BOSTON - When it comes to power rankings, the best teams are able to manage runs of success as well as stretches of not-so-great play.
And with that trio of defeats, the Celtics have taken a slight step back in the standings behind the Miami Heat, who now have a slim ½-game lead over them for the No. 2 spot in the East.
Remember, it was only a week ago that the "What's wrong with the Lakers" alarm was sounded when they lost four in a row, only for LeBron James and company to bounce back with wins in their last eight games. Indeed, the road to NBA success is a bumpy excursion that's nearing the halfway point of its conclusion.
And with each day drawing us all closer to its end, it also provides some much-needed clarity as to who will be among the last teams standing when all is said and done.
Here are the latest NBC Sports Boston Power Rankings full of teams looking to charge ahead and finish out the season with a strong surge in the second half of the season, whether that's making a playoff push or better positioning themselves for a shot at the top overall pick in next June's NBA draft.
(Games played through Jan. 12)
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Bulls-Celtics, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.
NBA Power Rankings: Celtics hit a speed bump after losing streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston