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SoB NBA Power Rankings 3-7-11

Arron Afflalo and the new-look Denver Nuggets cracked our top 10 for the first time all season this week. (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)

The San Antonio Spurs didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline, but that didn’t stop them from maintaining their stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in the SoB NBA Power Rankings.

The Spurs have now held the No. 1 spot in our rankings for two straight months, and despite getting drubbed by the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, they still have a 5.5-game lead on the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference playoff race. Barring a catastrophic collapse in the second half of March, San Antonio should take home the No. 1 seed.

After acquiring small forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and point guard Nate Robinson, the Boston Celtics have been on a tear, winning of eight of their last ten. The C’s jumped from No. 5 to No. 2 in this week’s rankings.

The Dallas Mavericks, perhaps the hottest team in the NBA at the moment, came in at No. 3 this week. The Mavs are trailed closely by the Chicago Bulls (No. 4) and Los Angeles Lakers (No. 5).

The Bulls have steadily climbed up our rankings throughout the season, and now find themselves just three games behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The struggling Miami Heat are 4-6 in their last 10 games. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Co. fell from No. 4 to No. 6.

The Orlando Magic (No. 7), OKC Thunder (No. 8), Atlanta Hawks (No. 9), and Denver Nuggets (No. 10), round out the field.

Previous Power Rankings: 11/7/10 | 11/30/10 | 12/17/10 | 1/9/11 | 1/24/11 | 2/14/11

Rank (points) Team Record Comment
1 (30) San Antonio Spurs 51-12 The Spurs are the first team to reach 50 wins. And their last home loss [before the Lakers] was November 26. (John Scullane)
2 (26) Boston Celtics 46-15 GM Danny Ainge took a lot of criticism for sending Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City at the trade deadline, but the Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10, and their new acquisitions are starting to produce. (Andrew Kipp)
3 (23) Dallas Mavericks 45-17 Look out for the Mavs, as Dirk and Kidd have them 5.5 games back of the Spurs out west. (KC Downey)
4 (21) Chicago Bulls 43-18 The Bulls achieved their highest ranking of the season this week, and with Joakim Noah back they appear to be going nowhere but up. (Andrew Kipp)
5 (20) Los Angeles Lakers 45-19 The Lakers have won seven straight, but those consecutive road losses in Charlotte and Cleveland have to be weighing on their minds. (John Scullane)
6 (15) Miami Heat 43-20 Let’s face it. This year’s LeBron is not a clutch player. Period. (KC Downey)
7 (12) Orlando Magic 40-23 Orlando overcame a sizable deficit to knock off Miami and win their fourth in a row. They’re now 7-3 in their last 10. (John Scullane).
8 (8) OKC Thunder 39-22 The Thunder are somehow finding ways to win without their injured trade acquisitions, but the Denver Nuggets are right on their heels in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. (Andrew Kipp)
9 (6) Atlanta Hawks 37-26 The Hawks give the Eastern Conference five quality contenders. Is the East now the better conference? (KC Downey)
10 (4) Denver Nuggets 37-27 Everyone is talking about the new look Knicks, but the Nugs are playing winning basketball without Carmelo Anthony. (Andrew Kipp)

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