2021 NBA Power Rankings: New top team emerges in reshuffling of contenders

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Darren Hartwell
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2021 NBA Power Rankings: Celtics dip, Clippers rise as deadline looms originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We've passed the quarter pole of the NBA season, and there's no clear leader in the race for a title.

The Lakers have held down the top spot in our NBA Power Rankings since the season began, but LeBron James' club has cooled off a bit over the last two weeks, opening the door for a new top dog and a surprise contender to leapfrog past Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have lost three of their last four and are just two games over .500 as they continue to struggle with a shorthanded lineup.

Should they should use their traded player exception to improve their squad ahead of the NBA trade deadline? That depends on where you view Boston in the NBA hierarchy.

Here's a fresh batch of NBA Power Rankings as the calendar turns to February and teams gear up for a playoff push.

Click here for our latest 2021 NBA Power Rankings.