By Chris Mannix
March 15, 2010
NBA Power Rankings
21 New York Knicks
Last Week: 25
Danilo Gallinari's roller-coaster season continues. Two games after dropping 27 points in a victory against the Hawks, the second-year forward saw his seven-game double-digit scoring streak snapped. In the last two games, a loss to Memphis and a win over Dallas, Gallinari has totaled 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
22 Sacramento Kings
Last Week: 26
The Kings have a point guard (Tyreke Evans) and a power forward (Carl Landry) locked up. Now if only a swingman would stand out. Sacto has auditioned Omri Casspi, Donte Greene, Andres Nocioni, Ime Udoka and Francisco Garcia at starting small forward, with mixed results. "It's competition all the time, with everybody trying to do the best for the team and win," Casspi told the Sacramento Bee.
23 Detroit Pistons
Last Week: 24
The "Fire John Kuester" murmurs have gotten louder recently, but canning a first-year coach after an injury-ravaged season from a rebuilding team won't solve anything. Not with next season looking equally bleak and no logical replacement ready to step in.
24 Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week: 21
Mike Dunleavy's firing officially makes this offseason the biggest in team history. A home run (poaching Nuggets vice president Mark Warkentien, hiring Avery Johnson as coach and signing restricted free agent Rudy Gay) could have the Clippers in the playoff hunt next season. But a whiff by Donald Sterling (handing total control to Larry Brown, overpaying a couple of Tracy McGrady/Mike Miller types) will hamstring the Clips for years.
25 Philadelphia 76ers
Last Week: 22
Eddie Jordan insists the paper-thin ice he's walking on hasn't affected him. "We just won a game against ... Toronto. You guys push that aside like that's nothing," Jordan told local reporters last week after Philadelphia's only victory this month in eight games. "Our team is working hard. They're good character guys. Like all teams, every once in a while they need a kick in the pants and motivation and positive thoughts. I don't know where that comes from. It's just put out there, 'The team's not listening.'"
26 Indiana Pacers
Last Week: 27
The Pacers have three wins since the All-Star break and Mike Dunleavy sat out Sunday's loss to Milwaukee after getting doinked in the eye with a ball during layup lines. There's really not much more to say after that.
27 Washington Wizards
Last Week: 23
Just what you want to do after an 0-4 week that stretched your losing streak to seven: head out on a four-game road trip with visits to the Jazz, Nuggets, Blazers and Lakers. And you thought it couldn't get any uglier in D.C.
28 Golden State Warriors
Last Week: 28
The San Jose Mercury News's Tim Kawakami outlines the 10 reasons Don Nelson will be removed after this season. I'll give you two reasons why, should Chris Cohan remain the owner, he stays: a $6 million contract and a few wins to go before breaking Lenny Wilkens' record for coaching victories.
29 Minnesota Timberwolves
Last Week: 29
The Timberwolves, losers of nine in a row, haven't won since mid-February. And they may not win again until early April. Minny's brutal March slate doesn't show a non-playoff team until a March 31 game with Sacramento. In between it gets two dates with the Suns and one apiece with the Jazz and Lakers.
30 New Jersey Nets
Last Week: 30
Time to applaud Nets beat writers Dave D'Alessandro (Newark Star-Ledger), Al Iannazone (The Record), Fred Kerber (New York Post) and Julian Garcia (New York Daily News) for hanging in all season. I heard at least two asked to switch to the watch-grass-grow beat after witnessing Jersey blow an 18-point lead to Dallas during an 0-4 West Coast trip.
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