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How they rank

March 22, 2009|Mark Heisler

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

THREE KINGS FROM EAST + LAKERS

1. CLEVELAND (56-13)

Had injuries too -- Ilgauskas, West, Wallace -- just played through them. (1)

2. LAKERS (55-14)

Magic number is 11 -- for second-best record in NBA. (2)

3. ORLANDO (51-18)

Close but no MVP: Howard No. 1 in blocks, rebounds, No. 3 in shooting, No. 15 in scoring.(3)

4. BOSTON (53-18)

Marbury hasn't been any trouble, but he hasn't been any good, either. (4)

RACE TO PUT OFF PLAYING LAKERS

5. SAN ANTONIO (45-23)

Aging process: Ginobili working out again. Now Duncan's slowed by sore knee. (5)

6. HOUSTON (46-25)

1-5 vs. Lakers and Spurs, 28-8 vs. rest of West. (6)

7. NEW ORLEANS (43-25)

CP3 at 25-11-6 this month. If V in MVP counted, they'd name trophy after him. (8)

8. UTAH (43-26)

Groundhog Day: Looks as if they're just playing last season over again. (7)

9. DENVER (45-25)

When he's good, he's very good: Longtime bad boy J.R. Smith puts up 17-19-21-40.(9)

10. PORTLAND (44-26)

Oden back -- as backup -- but Blazers win nine of 12 playing musical centers. (10)

11. DALLAS (42-28)

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea: Since Kidd's arrival, Mavericks are 58-41. (11)

12. MIAMI (36-32)

Stuck at No. 5 in East with Hawks on tear, so Wade sits out to rest. (12)

13. ATLANTA (41-29)

Joe Johnson still back and so are they: averages 26 as they win six in row. (13)

14. DETROIT (34-34)

McDyess on roll at 34, averaging 19-15 over six -- and he'll be free agent. (14)

15. PHILADELPHIA (34-33)

OK, how do you go 4-0 with win over Lakers, then lose to Suns, Warriors? (15)

16. PHOENIX (38-31)

Big question: If they move Shaq to cut costs, will they move Nash too? (16)

RACE TO PLAY FOUR GAMES VS. CAVALIERS

17. CHICAGO (32-38)

Season owner Reinsdorf called "disaster" may wind up in playoffs, briefly. (17)

18. CHARLOTTE (31-39)

Just lost four of seven, but this is a hard race to fall out of. (18)

19. MILWAUKEE (31-40)

Generational thing: Skiles fumes as Villanueva posts to Twitter at halftime. (22)

20. NEW JERSEY (30-39)

Devin Harris is out indefinitely and so are Nets. (21)

21. NEW YORK (28-41)

Team that passed up Gordon, Lopez shuts Gallinari down because of back injury. (19)

22. INDIANA (29-42)

Thabeet? Cole Aldrich? Pacers have good player for every position but center. (20)

BLAKE GRIFFIN DERBY OFFICIALLY ON

23. OKLAHOMA CITY (19-50)

New big noise in Southwest: just won six of 10, beating Mavericks and Spurs. (23)

24. GOLDEN STATE (25-44)

Like Hamlet with Nellie as Prince of Denmark and bodies strewn around stage. (27)

25. TORONTO (24-45)

Bosh Derby starts early: Raptors open to trade and suitors lining up. (26)

26. MINNESOTA (20-49)

Love in bloom, averaging 20-12 over last four. (25)

27. CLIPPERS (17-52)

Wait 'til next year. Oh, they've been doing that since Nov. 15. (28)

28. MEMPHIS (17-52)

2-15 over last 17, looking as if they're working on draft position. (25)

29. WASHINGTON (16-55)

With one All-Star out but two remaining, only Clippers gave a worse effort. (29)

30. SACRAMENTO (15-54)

Didn't get memo about quitting when you're hurt: Jackson cancels surgery to play. (30)

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