By Chris Mannix
March 29, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 22
Can't say the Pacers have quit on Jim O'Brien. Despite a loss to Atlanta, Indy rode a five-game winning streak that was sparked by youth. Roy Hibbert, Josh McRoberts and A.J. Price have delivered big minutes -- and bigger production -- for the Pacers during the stretch.
22 New York Knicks
Last Week: 21
Maybe Madison Square Garden isn't the best place for Tracy McGrady. In eight games at MSG, McGrady is only averaging 11.8 points on 43-percent shooting. The road hasn't been much better, either. In a loss to Phoenix, McGrady totaled five points on 2-11 shooting.
23 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 26
Just when you think the Sixers have checked out, they whack Milwaukee and Atlanta in the same week. From the "better late than never" department, Jason Kapono seems to have rediscovered his shot. Kapono has knocked down 44 percent of his threes in the last eight games and 53.8 percent in his last three starts.
24 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 27
Don Nelson's magic number is down to three. A Herculean effort by ex-D-Leaguer Reggie Williams (25 points) helped the Dubs bump off the Clippers and pull Nellie to within two games of tying Lenny Wilkens' record for the most coaching wins (1,332). Said Nelson of Williams, ""He doesn't even know how big a gift he has. We've just dusted off the surface."
25 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 24
A 13-point loss to Sacramento. A 10-point defeat to Dallas. An 18-point wipeout at the hands of the Warriors. In most other seasons, the Clips would easily qualify as the NBA's most inept bunch.
26 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 23
The Kings have to decide how many keepers. Tyreke Evans is one. Carl Landry is another. Andres Nocioni ... not so much. The rugged swingman even said he was "not part of this group" and hoped to be moved before next season.
27 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 25
Take a long look at the Pistons' body language -- particularly of veterans Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton -- and you get an idea of how tough this season has been. With Michigan State in the Final Four, expect to read a lot of lines on the possibility of Spartans coach Tom Izzo running the Pistons.
28 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 28
A 15-game losing streak and a worse record than the Nets since the All-Star break. Say no more.
29 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
Recall the hoarse voice of Howard Cosell at the Rumble in the Jungle as you read: It is over! It is over! It is over! Two straight wins ended the Nets 2-2 week stretch in the basement. Although, a 23-point loss to Chicago nearly sent them back.
30 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
Moral victories are the only ones the Wolves are celebrating these days. Consider: As proof of the team's progress, some Minny players pointed to the one point they pulled within in loss No. 60 to Phoenix. "I don't believe the record demonstrates the progress we've made," Kurt Rambis said. "If you go back to the beginning [of the season], we're a completely different ball club now."
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