Power Rankings: Cavs finish on top

Updated: April 13, 2010, 12:22 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Monday, April 12

The committee (of one) was faced with an unexpected conundrum in the season's 26th and final edition of ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings:

Question: Do we drop the Cleveland Cavaliers in the wake of three straight losses with LeBron James resting for the playoffs?

Answer: Can't do it.

It was decided, after considerable deliberation, that the Cavs should not be demoted to the No. 2 slot when they willingly pulled James out of the lineup to keep him as fresh as possible for the postseason. So Cleveland holds onto No. 1, despite Orlando's very strong finish to the regular season, for the fifth successive Monday.

The Cavs, after a 3-3 start, wound up topping our human, subjective and thoroughly nonautomated check of the league's team-by-team pulse on 13 of a possible 26 Mondays. The Los Angeles Lakers were No. 1 eight times during the season but slipped to a season-low-tying No. 4 after Sunday's home loss to Portland lowered the defending champions' record to 4-10 against playoff-bound teams since the All-Star break. Phoenix (No. 3) and Utah (No. 5) join the Cavs, Magic and Lakers in our farewell top five until training camps start in late September.

Click here to rank the teams yourself, or Click here to comment on these rankings.

Also, check out John Hollinger's daily Power Rankings.

Tune in Tuesdays to "NBA Fastbreak" on ESPN to see the week's U.S. Army Power Rankings.

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