One of the low-key hilarious lines of the classic 1971 version of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is delivered by Charlie's schoolteacher, played by a perfectly deadpan David Battley:
"I've just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we've learned it. But since today is Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest."
This otherwise random blast from the past is relevant because, in case you haven't noticed, we've moved our NBA Power Rankings from Friday to Monday! And if you're reading this on Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest.
Anyway, I'm sure not all of you showed up for quotes from Mr. Turkentine, so let's get on with the rankings for this week (well, actually 10 days), which saw a new No.1 that is also an old No. 1. The Boston Celtics reclaimed the top spot with which they've become familiar over the past couple of seasons, putting up a perfect week while last edition's top dog, the Denver Nuggets, fall ever so slightly due to a loss on Sunday night.
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Both teams are getting pressure from underneath, as the swelling magma of the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings are burning at the heels of the league's top two teams. Making leaps this week are the soaring Atlanta Hawks, who jumped a whopping 13 spots, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who enter the top 10 after being viewed as an almost certain tank candidate to begin the season. You just never know.
On the other side are the unfortunate Indiana Pacers, who couldn't combat the absence of star point guard Tyrese Haliburton and have dropped six games in a row. Falling eight spots are the New York Knicks, whose defensive acumen evaded them over the past handful of games.
Here is this season's first Monday edition of the NBA Power Rankings.
*Please keep in mind that our NBA Power Rankings are based on weekly performance, not the whole season.
|Boston mounted a late comeback to avoid a repeat of the NBA Finals in a narrow home win over Golden State on Thursday, also beat the Raptors and the Hornets twice for a perfect week that improved their overall winning streak to nine games. Jayson Tatum got a well-earned rest in the Toronto win, but averaged 39.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the other three games this week.||1||36-15|
|The Nuggets' winning streak reached nine games, but they finally ran out of gas without Nikola Jokic in a two-point loss to red-hot OKC on Sunday. Guess we'll let them off the hook. Jamal Murray has put together his best stretch of the season, averaging 21.7 points 7.5 assists and 5.7 rebounds on 41 percent 3-point shooting in six games this week. He logged the first triple-double of his career in just 29 minutes in the win over Indiana.||1||34-16|
|An insertion of De'Anthony Melton into the starting lineup has coincided with a five-game winning streak for the 76ers, who have won 10 of their last 12 overall. They even dethroned the red-hot Kings on Saturday without the presence of Joel Embiid and James Harden, and pulled out back-to-back one-point wins over the Jazz and Lakers last weekend.||5||32-17|
|With much of their competition slipping, the Kings have gone the opposite direction, winning six of their last seven games to grab a firm hold of third place in the Western Conference. The schedule hasn't been the most difficult, but there isn't a Kings fan in the world that would besmirch any winning streak. They failed to make it seven straight against the 76ers without Joel Embiid and James Harden on Saturday, so that one might end up stinging.||5||28-21|
|Memphis looked unbeatable during an 11-game winning streak, but close road losses to the Lakers and Suns spoiled the end of the week. Things at least ended on a high note, as the Grizzlies nearly completed a monumental comeback in the second half in Phoenix. Desmond Bane is back to his old form, averaging 23.6 points and five assists this week on 46 percent 3-point shooting.||2||32-18|
|During Brooklyn's fourth straight loss since Kevin Durant's injury, a spark seemed to be lit in the second half against the Suns, and it carried into two solid wins at Utah and Golden State to close out the week. Kyrie Irving is on another planet, putting up 32.8 points and seven assists per game this week on 49/43/91 shooting splits. The defense has remained stout despite Durant's absence.||2||31-19|
|The Cavs suffered perhaps their worst loss of the season to a Warriors squad missing four starters, but bounced back to beat the Bucks the next night to finish at 2-3 for the week. Darius Garland has taken control of the offense with Donovan Mitchell sidelined due to a groin injury, averaging 24.2 points and 9.5 assists on 40 percent 3-point shooting this week.||2||31-21|
|The Bucks went 2-2 this week as Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to nurse a sore knee, with Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis taking the reins of the offense. You think of offense when you think of Giannis, but he was missed sorely on the defensive end this week, as Milwaukee allowed over 120 points per 100 possessions.||2||33-17|
|Just when you think Atlanta has finally figured things out, winners of five straight to start the week, they suffer an inexplicable home loss to the Hornets without LaMelo Ball. Welp, that's the NBA for you. It seems like it was just a blip on the radar, as the Hawks offense generated 124.2 points per 100 possessions this week and they have won seven of their last 10.||13||25-26|
|The Thunder are for real, and they continued to announce their presence with authority in a 4-1 week, punctuated by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's game-winning basket with nine seconds left in Denver on Sunday. The most positive development from this week is that OKC, which has been winning games with its offense most of the season, allowed just 108 points per 100 possessions in the five games.||4||24-26|
|The Heat took advantage of some injury issues in a win over the Bucks and two over the Pelicans, with losses to the Hawks and Mavs. Bam Adebayo led the team with 20.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, while Jimmy Butler added 19.6 points per game on 60 percent shooting. The best news for Miami is that they got their regular starting lineup back for the last two games of the week.||2||28-23|
