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NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant can't keep Lakers from dropping

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

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Kobe Bryant is working his way back into form from his Achilles injury. (Getty Images)

1. Indiana Pacers (20-3; last week's ranking: 1): Danny Granger's return is on hold while he regains his conditioning and timing.

2. Portland Trail Blazers (21-4; last week's ranking: 2): Portland has won four straight games and eight of its past 10. Damian Lillard takes on Cleveland's Kyrie Irving on Tuesday.

Oklahoma City
3. Oklahoma City Thunder 19-4; last week's ranking: 4): The Thunder have now won six straight games and nine of the past 10. A big showdown with the Spurs in San Antonio awaits on Saturday.

San Antonio
4. San Antonio Spurs (19-4; last week's ranking: 5): Four-game win streak will be challenged with road games at Clippers, Phoenix and Golden State – before the Thunder visit.

5. Miami Heat (17-6; last week's ranking: 3): The Heat will look to avenge their loss to the Pacers last week when the teams meet Wednesday in Miami. The Heat will need to better adjust to Indiana's size.

Los Angeles
6. Los Angeles Clippers (16-9; last week's ranking: 9): Former Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson faces his old team for the first time on Monday. The Spurs released Jackson late last season.

7. Houston Rockets (16-9; last week's ranking: 6): Is Omer Asik on the move? He's declining to answer questions about his trade request.

8. Denver Nuggets (14-9; last week's ranking: 8): The Nuggets face tough tests against Oklahoma City, Phoenix, the Clippers and Golden State.

9. Dallas Mavericks (14-10; last week's ranking: 10): As odd as it sounds, the Mavs appear to favor using Monta Ellis to take the big shot at the end of games rather than Dirk Nowitzki.

10. Phoenix Suns (14-9; last week's ranking: 12): The surprising Suns have won five straight games. Streak will be challenged on Wednesday when Spurs come to town.

Golden State
11. Golden State Warriors (13-12; last week's ranking: 7): The Warriors are 5-7 without Andre Iguodala (hamstring). Losing veteran Jermaine O'Neal to a hand injury also hurt depth.

12. Minnesota Timberwolves (12-12; last week's ranking: 14): Minnesota has won three of its past four. Kevin Love has averaged 31 points during that stretch, including a 42-point performance against San Antonio.

New Orleans
13. New Orleans Pelicans (11-11; last week's ranking: 18): The Pelicans are holding out hope injured forward Anthony Davis (broken hand) will be back around Christmas, a source said.

Los Angeles
14. Los Angeles Lakers (11-12; last week's ranking: 11): Lakers point guard Kobe Bryant is averaging career-highs of seven assists and 6.3 turnovers through his first four games.

15. Memphis Grizzlies (10-13; last week's ranking: 13): Without Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies have dropped three straight games and five of the past six. Memphis now has the West's third-worst record.

16. Atlanta Hawks (12-12; last week's ranking: 15): Rookie point guard Dennis Schroeder is averaging 16.2 points, 6.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in five games for D-League Bakersfield Jam.

17. Boston Celtics (11-14; last week's ranking: 17): Guard Rajon Rondo (knee surgery) recently returned to practice. When he plays in a game is his sole decision based on his comfort level, a source said.

18. Detroit Pistons (11-14; last week's ranking: 16): Detroit has dropped four of its past five games after winning four straight. It doesn't get any easier against Indiana on Monday.

19. Chicago Bulls (9-13; last week's ranking: 19): Point guard D.J. Augustin had five points and six assists in his Bulls debut in a loss against the Toronto team that cut him.

20. Toronto Raptors (9-13; last week's ranking: 22): The Raptors have won three of four games since Rudy Gay was traded to Sacramento. Point guard Kyle Lowry expected to be dealt next.

21. Washington Wizards (9-13; last week's ranking: 20): The Wizards have lost four straight and seven in a row when Nene doesn't play. Washington is 3-24 without Nene since last season.

22. Charlotte Bobcats (10-14; last week's ranking: 21): Charlotte has dropped three straight games and seven of its past 10. The Bobcats are averaging just 90.4 points and 4.4 made 3-pointers.

23. Sacramento Kings (7-15; last week's ranking: 23): Rudy Gay received a standing ovation from the crowd and a hug from DeMarcus Cousins after scoring 26 in his home debut in a win over Houston on Sunday.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-14; last week's ranking: 24): After a hot stretch, center Andrew Bynum has cooled of late, averaging just three points and 4.6 rebounds over the past three games.

25. Brooklyn Nets (8-15; last week's ranking: 26): Brook Lopez is questionable against the Sixers on Monday with an ankle sprain. He missed seven games last month with an ankle injury.

26. Utah Jazz (6-20; last week's ranking: 29): The Jazz lost rookie Trey Burke's debut as a starter to fall to 1-14, but have gone 5-6 since while he's averaged 14.8 points and 5.6 assists.

New York
27. New York Knicks (7-16; last week's ranking: 27): The Knicks are adamant about not trading any more first-round picks in future trades, a source said.

28. Orlando Magic (7-17; last week's ranking: 28): Orlando has lost 11 of its 13 road games. After playing at Chicago on Monday, the Magic will play their next six games at home.

29. Philadelphia 76ers (7-18, last week's ranking: 25): The Sixers have lost six in a row and own the NBA's worst road record at 1-10. Philadelphia has also lost nine of its past 10 games.

30. Milwaukee Bucks (5-19; last week's ranking: 30): The Bucks have dropped three straight games. The Bucks are the only NBA team averaging less than 90 points per game at 89.8.


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