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.

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Mattress Mack and the Astros host Pearland Little League at Wednesday night's game. Photo by LittleLeague.org

Sure, it’s impressive that the Astros have made four World Series appearances in recent years, but they’re not alone. There’s another baseball team around here that’s also headed to its fourth World Series since 2010.

Pearland defeated Oklahoma, 9-4, on Tuesday to win the Southwest Regional and qualify for the Little League World Series starting Aug. 17 in South Williamsport, PA.

Most fans and media say the Little League World Series is held in Williamsport, but it’s South Williamsport, just a 5-minute stroll across a bridge over the Susquehanna River in north central Pennsylvania.

Pearland is on a torrid 13-game winning streak that swept through district, sectional, state and regional tournaments to earn the Little League World Series bid.

Here’s how difficult the road to the Little League World Series is. There are 15 teams in MLB’s American League. If the Astros finish with one of the two best records, they’ll have to win two playoff series to play in the World Series.

Little League is a little bigger than MLB. Little League is the largest youth sports organization in the world, with 2.5 million kids playing for 180,000 teams in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Pearland, representing East Texas, had to defeat All-Star teams from West Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Colorado to win the Southwest Regional. The Little League World Series will host 20 teams - 10 from the U.S. and 10 from international regions.

If you have children that play Little League, or you’re just a fan, attending the Little League World Series should be high on your baseball bucket list.

I covered the Little League World Series in 2010 when Pearland made its first appearance and made it all the way to the U.S. championship game. It may have been my most fun assignment ever.

The Little League World Series is played by 11 and 12-year-olds in Little League’s major division. When ESPN and ABC air these games, they’ll present the players as innocent little kids, like Beaver and Wally or Tom and Huck. They’ll show the kids playing Simon Says with the Little League mascot called Dugout. They’ll ask the kids who’s their favorite big leaguer.

I was a Little League coach. I followed Little League All-Stars across Texas all the way to South Williamsport. These kids are absolute baseball maniacs with $400 gloves, $500 bats and Oakley sunglasses. I thought the Astros might call and ask where they got their super neat equipment.

Especially in Texas, these kids are built tough with long ball power and play year-round travel baseball with high-priced private coaches. This isn’t a choose-up game in the park where kids play in their school clothes, one kid brings a baseball and the players share bats. I looked at some of the Little Leaguers and wondered if they drove to the stadium.

I half-expected, when ABC asked who their baseball idol was, they’d answer “me!”

Here’s how seriously good these kids can play the game. Justin Verlander throws a 97-mph fastball. That’s pretty fast. It’s not rare anymore for a Little League pitcher to reach 70-mph on a fastball. The Little League mound is 46 feet from home plate. A 70-mph pitch in Little League gets to home plate in the same time as a 91-mph pitch from 60 feet 6 inches in MLB.

In 2015, a pitcher named Alex Edmonson fired an 83-mph heater at the Little League World Series. The reaction time a Little League batter had against Alex’s pitch was equal to a Major Leaguer trying to hit a 108-mph fastball. Good luck with that. Alex pitched a no-hitter and struck out 15 batters in six innings at the Little League World Series. Now 20, Alex is a relief pitcher for Clemson.

The Little League World Series is a trip. The easiest way to get there is to fly into Philadelphia and drive to South Williamsport. I sat next to CC Sebathia’s mother on the plane.

Admission to all Little League World Series games is free and snack bar prices are reasonable. A hot dog is $3. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited.

The first Little League World Series was held in 1947. Only 58 players have played in the Little League World Series and later played in MLB. The most famous are Cody Bellinger and Jason Varitek. Only two players from the Houston area made the leap: Brady Rodgers and Randal Grichuk both played on the 2003 team from Richmond, about 30 miles from Houston in Fort Bend County.

While you’re in South Williamsport, you should visit the Little League museum and Hall of Excellence. Among the inductees: Presidents Joe Biden and George W. Bush, Astros manager Dusty Baker, Kevin Costner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dick Vitale, Rob Manfred and someone who’d later play stadiums in a different way, Bruce Springsteen.

Speaking of Springsteen, I shattered a record at the 2010 Little League World Series. The record was Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. I was talking to a Little League executive while teams were warming up on the field. Born in the U.S.A. came over the stadium loudspeakers.

I told the executive, I’m a big fan but maybe this isn’t the best song you should be playing. The executive asked why not? Well, you might want to listen to the words. Born in the U.S.A. is a depressing song about a U.S. soldier who is sent to Vietnam and can’t find a job when he gets back home. It’s not exactly Yankee Doodle Dandy. You have teams from Asia here (Japan won the tournament that year). The executive said, please tell me you’re kidding. Here’s one verse:

Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the (what is considered a slur for Asians).

Later I got an email from the president of Little League International.

“Quite honestly, I've never listened closely to the words of Born in the USA. I see clearly how it is offensive to our Little League friends from Asian nations. I have directed our folks who coordinate the stadium music to discontinue playing it in the future.”

Play Centerfield by John Fogerty instead. The message of that song is, “put me in coach.” Little League couldn’t say it any better.

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