17 Jan

Damian Lillard’s heroics power Bucks’ jump, red-hot Jazz climb as Knicks tumble

What a difference a week makes. This time seven days ago we were asking what was wrong with the Milwaukee Bucks, who, at the time, looked to be in an absolute free fall. Well, when you have two of the best players to ever lace them up, things tend to get remedied pretty quickly.

Behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, the Bucks jumped an unprecedented 13 spots to take the crown in this week’s NBA Power Rankings. They drubbed the previous No. 1 Boston Celtics to start the week, then Lillard put the icing on the cake with a deep, game-winning 3-pointer to beat the Kings in overtime.

The Celtics didn’t fall far, landing at No. 2. But the big surprise in the top five is the presence of the red-hot Utah Jazz, who are absolutely clobbering everyone in their path. They jumped 12 spots to No. 5 thanks to four more wins, including one over the defending champion Nuggets.

We can’t talk about risers without talking about fallers, and that’s where the New York Knicks come in. It wasn’t a horrible week by any stretch, but they dropped 10 spots as they came back down to earth following the OG Anunoby trade.

The other big news this week is that the Detroit Pistons are no longer in the cellar. Another win means that they climb ahead of the Wizards, Blazers and Hornets into relatively rarified air. Breathe it in, Detroit.

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