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Mark Heisler's NBA rankings

The Lakers vault to the top with nine wins in 10 games since the All-Star break.

March 12, 2011
  • Lakers power forward Pau Gasol goes up for a shot against Dallas power forward Dirk Nowitzki in the first half Saturday.
Lakers power forward Pau Gasol goes up for a shot against Dallas power forward… (Mike Stone / Reuters )

Rankings, comments through Saturday

THEY'RE BACK

1. LAKERS (47-20) Who out there wanted to keep Bynum? Hey, all Lakerdom had your back! (5)

2. CHICAGO (47-18) On 38-10 run, will be underdogs once before hosting Celtics April 7. (2)

3. SAN ANTONIO (54-12) Only way Lakers can catch them is to play them five more times. (1)

4. DALLAS (47-19) Went 17-2 before Chandler sprained ankle; and there went neighborhood. (3)

5. BOSTON (46-17) Latest in line from Bill Russell to Perkins: Krstic 5-2 as a Celtic. (4)

6. MIAMI (45-21) Back from dead, once more, as they beat Lakers, bury Grizzlies. (6)

OTHERS INCLUDE . . .

7. OKLAHOMA CITY (41-23) Hit wall: 64-32 from Dec. 23, 2009, to Jan. 13, 2011 ... 14-10 since. (7)

8. DENVER (39-27) Carmelo who? 8-2 since trade. Assists up five a game over last month. (9)

9. PHILADELPHIA (34-32) Still going: Collins' Energizer bunnies, who started 3-13, stun Celtics. (14)

10. ORLANDO (41-25) Tried it without Howard in home loss to Trail Blazers, didn't like it. (8)

11. ATLANTA (38-28) Roll your eyes if this is familiar: 33-18 on Feb. 5, 5-10 since. (10)

12. PORTLAND (37-29) In surprise, Vulcans, who dangled Nate McMillan to this point, extend him. (12)

13. MEMPHIS (36-31) Last time they made playoffs, West was GM and Gasol there was Pau. (13)

14. NEW ORLEANS (39-29) Rallied from seven down in last 1:13 vs. Dallas, before Paul got back. (11)

15. NEW YORK (34-30) With Billups out, Douglas breaks out, averaging 15, shooting 53%. (17)

16. PHOENIX (33-30) Season series with playoff rival Memphis over. Grizzlies won it. (15)

17. HOUSTON (33-34) Budinger crashes starting lineup, averaging 17 since break. (16)

18. CLIPPERS (26-41) Almost paradise: 5-1 with Mo Williams, slew Celtics, slain by Nets. (20)

19. GOLDEN STATE (29-36) Whatever Biedrins was once, he's averaging 5-8 last two seasons. (21)

20. UTAH (34-33) Still going (down): 3-10 since end of Sloan era. (19)

LOSERS/REST OF EAST PLAYOFF RACE

21. INDIANA (27-38) Vogel falls from 7-1 to 10-11 as Chuck Person's name surfaces. (18)

22. MILWAUKEE (26-38) Does he have ID? Jennings shoots 17 for 30 over two. (23)

23. CHARLOTTE (27-38) So much for Paul Silas as first to make it work post-Larry Brown. (22)

24. NEW JERSEY (21-43) Just went 2-0 starting Bench Mob backcourt, Farmar-Vujacic. (24)

25. MINNESOTA (17-50) En fuego, for them: Just went 4-4 after starting 13-46. (27)

26. WASHINGTON (16-48) Alert Red Cross: 1-29 road team has 11 of last 17 out there. (25)

27. TORONTO (18-47) Still going (south): Started 8-11, 10-36 since. (28)

28. SACRAMENTO (15-49) Let me get this straight: Two cities WANT them? (26)

29. CLEVELAND (12-52) Luckily he's only owed $28 mill, Byron: Baron's knee "65-70%." (29)

NICHE OF THEIR OWN

30. DETROIT (23-44) Clueless to end: McGrady ponders staying or going, like anyone cares. (30)

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