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-- The Times' Rankings Mark Heisler's Nba...

March 16, 2003

*--* THE TIMES' RANKINGS MARK HEISLER'S NBA RANKINGS AND COMMENTS Rnk Team (rec.) Comm ent (las t week 's posi tion ) 1 SAN ANTONIO (46-18) Gino bili happ enin g: Aver agin g 13 off benc h in Marc h, maki ng 43% of thre e-po int shot s. (2) 2 SACRAMENTO (46-20) Good timi ng, big guy: Shaq call s Bibb y Cub Scou t -- just befo re Lake rs go ther e. (1) 3 DALLAS (49-16) How coul d it be othe rwis e? Mave rick s were 31-5 in Janu ary but 18-1 1 sinc e. (3) 4 PORTLAND (42-23) Well s gets thir d susp ensi on of seas on, this time for goin g off on Chee ks. (4) 5 LAKERS (37-28) Luck ily, they can affo rd to rebu ild: Forb es pegs 2001 -02 prof it at $44 mill ion. (5) 6 MINNESOTA (42-26) Big one toda y vs. Trai l Blaz ers in bid to get home -cou rt in play offs for firs t time . (6) 7 PHILADELPHIA (38-26) In Vall ey of Smur fs, anci ent Cole man is stil l OK: 76er s 13-2 with him at cent er. (7) 8 DETROIT (41-24) For all they lack , win over Lake rs show s Pist ons can exec ute defe nsiv e game plan . (10) 9 INDIANA (39-27) Arte st, susp ende d anew for tack ling Snow , says the prob lem is his repu tati on. (9) 10 NEW JERSEY (40-25) Scot t says Nets had divi sion wrap ped up, "the n we let some one else unwr ap it." (11) 11 UTAH (37-28) Mr. Mail man to you: Good en says he "won 't be inti mida ted, " is outs core d, 40-8 . (8) 12 BOSTON (38-28) Robi nson miss ed last trip to Bost on. Spur s romp anyw ay. (12) 13 NEW ORLEANS (38-30) Yawn : Horn ets get hot, peop le get exci ted, they go back wher e they came from . (13) 14 HOUSTON (34-30) Imag ine if Rock ets ever thre w him the ball : Canv as show s Yao will be top rook ie. (15) 15 PHOENIX (34-30) Rock ets have 2-1 edge in seas on seri es, Suns have slig htly easi er sche dule . (14) 16 ORLANDO (34-33) Layu p-li ne defe nse (109 a game over four ) catc hes up with Magi c unti l Satu rday . (16) 17 MILWAUKEE (32-34) Payt on's wife and fami ly visi t to see how they 'd like life on the tund ra. (17) 18 WASHINGTON (32-34) Jord an's snit s work ed when he had Pipp en, Gran t, rath er than Brow n, Stac khou se. (18) 19 GOLDEN STATE (32-34) 26-1 9 run move s Warr iors into race , but 0-3 flop in East move s them back out. (19) 20 SEATTLE (29-35) It's Lewi s' team now, so McMi llan says he has to star t acti ng like it. (20) 21 NEW YORK (28-37) Next : Mand rake the Magi cian hypn otiz es fans , tell s them Knic ks stil l in race . (21) 22 MEMPHIS (23-41) Stro mile Swif t, week s from gett ing walk ing pape rs, aver agin g 19-1 0 this mont h. (23) 23 CHICAGO (23-44) That wasn 't just frea k occu rren ce: Curr y is aver agin g 23 over his last four . (22) 24 ATLANTA (27-39) Stot ts' pros pect s impr ove as Hawk s go 5-1 vs. even smal ler fry than they are. (24) 25 TORONTO (20-43) Cart er apol ogiz es to fans for Nugg et loss , as if Rapt ors were stil l abov e that . (25) 26 MIAMI (21-45) Rile y the Rebu ilde r (?) says he's trie d it with kids , now want s more vete rans . (26) 27 CLIPPERS (20-45) Et tu, refs ? Mill er's game -win ning free thro w wave d off for ... step ping over line ? (27) 28 DENVER (14-51) Rebo unde rs are born not made , but 6-9, 260- poun d Hila rio aver ages just 6.2. (29) 29 CLEVELAND (11-53) Spla sh: Heat , Cava lier s tota led 24 in four th quar ter last week . Heat won by two. (28) GAME OF THE WEEK LAKERS AT SACRAMENTO When -- Thursday. Time -- 7 p.m. TV -- TNT Story line -- Reality check for all concerned. The Kings think they can win it all. The Lakers think they're still the Lakers

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