By Marty Burns
March 14, 2005
NBA Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
16 16 Kevin Garnett has picked it up, and Wally Szczerbiak has been a good soldier off the bench. But this week's slate features road dates at Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis.
17 20 Through Sunday they had lost five of eight to fall to No. 8 in the East. Meanwhile, Jermaine O'Neal (sprained shoulder) could be out longer than expected and might even need surgery.
18 23 They had won five of six overall, and seven straight at home, before Sunday's loss to the Sonics. With 21 games left, they now must go 15-6 to reach .500 and have a shot at the playoffs.
19 21 They won at Orlando on Sunday to wash away the bitter taste of Friday's 90-65 loss to the Heat. Though not as hot of late as the Knicks, they have a better chance of making the postseason.
20 26 Bobby Simmons (16.8 points, 6.0 rebounds) continues to make his case for Most Improved Player. Meanwhile, his team has won five of nine through Sunday, with five of their next six are at home.
21 24 They won at Atlanta on Sunday to finish a respectable 4-4 on their eight-game road odyssey. But wouldn't Mike Montgomery rather be getting ready for March Madness right now?
22 22 Trey, Canada! They set an NBA record by making 21 3-pointers in Sunday's home win over the Sixers. The old mark was 19, set by Atlanta against Dallas in Dec. '96.
23 13 Until Jim O'Brien figures out a way to work Webber into the mix, they're going to be bad. But at week's end they were still just two games back of the final playoff spot in the East.
24 12
Orlando Magic (31-31)
Like a Magic Kingdom roller coaster, they're up one week, down the next. Not even the return of Grant Hill (shin injury) could prevent Sunday's home loss to the Nets, their fourth straight overall.
25 28 Since Jan. 8 they are a respectable 10-8 at home. Either they've found a comfort zone at New Orleans Arena -- or their opponents are spending too much time on Bourbon Street.
26 17 They played hard for awhile after the Keith Van Horn/Michael James trades, but their lack of depth has caught up to them. Plus, Desmond Mason (abdominal muscle) is now hurting.
27 27
Utah Jazz (20-42)
Sunday's loss at Detroit gave them 42 for the season, assuring them of a losing record for the first time in Jerry Sloan's 17 seasons in Utah. Last year the Jazz finished 42-40 but failed to make the playoffs.
28 25 Like the Jazz, they too have taken another step back after seeing a long playoff streak end a year ago. They will finish with a losing record for the first time since '88-89.
29 29 Coming off the bench Saturday, Brevin Knight had 17 assists and no turnovers in his team's loss to the Lakers. It was the most assists in one game without a turnover for an NBA player this season.
30 30
Atlanta Hawks (11-51)
Friday's win at Toronto snapped a 13-game losing skid overall and 23-game road drought. But it was back to reality on Saturday as they lost at home to the Warriors.

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