Power Rankings

Power Rankings, Week 4: Celtics grab No. 1 spot, Lakers rise and Sixers fall

Boston jumps to the top spot despite an injury to Gordon Hayward

Injuries derailing the season of a team or individual is nothing new. So far this season, it’s been hand injuries – those of Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry and Gordon Hayward – that have been the most significant, though the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics should be able to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference more than the Golden State Warriors have been able to do in the West.

What’s new is the 25-game suspensions – those of Wilson Chandler and especially DeAndre Ayton and John Collins – that have seemingly come out of nowhere to take a player away for nearly a third of the season. This should have been a big year of development for both Ayton and Collins, and maybe it still could be. But losing 25 games to an off-the-floor mistake is a significant setback for two of the league’s most promising young big men.

Dion Waiters’ 10-game team suspension is another story, not that significant in regard to the standings, but still a setback for a guy who has played just 120 games in his three-plus seasons in Miami.

Plus-Minus Players of the Week

Teams of the Week

  • Make It Last Forever: Denver (3-0) — It wasn’t pretty, but the Nuggets beat three teams – Miami, Philadelphia and Minnesota – that were ranked in the top seven last week.
  • Something Just Ain’t Right: Atlanta (1-3) — (Every team won at least one game last week.) The Hawks beat the Spurs on Tuesday and began their five-game trip by taking the Blazers to overtime on Sunday. But in between, they lost at home to Chicago and Sacramento by a total of 32 points.

East vs. West

Schedule strength through Week 3

  • Toughest: 1. New Orleans, 2. Milwaukee, 3. Memphis
  • Easiest: 1. Dallas, 2. Houston, 3. Indiana
  • Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.

Movement in the Rankings

  • High jumps of the week: Cleveland (+7), Four teams (+4)
  • Free falls of the week: Philadelphia (-9), Atlanta (-6), Minnesota (-6)

Week 4 Team to Watch

  • Dallas — Kristaps Porzingis makes his return to Madison Square Garden on Thursday, and that game is sandwiched by games against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Mavs visit Boston on Monday and host the Raptors on Saturday.


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Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)

OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)

DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)

NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league has averaged 102.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.5 points scored per 100 possessions this season.

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NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

Last Week:4

Record: 7-1

Pace: 102.6 (17) OffRtg: 110.4 (5) DefRtg: 101.1 (5) NetRtg: +9.3 (1)

In regard to the 82-game season, the timing of Gordon Hayward's injury (he fractured his left hand in the second quarter of the Celtics' win in San Antonio on Saturday) was OK; It's early. But in regard to the way Hayward was playing, the timing was terrible. He had averaged 23.3 points (on 63% shooting), nine rebounds and 6.3 assists (with just 1.5 turnovers) over his previous four games, and he was a big reason why the Celtics have seen the league's second biggest jump in the percentage of their shots that have come from the restricted area, from 29% (27th highest) last season to 33% (12th highest) this season. Hayward has seen a jump from 26% to 35% himself and leads the team with 27 buckets in the restricted area, having shown tremendous control with his attacks of the paint. After that opening-night clunker in Philly, the Cs have won seven straight, and after a quick, two-game homestand, they're back on the road for a five-game trip out West.

Week 4: vs. DAL, vs. WAS, @ GSW, @ SAC

Last Week:3

Record: 7-2

Pace: 101.2 (21) OffRtg: 105.5 (20) DefRtg: 98.1 (2) NetRtg: +7.4 (3)

The Lakers' loss to the shorthanded Raptors on Sunday was their worst defensive game (Toronto scored 113 points on 101 possessions) since their opening-night loss to the Clippers. But maybe it puts the spotlight back on an offense that ranks 20th in the league, even though LeBron James is averaging a career-high 11.0 assists with his lowest turnover ratio (9.8 per 100 possessions) of the last seven seasons. They rank second in field goal percentage in the paint (61%), but rank 21st in the percentage of their shots that have come from the paint (48%) and 28th in effective field percentage on shots from outside it (43%). The issue on the perimeter is partly because they haven't shot well and partly because their ratio of 3-point attempts to mid-range attempts (1.7) is the third lowest in the league. Anthony Davis ranks 31st in mid-range field goal percentage (34.9%) among 33 players with at least 25 attempts.

