Power Rankings: Knicks rising, Nuggets falling in opening week

932731.png

Power Rankings: Knicks rising, Nuggets falling in opening week

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 2 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at @BullsTalkCSN with comments or criticisms.
Past rankings: Preseason

  Tony
 Mark Comments 1
 Tony: The class of the NBA so far. Parker is on fire.
 Mark: Parker, Duncan out to prove age never a factor in San Antonio.
 2
 Tony: That blowout loss to NYK bumps them down a peg.
 Mark: Hiccup in New York, still look like team to beat in the East.
 3
 Tony: Chris Paul will be in the MVP discussion all year.
 Mark: Jamal Crawford for (very) early Sixth Man of the Year?
 4
 Tony: Not a great record to start, but will right the ship. Mark: Carmelo hasn't slowed down since the Olympics as Knicks beat Heat, Sixers.
 5
 Tony: More concerned about Nash's injury over 1-3 start.
 Mark: Still figuring out life post-Harden, but Durant's rebounding numbers impressive.
 6
 Tony: Really beat up on MIA. Will Felton stick at PG?
 Mark: Granger's knee starting to be a concern. 7
 Tony: This is Paul George's breakout season.
 Mark: Not worried about sluggish start. 8
 Tony: Closely watching Deron Williams' ankle.
 Mark: Very tough schedule to open season, but Iguodala and Lawson look great.
 9
 Tony: Really needed that win at home against New Orleans.
 Mark: Move over Boston: Brooklyn's herringbone court the best in the game.
 10
 Tony: This is my surprise team to make the playoffs. Love the talent.
 Mark: Not time to panic just yet, but Nash (leg) could miss 4 weeks.
 11
 Tony: Once they get Dirk back, they'll be Top 10 team.
 Mark: Jrue Holiday is a franchise point guard.
 12
 Tony: Lou Williams a great fit for this offense.
 Mark: Jae Crowder a pleasant surprise off the bench; Mayo looking like a FA steal.
 13
 Tony: Remember when people said Harden wasn't worth a max deal?
 Mark: Grizzlies right where they should be.
 14
 Tony: Great starting 5, but they don't have depth.
 Mark: Huge win over the Thunder; even more impressive doing it without Josh Smith.
 15
 Tony: Off to a really good start. Jennings looks smarter, better.
 Mark: Nice 2-0 start, but where is Ilyosova?
 16
 Tony: Horrendous start to the year, but will figure it out.
 Mark: Offense hasn't found rhythm yet, but defense looks solid early.
 17
 Tony: Need to shore up their defense.
 Mark: Brandon Rush (torn ACL) will be missed.
 18
 Tony: This may be Jrue Holiday's breakout season.
 Mark: So James Harden was worth 80 million, huh Oklahoma City?
 19
 Tony: Will struggle in the powerhouse West.
 Mark: Damian Lillard is for real, and could make a push for Rookie of the Year honors.
 20
 Tony: I think Mo williams is glad to be running the point again.
 Mark: Interior offense, not Mo Williams, the problem early on.
 21
 Tony: Just need to stay around .500 until LoveRubio get back.
 Mark: Almost went 3-0 to open season, but lost late lead to San Antonio.
 22
 Tony: Off to a great start, even with Gordon out indefinitely.
 Mark: Kyle Lowry looking like one of the biggest steals of the offseason.
 23
 Tony: Luis Scola looks reborn right now.
 Mark: Looks like Love will miss the full six weeks recovering from broken hand.
 24
 Tony: I like this team, but postseason may still be a year away.
 Mark: Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis and J.J. Redick all performing well for 2-0 Magic.
 25
 Tony: Young team, but still not quite playoff-ready.
 Mark: Michael Beasley could average 18 points per game in this offense.
 26
 Tony: Surprising start led by J.J. Redick's sharpshooting.
 Mark: Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao are by themselves in this fight.
 27
 Tony: Kemba is turning into a star.
 Mark: Pistons have played a tough schedule, but haven't looked good in losses, either.
 28
 Tony: Will rack up a lot of losses this year.
 Mark: There's no discipline in Sacramento, and Kings won't go anywhere until DMC grows up.
 29
 Tony: They need their playmaker back.
 Mark: Opening night win took everything out of them; lost to Dallas by 26 the next night.
 30
 Tony: Rodney Stuckey is off to an ugly, ugly start.
 Mark: John Wall can't return soon enough.

Fast Break Morning Update: Josh Sitton named to Pro Bowl; Blackhawks-Lightning on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Josh Sitton named to Pro Bowl; Blackhawks-Lightning on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

CSN will air six Cubs spring training games in 2017

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

NBA Buzz: With trade deadline looming, Bulls' season at a crossroads

Bears' Josh Sitton finds fourth Pro Bowl most meaningful yet

Report: Cubs preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson

Extra incentive fuels Tanner Kero in second stint with Blackhawks

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

NBA Insiders Notebook: Trade rumors heating up

Five B1G-gest things: Indiana wins first game without Anunoby, Michigan 'white collar' no more

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse