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NBA Power Rankings, Week 3: Lakers Still On Top In West Despite Two Losses

Even though they lost two games last week, the Los Angeles Lakers remain atop the Western Conference in the latest SB Nation NBA Power Rankings. Somewhat curiously, the Lakers are ranked higher than the New Orleans Hornets, who through Sunday were undefeated (although they lost last night). It is the fourth straight week the Lakers have ranked first in the conference in the SB Nation power rankings.

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There are plenty of reasons to like the Lakers right now, even with their recent brief skid. They lead the NBA in scoring (112.5 points per game), offensive rating (116.7 points per 100 possessions), offensive rebounding percentage (33.8% of misses), and lowest turnover percentage (12.3 per 100 possessions). They are second in the league in three-point shooting as well, at 41.4%. The stellar offense has made up for a waning defense, as the Lakers are just 15th in the league in defensive rating, allowing 107.5 points per 100 possessions.

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That's where Andrew Bynum comes in. The fact that he has been out so far this season makes the Lakers' 8-2 start more impressive. His return, which could be as soon as Thanksgiving, if Bynum has anything to say about it. As Zebulun Benbrook wrote on SB Nation, "Freshness is the Lakers' key enemy, and they need an answer to their backup big man situation soon, or they'll be getting into far too many close high-scoring contests for comfort." Getting Bynum back is just what the Lakers need to remain atop these rankings for weeks to come.

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For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.