Week 4: @ PHX, vs. GSW, vs. SAC, vs. ATL

Last Week:6

Record: 7-3

Pace: 107.5 (3) OffRtg: 110.4 (4) DefRtg: 102.9 (9) NetRtg: +7.6 (2)

Overall, the Bucks haven't been as dominant as they were in their first 10 games last season (7-3, plus-12.1 points per 100 possessions). But they've been close (plus-11.7 per 100) as they've won five of their last six games (in the middle of a road-heavy stretch), with the only loss coming at the buzzer in Utah (after the Bucks came back from 22 down). They got to play the Wolves without Karl-Anthony Towns and the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard last week and they now have a few days off (before playing the Bulls on Thursday) to allow Khris Middleton (who suffered a thigh bruise on Sunday) to heal. Middleton has had a few rough shooting nights over the last couple of weeks, but Eric Bledsoe is having one of his best stretches in Milwaukee. He has four straight games of 20 or more points (with an effective field goal percentage of 60% over the four games) for the first time in his two-plus seasons with the Bucks.


Week 4: vs. CHI, @ IND

Last Week:8

Record: 7-2

Pace: 97.3 (30) OffRtg: 103.7 (23) DefRtg: 101.0 (4) NetRtg: +2.7 (12)

Nikola Jokic's scoring, shooting and rebounding numbers are all down from last season, when he got to the basket a lot more than he has this year. But the big man is the biggest reason the Nuggets are 6-1 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, having shot 12-for-20 with six offensive rebounds and eight assists in the clutch. And on the tail ends of a huge comeback (the Nuggets trailed by 21 points in the fourth quarter) against Philly and an epic collapse (they were outscored 16-0 over the final 6:43 of regulation) in Minnesota, Jokic hit two rainbow game-winners (one, two) against two of the league's other elite centers. The Nuggets have the No. 1 defense in November, having allowed just 93.2 points per 100 possessions over their four-game winning streak, though Brooklyn (on Thursday) will be the first top-15 offense that they face this month.


Week 4: vs. ATL, vs. BKN, @ MEM

Last Week:2

Record: 6-3

Pace: 103.1 (16) OffRtg: 110.3 (6) DefRtg: 105.6 (14) NetRtg: +4.7 (7)

The Clippers have allowed less than a point per possession in the last four games that Kawhi Leonard has played and less than 90 per 100 in his 131 minutes on the floor over that stretch. The defense has helped make up for an offense that, after a hot start to the season, has scored just 103.3 per 100, with their regular starters having shot 19-for-77 (25%) from 3-point range, over the last five games. They're 0-2 (and have allowed 110 points per 100 possessions in the two games) without Leonard, but everything starts over this week, because Paul George appears set to make his Clippers debut at some point in the next seven days. They have a third straight Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back (at Houston and at New Orleans), but going forward, they can have one All-NBA forward in the lineup when they're resting the other.

Week 4: vs. TOR, @ HOU, @ NOP, vs. ATL

Last Week:10

Record: 7-2

Pace: 103.7 (11) OffRtg: 109.6 (8) DefRtg: 102.8 (8) NetRtg: +6.9 (5)

Nick Nurse has had a tough time trusting anybody beyond his top seven guys, and then he lost two of his top seven guys - Kyle Lowry (fractured thumb) and Serge Ibaka (sprained ankle) to injuries on Friday. So there Nurse was playing Chris Boucher, Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Matt Thomas in the fourth quarter of a close game in L.A. on Sunday. And of course, those four guys combined for 24 of the team's 35 fourth-quarter points as the champs pulled off what was clearly their best win of the season. In fact, each of their other six wins have come against teams that are no better than 4-6. The relatively weak schedule could be a reason why Toronto opponents have barely shot 50% in the restricted area, with Ibaka ranking as the league's best rim protector. But on Sunday (with no Ibaka), the Lakers (20-for-34, 59%) shot well below their league-best mark of 72%. More bench contributions will be needed as the Raptors' reunion tour continues with a game against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Monday (10:30 ET, NBA TV).

