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NBA Power Rankings: Is the bottom in sight for the Lakers?

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports
NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks
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Jan 26, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks (20) reacts after scoring during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 110-103. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana
1. Indiana Pacers (34-9; last week's ranking: 1): Paul George returns to his Southern California roots Tuesday to play the Lakers. Lakers fans wish he never signed a contract extension.


Oklahoma City
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (35-10; last week's ranking: 4): Hot-scoring Kevin Durant faces LeBron James in Miami on Wednesday. The week's best sports event – other than the Super Bowl.


Portland
3. Portland Trail Blazers (33-12; last week's ranking: 2): The NBA announces All-Star reserves Thursday. Portland is deserving of two in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard.


Miami
4. Miami Heat (32-12; last week's ranking: 7): It will be interesting to see how Dwayne Wade's knees respond during his second game back on Wednesday against the Thunder.


San Antonio
5. San Antonio Spurs (33-11; last week's ranking: 3): After Sunday's loss in Miami, San Antonio has only two big wins this season: Beating Golden State while the Spurs' three stars were sidelined; and a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers without Chris Paul.


Los Angeles
6. Los Angeles Clippers (31-15; last week's ranking: 5): Lost in Terrence Ross' 51-point game against the Clippers was Jamal Crawford totaling 37 points and 11 assists.


Houston
7. Houston Rockets (29-17; last week's ranking: 8): Francisco Garcia, who owns a player's option for next season, has been dangled in trade talks lately, a source said.


Golden State
8. Golden State Warriors (27-18; last week's ranking: 6): It's no secret the Clippers and the Warriors don't care for each other. They meet again in a must-watch game Thursday in Oakland, Calif.


Memphis
9. Memphis Grizzlies (22-20; last week's ranking: 9): After beating Houston back to back, the Grizzlies face another test at Portland on Tuesday. Memphis has won eight of its past 10.


Phoenix
10. Phoenix Suns (25-18; last week's ranking: 11): The Suns have played nine of their 18 back-to-backs this season and have two this week. Phoenix is 4-5 in the second of back-to-back games.


Dallas
11. Dallas Mavericks (26-20; last week's ranking: 10): Dirk Nowitzki is an 11-time All-Star and on the bubble to make the West team. Monta Ellis, who has never been selected, also is a bubble candidate.


Denver
12. Denver Nuggets (22-21; last week's ranking: 12): The Nuggets still have "nothing imminent" regarding a trade with guard Andre Miller, a source told Yahoo Sports. Miller last played on Dec. 30.


Atlanta
13. Atlanta Hawks (23-20; last week's ranking: 13): Paul Millsap is the only player in the East averaging at least 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.


Toronto
14. Toronto Raptors (22-21; last week's ranking: 14): Ross' 51 points against the Clippers matched ex-Raptor Vince Carter's franchise high set on Feb. 27, 2000, versus Phoenix.


Minnesota
15. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-22; last week's ranking: 15): While Ricky Rubio is averaging just 8.6 points on 35.8 shooting, he leads the NBA in steals per game (2.6) and is fifth in assists (8.3).


Chicago
16. Chicago Bulls (22-21; last week's ranking: 17): Chicago has won seven of its past 10. Derrick Rose said it's possible he could return for the playoffs.


Washington
17. Washington Wizards (21-22; last week's ranking: 16): There have been five opponents that have kept Washington from reaching a winning record this season. Those teams have a combined 80-140 record.


Brooklyn
18. Brooklyn Nets (20-22; last week's ranking: 19): The Nets have a tough schedule ahead with Toronto, Oklahoma City and Indiana.


New York
19. New York Knicks (17-27; last week's ranking: 20): The Knicks play host to the Heat on the eve of the Super Bowl, which should likely attract even more celebrities than normal.


Charlotte
20. Charlotte Bobcats (19-27; last week's ranking: 23): Bobcats coach Steve Clifford returns to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Friday for the first time since leaving their staff.


Detroit
21. Detroit Pistons (17-27; last week's ranking: 18): Josh Smith returns to Atlanta on Wednesday for the second time since he signed with the Pistons. He scored just 11 points in Atlanta on Nov. 20.


Los Angeles
22. Los Angeles Lakers (16-29; last week's ranking: 21): The Lakers, losers of four straight, could soon have the West's worst record. Steve Nash is expected back soon.


Sacramento
23. Sacramento Kings (15-28; last week's ranking: 22): DeMarcus Cousins' recent double-double streak of 15 games set a Sacramento-era record and is the longest such streak in the NBA this season.


Cleveland
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-28; last week's ranking: 24): The No. 1 picks of the past three drafts meet when Cleveland's Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett face Anthony Davis and New Orleans on Tuesday.


Utah
25. Utah Jazz (15-29; last week's ranking: 25): In January, Gordon Hayward is averaging 24.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals while shooting 59.1 percent from 3-point range.


New Orleans
26. New Orleans Pelicans (18-25; last week's ranking: 26): Anthony Davis has had a great sophomore season, but the Pelicans' losing record will make it tough for him to become an All-Star in New Orleans.


Philadelphia
27. Philadelphia 76ers (14-30, last week's ranking: 27): Michael Carter-Williams is on pace to become the third player since the 1950-51 season to lead all rookies in points, rebounds and assists.


Boston
28. Boston Celtics (15-31; last week's ranking: 29): No franchise does a better job of celebrating its former players than Boston. The Celtics proved it again with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.


Orlando
29. Orlando Magic (12-33; last week's ranking: 28): In a battle of two struggling NBA teams who have combined to lose 17 of their last 20 contests, the Magic visit the Bucks on Monday.


Milwaukee
30. Milwaukee Bucks (8-35; last week's ranking: 30): Clippers coach Doc Rivers returns to Milwaukee on Monday where his jersey was retired at Marquette. He scored 1,234 points in three seasons at Marquette.

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