

This week:@SAS



20.New York Knicks

2020-21 record: 8-10

Previous ranking: 23


It has been a topsy-turvy few weeks for the Knicks, who won three in a row, lost five in a row and won three in a row in the 11 games prior to losing Friday night in Sacramento and Sunday night in Portland. Still, coach Tom Thibodeau has this team playing hard, and New York currently sits fifth in the league in defensive rating -- though that number is inflated by opponents having the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the league by a full point. That stat isn't likely to hold up as the season progresses. -- Bontemps

This week: @UTA, CLE, LAC



21. Orlando Magic

2020-21 record: 7-10

Previous ranking: 17

Had it not been for rookie Cole Anthony's game winner over the Timberwolves on Wednesday, the Magic would be in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. Having lost Jonathan Isaac to an ACL injury in the bubble and Markelle Fultz earlier this season to an ACL injury, the Magic just don't have the kind of talent needed to win consistently. -- Friedell

This week:CHA, SAC, LAC, @TOR



22.Chicago Bulls

2020-21 record: 7-9

Previous ranking: 27

Zach LaVine is averaging a career-best 26.8 points with 5.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game and helped Chicago post its longest winning streak (three games) since February 2019, before Saturday night's loss to the Lakers. The Bulls' 90 points in that game were their fewest all season. -- Woodyard

This week:BOS, POR



23.Houston Rockets

2020-21 record: 6-9

Previous ranking: 24

The Rockets have used 11 different starting lineups in 15 games, as first-year coach Stephen Silas has navigated the roster reconstruction from the James Harden trade and players missing time because of injuries and the league's health and safety protocols. John Wall and Victor Oladipo -- the Rockets' new backcourt and the headliners in the returns of the Russell Westbrook and Harden trades -- will likely play together for the first time Tuesday against the Wizards. -- MacMahon

This week:WAS, POR, @NOP



24. Charlotte Hornets

2020-21 record: 7-9

Previous ranking: 22

Sunday's win over the Magic offered a reminder of why the Hornets decided to give Gordon Hayward a four-year, $120 million deal, as the swingman scored 39 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dropped in the winning bucket. Hayward's big night came at a good time for a Charlotte team that was in the midst of a four-game losing streak. -- Friedell

This week: WAS, CHI, @ORL



25.Oklahoma City Thunder

2020-21 record: 6-9

Previous ranking: 16

A combination of the schedule, Al Horford missing time because of a personal issue (a newborn baby) and the team just not being as good as its early record suggested has the Thunder returning to reality. They've dropped five of their past six, the lone win being a 22-point comeback against the Bulls. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dortcontinue to be bright spots for OKC, whose season focus is on development. -- Young

This week: @POR, @PHX, BKN



26.Sacramento Kings

2020-21 record: 6-10

Previous ranking: 26

The Kings earned a much-needed 103-94 win over the Knicks to stop the bleeding after a 1-6 stretch, with rookie standout Tyrese Haliburton making some high-level plays on both ends. Sacramento was unable to build on the win, however, with its ensuing two games on the schedule against the Grizzlies being postponed because of the league's health and safety protocols. -- McMenamin

This week:@ORL, @TOR, @MIA



27. New Orleans Pelicans

2020-21 record: 5-10

Previous ranking: 18

The losses to Utah can be expected, but a loss to a Minnesota team that was resting a healthy D'Angelo Russell on the second night of a back-to-back wasn't great for New Orleans. It was a rough week for the Pelicans' starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Steven Adams. That group started the week with a net rating of plus-8.5. After the three losses, it's down to a minus-5.2. -- Lopez

This week: SAS, WAS, MIL, HOU



28.Minnesota Timberwolves

2020-21 record: 4-11

Previous ranking: 28

A win Saturday snapped a four-game losing streak, but the Wolves have only two wins in their past 13 games. With Karl-Anthony Towns missing so much time already, the Wolves' promising start was derailed and they are back to thinking about development. The past six games have been particularly rough for No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards: 45 total points on 22.8% shooting. -- Young

This week: @GSW, @GSW, PHI, CLE



29.Washington Wizards

2020-21 record: 3-9

Previous ranking: 29

After a nearly two-week pause following a COVID-19 outbreak, the Wizards finally returned to the court Sunday with six players out because of the league's health and safety protocols and two more sidelined by injury. It seems like a lost season so far for the Wizards, who are undermanned and in a stretch of six of eight games on the road. But Russell Westbrook's injured quad improved during the break, and Bradley Beal got some needed rest. The Wizards' star backcourt mates need all the time they can get playing together. -- Youngmisuk

This week:@HOU, @NOP, ATL, BKN



30. Detroit Pistons

2020-21 record: 3-13

Previous ranking: 30

After suffering four more losses this week, the Pistons matched their worst start (3-13) through 16 games in franchise history, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Rookie guard Killian Hayes will be out at least another eight weeks because of a hip injury. -- Woodyard

This week:PHI, @CLE, LAL, @GSW

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