Week 4: @ LAC, @ POR, @ DAL

Last Week:11

Record: 6-3

Pace: 99.4 (27) OffRtg: 101.5 (27) DefRtg: 97.8 (1) NetRtg: +3.7 (11)

Going back to March, the Jazz have won 13 straight regular season games at home, where they picked up wins over the Sixers and Bucks last week, holding the latter (and their fourth-ranked offense) to their worst offensive output (100 points on 107 possessions) in the last 52 regular season games in which Giannis Antetokounmpo has played, though still needing Bojan Bogdanovic's buzzer-beating three to win. The two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year is the anchor, but the Jazz's defense has been strongest on the perimeter. They're in the top six in opponent 3-point percentage (30.6%, fifth), the (lowest) percentage of opponent shots that have come from 3-point range (34%, sixth), and the (lowest) percentage of their opponents 3-point attempts that have come from the corners (16%, second), having allowed just nine corner threes in nine games. The team - Brooklyn - that ranks third in 3-point percentage is in Utah (and will have a rest advantage) on Tuesday.


Week 4: @ GSW, vs. BKN, @ MEM

Last Week:5

Record: 6-3

Pace: 103.7 (12) OffRtg: 105.8 (19) DefRtg: 100.6 (3) NetRtg: +5.2 (6)

On Thursday in Phoenix, a couple of Heat players had scoring stretches that you might never see again; Jimmy Butler dropped 30 points in the first half and Goran Dragic had 20 in six-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters. Miami is 6-0 when it has scored at least 105 points per 100 possessions. But the offense was otherwise ugly on their three-game trip, shooting 15-for-64 (23%) from 3-point range in losses to the Nuggets and Lakers. The Heat are still one of five teams that rank in the top 10 in both 3-point percentage (37.8%, fifth) and the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range (39%, 10th). Though their schedule is still road-heavy through the first few days of December, they play their next five games against teams with a cumulative record of 17-30 and three of their next four at home, where they're 3-0 and where Dragic, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are a combined 24-for-46 (52%) from beyond the arc.

Week 4: vs. DET, @ CLE, vs. NOP

Last Week:12

Record: 6-3

Pace: 104.0 (9) OffRtg: 110.9 (3) DefRtg: 103.7 (11) NetRtg: +7.2 (4)

Overall, Ricky Rubio hasn't shot particularly well; His effective field goal percentage of 46.6% ranks 166th among 214 players who have taken at least 50 shots. But the World Cup MVP totaled 43 points, 22 assists and just one turnover in wins over Philadelphia and Brooklyn last week, pushing the Suns into the top three in offensive efficiency. The win over Philly was about the finish, with Devin Booker scoring or assisting on 11 straight points down the stretch. The win over Brooklyn was about a 32-13 start in which the Suns made 10 straight shots. They've been the league's best first-quarter team (plus-16.7 points per 100 possessions) and their starting lineup has outscored its opponents by 19.1 per 100 in its 107 total minutes together. Only four teams (three of them bottom-10 defenses) have allowed their opponents to take a greater percentage of their shots in the restricted area, but the Suns' defense slipped out of the top 10 when they allowed Miami to shoot 15-for-28 from beyond the arc on Thursday. They're halfway through a six-game, 15-day homestand, with the Lakers and Celtics coming to Phoenix in the next eight days.

Week 4: vs. LAL, vs. ATL

Last Week:1

Record: 6-3

Pace: 103.9 (10) OffRtg: 106.6 (16) DefRtg: 102.4 (7) NetRtg: +4.3 (9)

The Sixers' perfect 5-0 record quickly turned to 5-3 with three losses by a total of 10 points out West. Turnovers have been a problem in every season under Brett Brown, the Sixers rank 30th in turnover rate (18.0 per 100 possessions) once again, and with the score within five points in the last five minutes of those three losses, they had more turnovers (seven) than field goals (five). The toughest one (deemed incorrect by the Last Two Minute Report) was the offensive foul called on Joel Embiid as the Sixers tried to get him the ball with 1.2 seconds left in Denver on Friday. Though Ben Simmons is out with a sprained shoulder, Josh Richardson, who had played 45 minutes at the point through Wednesday (with the Sixers scoring less than a point per possession in those minutes), hasn't played any point guard over the last two games. Raul Neto has been the starter and Trey Burke has seen his first playing time of the season. The Sixers' win over Charlotte on Sunday (in which Burke scored 12 points in 19 minutes) was the first of six straight games against teams that currently have losing records.

