Three teams that are rising and three that are falling in this week's edition of our Power Rankings:
3-UPChicago Bulls (6): The Bulls are quickly becoming a strong riser in the East. They made the biggest jump going up five spots in the rankings. They're winning with a ton of defense and with Carlos Boozer back, are a cool 6-1 and winners of six straight. Now with Boozer playing at a high level, coupled with Derrick Rose's MVP emergence and the fact Luol Deng is a capable third scorer, the Bulls have every right to stake a claim as one of the East's true contenders.
Oklahoma City Thunder (10): Floundering a bit here and there, they have. While the Thunder just rose up two spots this week, they are definitely in the category of rising. Oklahoma City is playing better and have three more home games after blowing the doors off the Cavaliers Sunday by 29 (largest win ever by the Thunder in OKC). Expectations were a bit inflated before the season so some were a little discouraged with OKC's up and down start, but the Thunder appear to be settling in. Kevin Durant is regaining his scoring machine swagger, Russell Westbrook is tearing apart opponents and even James Harden is finding some offensive game.
Milwaukee Bucks (16): The Bucks were a big riser, going up five spots this week. A lot of that is because of their big road win over the streaking Mavericks, but the Bucks are winners of three straight and of four of five overall. Plus, the wins are against quality opponents (Magic, Pacers, Rockets, Mavs). At 10-13, Milwaukee has been disappointing after its playoff run last season, but it appears that the Bucks might be finding themselves a bit lately.
3-DOWNPhoenix Suns (19): The Suns have slipped five spots and could be heading for an even bigger dip as the schedule doesn't get easy ahead. After a winnable game against Minnesota, the Suns play at Dallas, at Oklahoma City, at San Antonio and home against the Heat. Yikes. They've lost three straight and have fallen below .500 at 11-12. After next week, Phoenix could be multiple games under.
New Orleans Hornets (14): The fall continues. The Hornets are 3-7 in their last 10 and have dropped three straight. And this is after starting the season 8-0 and then 11-1. Consider this fun fact: The Hornets haven't scored 100 points in their last 13 games. Offense is a big issue late in games with Chris Paul desperately looking for scoring options. Trevor Ariza hasn't been the answer and coach Monty Williams continues to sit potential spark Marcus Thornton.
Denver Nuggets (12): This feels like a temporary fall, as the Nuggs have dropped three of four, but all were on the road against decently decent teams. They're quite inconsistent though, so Denver is certainly a candidate to drop multiple games. But at the same time, the Nuggets also look like one of the top teams in the West on any given night, so who knows, they could be headed up. But Chauncey Billups is now battling a wrist injury and with the Carmelo stuff reaching its apex, the distractions could weigh heavily on the Nuggets.
Be sure to check the full rankings out here.