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Old 01-14-11, 06:42 AM
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CBCSports Powe rankings Spurs atop

Spurs back in the saddle: NBA power rankings


Spurs back in the saddle: NBA power rankings
By Lance Winn CBC Sports

Each week, CBCSports.ca's Lance Winn breaks down the balance of power in the National Basketball Association.
1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS [up from 3]
Record : 33-6
Last 10 : 8-2

Make no mistake; this team knows what it takes to win. A different Spur steps up each game to pick up the offensive slack on a team that averages 104.7 points per game (fifth in the league), but only gives up 97 ppg. It’s no surprise they sport the best record in the NBA.

2. BOSTON CELTICS [unchanged]
Record : 29-9
Last 10 : 6-4

A lapse in Houston but a convincing recovery in Sacramento softened the blow. Despite missing Kevin Garnett, the Celtics still sit atop the Atlantic and the Eastern Conference, and rank first in team defence, rebounds, and assists. That’s getting it done at the defensive end.
3. MIAMI HEAT [down from 1]
Record : 30-10
Last 10 : 9-1

Many thought any Mami winning streak could end in LA, but at the hands of the Clippers and not the Lakers? They’ve still won nine of 10 and look like the team many thought they’d be. Nuggets, Bulls, and Hawks should provide enough of a test to keep the Heat focused.
4. LA LAKERS [up from 6]
Record : 29-11
Last 10 : 8-2

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, the defending champs have now won six in a row. Kobe and Phil are friends again after a 39-point performance in Golden State. New Jersey and the Clippers should be a good warm-up for Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Denver.


5. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER [up from 13]
Record : 26-13
Last 10 : 6-4

Locked atop the Northwest Division, the Thunder continue to play inspired team basketball. Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring (28 ppg) and they rank seventh in team offence (103.5 ppg), but they still have trouble slowing down the opposition (20th). That could be a significant factor with the Magic, Lakers, and Nuggets next on the schedule.


6. ATLANTA HAWKS [up from 7]
Record : 26-14
Last 10 : 8-2

Survived a scare in Toronto, but good teams win close games. Jamal Crawford provides the spark off the bench averaging 16 a game and the frontcourt has been steady (Al Horford, Josh Smith). Mike Bibby is the guiding force that makes the offence go.
7. UTAH JAZZ [up from 9]
Record : 26-13
Last 10 : 6-4

Tied for the Northwest Division lead, the Jazz have the advantage with the Cavaliers, Wizards, and Nets on tap before heading to Boston. No lead is safe when Deron Williams is in the building.
8. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS [up from 10]
Record : 23-16
Last 10 : 6-4

Winning in overtime and handing the Magic their first loss in 10 games has to feel nice. They don’t score many points (93.9 ppg, 26th) but they don’t allow many either (92.2 ppg, second).
9. DALLAS MAVERICKS [down from 5]
Record : 26-11
Last 10 : 4-6

Losing to OKC and Orlando can happen to most, but a double-digit decision to the Pacers? Another chapter in Texas bragging rights are on the line, we’ll talk next week.
10. ORLANDO MAGIC [down from 4]
Record : 25-13
Last 10 : 9-1

So the streak is no more, but the Magic won nine of 10 and look like contenders. Dwight Howard has been super averaging 21 points, and 13 rebounds a game. More importantly they rank fifth on defence, third in rebounding, and fifth in assists.

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