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With just a little over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the race for the NBA playoffs is heating up. Elite teams like the Lakers and Cavaliers look to continue playing winning basketball in order to solidify the top seed in their respective conferences, while the Raptors and Trailblazers will try to fend off the Bulls and Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff positions.
This week’s rankings look very familiar, with the Cavaliers and Lakers continuing to occupy the top two spots, and the Suns and Thunder rounding out the field.
The Utah Jazz, an impressive 29-8 in Salt Lake City so far this season, traded places with the Denver Nuggets, moving up from No. 6 to No. 5. this week. The previously red-hot Dallas Mavericks, who appeared to be making a push to take the No. 2 position from the Lakers, traded places with the Orlando Magic, falling from No. 3 to No. 4.
The Boston Celtics, 7-3 over their last ten games, moved up from No. 10 to No. 8. Big wins over the Mavericks and Nuggets have the C’s currently occupying the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
|1 (30)||Cleveland Cavaliers||57-16||“If I really wanted to be the scoring champion every single year — every single year — I could really do it. But it doesn’t matter.” -LeBron James (Andrew Kipp)|
|2 (27)||LA Lakers||53-19||Andrew Bynum injured again? Is that a surprise? (KC Downey)|
|3 (24)||Orlando Magic||51-22||Despite a heart breaking loss to Atlanta, Orlando is still an elite team that is definitely going deep into the playoffs, especially with the guidance of Van Gundy and the leadership of Howard. (John Scullane)|
|4 (18)||Dallas Mavericks||47-25||Opposing teams seemed to have found a way to neutralize Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd; a big reason why the Mavs are 2-4 since their 13-game winning streak. (Andrew Kipp)|
|5 (16)||Utah Jazz||47-26||Utah is part of a very tight race for the 2-4 seeds out West, and they’re on the right end of a momentum swing. (John Scullane)|
|6 (15)||Denver Nuggets||48-25||The Nuggets just don’t look the same without head coach George Karl (battling throat cancer) on the bench. Time to see if Carmelo Anthony can be a leader for this team down the stretch. (Andrew Kipp)|
|7 (13)||Atlanta Hawks||46-26||Despite their road troubles this season, the Hawks are always a dangerous team to play. But they’ve been pretty horrible so far against top teams, save for the Celtics. (John Scullane)|
|8 (8)||Boston Celtics||47-25||The C’s are old, but they’ve beaten a lot of the teams on this list. (KC Downey)|
|9 (7)||Phoenix Suns||46-26||The Suns are scorching, and they laid a serious 132-96 beat-down on former coach Mike D’Antoni’s hapless New York Knicks. (Andrew Kipp)|
|10 (2)||OKC Thunder||44-27||Allow me to chant loudly for Kevin Durant…MVP! MVP! MVP! (KC Downey)|
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, NBA Power Rankings, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Stan Van Gundy, Utah Jazz