1 L.A. Lakers (1) 5-0 Off: 113.6 (2), Def: 89.7 (1) -- Maybe the two blowouts of the Clippers didn't convince you that the Lakers are the best team of the early season, but a 29-point drubbing of the Rockets on Sunday should have. The Lakers have been dominant while Kobe's numbers have been relatively pedestrian. Great defense allows for that.
2 Boston (4) 6-1 Off: 100.3 (27), Def: 93.2 (2) -- In five of their seven games so far, the Celtics have held their opponents to efficiency ratings under 93.0, which is ridiculously stifling. But other than Tuesday's win in Houston, the offense has yet to get going. With home games against Toronto (Monday) and Atlanta (Wednesday), it will be an interesting early week in Boston.
3 Atlanta (9) 5-0 Off: 107.2 (12), Def: 95.8 (3) -- Sunday night's win in Oklahoma City was just another display of the Hawks' toughness. Playing without Josh Smith, they struggled offensively and trailed by seven midway through the fourth, but came back to win another road game. This team has grown up.
Power Rankings: Celtics sneak past Lakers for No. 1 spot
1 (2) Celtics 6-1 Seriously. Go back and look closely at what the champs did in Houston and then in Detroit, then tell me how this committee (of one) could ignore the quality of those wins, even when the Lakers are blasting everybody.
2 (1) Lakers 5-0 Two more dominating displays, including a 29-point beatdown of the Ron Artest-fueled Rockets, have hiked the Lakers' average margin of victory to a whopping 22.4 points per game. Next in line: Atlanta at a mere 10.2 ppg.
5 (12) Hawks 5-0 The loss of Josh Smith for two to four weeks has to dampen the mood somewhat, but we insist on letting these -- get this -- defense-first Hawks enjoy their moment, now 2-for-2 as the U.S. Army Team of the Week.
ESPN's * up.
Edited by lyk13, November 10, 2008 - 12:03 PM.