Week 4: vs. CLE, @ ORL, @ OKC, @ CLE

Last Week:9

Record: 6-3

Pace: 101.9 (19) OffRtg: 112.8 (1) DefRtg: 108.5 (18) NetRtg: +4.3 (8)

You would think that the league's No. 1 offense would win the game (against a team that was 1-7) in which its two stars had their highest combined scoring output of the season. But on Friday, the Mavs didn't get much beyond the 66 points they got from Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in what was a rare game in which their bench let them down and, statistically, the Knicks' best defensive performance of the season. Doncic's evolution into a superstar has him close to averaging a triple-double (27.7, 10.8 and 9.1) and seeing an increase in efficiency, even though he has shot just 32% from 3-point range. He has shot much better in the paint and at the line and he has increased his ratio of 3-point attempts to mid-range attempts from 3.9 as a rookie to 9.8 this season. The Mavs get another chance against the Knicks and Porzingis makes his return to Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Week 4: @ BOS, @ NYK, vs. TOR

Last Week:15

Record: 6-3

Pace: 107.7 (1) OffRtg: 111.7 (2) DefRtg: 110.1 (22) NetRtg: +1.6 (14)

Only two of the Rockets' nine games (two of their three losses) have come against teams that currently have winning records. They took advantage of a soft schedule last week (playing the Grizzlies, Warriors and Bulls) to put together their second three-game winning streak, and they visit the 2-7 Pelicans on Monday. But then it's time to really see what they're made of. Their game against the Clippers on Wednesday is the start of a stretch where they play 10 of 12 games against teams currently with winning records. The Rockets' starting lineup has outscored its opponents by more than 25 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among 17 lineups that have played at least 75 minutes. But in a 23-point win over the Bulls on Saturday, Mike D'Antoni didn't play a ninth guy until late, and Clint Capela played more than 41 minutes. James Harden's minutes are down a bit from last season, though his usage rate is somehow higher.

Week 4: @ NOP, vs. LAC, vs. IND, @ MIN

Last Week:7

Record: 5-4

Pace: 107.7 (2) OffRtg: 103.9 (22) DefRtg: 104.6 (12) NetRtg: -0.7 (17)

The Wolves have lost three of their last four games, and they needed to come back from six points down with 3:30 left to pick up the only win - against the Warriors, at home, and in overtime - in that stretch. Defense was obviously the issue in a 137-121 loss (to the league's 28th-ranked offense) in Memphis, but, playing without a point guard (both Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier have been out), their offense struggled over the weekend, shooting a brutal 15-for-81 from 3-point range. After registering a minus-21 in less than 21 minutes in his first start at Memphis on Wednesday, Josh Okogie came off the bench on Friday and Sunday. But he was on the floor and combined with Robert Covington to make several big defensive plays down the stretch of the two overtime games. The Wolves have allowed less than a point per possession in 79 total minutes with Okogie and Covington on the floor together.

Week 4: @ DET, vs. SAS, vs. WAS, vs. HOU

Last Week:13

Record: 5-4

Pace: 103.2 (14) OffRtg: 109.3 (9) DefRtg: 108.9 (20) NetRtg: +0.4 (15)

The Spurs are a picture of inconsistency on both ends of the floor. Given their reliance on jump shots (a league-low 27% of their field goal attempts have come in the restricted area), some inconsistency on offense is to be expected, though it's wild that LaMarcus Aldridge only took four shots (with one trip to the line) two nights after scoring 39 points, and it doesn't help that Marco Belinelli (effective field goal percentage of 32% - second worst among 214 players who have taken at least 50 shots) can't seem to shoot straight. Defensively, they rank 29th in opponent turnover rate (12.7 per 100 possessions) and 30th in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (69.7%), and they're trending in the wrong direction, though they face three bottom-10 offenses this week.


