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The Times' Rankings

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

March 18, 2007

*--* IT WAS A BUSY WEEK 1. DALLAS (53-11) Dirk's MVP candidacy hits air pocket as little buddy Nash shoots up Dallas. (1) 2. PHOENIX (50-16) Message game, all right: Message is that all prior messages are inoperative. (3) 3. SAN ANTONIO (46-20) Still stretch runners. Just older, starting later and going slower. (2) 4. DETROIT (42-22) Who woke them up? 5-0 on West trip, held Suns to 83 in 22-point romp. (7) 5. HOUSTON (41-25) Just won five of six with Yao back, walked on Raptors in Toronto. (5) 6. MIAMI (36-29) Supporting cast located: Shaq averages 21 and gets some help in 9-0 run. (6) 7. CLEVELAND (41-25) Hughes at point, Pavlovic at shooting guard, LeBron off ball, just went 14-4. (8) 8. UTAH (43-23) 0-4 on East trip as opponents take away Okur spotting up on three-point line. (4) WHAT'S LIFE WITHOUT A DREAM? 9. CHICAGO (39-29) Gasol shows them what they missed out on, getting 21-11 in Grizzlies' upset. (9) 10. WASHINGTON (36-28) Still just Three Amigos in search of front line: 12-12 since mid-January. (10) 11. TORONTO (36-30) Can Mitchell do enough to keep Colangelo from hiring old favorite Iavaroni? (11) 12. DENVER (33-31) With a little defense, they'd be OK, but they don't play any. (13) 13. LAKERS (34-32) Early-season ball movement back, at least for one quarter in Denver. (12) 14. GOLDEN STATE (32-36) Booby prize: Still alive for No. 8 -- and 5-1 vs. Dallas over two seasons. (18) 15. CLIPPERS (30-35) Little late, but this trip marks first time all season they fought back. (14) 16. SACRAMENTO (29-37) See if this sounds familiar: Everyone is moved by Ronnie's apology. (17) 17. NEW ORLEANS (29-37) Grittiest little team ever? Paul puts off foot surgery for run at playoffs. (16) 18. NEW JERSEY (30-36) Richard Jefferson returns as Nets squeeze back into playoff slot. (20) 19. INDIANA (30-35) First spot in truck they'll back up goes to Tinsley, suspended for being late. (15) 20. NEW YORK (29-36) Steve Francis, whom they were talking about buying out, now starting. (19) 21. PORTLAND (26-39) Aptly named Roy will be their first rookie of year since Sidney Wicks in '72. (21) HISTORY, WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT 22. MINNESOTA (28-36) Owner didn't know KG liked Wittman. McHale has to announce coach will return. (22) 23. ORLANDO (30-37) New GM Otis Smith says he's "more than a little bit embarrassed" at swoon. (23) 24. PHILADELPHIA (26-40) Draft pick slides daily: Good news (?) is that Cheeks will be back as coach. (24) 25. SEATTLE (25-40) Doomed Bob Hill says if they let Lewis leave, they should trade Allen. (25) 26. MILWAUKEE (25-41) Little-known new Coach Larry Krystkowiak highly regarded by peers, starts 2-0. (26) 27. ATLANTA (26-41) Atlantis Hawks going down to wire with shot at fourth 50-loss season in a row. (27) 28. CHARLOTTE (24-43) With heat on him and vows to spend money, how does MJ not hire Larry Brown? (28) 29. BOSTON (20-46) Just stunned Spurs. Ainge better extend Rivers' deal and tell him to knock it off. (29) 30. MEMPHIS (17-50) Could give everyone lessons in how to tank. (30)

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