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Most NBA players and coaches agree that March is the most trying month of the season. With the playoffs still well over a month away, teams are simply looking for consistency in the wake of injuries and long road trips.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks, two teams who made their teams significantly better at the trade deadline, sit at No. 1 and No. 3 respectively this week. The Mavericks earned just as many voting points as the Lakers (25), but LA’s superior winning percentage (.727) helped them edge Dallas (.682) for the No. 2 position.
The Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets were each bumped down a rank, while the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, and OKC Thunder maintained their 2/27 positions.
The Boston Celtics are a team in search of consistency. The green have gone 18-18 since a win over the Orlando Magic on Christmas day, and have slipped to the No. 10 position this week. If they don’t pick it up here down the stretch, the Celtics could find themselves out of our rankings entirely. Especially with hungry teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, and Memphis Grizzlies waiting in the wings.
|1 (30)||Cleveland Cavaliers||51-15||How the Cavs were able to keep JJ Hickson in the Antawn Jamison trade is beyond me. Having Hickson on the bench has allowed Cleveland to continue their dominant play with injuries to Jamison and Shaq. (Andrew Kipp)|
|2 (25)||LA Lakers||48-18||Recently lost three games in a row, including a defeat to the Bobcats. Yikes! (KC Downey)|
|3 (25)||Dallas Mavericks||45-21||With 13 wins in a row, I was seriously considering them for #1, but they nearly blew it against the Nets. They’d better forget about that in a hurry. (John Scullane)|
|4 (22)||Orlando Magic||46-20||Orlando has won 7 straight, and appear poised to make another run at the Eastern Conference Finals. (Andrew Kipp)|
|5 (18)||Denver Nuggets||44-21||Denver is sandwiched between Dallas and Utah in the West, but their primary concern now is to hold off Utah rather than catch Dallas, in order to give the Lakers two chances to be booted out of they playoffs before the Nuggets have to get involved. (John Scullane)|
|6 (15)||Utah Jazz||42-23||Utah has quietly moved themselves into the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference. (Andrew Kipp)|
|7 (11)||Atlanta Hawks||41-23||With a big win in Washington, the Hawks moved into #3 in the East. And with a favorable remaining schedule, they look to stay there. (John Scullane)|
|8 (7)||OKC Thunder||40-24||Those MVP chants for Kevin Durant will get louder and louder… (KC Downey)|
|9 (7)||Phoenix Suns||40-26||Phoenix is hanging in there, thanks to a great home record and an improving road record. They might make a run at Denver if they face off in round 1 of the playoffs, but don’t expect them to get past round 2. (John Scullane)|
|10 (4)||Boston Celtics||41-23||How the Celtics perform against Cleveland on Sunday should give us a better sense of where this team is at. (Andrew Kipp)|
Tags: Antawn Jamison, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Kevin Durant, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Power Rankings, New Jersey Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Shaq, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards