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The Times' NBA rankings

Heat moves into top spot after big win over former No. 1 Thunder

February 16, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • LeBron James, left, and the Miami Heat defeated Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-100, Thursday night.
LeBron James, left, and the Miami Heat defeated Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma… (Sue Ogrocki / Associated…)

Times NBA writer Ben Bolch ranks the league's teams:

STEALING THE SHOW AT TOYOTA CENTER

1. MIAMI (36-14) LeBron James cataloging Birdman’s tattoos: “Not one, not two, not three …” (2)

2. OKLAHOMA CITY (39-14) Maybe that Finals rematch with Heat wouldn’t be so compelling after all. (1)

3. SAN ANTONIO (42-12) Gregg Popovich can fix Bryant-Howard mess, if just for a weekend. (3)

4. CLIPPERS (39-17) Partying like it’s 1992-93 after clinching season series with Lakers. (4)

A WEEKEND IN TRANQUILITY PARK

5. NEW YORK (32-18) Carmelo Anthony’s security detail could teach him art of defense. (5)

6. DENVER (33-21) Kenneth Faried is no longer a rising star. He’s here, dreadlocks and all. (6)

7. MEMPHIS (33-18) Lionel Hollins spends All-Star break dusting off old Rudy Gay footage. (7)

8. INDIANA (32-21) Danny Granger’s impending return means Pacers could be back in title hunt. (9)

9. GOLDEN STATE (30-22) David Lee plays “Wish You Were Here” on iPad to honor Stephen Curry. (8)

10. CHICAGO (30-22) Floors of Hancock Center closed after Derrick Rose says he may not return. (10)

11. BROOKLYN (31-22) P.J. Carlesimo learning that the honeymoons are never permanent here. (11)

12. ATLANTA (29-22) Josh Smith trade gossip so rampant he may end up on cover of Us Weekly. (12)

AT THE HOUSTON ZOO

13. UTAH (30-24) Jazz fans make goodbye cards to prepare for trade-deadline possibilities. (13)

14. BOSTON (28-24) This may be Kevin Garnett’s last All-Star game, if Anthony has his way. (14)

15. MILWAUKEE (26-25) Follow-up question to Brandon Jennings saying he wants to stay: Why? (15)

16. HOUSTON (29-26) No defense will be played, as usual, Sunday in the Toyota Center. (16)

17. LAKERS (25-29) Suggested reading for Pau Gasol in next two months: The Book of Exodus. (18)

18. PORTLAND (25-28) Maybe Aldridge, Batum and Lillard aren’t enough. (17)

19. DALLAS (23-29) Will be a lot of  thick beards since Mavs won’t shave until reaching .500. (20)

20. PHILADELPHIA (22-29) Here’s guessing Andrew Bynum didn’t visit old Westchester neighbors. (19)

HOBBY CENTER FOR THE UNDERPERFORMING ARTS

21. TORONTO (21-32) Rudy Gay trade provides hope for small-market teams in two countries. (23)

22. DETROIT (21-33) Jose Calderon averaging fewer assists exclusively as a starter. (21)

23. MINNESOTA (19-31) Any more discord and Kevin Love will start wearing a He Hate Me jersey. (22)

24. NEW ORLEANS (19-34) Hornets ask Superdome officials for tips on staging power outages. (24)

25. SACRAMENTO (19-35) NBA beat writers pulling harder for Kings’ relocation than Seattle fans. (25)

26. PHOENIX (17-36) Just when things seemingly can’t get worse, Charles Barkley rips Suns. (26)

27. CLEVELAND (16-37) Kyrie Irving should put on the old man suit if Kobe Bryant guards him. (27)

28. WASHINGTON (15-36) Ari Gold to settle dispute between John Wall’s agent and David Falk. (28)

29. ORLANDO (15-37) Trip to Disney World during All-Star break can’t even make Magic smile. (29)

WHY IN SAM HOUSTON ARE YOU STILL HERE?

30. CHARLOTTE (12-40) Bobcats are an utterly forgettable 5-35 since that 7-5 start to remember. (30)

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