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The Times' Rankings

January 26, 2003|MARK HEISLER

NBA RANKINGS AND COMMENTS

*--* Rank Team (rec.) Comment (last week's position) 1 SACRAMENTO (32-12) Stojakovi c, injury free for first time in year, shooting 48% on threes this month. (1) 2 DALLAS (34-8) Three-gam e losing streak knocks them off high horse they've ridden all season. (2) 3 INDIANA (31-12) O'Neal runs mouth at Pistons, as he did last spring before Nets ousted them. (3) 4 SAN ANTONIO (28-15) Duncan, another slow starter, on fire, averaging 27-13-5 in January. (4) 5 PORTLAND (26-15) Not that they're hot, but they just went 3-0 on the road without Wallace. (6) 6 NEW JERSEY (29-14) Kidd's effort, Scott's boot keep them going. Ask Lakers, when they're awake. (5) 7 DETROIT (28-15) West team official: "Can you tell me how the Pistons keep winning?" No. (7) 8 UTAH (25-18) Harpring gets All-Star mention, but as Magic notes, Malone makes him. (8) 9 PHOENIX (26-18) Townspeop le making party plans for Wednesday when Lakers go back there. (10) 10 MINNESOTA (26-18) Szczerbia k's back and they try so Lakers may have to find someone else to catch. (13) 11 HOUSTON (23-18) Yao hits wall post-Shaq , getting 21 points, 19 rebounds as they go 0-3. (9) 12 BOSTON (25-18) What suppporti ng cast? With Walker out, Pierce gets 45 of 77 vs. Nuggets. (12) 13 WASHINGTON (21-23) Who says this is it for him? At 40, Jordan averaging 22-7-5 this month. (16) 14 NEW ORLEANS (23-21) Players grumble shallow-p ockets owners won't re-sign P.J. Brown, Campbell. (14) 15 PHILADELPHIA (23-21) Bridge alert: Day after Eagle loss, they blow 23-point lead over Celtics.( 15) 16 ORLANDO (23-22) No way out of this nightmare : Will try with Hill in April or next season. (17) 17 GOLDEN STATE (20-23) Since 1-6 start, they're 19-17. Over the same span, Lakers are 17-18. (18) 18 MILWAUKEE (21-21) Back in race. Insiders credit Kukoc and players' ability to tune out Karl. (20) 19 LAKERS (19-23) Oops: Four of their next five on road, including Kings, Pacers and Suns. (11) 20 SEATTLE (19-23) Pieces don't fit: Top prospects Rashard Mason, Radmanovi c all small forwards. (19) 21 CLIPPERS (16-26) If Sterling had just signed Brand, this might have been their town about now. (22) 22 NEW YORK (17-24) Trap of the middle: Not good enough to get there, not bad enough to get LeBron. (21) 23 MEMPHIS (13-30) Walton on Hubie Brown: "I haven't seen an overhaul that good since Demi Moore."(2 3) 24 ATLANTA (16-28) Everyone' s for sale now, starting with Robinson, Terry, Abdur-Rah im and Ratliff. (24) 25 CHICAGO (16-27) Cartwrigh t won't play Williams, Crawford together -- so one of three has to go. (25) 26 MIAMI (15-28) Paul Pierce he ain't, but Butler, also No. 10 pick, averaging 16-5-3 this month. (26) 27 CLEVELAND (8-36) Arena emptying -- they claim 11,222 a night, probably more like 9,000 -- dooms Lucas. (27) 28 DENVER (10-33) Appropria tely enough, in Camby's return to N.Y., he's out with sprained ankle. (29) 29 TORONTO (10-33) Since starting season 4-4, they've been even worse than the Nuggets and Cavaliers . (28) GAME OF THE WEEK LAKERS AT SACRAMENTO When -- Friday. Time -- 7:30 p.m. TV -- Ch. 9, ESPN Story line -- Can the upstarts prove they're now on the same level? Or do the Kings still own the Pacific Division?

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