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NBA Power Rankings: Bucks Retain Top Spot, Rockets Climb

The Milwaukee Bucks continued to assert themselves as the best team in the NBA, while the powerhouse Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors have slid throughout the past week.

There weren't too many drastic changes in this week's power rankings. Same No. 1, and the bottom five remained the same. Here's a look at where all 30 teams stand as the first week of the new years draws to a close.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-31)

Eight straight losses for the worst team in basketball now. And they're not interested in trading Kevin Love? This is not exactly the most inspiring of rebuilds. It's gonna be a long second half for Cleveland fans.

29. Phoenix Suns (9-31)

Five straight losses for the worst team in the Western Conference. Again, the positive is that they're in line to secure either Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett in the upcoming draft.

28. New York Knicks (10-29)

The Knicks have gone a horrible 2-8 over their last 10 games, but they left the Staples Center with a 119-112 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.That was one highlight in what's been a dismal season.

27. Chicago Bulls (10-29)

Make that three straight losses for the Bulls, who narrowly lost to the red hot Indiana Pacers at home on Friday. But hey, any loss increases their chances at wining the draft lottery.

26. Atlanta Hawks (11-27)

That's now three straight losses for the Hawks, who are in a tight five-way race for the best draft lottery odds. It absolutely bears watching, if you're a disgruntled Atlanta fan.

25. Washington Wizards (15-24)

Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What else can we say? This painful season cannot end soon enough. John Wall is done for the season, which destroys any chance they had at making the playoffs. At least the Capitals won the Stanley Cup last year?

24. Orlando Magic (17-21)

Well, they're barely hanging on in the playoff race, but that was one ugly loss in Minnesota on Friday night. The Magic are sliding after a promising start to the season. Can Aaron Gordon and co. turn this thing around before they slide even more?

23. New Orleans Pelicans (17-22)

The Pelicans have now lost seven of their last 10 games and are rapidly falling out of the playoff race. There isn't much reason to be optimistic about a turnaround, which only increases the chances of Anthony Davis getting trade soon.

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22. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-21)

The Timberwolves need to find some momentum if they're going to make the playoffs. The Jimmy Butler trade showed promise early, but neither the offense nor defense have been able to produce as of late. There's little reason to believe a turnaround is in order.

21. Brooklyn Nets (19-21)

The Nets have won seven of their last 10 games now, including their last two. At this rate, there's every reason to believe they'll find a way to sneak into the playoffs.

20.Detroit Pistons (17-19)

The Pistons have dropped four of their last six, but they escaped Memphis with a 104-94 victory on Wednesday. They're in contention for one of the final playoff spots in the East, which gives the front office good reason to trade for reinforcements.

19. Utah Jazz (19-20)

The Jazz took care of business on the road with an easy 117-91 win against the Cavaliers on Friday. They'll finish up this trip with stops in Detroit and Milwaukee. They have to start piecing together some wins soon, as other non-playoff teams in the West start to heat up.

18. Memphis Grizzlies (18-20)

Well, that surprising start to the season was fun while it lasted. But the inevitable unraveling has begun. Expect the Grizzlies to keep falling down in the Western Conference standings.

17. Charlotte Hornets (18-19)

A brutal six-game Western Conference road trip could make or break Charlotte's season. The front office has yet to add any pieces to complement Kemba Walker. If this trip doesn't go well, they might have to swing a trade or two.

16. Dallas Mavericks (18-20)

Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that Luka Doncic should win the Rookie of the Year award, but the Mavs aren't getting much out of their veteran players. That's worrisome for a team that had playoff aspirations.

15. Sacramento Kings (19-19)

The Kings have now dropped three straight games, and they're starting to slip after an excellent first half. One of the early feel-good stories may be no more. The youngsters have to change that.

14. Miami Heat (19-18)

The Heat have been one of the hottest teams over the past two weeks, pun intended. They've now won eight of their last 10 games. You wonder if they're prepared for some big moves at the deadline to enhance a playoff push.

13. Los Angeles Lakers (21-18)

It's been a struggle without LeBron James, to say he least. be fine when he returns, which should happen within the next week or two.

12. Los Angeles Clippers (22-16)

Remember when they were vying for the top seed in the West for a while? Well, the Clippers still look poised to make the playoffs after missing it last season. And remember, they're set to land one or two premier free agents this summer.

11. Portland Trail Blazers (22-17)

A crucial four-game homestand looms for Portland, including a contest with the surging Houston Rockets. Portland will be looking to rebound after a close home loss to Oklahoma City on Friday.

10. San Antonio Spurs (22-17)

Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

That blowout win over the Toronto Raptors to spoil Kawhi Leonard's return had to feel special. DeMar DeRozan fittingly had his first career triple-double. Oh, and the surging Spurs have won three straight. All is well again.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (25-14)

The 76ers haven't been playing their best as of late, but they remain a top threat to win the East. But Jimmy Butler's recent clash with head coach Brett Brown is the last thing this team needs. They better work out the differences soon.

8. Boston Celtics (23-15)

The Celtics are starting to find some consistency, and Gordon Hayward enjoyed a breakout performance against Minnesota on Wednesday. With a soft schedule coming up, Boston should challenge for the top seed again.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-13)

The Thunder just keep on rolling. They picked up their third straight victory in Portland on Sunday, and OKC has won seven of their last 10 overall. They're a legitimate threat to dethrone Golden State in the West.

6. Golden State Warriors (25-14)

That was one ugly meltdown against the Rockets on Thursday. Even though the Warriors haven't dominated much in the first half, everybody knows they'll probably win the championship anyway. No need to worry, Warrior fans.

5. Houston Rockets (22-15)

Unbelievable. James Harden hit a dagger three-pointer against the Warriors with one second left on Thursday, leading the Rockets to their biggest win of the season. Six straight W's. Victorious in nine of their last 10. They're back, folks.

4. Toronto Raptors (28-12)

Injuries to the likes of Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry haven't helped, but Toronto has been exposed big time as of late. That was one awful performance in San Antonio on Thursday. They cannot get healthy soon enough.

3. Indiana Pacers (26-12)

No team has been hotter than the Pacers, who have now picked up six straight wins. This team is inching closer to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Who saw that coming?

2. Denver Nuggets (25-11)

Nobody thought the Nuggets would be the top team in the West at this stage of the season. But with a high-powered offense led by Jamal Murray, the Nuggets are looking like a legitimate championship contender right now.

1. Milwaukee Bucks (27-10)

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They have the best record in the NBA, and the Bucks have certainly played like the team to beat up to this point. Giannis Antetokounmpo has to be considered a favorite for the MVP award. What a time it's been in Milwaukee thus far.

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