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New Year, Old #1

Posted by Matt Rury on January 5, 2010 at 10:34 PM

It's been a couple of weeks since I have posted power rankings on Gino's Jungle, and a lot has changed since my last post. To refresh your memory without making you look a little further down the page, my rankings looked like this before Christmas:


Lakers

Celtics

Magic

Hawks

Mavericks

Cavaliers

Nuggets

Trail Blazers

Suns

Rockets


And now for your first Power Rankings of 2010...drum roll please...


Lakers (27-6) - Cleveland soared into the top spot over the past two weeks on many popular rankings lists after beating the L.A. Kobes by 15 points in their own house. Unfortunately for the Cavs, power rankings have a "what have you done for me lately?" type of feel to them. With that being the case, the Lakers hold on to the top spot in my rankings. They just demolished the Mavs two days ago and despite losing in Phoenix to go along with their loss to the Cavs, L.A. still looks like the team to beat.


Celtics (24-8) - What's this? You really thought I was going to put Lebron James above my beloved Celtics just because he beat the guys in purple? Think again!  The banged up Celtics may have dropped three straight games (two to sub-.500 teams) but they came back without three of their starters and beat a red-hot Toronto squad.  Ubuntu was in effect last Friday as the Celtics played an all around team game and showed that they aren't pushovers just because their stars are missing.


Cavaliers (27-9) - Ok, so if there are any Cavs fans reading this they are probably livid right now.  Since Christmas the Cavs have reeled off impressive wins vs. Houston and two against Atlanta.  The team is clicking and many people are starting to eat their words from the beginning of the year when they criticized Cleveland's start.  Then the Cavs came back to earth and dropped a home game against the Charlotte Bobcats.  While their recent success has definitely been impressive, it's not enough to bump them over the C's in my mind.


Mavericks (23-11) - Dallas is currently holding a five point lead with less than five minutes to play against the Pistons.  They got smoked by Los Angeles on Sunday.  They lost to Houston before that.  But, they also recently beat Denver (sans old friend Chauncey Billups) and currently hold the #2 seed in the top-heavy Western Conference, enough to push them past the next team on the list.


Trail Blazers (22-14) - Portland continues to find a way to win despite losing so many key players to season-ending injuries.  They've won seven of their last ten and continue to look good tonight vs. Memphis.  Until Portland starts losing some games, I don't see them falling too far down the list.


Spurs (20-12) - The Spurs have seemingly come out of nowhere.  They have taken advantage of a somewhat soft recent schedule and have won eight of their last ten games.  If San Antonio had been playing some more formidable opponents it may have pushed them ahead of Portland but teams like Milwaukee, New York, Minnesota and Washington aren't exactly difficult victories.


Magic (24-10) - After losing to the Celtics on Christmas at home the Magic haven't really played that many games.  They beat Milwaukee then struggled with Minnesota before winning by twelve.  Then they dropped two road games in a row in Chicago and Indiana (tonight).  The Indiana game was their 11th loss of the year and third in their last five games.  I fully expect the Magic to bounce back and find their way back into the top five but at the moment they aren't playing like they deserve to be there.


Rockets (20-14) - I keep hearing a lot about Houston's toughness.  They hang in there with anyone and they pull out victories against the teams they should beat.  They've scored solid wins vs. New Orleans and Dallas since Christmas but are putting up a terrible 1st quarter against the Lakers as I write this.  The fact that they are  6-4 over their last ten games keeps them ahead of Phoenix for #8.


Suns (21-13) - Great wins against the Celtics and Lakers keep the Suns in the top ten even though they dropped one to Golden State on the road and one at home vs. Memphis.  They are a mere 5-5 in their last ten, and while I could've brought an unknown team into the mix this week, I figured I'd wait one more week to see if Oklahoma City or Toronto continues to make noise before throwing the Suns out in the cold.


Hawks (21-12) - The talk surrounding the Hotlanta through the first two months of the season is that they were athletic to run with anyone and finally mature enough to beat the elite teams in the league.  Atlanta couldn't beat one of those teams last week as Cleveland handled them in both games of a back-to-back "home and home" series.  Since then they've dropped games to New York and Miami bringing their losing streak to four in a row.  Wednesday's game vs. New Jersey should be enough to get Atlanta back on track before Boston comes to town.

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