Week 4: vs. MEM, @ MIN, @ ORL, vs. POR

Last Week:18

Record: 6-4

Pace: 99.9 (25) OffRtg: 108.5 (11) DefRtg: 104.7 (13) NetRtg: +3.8 (10)

The return of Domantas Sabonis, along with Aaron Holiday replacing the injured Jeremy Lamb in the starting lineup, has sparked a three-game winning streak in which the Pacers have scored 118 points per 100 possessions and in which the starting lineup has allowed less than 94 per 100. They've made just 25 3-pointers over the three games and attempted just five free throws in Orlando on Sunday, but they've shot 53% from mid-range (where only the Spurs have taken a greater percentage of their shots) and have registered an assist/turnover ratio of 2.54. Of course, the context must again be mentioned - All 10 of the Pacers' games have come against teams that currently have losing records. They host the 4-6 Thunder on Tuesday, and then finally play a couple of games against teams that have been good (though the Rockets have had a similarly easy schedule).

Week 4: vs. OKC, @ HOU, vs. MIL

Last Week:17

Record: 4-6

Pace: 102.4 (18) OffRtg: 104.9 (21) DefRtg: 103.0 (10) NetRtg: +1.9 (13)

The Thunder have remained competitive, though that might not get you much in the Western Conference. Eight of their 10 games and five of their six losses (including a tough one after a wild comeback against Milwaukee on Sunday) have been within five points in the last five minutes. Their offense has been trending in the right direction. After scoring 98.2 points per 100 possessions in their five games in October, they've scored 111.1 per 100 in their five games in November, with a jump (from 49% to 62%) in the percentage of their buckets that have been assisted and with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaging 20.4 points on an effective field goal percentage of 58% this month. But their defense, which has allowed more than 112 points per 100 possessions in 120 total minutes with their two most-used lineups (with Steven Adams or Nerlens Noel at center) on the floor, could be slipping out of the top 10. One reason they're 3-5 in clutch games is that their opponents have shot 21-for-37 (57%) with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Week 4: @ IND, vs. PHI

Last Week:14

Record: 4-6

Pace: 104.2 (8) OffRtg: 108.6 (10) DefRtg: 108.6 (19) NetRtg: -0.1 (16)

With Damian Lillard averaging 36.8 points on an effective field goal percentage of 65%, the Blazers have a top-five offense (112.5 points scored per 100 possessions) in November. But the month began with a four-game losing streak, because their defense has not been good, especially in regard to keeping their opponent off the glass. They rank last in defensive rebounding percentage this month (that number has been worse with Hassan Whiteside on the floor than its been with him off the floor) and their opponents averaged 21.3 second chance points over the losing streak. On Friday, Lillard's 60 piece was undone by 67 from Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyrie Irving, along with 26 second chance points from other guys on the Brooklyn roster. The Blazers stopped the bleeding with an overtime win over Atlanta on Sunday and, with that being their first home win of the season, maybe it's good that one of the two six-game trips they have this season begins Saturday in San Antonio.

Week 4: @ SAC, vs. TOR, @ SAS

Last Week:25

Record: 4-5

Pace: 101.0 (22) OffRtg: 106.1 (18) DefRtg: 106.9 (17) NetRtg: -0.9 (18)

Perhaps the Cavs aren't bad? They hung around with the Celtics on Tuesday (and would have had a chance to tie if Cedi Osman didn't stand around as his man grabbed an offensive rebound and sealed the game) before picking up a pair of comfortable road wins (in which they never trailed) over the weekend. Darius Garland had his best game (15 points and six assists) in Washington on Friday and Collin Sexton dropped a career-high 31 points in New York on Sunday. Though Kevin Love continues to take a back seat in the offense, the Cavs' starting lineup has outscored its opponents by 16.1 points per 100 possessions in its 142 minutes together. The flip side of that is that the Cavs have been outscored by 9.5 points per 100 possessions in 290 minutes with at least one reserve on the floor.

