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The Times' NBA rankings

Oklahoma City remains at No. 1, but the Clippers are right behind in the runner-up spot.

January 12, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, left, goes up for a shot as Lakers forward Antawn Jamison defends during Friday's game at Staples Center.
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, left, goes up for a shot as Lakers… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

70 DEGREES AND SUNNY


1. OKLAHOMA CITY (28-8)    These are strange days indeed when Thunder’s biggest worry is the Clippers. (1)

2. CLIPPERS (28-9) Jim Valvano smiles in heaven at thought of Vinny Del Negro as All-Star coach is a remarkable possibility. (3)

3. SAN ANTONIO (28-11) Best old, slow Lakers can hope for is playoff matchup with old, slow Spurs. (2)

4. MIAMI (24-11) If this keeps up, ESPN’s Heat Index could be renamed the Big Chill. (4)

PLEASANT WITH A FEW CIRRUS CLOUDS

5. NEW YORK (23-13)    Streets of Manhattan getting safer until Carmelo Anthony steps outside. (5)

6. GOLDEN STATE (23-12)    Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson mull plan to open a bar called Shooters. (6)

7. MEMPHIS (24-11)    All-Star game could be devoid of a Gasol brother for first time since 2008. (7)

8. INDIANA (23-14)    Win over Miami one for the books and a sorry chapter for the Heat. (9)

9. ATLANTA (21-15)    Point guard is no longer an issue with Devin Harris back. (8)

A PASSING SHOWER NEVER HURT ANYONE

10. CHICAGO (20-15)    Uh-oh. Edie Falco checks out Derrick Rose’s knee in New York. (10)

11. HOUSTON (21-17)    James Harden, Jeremy Lin would like to stay home for All-Star weekend. (11)

12. DENVER (22-16)    Sloppy success: Nuggets are 9-0 when committing at least 20 turnovers. (13)

13. BROOKLYN (21-15)    P.J. Carlesimo set to join Bernie Bickerstaff in Interim Coach Hall of Fame. (12)

14. PORTLAND (20-16)    Owner Paul Allen’s new book: “How to Spend Less and Beat the Lakers.” (18)

15. BOSTON (19-17)    Season is such a downer, Celtics are getting a beat writer from L.A. (19)

CHANCES OF DRAFT LOTTERY: 95%

16. MILWAUKEE (18-17)    Phil Jackson probably isn’t headed here either. (14)

17. UTAH (20-19)    Plans likely involve moving one of team’s bigs before the trading deadline. (16)

18. MINNESOTA (16-17)    Kevin Love continues to have a hand in Timberwolves’ misfortune. (15)

19. LAKERS (15-21)    Wasted money: Courtside seats at Staples Center still $2,700 per game. (17)

20. PHILADELPHIA (16-22)    76ers’ fortunes head south even when team travels to Toronto. (20)

21. TORONTO (14-22)    Success prompts border patrol to let other teams enter besides Bobcats. (24)

22. DALLAS (15-23)    If this season doesn’t render Mark Cuban speechless, nothing will. (21)

23. ORLANDO (13-23)    Maybe Magic traded Dwight Howard to open spot for Nikola Vucevic. (22)

24. DETROIT (14-24)    Beat Miami. Beat Atlanta. Lose to Charlotte. Which doesn’t fit pattern? (26)

25. SACRAMENTO (13-24) Fishy club could be headed for more hospitable home near Puget Sound. (25)

26. NEW ORLEANS (11-25)    It really doesn’t get any better than this: Four straight wins are season high. (28)

27. PHOENIX (13-26)    That first-round draft pick acquired from Lakers keeps increasing in value. (23)

28. CHARLOTTE (9-27)    Might hold its own against All-Star team of Tobacco Road college players. (27)

29. CLEVELAND (9-29)    On bright side, it can pencil in another win over the Lakers on Sunday. (29)

THE PERFECT STORM

30. WASHINGTON (6-28)    John Wall sees standings, asks doctor to keep him out three more months. (30)

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