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The Times' Rankings

MARK HEISLER'S NBA RANKINGS, COMMENTS (Last week's rank)

March 04, 2007

*--* IT'S STILL ONLY THEM 1. DALLAS (50-9) Suns are only team with a home record better than Mavericks' 21-6 road record. (1) STILL GETTING CRICK IN NECK LOOKING UP 2. SAN ANTONIO (41-18) Sleeping (aging, creaky) giant awakens, goes 8-0, winning by 19 a game. (3) 3. PHOENIX (45-14) Not rolling the way they were, but still 6-1 since break with Nash back. (2) 4. UTAH (39-19) Still coming: Deron Williams at 31% on threes Feb. 1, at 54% since. (4) 5. DETROIT (37-20) What cakewalk? Just lost to Heat, which may be better next time they meet. (5) 6. HOUSTON (36-23) Yao practices. Having just gone 3-5, that better-without-him nonsense is over. (6) FOCUSING ON REALISTIC GOALS, LIKE EAST FINALS 7. CLEVELAND (34-25) Could still use a tad more help: LeBron averages 33 as Cavaliers go 4-3. (7) 8. CHICAGO (34-27) Gordon says little Bulls need someone to help "Big Ben," who's only 6-7 1/2 . (10) 9. WASHINGTON (32-25) Steady Antawn Jamison back in nick of time after Wizards go 4-8 without him. (11) 10. LAKERS (33-26) No cinch getting that early-season lightning back in the bottle. (9) 11. TORONTO (32-28) Bargnani averaged 7.4 in November, 14.3 in February, making 48% of threes. (8) 12. MIAMI (29-29) Remember 2003 when three-time defending champion Lakers were No. 5 seed? (13) 13. DENVER (28-29) You may have noticed a little gulf after West top six, like the Grand Canyon. (14) 14. CLIPPERS (29-30) Whatever pace he was on, Shaun was their future. Now he/they/it are on hold. (18) 15. INDIANA (29-29) Reggie Miller, who could make shots until he's 50, declines Dallas invitation. (12) 16. NEW ORLEANS (28-31) No. 8 may come down to Hornets and Clippers. Clips lead season series, 2-0. (15) 17. NEW JERSEY (28-31) Now owner Ratner says he wants to re-sign Carter, who doesn't look excited. (19) STILL CLINGING TO HOPE, OR NOT 18. NEW YORK (28-33) With Crawford gone, opponents holding team meetings around Curry in post. (21) 19. MINNESOTA (26-32) 6-12 under Randy Wittman. Owner Taylor refuses to say he'll be back. (17) 20. SACRAMENTO (27-32) Next: Joe Maloof says Musselman "needs to address those close losses." (23) 21. PORTLAND (25-35) See ya: President Steve Patterson, who terrorized press, employees, is gonzo. (22) 22. ORLANDO (28-33) 11-23 swan dive can't be good for Hill, who was already fired there once. (16) 23. GOLDEN STATE (26-34) 16-16 on Jan. 1, 10-18 since. Nellie concedes playoffs are lost cause. (20) CROSSING OFF DAYS UNTIL DRAFT, OR SHOULD BE 24. SEATTLE (23-35) Rashard Lewis, who has opt-out, nixes offer. Ray Allen considers surgery. (24) 25. MILWAUKEE (22-37) With half their roster free agents, more guys out with injuries each week. (25) 26. ATLANTA (22-38) Oops: With Suns likely to get their pick, draft Hawks are waiting for is '08. (27) 27. CHARLOTTE (22-37) Not that he's discussing it or anything, but MJ's about to clean house.(28) 28. PHILADELPHIA (21-38) Bottomed out at 10-29 in December. Unfortunately the draft's in June. (26) 29. BOSTON (16-42) They're 4-5 since Pierce's return. Luckily he missed those 24 games. (30) 30. MEMPHIS (15-46) Local buyers better do it before Heisley gets Oden or Durant, raises price. (29)

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