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Inside the NBA

The Times' Rankings

Mark Heisler's Nba Rankings, Comments:

March 21, 2004

GAME OF THE WEEK

SACRAMENTO at LAKERS

*--* No Team (Rec) Comment (last week) 1 SACRAMENTO (50-19) Rallied from 17 down at Indiana after 0-2 trip or it would be look out below. (1) 2 INDIANA (50-19) After five years of Western domination, East has two legitimate contenders. (2) 3 DETROIT (45-25) Going to new level with Rasheed Wallace, on 10-1 run, giving up 72.5 a game. (6) 4 LAKERS (46-23) With the pack coming back to them, can they get over Their Issues at last? (5) 5 MINNESOTA (47-22) Back in Lakers' sights in midst of a 4-6 fade with the harder schedule. (3) 6 SAN ANTONIO (46-24) This can't fly: Spurs are hanging in, but leg injury still bothers Duncan. (4) 7 DALLAS (43-25) Distraction, anyone? Cuban rips writers as Mavericks lose at home to the Hawks. (7) 8 HOUSTON (39-28) Nice present for No. 2 seed in first round: Yao & Co. look like No. 7. (8) 9 MEMPHIS (43-26) How weird would this be? Jerry West vs. the Lakers he built in first round. (9) 10 NEW JERSEY (41-27) Frank's honeymoon ends as Nets go 6-7 after 13-0 start with Kidd out again.(10) 11 NEW ORLEANS (36-33) Mashburn, who has missed 243 games, or about three of his 11 seasons, out again. (13) 12 PORTLAND (35-34) Miles finds a home, averaging 12 a game, but it won't be for major bucks. (15) 13 MILWAUKEE (34-34) Even if rookie T.J. Ford can't hit the ocean from a boat, Bucks miss him. (12) 14 UTAH (36-34) Kirilenko's still coming: averaged 16-8 before All-Star break, 18-9 since. (14) 15 DENVER (36-34) Start the countdown: Nuggets tune out Bzdelik, who seemed so promising. (11) 16 CLEVELAND (31-37) While Anthony's undermining his coach, James had his up to No. 6 in East. (16) 17 NEW YORK (32-38) Trick here is to finish No. 7 and face Nets rather than Pacers or Pistons. (17) 18 MIAMI (32-37) Wade's heating up again and with seven wins in last eight, so is the Heat. (18) 19 SEATTLE (31-38) Start the countdown: Nate McMillan getting asked about job security. (19) 20 BOSTON (31-40) 0-2 Texas swing does a lot for Ainge's hopes of getting that lottery pick. (20) 21 TORONTO (29-39) Oops: Bosh apologizes for telling booing fans to back the team or stay home. (22) 22 GOLDEN STATE (28-40) With Claxton out and Van Exel making copies of resume, 6-9 Dunleavy plays point. (24) 23 CLIPPERS (27-42) There's a time for them, sometime a time for them. It's just not now. (23) 24 PHOENIX (23-47) That's tanking: Heading for worst season since Suns were an expansion team. (25) 25 PHILADELPHIA (28-42) Chris Ford is first to treat Iverson like everyone, with predictable results. (21) 26 WASHINGTON (22-46) Was this the long-awaited breakout? Kwame Brown gets 68-36 over three. (26) 27 ATLANTA (22-48) Jackson, on one-year $1-million deal and dreaming of more, gets 42-18-39-36. (27) 28 CHICAGO (20-49) Happily for Skiles (16-37), Floyd (49-190) locked up the Bulls' record. (29) 29 ORLANDO (19-52) Does he know it's hoop? New GM Weisbrod, ex-NHL player, quotes Herb Brooks. (28)

*--*

When -- Wednesday. Time-- 7:30 p.m. TV -- FSN, ESPN.

Story line -- Neither team has been at full strength for the previous meetings and neither will be again, with Bobby Jackson out and Kobe Bryant due in court. The Kings are 2-0. The Lakers can't afford to have much more go wrong.

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