By Marty Burns
March 28, 2005
NBA Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
16 18 They're staying competitive despite all those injuries, but the schedule is not going to give them any breaks. Of their remaining 13 games, nine are against playoff-caliber teams.
17 16 They beat the Bucks on Friday to improve to 8-6 in March. With games this week against the Knicks (Mon.) and at Milwaukee (Wed.), they could notch their first winning month of the season.
18 22 They won a big one Sunday at the Lakers to climb over .500 for the first time since mid-November. With five wins in six games they look like they might reach the postseason after all.
19 17 Consecutive home losses to the Grizzlies and T'wolves have curbed the enthusiasm generated by that five-game win streak. Even Jason Kidd admits time is running out on their postseason hopes.
20 19 Time to get Phil Jackson on the phone. They lost at Portland on Saturday night to fall to 0-2 on their West Coast road trip and all but end their slim playoff hopes.
21 23 They saw their three-game win streak halted Sunday at Minneapolis. But at least Shaun Livingston is back to provide a glimpse of the future, and they're still playing better than the Lakers.
22 20 What's worse? An eight-game losing skid, their longest in 11 years? Or that clip from last week's loss in Denver, in which no Lakers bothered to run back on defense?
23 21 Yes, it's been a disappointing season to say the least. But with five more victories they can at least surpass last year's 33-49 campaign. They went 24-58 in 2002-03, so it's progress.
24 29 March Madness? Led by Primoz Brezec's 27 points and 11 rebounds, they shocked the Heat on Saturday for their third victory in four games. Take that, Tar Heels.
25 24
Orlando Magic (32-37)
They missed Steve Francis (suspension) in those losses to the Bobcats. With Hedo Turkoglu and Doug Christie out with injuries, they couldn't afford that lapse in judgment by Steve-O.
26 27
Utah Jazz (22-47)
Andrei Kirilenko (wrist) is out again, this time for the season, as their annus horribilis comes to a merciful end. In all, Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer (foot) played together a combined 25 games.
27 26 Management is talking about drafting a point guard or finding one on the free agent market this summer. Apparently they're not counting on T.J. Ford to return from his neck/back injury next season.
28 25 J.R. Smith had a career high 33 points in Saturday's win over the Grizzlies to prevent them from being the first team in history to go an entire season without a win in their division (1-14 against the Southwest).
29 28 Has any player in recent history been on more losing teams than Shareef Abdur-Rahim? Here's hoping the classy vet finds a winning situation as a free agent this summer.
30 30
Atlanta Hawks (11-58)
They lost to the Raptors on Saturday to make it eight straight defeats, and 21 of 22 overall. With two victories in the past two months, they're counting the days.

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