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Bucks gaining steam courtesy of perfect home record

Posted: Monday November 26, 2007 1:25PM; Updated: Monday November 26, 2007 5:22PM
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The first month of the NBA season is in the books, and what have we learned so far? The Celtics and their Big Three have no chemistry issues (at least not yet). The Spurs appear more than motivated to defend their crown. The Suns and Mavs seem to be benefiting from new blood.

But the real fun of November has been watching the early surprises. The Magic, under new coach Stan Van Gundy, have come out flying. The Hornets, now healthy again, look like a playoff team in the West. Then there are the Bucks, also healthy this year and playing well enough right now to crack this week's top 10.

This week's high riser: Bucks (No. 10 from 17)
This week's big drop: Wizards (No. 23 from 14)

NBA Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
1 1 Even when they don't play well, they seem to hit a last-second shot, like Ray Allen's dagger Saturday to win at Charlotte. Meanwhile, their defense continues to shine. They lead the NBA in points allowed (89.6), FG percentage allowed (.409), assists allowed (17.0), and rank third in steals (9.33).
2 4 They were off to their best start after 14 games (12-2) in franchise history, but coach Gregg Popovich knows it doesn't mean much. "We've had good starts in the past and not won the championship," he says. It's that mentality that has helped make them the NBA's top dog the past 10 years.
3 2 Their 11-2 start matches the best 13-game start in franchise history, joining the 1980 and 2004 squads. Best of all, Amaré Stoudemire seems to be over his most recent bout of knee soreness, Raja Bell (ankle, back) has returned to the lineup and Boris Diaw seems to be picking up his play.
4 3 Like Tony Parker two years ago, Devin Harris has taken his game to another level. The fourth-year point guard is averaging 16.3 points (up from 10.2 a year ago), 4.9 assists, two steals and shooting 49 percent this season while using his blazing quickness to attack the basket more than in the past.
5 7 Stan Van Gundy had to love getting the better of former boss Pat Riley's Heat last week. He'll be even happier if his road warriors (an NBA-best 7-1 away from home through Sunday) can keep it up as they set out of a five-game Western trip highlighted by Rashard Lewis' return to Seattle on Wednesday.
6 9 They won at Detroit on Sunday to make it three straight overall and kick off a stretch in which they play 12 of 16 on the road. Last year they followed a 12-1 season start by losing 13 of their next 25 games, so how they fare in the coming weeks should reveal a lot about their progress.
7 6 Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler are back from their injuries and they won at the Clippers on Saturday to snap a three-game losing skid. With five of their next six at home, beginning Monday night against the T'wolves, they should be able to keep up their strong start.
8 5 Rick Adelman went back to his motion offense and they responded by blowing out the Nuggets on Saturday to snap a six-game losing streak. With seven of their next eight on the road, starting Monday at the Clippers, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are going to need that kind of support more than ever.
9 8 They missed Rasheed Wallace (knee) in Sunday's loss to the Jazz, their fifth straight against Utah going back to '05. They hope to have 'Sheed back for Wednesday's visit from the Cavs, their first meeting against LeBron & Co. since last year's Eastern Conference finals.
10 17 Talk about flying under the radar. Michael Redd & Co. downed the Lakers and Mavs last week to remain unbeaten so far at home (6-0) and run their overall win streak to five. Their only losses through Sunday were on the road at Orlando, Charlotte, Houston and San Antonio.

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