Week 4: @ PHI, vs. MIA, vs. PHI

Last Week:16

Record: 4-6

Pace: 100.6 (24) OffRtg: 107.9 (14) DefRtg: 110.7 (24) NetRtg: -2.9 (21)

Blake Griffin could make his season debut against Minnesota on Monday, and given the health of the Pistons' backcourt (though both Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier could return this week as well), they need Griffin for his playmaking as much as anything. A perfect shooting night (9-for-9, including 6-for-6 from 3-point range) from Tony Snell against the Knicks on Wednesday sparked the Pistons' best offensive performance of the season, but their loss in Indiana on Friday (in which they scored just 37 points over the middle two quarters) was a return to reality and the first of three straight games against better-than-average defenses. They lead the league in 3-point percentage (39.6%), but have seen the league's biggest drop in the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range, from 39.4% (sixth) last season to 33.7% (24th) this season. Griffin not only led the Pistons with 189 3-pointers last season, but he also ranked eighth in the league with 203 assists on threes.

Week 4: vs. MIN, @ MIA, @ CHA

Last Week:20

Record: 4-5

Pace: 106.5 (5) OffRtg: 110.1 (7) DefRtg: 111.5 (26) NetRtg: -1.4 (20)

The Nets' 3-point shooting - a league-best 40.5% through Saturday - came back to earth in Phoenix on Sunday, when an 8-for-34 performance from beyond the arc got them blown out as they allowed more than 110 points per 100 possessions for the sixth time in their last seven games. For the third straight season, they are in the top three in regard to the (lowest) percentage of their opponents' shots that have come from the restricted area or 3-point range. But their defense doesn't have much bite outside the paint, ranking dead last in opponent turnover rate (for the second time in the last three seasons) and in the bottom six in opponent mid-range field goal percentage (43%, 25th), corner 3-point percentage (42%, 25th) and above-the-break 3-point percentage (38%, 28th). After facing two top-10 offenses to start their five-game trip, they finish it with three offenses currently in the bottom 10.

Week 4: @ UTA, @ DEN, @ CHI

Last Week:19

Record: 3-7

Pace: 98.3 (29) OffRtg: 99.8 (29) DefRtg: 101.1 (6) NetRtg: -1.3 (19)

The Magic had a 72-minute stretch of efficient offense, clobbering the Grizzlies on Friday and then scoring 60 first-half points against Indiana two nights later. But they returned to form in the second half on Sunday, scoring just 42 points (on 36% shooting) and blowing what was a 13-point lead. That tied the Magic (3-4) with Chicago (2-4) for the most losses after leading by double-digits. Turnovers haven't really been the issue with the league's 29th-ranked offense - the Magic rank third with just 13.4 turnovers per 100 possessions - but with multiple opportunities to win their game in Dallas on Wednesday, Aaron Gordon committed two offensive fouls in the final 35 seconds before Nikola Vucevic missed a good look at a three for the win. Both Vucevic (9-for-37) and Terrence Ross (6-for-28) rank in the bottom six in catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage among 109 players with at least 25 attempts.

Week 4: vs. PHI, vs. SAS, vs. WAS

Last Week:22

Record: 4-6

Pace: 101.4 (20) OffRtg: 103.2 (24) DefRtg: 110.5 (23) NetRtg: -7.3 (27)

It's kind of remarkable that the Hornets are 4-6, because they've trailed all 10 of their games by double-digits. They've lost the first quarter in eight straight and their starting lineup has been more than twice as bad (minus-29.6 points per 100 possessions) as any other lineup that has played at least 50 minutes. Devonte' Graham has been the biggest reason they've been able to come back from some of those deficits. He had 35 points and the game-winning free throws as the Hornets came back from 19 down against Indiana on Tuesday, and he totaled 43 points and 20 assists as they kept things close against New Orleans and Philadelphia over the weekend. The other reserves haven't been as consistent, but Bismack Biyombo, Cody Martin and Malik Monk all had their moments last week.

