The Los Angeles Lakers are quickly establishing themselves as the best team in the NBA.

NBA power rankings: Week 3

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the NBA enters Week 3 of the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are quickly establishing themselves as the best team in the NBA, while the Philadelphia 76ers remain the top of the East.

1. Los Angeles Lakers Record 5-1

Last week, LeBron James recorded two impressive triple-doubles while helping the Los Angeles Lakers ride a five-game winning streak into Week 3. In a win over the Dallas Maverick on Friday, James recorded 39 points, 16 assists, and 12 rebounds. Two nights later, he recorded 21 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

2. Philadelphia 76ers Record 5-1

The 76ers were the last undefeated team to start the season after receiving their first loss of the year in a 114-109 defeat to the Phoenix Suns Monday night. Philadelphia is proven to be the team to beat in the East, finishing the week on a 3-1 record on the West coast. Their most impressing win came in a 129-128 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.

3. Miami Heat Record 5-1

The Miami Heat are quickly establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the league. They have won five of their first six games, which includes a 129-100 victory over the Houston Rockets. More importantly, every player has chipped in their early-season success, with Kendrick Nunn leading the Heat in scoring, averaging 19.2 points per game.

4. LA Clippers Record 5-2

Last week, the Clippers went 2-1, but their lone loss came in a game where MVP candidate, Kawhi Leonard, did not play due to rest. Leonard helped the Clippers bounced back in a 103-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, where he scored 30 points in the win.

5. Boston Celtics Record 4-1

The Boston Celtics are starting to surprise everyone behind their All-Star point guard, Kemba Walker. He led the Celtics to a perfect 3-0 week, averaging 32.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. It also helps that Jason Tatum is coming into his own following a game-winner over the New York Knicks.

6. Milwaukee Bucks Record 5-2

The Milwaukee Bucks entered the season with high championship aspirations, but they cannot afford to lose games against the Boston Celtics. However, they did finish Week 2 with wins over the Raptors, Timberwolves and Magic.

7. San Antonio Spurs Record 4-2

If it was not for the play of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs would still be undefeated heading into Week 3 of the regular season. Rising star Dejounte Murry has looked great as he works his way back from an ACL injury, as he recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block Sunday, in a loss to the Lakers.

8. Toronto Raptors Record 4-2

After starting the season with four straight wins, the defending NBA champions dropped their first game of the season in a hard-fought loss to the Bucks. Standing at 4-2 on the season, the Toronto Raptors have started the season better than many have expected following the departure of Kawhi Leonard.

9. Dallas Mavericks Record 4-2 

Luke Doncic has proved that the Dallas Mavericks are a focus to be reckoned with in the West. The Mavericks picked up a huge victory over the Denver Nuggets and put on a show in a loss to the Lakers on Friday. Sunday, Doncic recorded his second straight double-double with 29 points, 15 assists, and 14 rebounds in a win over the Cavaliers.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves Record 4-2

The Minnesota Timberwolves has had a fairly easy schedule to start the season but dropped two statement games against the 76ers and Bucks. They get a pass due to the fact that both games were played with their All-Star center, Karl Anthony-Towns, who was suspended following his fight with Joel Embiid.

11. Phoenix Suns Record 5-2

The Phoenix Suns closed out the week with a huge victory over the 76ers, and are currently riding a three-game win streak entering Week 3 of the regular season. One of the NBA's biggest surprises.

12. Denver Nuggets Record 4-2 

The Nuggets have not lived up to their preseason expectations following a loss to the Mavericks and the Pelicans last week. Standing 4-2, it's been a slow start for the Nuggets.

13. Utah Jazz Record 4-3

The Utah Jazz had a sub-par week splitting two games with the Clippers, losing the one game Kawhi Leonard played and handing the Sacramento Kings their first win of the season. Utah will look to recover following a 1-2 week.

