Power Rankings: Bucks, Wiz, Clips streak up charts
Even for an early edition of the NBA Power Rankings, when you're expecting some shuffling, there's a lot of movement to contemplate already.
But that's what happens when the best basketball of the first week comes from a certifiable surprise team (Milwaukee) and a slew of significant injuries -- suffered by Nene, Tracy McGrady and, of course, Shaquille O'Neal -- afflicts other clubs near the top.
Read on to find out why San Antonio held on to Marc Stein's No. 1 slot, how the upstart Bucks jumped from No. 13 to No. 5, and just how far Houston and Denver have fallen.
2005-06 Power Rankings: Week 1
RANK (LAST WK) TEAM REC. COMMENT
1 (1) Spurs 2-1 Spurs are such heavy title favorites that one loss can't drop 'em. But as Brent Barry notes: ''I guess we can put to rest all those rumors about us going undefeated.''
2 (3) Pistons 3-0 The opposition hasn't been top-shelf, true, but the transition to the new coach seems to be off to a rather smooth, focused start.
3 (2) Pacers 2-1 Shaq goes down against Indy, Pacers escape Miami with a win ... and then it's Pacers who stumble at home to Philly the next time out? Huh?
4 (8) Mavericks 2-1 The comeback in Phoenix and the home rout of San Antonio -- as well as the flashes of good D in both -- made more of an impression here than the setback in Utah.
5 (13) Bucks 3-0 Bucks have to be Team O' The Week, with a couple candidates for Player O' The Week (Redd and T.J. Ford). Bogut's week wasn't bad, either, was it?
6 (8) Suns 2-2 Amare-less Suns have just started a five-game homestand ... but perhaps that's not such great news after the torturous manner of their losses to Dallas and Sacto.
7 (9) Nets 2-1 J-Kidd, RJ and Vinsanity, according to Kidd, are a modern-day Run TMC. Maybe so, but after all the good press lately, losing to Milwaukee was a jolt.
8 (14) Wizards 3-0 Don't get carried away even with this jump. A 3-0 start is a 3-0 start, but Wiz haven't racked up many strength-of-schedule points yet in beating Raps, Knicks and Magic.
9 (5) Heat 1-2 The only solace for SVG with Shaq out is that the coach can't be under the microscope when one of the two franchise players is injured. Can he?
10 (15) Lakers 2-1 What does Smush have in common with Kareem, Wilkes, Ceballos and Shaq? True story: They're the only five Lakers ever to score at least 20 in their first two games with the team, which includes the Minneapolis/Mikan days.
11 (24) Clippers 3-0 How many guesses would you need to identify the only team in the West that hasn't lost yet? A few, I'm guessing, before you went with Clips.
12 (12) Grizzlies 2-1 Suggested SportsNation poll: Which is the uglier look -- Pau's scraggly beard or the sight of Battier with a nasty head wound?
13 (22) Jazz 2-1 AK-47 is filling up box scores again and the rookie Williams looks OK, but Boozer's ongoing absence slices into the optimism somewhat.
14 (6) Nuggets 1-3 Interim coach Scotty Brooks said it best: After a nightmare start, Nuggets already need an ''early-season turnaround'' from rally specialist Furious George.
15 (4) Rockets 1-1 If Denver's outlook has changed, how about Houston's? Rockets won't be doing any playoff damage if T-Mac doesn't shake these back and knee woes.
16 (11) Kings 1-2 Despite going 13-2 after an 0-3 start last season, Kings really didn't want to try their luck twice. Hence their relief to pull out Sunday night's thriller in Phoenix.
17 (16) Warriors 2-1 As if they didn't already know it, Warriors needed only one week to reconfirm that their whole season rides on Baron's durability. They're 2-0 with him, 0-1 without him.
18 (17) SuperSonics 1-1 Sonics Nation is undoubtedly thinking that a loss to Clips on Opening Night isn't the worst karma. Except when Supes did it last season, it wasn't at home like this time.
19 (10) Cavaliers 1-2 LeBron hasn't been the problem in Cavs' two defeats, but they do need even more from him (only 11 boards so far) with this group still getting to know each other.
20 (18) Timberwolves 1-2 There's not much you can dissect at this juncture except to say that OT has not been kind at all to KG and Co. so far.
21 (29) Hornets 2-1 Hornets should pay to fly me in for all of their season openers at home. They're 2-0 in the two I've covered ... with an average win margin of 25.5 points.
22 (26) Bobcats 2-1 The first winning record in franchise history is nice. Nice, though, could (and should) be even nicer: Bobcats blew a 3-0 start with that giveaway in Chicago.
23 (21) Bulls 1-1 They will not start 0-9 again, but that's all we know for sure. It's too soon to know whether to focus on the big deficit or the big comeback vs. Charlotte.
24 (19) 76ers 1-3 Sixers can only hope Dalembert is an All-World defender. Because they're giving up 111 ppg without him, even after winning in Indy.
25 (23) Celtics 1-2 They've been to OT twice already and lost another game at the buzzer. So they're young and exciting, at least for starters.
26 (28) Trail Blazers 1-2 The good news: Blazers' next road game isn't until Nov. 20. The bad news: Blazers are scoring just a basket more per game than Orlando.
27 (20) Knicks 0-3 With an 0-3 start and the next six games on the road out West, is it too early to say Larry misses Pistons more than they miss him?
28 (25) Magic 0-3 Winning without Grant Hill is obviously a problem, but the first step is learning how to score without Grant Hill. Magic are at a measly 80.7 ppg so far.
29 (27) Hawks 0-3 Three roadies out West -- two routs and a one-point defeat -- add up to a tough first assignment for young, mourning Hawks.
30 (30) Raptors 0-3 Interesting. Now that the games have started, I haven't been getting as many ''You're crazy to put Toronto that low'' e-mails.
"We would have two less championships here if it wasn't for Manu Ginobili," Popovich said. "In my book, Manu Ginobili is the stud of the world.
This... is... SPURTA!!!
This should be the greatest season in Bobcats franchise history.
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