Week 4: vs. MEM, vs. DET, @ NYK

Last Week:27

Record: 3-6

Pace: 99.3 (28) OffRtg: 106.4 (17) DefRtg: 112.1 (27) NetRtg: -5.7 (26)

Though they're still playing slow (they've seen the league's biggest drop in pace from last season), the Kings' offense has kicked in, scoring almost 122 points per 100 possessions (and shooting 46% from 3-point range) over a three-game trip in which they beat the Knicks and Hawks handily and were competitive in Toronto. Their starting lineup - with Richaun Holmes in place of the injured Marvin Bagley - has scored 124 per 100 (the second best mark among 17 lineups that have played at least 75 minutes) and their bench had itself a strong trip, featuring a couple of big games from Bogdan Bogdanovic. After almost blowing a 21-point lead on Friday, they put the Hawks away with a 22-5, fourth-quarter run with Holmes, Harrison Barnes, and three perimeter reserves on the floor. The newly-improved offense will face two top-five defenses - those of the Lakers and Celtics - this week.

Week 4: vs. POR, @ LAL, vs. BOS

Last Week:24

Record: 2-7

Pace: 106.9 (4) OffRtg: 108.3 (13) DefRtg: 113.3 (29) NetRtg: -4.9 (25)

After dropping a career-high 40 points in Brooklyn on Monday and following that up with 52 total against Toronto and Charlotte, Brandon Ingram is looking like a Most Improved candidate, though it will be interesting to see if his perimeter shooting numbers hold up over the course of the season. Though his long strides and Eurostep still allow him to get to the rim, he's seen a big drop in the percentage of his shots that have in the paint (from 62% last season to 52% this season). But he's one of four players that have shot better than 50% on at least 25 mid-range attempts and he has shot 47% on 5.4 3-point attempts per game (up from 33% on 2.0 attempts per game over his first three seasons). Alas, for a second straight year, the Pelicans' defense has been bad, though it should be noted that five of their first nine games have come against top-10 offenses. They're not getting much relief in that regard this week, with two top-six offenses (those of the Rockets and Clippers) in town on Monday and Thursday.

Week 4: vs. HOU, vs. LAC, @ MIA, vs. GSW

Last Week:23

Record: 2-6

Pace: 104.4 (7) OffRtg: 108.5 (12) DefRtg: 112.7 (28) NetRtg: -4.2 (22)

The Wizards made two changes to their starting lineup last week - Isaiah Thomas replaced Ish Smith on Monday and Troy Brown Jr. replaced Isaac Bonga on Friday. The first change sparked an easy win over Detroit, but the newest lineup was a minus-11 in less than 19 minutes in the Wizards' loss (at home) to Cleveland on Friday, and the Wizards have allowed an amazing 124.2 points per 100 possessions in the 206 minutes in which their three full-time starters - Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant - have been on the floor together. That is, by far, the worst on-court DefRtg mark among 231 three-man combos that have played at least 100 minutes. Despite the changes, the Wizards' bench continues to be a positive; Both Mo Wagner (66.4%) and Davis Bertans (61.8%) are the top 15 in effective field goal percentage (among players with at least 50 field goal attempts), and the former is a plus-40 in 142 minutes for a team that has been outscored by 33 points overall.

Week 4: @ BOS, @ MIN, @ ORL

Last Week:26

Record: 3-7

Pace: 103.4 (13) OffRtg: 101.9 (26) DefRtg: 106.5 (15) NetRtg: -4.6 (24)

The Bulls have a league-high four losses after leading by double-digits, and none was more brutal than their loss to the Lakers on Tuesday, when a 29-4 L.A. run to start the fourth quarter turned a 13-point lead into a 12-point deficit. The Bulls rank fourth defensively (97.7 points allowed per 100 possessions) in the first half, but 28th (115.4) in the second half, with the biggest difference being in how well their opponents have shot from 3-point range (30% vs. 42%). The Bulls themselves have just two players who have shot better than the league average (35.0%) on at least 25 3-point attempts, and one of them - Otto PorterJr. - is out with a left foot injury. Chandler Hutchison, who made his season debut just four days earlier, started in Porter's place and shot 6-for-10 (four of his six buckets were dunks) in the Bulls' loss to Houston on Saturday.


