Power Rankings: Champs retake the throne
After back-to-back weeks at a season-low No. 4, Boston is back up at No. 1 in the so-called "human" edition of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings.
The Celts' bitter rivals are right behind them, too.
The defending champs and the team they toppled in this past June's Finals have underlined the interchangeability of the top four by quickly returning to the summit of our weekly NBA pulse-take. Boston has done so by responding to its recent 2-7 skid with an eight-game win streak, posting the last six of those wins by double digits. The Los Angeles Lakers made their own bid for No. 1 with home wins in the past week over Cleveland and San Antonio, missing out largely because the Cavs weren't at full strength and because the Celts swept one of the league's tougher back-to-back sets on the road, winning Wednesday in Miami and Thursday at then-No. 1 Orlando.
Other notable changes include Houston's return to the top 10 at No. 7 in spite of all its injury woes, as well as unexpected jumps for Miami (from No. 13 to No. 10) and Minnesota (from No. 21 to No. 16) that were helped by the ongoing struggles of three perennial powers: Phoenix, Dallas and Detroit.
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Also, check out John Hollinger's daily Power Rankings.
Tune in Tuesdays to "NBA Fastbreak" on ESPN to see this week's U.S. Army Power Rankings. Boston is the U.S. Army Team of the Week after handing Orlando its first home loss since Nov. 22.