|Connelly’s Top Ten: RIP Cecil the Lion||David Krejci: The Most Interesting Man on the Bruins||Pedro Martinez Number Retired, Fenway Celebrates||(David) Price is Wrong for Red Sox|
Three of the top four teams in this week’s SoB NBA Power Rankings are from the Eastern Conference, but the defending champion LA Lakers remain at No. 1 for the third consecutive poll. The Celtics slipped to No. 3 after being leap-frogged by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who sit in the second place spot just one point behind the Lakers. Due to their superior winning percentage, the Celtics (.711) came out on top of a three-way tie with the Atlanta Hawks (.667) and Orlando Magic (.650), allowing them to claim the No. 3 spot.
The sixth through tenth positions are all filled by Western Conference teams led by the sixth ranked Dallas Mavericks. The San Antonio Spurs jumped three spots from tenth place t0 seventh place this week, while the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trailblazers each dropped two places to 9th place and 10th place respectively.
|1 (29)||Los Angeles Lakers||31-9||Injuries to Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant have been a setback, but the Lakers continue to set the pace. (Andrew Kipp)|
|2 (28)||Cleveland Cavaliers||30-11||The Cavaliers are the healthiest and hottest of the NBA’s elite teams. (KC)|
|3 (19)||Boston Celtics||27-11||Doc Rivers has been very conservative with the bench in the absence of KG, Rasheed Wallace/Paul Pierce, and Marquis Daniels. Brian Scalabrine and Eddie House have struggled as of late. It’s time to see if Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens can give this team a boost. (Andrew Kipp)|
|4 (19)||Orlando Magic||26-14||The Magic are still widely considered part of the NBA’s upper-echelon, but the Christmas loss to the Celtics still stings. (KC)|
|5 (19)||Atlanta Hawks||26-13||Three straight wins have the Hawks sitting atop the Southeast division. (John Scullane)|
|6 (16)||Dallas Mavericks||26-13||The Mavericks are emerging as a legitimate challenger to the Lakers in the West. (KC)|
|7 (14)||San Antonio Spurs||24-14||Someone please explain to me again how DeJuan Blair fell to the Spurs with the 37th pick? The rookie out of Pitt put up 28 points and snatched 21 boards in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. (Andrew Kipp)|
|8 (10)||Denver Nuggets||25-14||Two consecutive wins have Denver in the thick of things, but they’ll have to improve their play on the road if they want to contend. (John Scullane)|
|9 (6)||Phoenix Suns||24-16||Friday night’s last-second loss to the Hawks was a heartbreaker. It will be up to Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire to rally the troops for a second-half push in a highly competitive Western Conference. (Andrew Kipp)|
|10 (5)||Portland Trailblazers||25-16||Some how, some way, this banged up Portland squad keeps getting it done. (Andrew Kipp)|
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, DeJuan Blair, Denver Nuggets, Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Marquis Daniels, NBA Power Rankings, Orlando Magic, Paul Gausol, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Rasheed Wallace, San Antonio Spurs