Week 4: vs. NYK, @ MIL, vs. BKN

Last Week:21

Record: 3-6

Pace: 101.0 (23) OffRtg: 102.3 (25) DefRtg: 106.5 (16) NetRtg: -4.2 (23)

John Collins (and his super-quick rolls to the rim) have been a big part of the Hawks' offense over the last 13 months, and he had seemingly taken a step forward defensively this season. He ranks as the league's second best rim protector, with opponents having shot just 38.5% at the basket when he's been there and scored just a point per possession when he's been on the floor. So his 25-game suspension hurts them on both ends and truly stings at a time when there's a real opportunity to compete for a playoff spot in a conference where the 4-5 Cavs are currently in seventh place. Kevin Huerter might - 32 points, 7-for-15 from 3-point range over the last two games, with two big buckets in the final minute of regulation in Portland on Sunday - might be finding his rhythm, but the Hawks' five-game trip concludes with four games against opponents that have a cumulative record of 26-10.

Week 4: @ DEN, @ PHX, @ LAC, @ LAL

Last Week:28

Record: 2-8

Pace: 103.1 (15) OffRtg: 107.4 (15) DefRtg: 116.6 (30) NetRtg: -9.2 (28)

Just as we all imagined when they broke ground a few years ago, the Warriors' first win at the Chase Center came behind a 34-point performance from Eric Paschall. D'Angelo Russell returned from a three-game absence to score 82 points (on 52% shooting) over the weekend, and his free throw rate (30.2 attempts per 100 shots from the field) is more than double that of last season (13.5). But the Warriors' youth and inexperience has really shown up on the other end of the floor (see this botched pick-and-roll coverage), where they've allowed 2.3 more points per 100 possessions than they did in any 10-game stretch last season, 3.3 more than any other team in the league, and 10.1 more than the league average. That last number would rank as the worst defensive season for any team in the 24 years since the league started tracking play-by-play data, but it's still early and Draymond Green could make his return on Monday against Utah.

Week 4: vs. UTA, @ LAL, vs. BOS, @ NOP

Last Week:29

Record: 2-7

Pace: 106.3 (6) OffRtg: 101.2 (28) DefRtg: 111.4 (25) NetRtg: -10.2 (29)

Jaren Jackson Jr.'s numbers are mostly down from his rookie season, he missed a game last week because of knee soreness, and he was somehow a minus-22 (and 0-for-5) in the Grizzlies' 16-point win over Minnesota on Wednesday. But with Ja Morant resting the second game of a back-to-back on Saturday, Jackson broke out with 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting (scoring in a myriad of ways) against Dallas, the second game last week in which the Grizzlies and their opponents scored more than 255 combined points. It's still very early in their development as a pairing, but in their 112 minutes on the floor together, Morant has just four assists to Jackson. After a 32-point loss in Orlando on Friday, the Grizz have been outscored by a league-worst 24.0 points per 100 possessions (over three games) on the road, though they might have a chance at a road win in Charlotte on Wednesday.

Week 4: @ SAS, @ CHA, vs. UTA, vs. DEN

Last Week:30

Record: 2-8

Pace: 99.9 (26) OffRtg: 99.3 (30) DefRtg: 109.5 (21) NetRtg: -10.2 (30)

It's not clear why Knicks team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry expected much better from this roster they put together. But a loss (in which they trailed by 30 points) at home to the Cavs was, apparently, embarrassing enough that Mills and Perry felt the need to address the media late Sunday night, just 48 hours after their team picked up a pretty impressive win in Dallas. Frank Ntilikina had a strong two-way game (14 points, 4-for-5 from 3-point range, four steals and three blocks) on Friday and continues to be a terrific one-on-one defender, but the absence of Elfrid Payton over the last six games has hurt the offense, which now ranks last in the league and somehow scored more than 112 points per 100 possessions in Payton's 102 minutes on the floor.

Week 4: @ CHI, vs. DAL, vs. CHA