C's continue climb in power rankings

The Boston Celtics shuffled up a step to No. 2 in the latest ESPN.com NBA power rankings, sitting a spot behind the Dallas Mavericks (who beat the Celtics in a head-to-head battle earlier this season).

Writes curator Marc Stein: "The Rondo Effect: Folks are starting to ask on a regular basis whether RR can really pull a Stockton and average 14 dimes for the season. The KG Effect: Boston has started at a brisk 16-4 for the fourth consecutive season."

Over on John Hollinger's computer rankings, the Celtics have ascended to No. 1 (with the Spurs rights at their heels at No. 2, while the Mavericks are a few steps back at No. 3).

At NBA.com, John Schuhmann's weekly rankings also have Boston on top with the note, "This isn't the first time you've seen this stat here, but it bears repeating: Since acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are 87-14 in games played before Christmas. They're the No. 1 defense in the league again. They've also shot better than 50 percent in six games on this seven-game winning streak."