Power Rankings: Lakers edge Suns for No. 1 spot

Updated: November 30, 2009, 12:50 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Two teams made a strong claim for the top spot in ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings on the fifth Monday of the regular season.

But you know we don't do ties here, so the Los Angeles Lakers managed to hang on to the No. 1 slot over the Phoenix Suns, even though Phoenix already has a league-leading eight road wins.

 ESPN.com Senior Writer Marc Stein
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The tiebreakers, in this case, are the street cred L.A. sports as an unquestioned title favorite as well as its 19-point pounding of the Suns in the teams' only head-to-head meeting (although that game was the second half of a back-to-back for Phoenix and its sixth road date in seven games). Remember, the big picture is always part of the power-computing equation in the "human" version of the NBA rankings … and Steve Nash would be the first to tell you that the Lakers -- especially since Pau Gasol's return from injury -- remain a notch or three ahead of the Suns in that category.

Other prominent upward movers include Orlando (inching from No. 4 to No. 3), Cleveland (rising from No. 7 to No. 4 thanks in part to slips by Atlanta, Denver and Dallas) and Houston (sneaking up to No. 9 largely because there was no obvious "next" after the current Elite Eight).

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