By Chris Mannix
March 08, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 21
The Clippers look like a team throwing in the towel. After stunning Utah at home to start last week, L.A. was blown out by the Suns (26 points), Thunder (17) and Jazz (22). Next up is a four-game-in- five-nights road trip with visits to Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and San Antonio.
22 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 23
The best news to come from a 1-3 week is that Lou Williams continues to get his swagger back. Williams' scoring has ticked up more than three points since the All-Star break and he's averaging a full assist more per game. With his minutes back in the mid-30s, Williams is averaging 19.3 points in four games this month.
23 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 22
Often-injured guard Shaun Livingston has been getting some backup point guard minutes as the Wizards play out the string. Coach Flip Saunders said he would continue to try to find playing time for Livingston, who had four assists in 15 minutes in a recent loss to Milwaukee. "Shaun gets assists where he makes something out of nothing and he's the one guy on our team who can do that," Saunders told reporters.
24 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 25
Rodney Stuckey did not play in a victory against Houston on Sunday, two days after he was hospitalized after collapsing on the bench. It's uncertain when he'll return. Stuckey's and Ben Wallace's absence Sunday increased Detroit's man games lost to injury this season to 113; the Pistons' high in the previous four seasons was 65.
25 New York Knicks
Last Week: 26
Mike D'Antoni has taken a lot of heat for the Knicks' free fall -- which includes two wins and five double-digit losses since the All-Star break -- but president Donnie Walsh says the blame should be passed to him. "I should be the guy looked at," Walsh told reporters. "I'm taking the responsibility for these first two seasons. I did it the first day I got here."
26 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 27
The Tyreke Evans-Beno Udrih backcourt may not last beyond this season, but it has been fairly effective. The Kings are 9-8 when Evans and Udrih start together, in part because Udrih's improved three-point shooting enables him to knock down open looks that Evans creates with his penetration. Udrih tied his season high with four threes in Friday's narrow loss to Dallas.
27 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 24
They lost four in a row on the West Coast last week, allowing 122 points twice. A 2-9 stretch since the All-Star break has left the Pacers with the fourth-worst record in the league and put them in range for the franchise's first top five pick since 1988.
28 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 28
Stephen Curry can't keep the Warriors from losing -- they dropped four straight last week, all on the road -- but he's keeping them from losing Curry. The guard has blown through the rookie wall, raising his scoring nearly seven points since the All-Star break and dropping 30-plus three times in that stretch.
29 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
Darko Milicic told The Associated Press that his role in the Wolves' rotation isn't enough to persuade him to play in the NBA next season (he still intends to return to Europe). That silence you hear is the sound of nobody caring.
30 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
Relax, Jersey. You picked up one of your "winnable" games on the path to avoiding NBA infamy when you pounded the Knicks on Saturday. Now you can sit back and let Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Houston pummel you on a four-game road trip this week.
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