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NBA power rankings

Feb 8, 2010, 4:18 PM EDT

nba_james1_250.jpgThe Association from top to bottom.

1. Cavaliers (41-11) Best record in the NBA and on an 11-game win streak. Going into All-Star weekend they are the team to beat. Didn’t we say that last year, too?

2. Nuggets (34-17) They’ve beaten the Lakers twice, that has to boost Denver’s confidence going forward. Although, doing the same thing in the playoffs is another matter.

3. Jazz (31-18)
Eight straight wins. Jazz are in the middle of their annual “we’re playing like contenders mid-season” stretch.

4. Lakers (39-13) Denver and Utah are hotter right now, and the Lakers have a few issues to resolve (hello Derek Fisher), but who you going to pick when the playoffs start? Exactly.

5. Magic (34-17) The comeback win over Boston means they may be putting it all together post Hedo, finally. If so, watch out.

6. Hawks (32-17) They keep getting overlooked as a contender in the East. Do that at your own peril.

7. Thunder (29-21) OKC is 7-3 in their last 10 games, and Kevin Durant is filling it up. Man is that fun to watch.

8. Suns (31-21) They have won five in a row and are climbing fast. Why do they want to trade Amare Stoudemire again?

9. Spurs (29-20) San Antonio crushes bad teams like the Clippers, but they need to beat some good teams before we buy in.

10. Celtics (32-17) This team needs to get healthy, the All-Star break couldn’t come at a better time. But the problems look deeper than that.

11. Mavericks (31-19) They are 5-5 in their last 10, which in the deepest division in basketball will have them out of the lead quick if they can’t turn it around.

12. Raptors (28-23) When they play a little defense, like the fourth quarter against the Kings, they become a dangerous team.

13. Bucks (23-26) They have found their rhythm again and have won 7 of the last 10.

14. Blazers (30-23) Any more injuries and they will be pulling guys out of the stands to play.

15. Bobcats (24-25) While the franchise is in flux, Larry Brown has quietly done a great job getting Charlotte to play defense.

16. Rockets (27-23) This team is not going to win a title, but nobody in the West wants them in the first round.

17. Heat (24-27) It’s not just that Miami is 3-7 in their last 10, but that the schedule has been pretty soft at the same time.

18. Bulls (24-25) Chicago is 6-4 in its last 10, and if they can put to Thomas situation behind them and get Noah back healthy in a couple weeks, they are playoff bound.

19. Hornets (27-24) Has anyone in New Orleans even thought about the Hornets the last two weeks? They may not for two more after the Super Bowl.

20. Grizzlies (24-26) Hallmark of a young team is thinking you are through a touch stretch, letting your foot off the gas and getting beat by Minnesota.

21. Sixers (19-31) Hey, Allen Iverson is an All-Star. There’s your bright spot.

22. Clippers (21-29) New coach Kim Hughes wants to run, but outside Baron Davis who on that team do you want handling the ball on the break?

23. Knicks (19-31) Nate Robinson is back to the bench, Chris Duhon is starting again. That should solve all their problems.

24. Timberwolves (13-38) Don’t look now, but Minnesota is 5-5 in their last 10 and beat Memphis the other day. They may be fitting the pieces together.

25. Pacers (18-33) With the loss by the Colts, the fans of Indianapolis can turn to the Pacers to brighten their… maybe not.

26. Kings (16-24) Can Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans play together well? If not, now is the time to move Martin.

27. Wizards (17-32) If Bull Durham taught us one thing, it’s that every once in a while a team needs a rain out. Or a snow out, in this case.

28. Pistons (17-32) Chuck Daly used to get death threats. At least back then the Pistons got noticed.

29. Warriors (13-36) I’ve given up trying to figure out Don Nelson’s rotations. They give me a headache.

30. Nets (4-46) I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find something to write to pick up the spirits of Nets fans. I’ve given up.

  1. lakerfan - Feb 8, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Kurt – you have forgotten your roots already. Lakers at 4?

  2. etmcgee - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    the raptors and bucks above the trailblazers? really? even with the janitors playing the blazers beat those 2 teams…

  3. Pete - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    These ratings are pointless.

  4. JB Money - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    The Jazz over the Lakers?!? The Jizz can’t hold the Laker’s shorts! Wow! All I can say is WOW dude, wake up and smell yourself…

  5. orlie - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    I am on the cavalier bandwagon drinking the koolaid this is our year.
    Long live king James WE ARE ALL WITNESSES!