|The Clippers have gone 3-3 over their past six games, but have won two in a row, including a convincing win over Dallas on Sunday. Kawhi Leonard missed one of the games, of course, but he put up 29.4 points per game on 55/52/93 shooting splits over the other five. It's safe to say, the Klaw is back.||3||28-25|
|The Wolves won four of their six games this week, with their loss to the Jazz coming by a single point. Rudy Gobert missed all but four minutes of the last four games, and the defense suffered accordingly. Anthony Edwards led the offense with 28 points per game, including a season-high 44 in Saturday's win over Houston.||4||27-26|
|Just when it looked like the Suns were dead in the water, they break out a three-game winning streak to close out the week. Devin Booker is still out and Deandre Ayton missed a couple more games due to illness, but Cameron Johnson and Chris Paul made their way back into the lineup this week as Phoenix slowly starts to become whole again.||2||27-25|
|Wins over the Wizards and Pistons to start the week were followed by losses to the Wizards (this time with Bradley Beal), Hawks and Raptors twice. Defense has been the culprit during the losing streak, with the Knicks allowing 130.3 points per 100 possessions over that stretch.||8||27-24|
|The Pelicans need to get healthy soon, with their only win this week coming against the Pistons before four straight losses. CJ McCollum is doing the heavy lifting offensively, but he's fighting an uphill battle without Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson by his side.||5||26-25|
|Utah went 3-2 this week, splitting consecutive one-point games without Lauri Markkanen against the 76ers and Wolves. Jordan Clarkson averaged 25.4 points on nearly 20 field goal attempts over the five games, with his light turning an even brighter shade of green in the two matchups without Markkanen.||2||26-26|
|Outside of a blowout win over the Heat, the Dallas defense has been atrocious as the Mavs have dropped four out of their last five with a pressure-packed trade deadline rapidly approaching. You can't expect to win much with you're allowing 127.5 points per 100 possessions, particularly when Luka Doncic is playing somewhat like a regular human being offensively.||8||27-25|
|If the Lakers make a move in the standings in the coming weeks, we'll look back on these last two wins as a turning point. Dennis Schroder's late steal set up an improbable victory over the Grizzlies on Friday, then the Lakers mounted the largest comeback of LeBron James' career, erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to beat the Blazers on Sunday. James is carrying the team offensively, averaging 35 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the five games this week, with Anthony Davis' return on the horizon.||2||23-28|
|Finishing games is the name of the game for the Warriors, who saw late leads evaporate against the Celtics and Nets this week. The biggest win was a monumental effort from the reserves against the Cavs with four starters resting. Golden State just can't seem to string together multiple complete efforts, and they're growing increasingly frustrated as they search for answers. On the plus side, they had a winning road trip!||5||26-24|
|Chicago started off the week with a loss to OKC, but picked up a convincing home win over the Warriors before beating the Pistons in Paris. Zach LaVine averaged 27.3 points per game, but shot just 39 percent from the field. DeMar DeRozan returned from a three-game absence for the trip to France, scoring 26 points in 38 minutes in the win over Detroit.||3||23-26|
|As long as the Raptors are playing the Knicks, they're fine, apparently. Both their wins this week came against New York, with losses to the Hawks, Bucks, Wolves and Celtics. The defense allowed over 120 points per 100 possessions, which just isn't going to cut it. Scottie Barnes turned things up this week, averaging 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game on 52 percent shooting.||2||23-29|
|Yeesh. It looked like the Blazers might start to gain some semblance of momentum, winning two straight against the Mavs before losses to the Nuggets and 76ers -- then they were hit by a Lakers freight train on Sunday as they watched a 25-point halftime lead disappear. Damian Lillard is going nuts, but Portland is still 2-8 in its last 10 games.||1||24-26|
|The Wizards split with the Knicks this week, while beating the Magic and losing to the Warriors. Bradley Beal returned from a five-game absence for the final two games of the week, both wins, averaging 17.5 points per game on 56/75/100 shooting splits.||2||24-26|
|Things have not been pretty without Tyrese Haliburton, as Indiana has dropped six straight since the injury to the All-Star candidate. TJ McConnell is doing his best impression, averaging 15.2 points, 8.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds this week on 64 percent shooting, but it just hasn't been enough.||13||24-28|
|Orlando finished up its road trip with close losses to the Jazz and Nuggets before beating the Pelicans in the friendly confines of the Amway Center and losing to the Wizards on the road. Franz Wagner has gone up another level offensively of late, putting up nearly 24 points per game on 51/50/82 shooting splits this week.||3||20-31|
|After consecutive losses to the Celtics, the Hornets won two straight including perhaps their most impressive effort of the season against the Hawks without LaMelo Ball. PJ Washington has been lighting it up from 3-point range and Gordon Hayward made it back to the court against Atlanta, putting up nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes.||1||15-36|
|The Spurs took advantage of the absence of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a win over the Nets on Tuesday, but that was their only victory of the week. Keldon Johnson led the way with 24 points per game, while Tre Jones added 14.5 points and 6.5 assists per game on 40 percent 3-point shooting.||1||14-37|
|The Pistons have only had three games over their last 10 days thanks to the trip to Paris, but they dropped all three of them to the Pelicans, Knicks and Bulls. Offense has been hard to come by, with Detroit scoring an ugly 105.2 points per 100 possessions this week.||--||13-39|
|The Rockets are starting to forget what a win looks like, losers of 13 straight and five games this week. The injury to Kevin Porter Jr. hasn't helped, but that's no excuse for a 125.5 defensive rating over the five games.||--||12-38|