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How they rank

March 01, 2009

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

LAKERS-CELTICS REMATCH BACK ON?

1. LAKERS (48-11)

New era: Last four Shaq-Kobe teams were 90-74 on road. This one is 21-7. (1)

2. BOSTON (47-13)

Remember when Lakers had huge talent edge? Celtics close gap with Steph Marbury. (3)

3. CLEVELAND (45-12)

Worst-case scenario: Couldn't get better or unload Ben Wallace; now he's hurt. (2)

HAPPILY, PLAYOFFS SEVEN WEEKS OFF

4. ORLANDO (43-16)

Van Gundy: Magic players who think they're contenders are "kidding themselves." (4)

5. DENVER (39-20)

Beating Lakers win was big after losing previous last nine to them, counting playoffs. (6)

6. SAN ANTONIO (39-18)

Meet the new boss: Parker gets 37-39 in wins vs. Portland, Dallas without Tim, Manu Duncan, Ginobili. (5)

7. HOUSTON (37-22)

Oops: About to go 6-0 7-0 when they blew 17-point fourth-quarter lead in Chicago (8)

8. UTAH (36-23)

Finally healthy, finally making move: 6-0 7-0 with wins over Lakers, Celtics. (9)

9. NEW ORLEANS (35-22)

Thunder fans ask why trade was rescinded as Chandler averages 13-12 over three. (11)

10. PORTLAND (36-22)

They keep saying Oden's OK, but he hasn't played since All-Star break. (7)

11. DALLAS (35-23)

Bad news: Jason Terry, hoping to get back sooner, out three to four more weeks. (10)

12. PHOENIX (33-25)

Seven days shy of 37, Shaq gets 45. Only older player to get 40-10 was Abdul-Jabbar. (12)

13. ATLANTA (33-25)

Started 21-10, 12-15 since, with ownership split all that keeps Woodson there. (13)

14. MIAMI (31-27)

Heat is 3-3 with Jermaine O'Neal, lost showdown with with Hawks, whom they hope to catch. (14)

15. PHILADELPHIA (29-29)

Were expected to pursue Ben Gordon a year ago and he's still the shooter they need. (15)

SO-CALLED EAST RACE FOR NO. 7, 8

16. DETROIT (28-29)

With Stuckey at 8.5 points last month, youth movement short on youths. (16)

17. MILWAUKEE (29-33)

Even without Redd, Bogut, Bucks have already won three more than last season. (18)

18. NEW JERSEY (26-32)

Harris, who had five games in 30s, one in 40s in November, just went for 39 and 42. (21)

19. CHICAGO (27-33)

Looks as if wipeout by Wizards may have been more inspiring than Obama. (17)

20. INDIANA (25-36)

With what Murphy, Ford, Jack and Daniels did, Pacers may be OK if they're ever healthy. (22)

21. NEW YORK (24-35)

Even more impressive than a smurf dunking, Krypton-Nate averaging 26 since break. (19)

22. CHARLOTTE (24 25-35)

10 Ten Nine wins shy of their record -- but how long will Brown take tolerate cheapskate operation? (20)

23. TORONTO (23-37)

Suns of the East, all right: Team that gave up 81 to Kobe gives up 45 to Shaq. (24)

THERE'S A TIME FOR US

24. OKLAHOMA CITY (14-45)

Sam Bowie's Ghost (cont.): As Oden struggles, Durant puts up 47-35-32-32. (25)

25. MINNESOTA (18-40)

Despite record, Jefferson, Foye, Gomes, Telfair, Love give them a future. (26)

26. MEMPHIS (15-43)

Despite record, Mayo, Gay, Conley give them a future too, just not as good. (27)

FUBAR

27. GOLDEN STATE (20-38)

Forget wins and losses -- everyone now just trying to get out of there alive. (23)

28. CLIPPERS (15-44 45)

Despite record, can still win 38 37 if they can get T.J. to skewer Baron Davis 23 22 more times. (30)

29. WASHINGTON (14-45)

Thanks for coming, Mr. President: Obama inspires home team instead of Bulls. (29)

30. SACRAMENTO (13-48)

Kenny Natt gets sixth win vs. 30 losses in Wretched Bowl win over Clippers. (28)

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