14. Houston Rockets Record 4-3 

The Houston Rockets picked up a much-needed victory to close out the week with a 107-100 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Sadly, it's not enough to make up for losing by 29 points to the Heat on Sunday and blowing a 15-point lead to the Nets.

15. Indiana Pacers Record 3-3

The Indiana Pacers are entering Week 3 of the season riding a three-game winning streak defeating the Nets, Cavs, and Bulls. Although they have yet to beat a top tear team, must respect for the Pacers standing at .500 still waiting for the return of Victor Oladipo.

16. Portland Trail Blazers Record 3-4

The week started well for the Trail Blazers with a win over the Thunder, but Portland enters Week 3 of the regular season on a two-game skid, following losses to the 76ers and depleted Warriors team.

17. Brooklyn Nets Record 3-4 

The Nets went 2-1 the previous week but picked up an impressing win against the Houston Rockets. Kyrie Irving is doing all he can to lead the Nets to wins, averaging 32.0 points on 47.2% shooting from the field.

18. Detroit Pistons Record 3-5

With losses to the Bulls, Wizards and Raptors, the Pistons had a rough week going 1-3 heading into Week 3 of the season. ESPN reported on Monday that Blake Griffin is close to making his season debut after battling knee, and hamstring injuries.

19. Atlanta Hawks Record 2-3

The Hawks drop both of their games last week in a home-and-home against the Miami heat. Much was expected for a team who is missing their best player in Trae Young, who missed all of last week with an ankle injury.

20. Charlotte Hornets Record 3-3

With a record over .500, the Charlotte Hornets have been the league's most pleasant surprises over the first two weeks of the season. Last week, the Hornets picked up an impressing victory over the Kings in a hard-fought victory.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder Record 2-4

The Thunder went 1-1 last week with their only win coming against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder has been a respectable team with Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul leading the way.

22. Cleveland Cavaliers Record 2-4 

Not much is expected from the Cavs, but they did pick up an impressing win over the Bulls last week. Despite the losing, Kevin Love is returning to his all-star form, averaging 19.2 points and 15.3 rebounds thus far this season.

23. Orlando Magic Record 2-4

The Magic has been one of the most disappointing teams to start the season, and last week was the same after 1-2 record. the only bright spot for the Magic has been the arrival of Markelle Fultz, who started his first game with Orlando in a loss to the Nuggets.

24. Chicago Bulls Record 2-5 

The Chicago Bulls said they have enough talent to make the playoff in 2020. Yet the Bulls found a way to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers and post a 1-2 record last week.

Washington Wizards Record 2-4

Despite the lack of talent, the Wizards have stayed competitive against the Rockets and Spurs. Washington ended the end on a high note with a win over the Pistons.

26. Sacramento Kings Record 2-5

After losing their first five games of the season, the Kings are riding a two-game winning streak heading into Week 3. They gained a huge victory over the Jazz and followed it up with an encore against the Knicks.

27. Golden State Warriors Record 2-5

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. For five straight seasons, the Warriors have sat atop of the NBA. Now, they are nearly the worst team in the league. Not sure how, but the Warriors picked up one win in a 127-118 victory over the Trail Blazers.

28. Memphis Grizzlies Record 1-5

Young and inexperienced, the Grizzlies put up a good fight against the Rockets and Suns despite going 0-3 (Lakers) in Week 2.

29. New Orleans Pelicans Record 1-6

In all except for one game, the Pelicans have put up a good fight. Behind rising star Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans picked up their first win of the season against the Jazz but dropped their final two games of the week against the Thunder and Nets. Unfortunately, New Orleans' record does not reflect how great this team has played so far this season.

30. New York Knicks Record 1-6

It's the Knicks, enough said.

How the news of Kobe Bryant's death is impacting us all

Where were you when you heard the news?

I had just gotten home from coaching my daughter's 10-11 year-old basketball game.We got crushed by Coach Tackett and his daughter Eloise.It was 28-6. After the game I told Eloise that if she kept working hard, anticipating that she would be tall like her daddy, she could be great at this game.