  6. phil - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    cavs are no: 1. as a 25 year cleve frustrated sports fan it don’t mean a thing. when all is said and done your no: 4 will be no: 1.

  7. Larry - Feb 9, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Good to see the Thunder getting some well deserved recognition. They are not one dimensional, they have Westbrook and Green to compliment and pick up Durant in that rare occasion he doesn’t deliver.

  8. Anonymous - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    dont sleep on da hawks they should be number 4

  9. paulfrancisformerfoodblogger - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Good stuff, Mr. Helin. Maybe the Kobe-less Lakers and their return to triangulation can end that Jazz winning streak tonight. Anyone up for D-ing up a true point guard tonight? Anyone? (Speaking of pulling people out of the stands…)
    And here’s hoping the Rockets end up 7th or 9th in the West.

  10. geo1951 - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Kurt, I’d have to say, as you pointed out, that the Lakers would beat any team in the league in a 7 game series. But I can understand you ranking Cleveland ahead of them since the Cavs have a better record and have beaten the Lakers both times they played this season. And, I can stretch it a little and understand why you might rank Denver ahead of the Lakers since the Nuggets have soundly beaten L.A. in both meetings this year. We’ll see what happens with both Denver and the Cavs when/if they meet the Lakers in the real (playoff) season. But ranking the Jazz ahead of the Lakers is just, well, stupid. No way!

  11. tonkjenkins - Feb 11, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    Are you on that oooweee….Lakers at 4. Come on man, the Lakers should be 2 and you know that, and that was before they whoop your #3 team with out Bynum and Bryant.

  12. Bob A. Jones, Sr. - Feb 11, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    FOUR! FOUR! You gotta be kiddin’ me! The Defending World Champion Los Angeles Lakers deserve more respect brother kurt. Just becaus LeBron and Co won a couple of regular season games against them doesn’t constitute there superiority. In fact if last year is any indication and they are fortunate enough to meet the Western Champs in the Finals this year, expect a repeat of what happened with the Orlando Magic after 2 regular season victories over the MOST talent laden team in the NBA, another Championship Banner being hung at Staples Center! Now, back to the golf course…FOUR! love bob

  13. Anonymous - Feb 11, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    warriors, need a PF and a blessing from the pope. OAKLAND FOO

  14. crOM - Feb 11, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    warriors, need a PF and a blessing from the pope. OAKLAND FOO

  15. bobdevo - Feb 12, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    Lakers. As if. The Cavs off-season additions of Shaq, Parker, Moon and Jawad Williams, plus the emergence of JJ Hickson spell doom for the LA nancy-boys.
    In their two meetings Shaw has made Gasol and Bynum irrelevant, they’ve harassed Kobe into desperation shots and the Lakers have no one – repeat NO ONE – who can impede LeBron James.

  16. Drew - Feb 12, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Lakers at No. 4 after they just trounced Utah on the road without Kobe? No. 4 while having the second-best record in the league? I’m a Lakers hater and even I have to put them higher than No. 4.
    Denver is a team the Lakers do not want to play, but still, they’ve been inconsistent. I’d still have the Lakers at No. 2.
    The Hawks and Rockets are two teams nobody wants to see in the first round.

  17. Joyce - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    I’m with JB Money Are You Out Of Your Vulcan Mind putting the Jazz above the Lakers..

  18. Jimsjam33 - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    This must be Ground Hog Day . Let’s look into the crystal ball and make this seasons predictions . The Lakers don’t have to worry about the Cavaliers in the NBA finals because Lebron James and Co. won’t be there . They’ll be crying about how they got ripped off because Shaq got injured or xyz happened to eliminate them . Besides , the Magic , Celtics , Raptors and Hawks are some serious competition in the playoffs. Remember this basketball fans Cleveland is a town cursed by it’s basketball history . James will be so crushed by the Cavs defeat this year that he will defect to the Knicks .
    The Lakers ? Well that’s a different story . They live for basketball passion and glory . Victory always seems to find a way into the City of Angels. I guess it doesn’t hurt when you also have the best basketball talent in the world . Lakers again ..like I said this be Ground Hog day all over again and again ……….

  19. Jacob Noble - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Thanks for stealing my website idea btw… are you hiring more writers? Might as well join forces.
    My site is:
    http://www.pro-basketball-talk.com
    i didn’t purchase the probasketballtalk.com domain because the owner wanted 2k from me for it and as a start up, was not worth it.

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