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NBA Power Rankings: Quiet Uprising

The Cavaliers have won eight straight and join the Hawks as the hottest teams in the league.

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What do LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade all have in common?

Yes, clearly, more than one thing, but on Wednesday night, they were on the sidelines watching their respective teams. The same can be said of Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings, as well.

We have seen the last of Bryant and Jennings this season and it is quite unfortunate. And here, after 13 weeks of NBA play, that is where our focus is. Invariably, injuries play a major role in how the NBA season plays out, and thus far, this season has been no exception.

As James sat out on Wednesday night, though, it was Kyrie Irving who poured in a personal career-high and single-game, season-high 55 points in his matchup against Damian Lillard and his Portland Trail Blazers. Irving led the Cavaliers to their eighth-straight win and with the Golden State Warriors recent loss to the Chicago Bulls, it is the Cavaliers who enter Week 14 as the team ascending the ranks.

That is, of course, aside from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks will enter Week 14 having won 17 games in a row and hope to become just the sixth NBA team in history to win at least 20 straight games. Their next three happen to be against the Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans. That Pelicans game will be the third in four nights, so it’ll be no easy task.

Then again, what the Hawks have done to this point hasn’t been very easy, either. Clearly, they remain at the top for us.

Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders.

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