I rolled up to the house and as I walked into the front door, I checked the various notifications on my phone, seeing what I had missed and I saw the notification, "Kobe Bryant believed dead in tragic helicopter crash." As I made it into the family room, my wife Julee said, "Did you see the news that Kobe Bryant died?" I told her I had just seen it and then began to process the news over the afternoon.

Where were you? What was going through your mind? As a pastor here in the heart of the city, with a passion for sports and a podcast (www.visionforlife.org) that brings faith and sports together, I immediately begin to process the pain that was being felt. Like a shockwave that was rippling from the mountains of Calabasas, the nation and world were feeling the waves of pain.

Last night and today, as I've watched ESPN and listened to the radio, there is a great deal of reflection on Kobe's influence on us all, through his game and his life after the NBA. But beyond that, we are all seemingly taking inventory, realizing the life is short. It is but a breath.

As part of my career, I've had to do funerals that it is hard for which to prepare. I've done funerals ranging from a one-day old baby boy to a 95 year-old World War II bomber pilot. Last week when Cesar Cortes of Bellaire High School lost his life, we hosted a memorial candle-light vigil and then his funeral. What do you do when you find yourself at the bottom of the pit of grief? What do you do when someone in your life loses someone they love? What do we as a society do when an icon like Kobe Bryant loses his life at such an early age?

From my experience of walking people through loss and pain through the years, here are a few take-a-ways to help us know how to move forward in our pain.

1.When you don't have the words, don't say anything. There is what we call in pastoral ministry the "Ministry of Presence." The ministry of presence is our simply sitting with people and being present. We don't know what to say, but we are compelled to be with them in their pain.

When Job from the Bible lost his loved ones, his friends came around him and sat with him for seven days without saying a word. This is the ministry of presence. It was when they began to speak to try to make sense of it, that things went sideways.

If you are a person in grief, and there are those coming around you to love on you and sit with you, I want to prepare you to have grace for their words, as we don't always know what to say, and when we force it, sometimes it comes out wrong.

2.Don't waste the pain. It's humbling to hear the reflections that athletes, commentators and callers are sharing about Kobe. The fact that his daughter Gianna was on that helicopter, as well as other parents and children makes the pain of this moment extreme. As a result, our hearts are heavy with what could have been and should have been for Gianna, her sisters, her mom and her dad.

Moments like this make us take inventory in our own lives and do a long, hard evaluation. Maybe you are longing for an improved relationship with your son. Or you want to seek to repair your relationship with your wife. Maybe you have felt the need to make a career change and there is something in your gut saying, "It's time to make a change." Don't waste the pain of this moment and seek to get better. Life is short. Life is fragile and if this has taught us anything, we see that none of us is immune from suffering, loss and death. Don't waste the pain, but instead see that life is a real gift.

3.Humility wins the day. I often teach on relationships and I ask my audience, "Would you rather be right, or right?" You see, you can be right on all the facts and the figures of life. You can be right on the issues. You can be right in a fight with you spouse. And, you can be all alone.

It takes a bigger person to humble themselves and see the long view of relationships.Those who take the long view choose to be right over the long haul, versus right in the moment. To be right over the long-haul, you will have to forfeit some of your own rights and be willing to take a loss in the moment to win the greater race.

I want to encourage you to use moments like this to take inventory and see it as a catalyst for positive change in your life.This would probably be the best way to honor the loss of this legend. Honor his work-ethic and improve your game at work. Honor his love for his family by prioritizing yours and communicating your love to them. Humble yourself and draw near to those that are the most important to you. Make the most of today and hug those you love.


Roger Patterson is the author of A Minute of Vision for Men: 365 Motivational Moments to Kick-Start Your Day, pastor of West University Baptist & Crosspoint Church – Bellaire, and podcast host of Vision for Life Radio: Where Faith & Sports Collide (www.visionforlife.org) Follow Roger on Twitter @rogerpatterson.

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