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THE TIMES' RANKING

Top to Bottom : CAPSULES AND RANKINGS

December 29, 1996|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

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Team (Record) Comment 1. Chicago (26-4) Uh, oh: Jordan under 50% in 7 of 8. 2. Houston (23-6) Finally get someone back: Brent Price. 3. Seattle (21-10) Won five in row after 4-5 slump. 4. Utah (22-6) Outshooting foes, 49% to 42%. 5. Lakers (21-9) Won't see next top 4 team 'til Feb. 5 (Bulls). 6. Miami (22-7) 7-5 at home, 15-2 on road. 7. Detroit (21-7) Reality knocking: lost three in row. 8. New York (20-8) Feeling good 'til T-Wolves dumped them. 9. Atlanta (16-11) No. 2 defense for new House of Mutombo. 10. Cleveland (18-10) Played one game vs. top five. 11. Milwaukee (15-13) Big Dog, Vin top forward tandems at 45 ppg. 12. Indiana (13-13) Smits' return still weeks away. 13. Charlotte (15-13) Compliment for Cowens: No. 10 defense. 14. Washington (15-13) No. 19 defense. 15. Portland (15-15) 5-9 in December, despite eight at home. 16. Sacramento (13-17) Up from No. 23. Won last five starting Edney. 17. Minnesota (12-17) Marbury leads them to four in a row. 18. Phoenix (9-19) Kidd will help--in the future. 19. Orlando (10-15) Without Penny, 6-13. 20. Toronto (10-19) Damon's left shoulder tiring. 21. Dallas (10-17) Just a bunch of guys now. 22. Philadelphia (8-19) Too talented for this neighborhood. 23. Golden St. (11-18) Won three after losing to Seattle by 40. 24. Clippers (10-19) Week to forget. 25. Denver (8-21) Skid ended at 10. Next: long march to lottery. 26. New Jersey (7-18) Beat Celtics in Tim Duncan Bowl. 27. Boston (5-21) On (shudder) first extended trip. 28. Vancouver (6-24) Shareef: 23 points, 8 boards in 6 games. 29. San Antonio (6-19) With Admiral out, will Pop bring back Hill?

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GAME OF THE WEEK

SEATTLE AT HOUSTON

* When: Monday. Time: 5:30 PST. TV: None.

* Storyline: The SuperSonics' trapping, rotating defense bedeviled Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets for years, capped by last spring's 4-0 playoff sweep. Now, Houston has Barkley, who had 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in the first meeting, a 109-100 Rocket victory in Seattle. The SuperSonics would like to get this turned back around, fast.

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