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THE TIMES RANKINGS

March 26, 2000

Team (record): Comment (last week's ranking)

1. Lakers (58-12): Beam them up, Scottie? If only they had a way to adjourn till the playoffs. (1)

2. Utah (47-21): Mailman, four months from turning 37, averaging 27 points this month. (2)

3. Portland (51-17): Trail Blazers lose five of nine at home and now Sabonis is next to Grant in the infirmary. (3)

4. Indiana (47-22): With East spoken for, Pacers put it on automatic pilot, 8-5 this month. (4)

5. San Antonio (44-25): Not quite back together yet: Spurs just lost to Mavericks twice in five days. (6)

6. Miami (43-25): Nice backcourt: Ghost of Hardaway and Dan Majerle, who's scoring 3.8 in March. (7)

7. New York (42-26): Knicks have been chasing Heat for weeks, but they finish with 10 of 14 on road. (8)

8. Minnesota (42-26): Timberwolves young and willowy, but they've won eight of nine on road. (11)

9. Philadelphia (40-28): Croce just reversed tide of history--he re-signed Larry Brown for long term. (13)

10. Sacramento (40-28): Townspeople warming up for intrastate passion play as Lakers come in today. (12)

11. Phoenix (44-24): When Kidd went down, Suns were en route to their 24th victory in 32 games. (5)

12. Seattle (40-29): 8-7 in last 15 at home, looking like first-round hors d'oeuvres for Lakers. (10)

13. Toronto (39-29): Superstar fatigue: Carter goes 19 for 58 as Raptors lose three in a row. (9)

14. Charlotte (38-31): Comeback player of year? Coleman plays 60 games for first time since '93-94. (14)

15. Detroit (36-33): Doing OK under Irvine, who's 8-3, but he doesn't want to stay as coach. (15)

16. Orlando (34-36): Little no-names cling to No. 8 slot with nine of their last 14 at home. (16)

17. Milwaukee (32-37): Who leaves first: a) Big Dog, b) Cassell, c) Ray Allen or d) George Karl? (17)

18. New Jersey (29-39): Casey kept Nets playing after they started 2-15, but will management keep him? (18)

19. Boston (30-39): No judgment and bad karma too? Losing one heartbreaker after another. (19)

20. Dallas (29-40): Cuban hires nine assistant coaches, runs out of room for players on bench. (20)

21. Denver (27-42): Issel snarls at refs, opposing coaches, players and last week at McDyess. (21)

22. Cleveland (27-42): On the bright side, Kemp's contract will run out in the summer of 2004. (22)

23. Houston (25-44): What are the odds Olajuwon ever plays another game--for these guys, anyway? (23)

24. Atlanta (25-44): Isiah Thomas prime candidate to replace Wilkens in blow to broadcasting. (24)

25. Washington (25-46): Driving: Wizards 9-6 in March in (very) late campaign for respectability. (25)

26. Vancouver (19-50): "Consultant" Versace hires former players Chuck Person, Jim Les as assistants. (26)

27. Golden State (17-52): OT win vs. Bulls ends eight-game losing streak, so Warriors just start another. (27)

28. Chicago (14-54): Slipped up and beat the Nuggets to fall behind Clippers in Kenyon Martin Derby. (29)

29. Clippers (14-57): 3-23 since Ford was fired. In retrospect, Chris may get coach-of-year votes. (28)

GAME OF THE WEEK

SAN ANTONIO at PORTLAND

When--Tuesday. Time--7:30 p.m. TV--TNT.

* Story line--Can either of these teams regain its prominence? The Spurs are trying to get Tim Duncan over an abdominal pull and Sean Elliott in shape. The Trail Blazers are waiting to see how long Arvydas Sabonis is sidelined and when Brian Grant returns from a foot problem. In the meantime, they have to deal with each other.

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