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The Times' Rankings

April 06, 2003|MARK HEISLER

MARK HEISLER'S NBA RANKINGS AND COMMENTS:

*--* Rk Team (Rec.) Comment (last week's position) 1 SAN ANTONIO (56-20) Spurs running down Mavericks, with easier schedule and 2-1 lead in season series. (2) 2 SACRAMENTO (55-22) Adelman has been fretting almost as much as Jackson, but Kings have won 19 of 23. (1) 3 LAKERS (45-31) Local sports editor vows to start covering them in March if they pull this off. (3) 4 DALLAS (57-19) Oh, and Finley is on injured list and Mavericks' last game is in San Antonio. (4) 5 PORTLAND (47-28) Pippen: "We'll win games, but when dust settles, we'll be under the dust." (6) 6 MINNESOTA (47-30) As KG4MVP plates go on sale, Timberwolves drop to No. 5. (5) 7 DETROIT (47-28) Pistons 3-16 last two seasons vs. Kings, Mavericks, Spurs, Lakers, Trail Blazers. (7) 8 UTAH (45-31) Oops: Loss at home to Knicks drops Jazz into tie with Lakers, who won season series. (8) 9 NEW JERSEY (47-29) Spirits lift as Nets go 5-1 to end their 8-13 swoon and Jason vows to stay. (10) 10 INDIANA (45-31) They're back? After 8-18 tailspin, Pacers go 4-1, beating Pistons in Detroit. (11) 11 PHILADELPHIA (45-30) Spirits confused as Brown jokes (?) North Carolina should hire "a coach like me." (9) 12 NEW ORLEANS (42-35) Better enjoy playoffs while they can because Hornets are moving West in '04. (12) 13 PHOENIX (40-35) Suns say Marbury's finally a point guard -- as he averages career-high 19 shots. (13) 14 HOUSTON (39-37) Young team in stretch run misses Rudy T as interim Coach Larry Smith goes 4-7. (14) 15 BOSTON (41-35) On way down from 49-33 in 2001-02, with no big guys or cap room to get better. (17) 16 GOLDEN STATE (36-40) Wow: Since break, Arenas averaging 22 points, 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds. (15) 17 ORLANDO (39-37) Just good enough for third playoff berth in row, and third first-round exit. (16) 18 MILWAUKEE (38-40) Karl is Carolina dreaming too. Not that Bucks would mind losing his $7-million salary. (19) 19 SEATTLE (37-38) Decision to take Allen for Payton will keep SuperSonics capped out through '05. (20) 20 WASHINGTON (34-41) Well, it was fun while it lasted: Jordan's last stand looks like Custer's. (18) 21 NEW YORK (34-43) Don the (Lame) Duck again: GM Layden acknowledges suits' "disappointment." (21) 22 MEMPHIS (26-51) Williams' career-best assists-to-turnovers was 2.4. He's now at NBA-best 3.7. (22) 23 CHICAGO (27-50) Watch out, East: Chandler, Curry averaged 28-17 between them in March. (23) 24 ATLANTA (31-45) GM Babcock out. This season that makes him, Lon Kruger and Ted Turner. (24) 25 MIAMI (23-54) Get a clue: Riley asks why the local papers omit game details these days. (25) 26 TORONTO (24-51) No way to treat a legend: Wilkens, about to be fired, becomes losingest ever. (26) 27 CLIPPERS (24-52) Brand just became the first NBA player who ever got well to face Mailman. (27) 28 DENVER (17-59) Better days coming. Of course, Nuggets can't get much worse and may not be soon. (28) 29 CLEVELAND (15-61) Smart says if door shuts, another opens. In other words, he knows he's gone. (29)

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