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The final ballots are in with less than a week remaining in the NBA regular season. It’s been a long strange trip to say the least. When we at Sports of Boston started our bi-weekly NBA Power Rankings back in December, the Celtics and Lakers were far and away the two most dominant teams in the league.
But, a lot has happened since then: the Celtics suffered a slew of major injuries in January, falling into a major funk (from which they have yet to emerge), the Mavericks and Cavaliers vastly improved themselves at the trade deadline in February, the once seemingly invincible Lakers now appear to have a chink in their armor, the Bucks have emerged as a contender in the East, while the 6-8 and 2-5 seeds are separated by less than a game in a ridiculously competitive Western Conference.
In this week’s rankings, the Magic supplanted the Lakers for the No. 2 position. The Lakers have not been ranked below No. 2 all season long, but after losing Andrew Bynum in early March, Los Angeles has gone 5-5 over its last ten games.
The Lakers aren’t the only team on the slide. The Mavericks slipped from No. 4 to No. 7, while the Hawks fell from No. 7 to No. 9 this week.
Meanwhile, the red-hot Suns jumped from No. 9 to No. 5, and the Nuggets moved up from No. 6 to No. 4., to finish the season strong.
Now, on the brink of the NBA Playoffs, it is with both sadness and overwhelming anticipation that the great basketball minds at Sports of Boston bring you the final edition of our 2009-2010 NBA Power Rankings. Enjoy.
|1 (30)||Cleveland Cavaliers||61-19||Enemies beware. Basketball is a team game, but LeBron James is going to do everything he can to win his first NBA Title all by himself. Monster truck running over a line of Chevy Vegas and Ford Pintos analogy comes to mind. (Andrew Kipp)|
|2 (26)||Orlando Magic||56-23||Orlando is sitting pretty, having clinched the East’s #2, and is an upset away from finishing better than even the Lakers. If ever there was a season for the Magic, this is it. (John Scullane)|
|3 (25)||Los Angeles Lakers||56-23||Is it comforting the Celtics have beaten all three top
teams on this list? (KC Downey)
|4 (20)||Denver Nuggets||52-27||At 19-21 on the road this season, the Nuggets desperately need to finish as the #2 seed in the West. (Andrew Kipp)|
|5 (18)||Phoenix Suns||51-28||A ten-game win streak right at the end of the season? Phoenix couldn’t have picked a better time. (John Scullane)|
|6 (13)||Utah Jazz||52-28||The Jazz need the #2 seed almost as badly as the Nuggets do. They’re another elite Western Conference team that’s almost unbeatable at home (32-8), but below average on the road (20-20). (Andrew Kipp)|
|7 (11)||Dallas Mavericks||52-27||Dallas is still in a dogfight for the West’s #2 through #5, but wherever they finish, Kidd and Nowitzki will make them a contender. (John Scullane)|
|8 (8)||Boston Celtics||49-30||The win over the Cavs was impressive, but losing to the Knicks and Wizards was inexplicable. (KC Downey)|
|9 (5)||Atlanta Hawks||50-29||The Hawks will probably have to win-out if they want to wrestle the #3 seed from the Celtics. (Andrew Kipp)|
|10 (4)||San Antonio Spurs||48-31||Convincing wins over the Celtics and Lakers should give the Spurs a lot of confidence heading into the playoffs. (Andrew Kipp)|
Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA Power Rankings, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz