NBA Power Rankings: Eastern-rival Pacers, Heat battle for No. 1 spot here, too

Marc J. Spears

1. Indiana Pacers (42-13; last week's ranking: 2): New forward Evan Turner could make his debut Tuesday against the Lakers. He is expected to play the same minutes per night (22) Danny Granger did.


2. Miami Heat (40-14; last week's ranking: 3): Miami is on the Pacers' doorstep after winning five-straight games, including a 14-point win over Chicago without LeBron James on Sunday.

Oklahoma City

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-14; last week's ranking: 1): The Thunder are 0-2 since Russell Westbrook, who has missed 18 of 25 shots during that span, returned to action after knee surgery.


4. Houston Rockets (38-18; last week's ranking: 4): The hot Rockets have won nine of their past 10 games and are now only two games behind San Antonio for the West's second seed.

San Antonio

5. San Antonio Spurs (40-16; last week's ranking: 6): The home game Wednesday against Detroit is the first since Feb. 1 after going on their annual rodeo trip that was nine games long.

Los Angeles

6. Los Angeles Clippers (39-20; last week's ranking: 5): New forward Glen Davis could make his Clippers debut Wednesday night against Houston at home. "Big Baby" adds size, scoring and rebounding.


7. Portland Trail Blazers (38-18; last week's ranking: 7): The suddenly falling Blazers have gone from a West power to splitting their past 10 games and have dropped to the fifth spot.

Golden State

8. Golden State Warriors (35-22; last week's ranking: 10): Steve Blake has already given the bench a lift by giving Stephen Curry a true backup and pushing Jordan Crawford to shooting guard.


9. Dallas Mavericks (35-23; last week's ranking: 8): Just how good is the Western Conference? As one Mavericks scout noted, they are 12 games over .500 and are in seventh place.


10. Phoenix Suns (33-22; last week's ranking: 9): Ex-Suns star Kevin Johnson, now Sacramento's mayor, attended Sunday's loss to Houston to commemorate his dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon 20 years ago.


11. Memphis Grizzlies (31-24; last week's ranking: 11): Memphis plays at Oklahoma City on Friday. It's not out of the realm of possibility for a Thunder-Grizzlies first round playoff series. Cool.


12. Toronto Raptors (31-25; last week's ranking: 12): The Raptors are trying to hold off Chicago and Washington for the East's third playoff seed. Toronto plays Washington on Thursday.


13. Chicago Bulls (29-26; last week's ranking: 13): A source backed the report that Chicago has expressed interest in veteran free-agent forward Antawn Jamison, who was waived by the Hawks after being acquired last week.


14. Washington Wizards (28-28; last week's ranking: 14): The Wizards must now cope with losing center Nene for six weeks after an MRI revealed a sprained left medial collateral ligamentafter.


15. Charlotte Bobcats (27-30; last week's ranking: 20): The Bobcats, winners of four straight, filled a need for scoring and a veteran point guard by acquiring Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.


16. Minnesota Timberwolves (27-29; last week's ranking: 16): All-Star Kevin Love is in the midst of a franchise-best mark of five straight games scoring 30 or more points. Phoenix up next.


17. Brooklyn Nets (26-28; last week's ranking: 17): Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player, found a great comfort zone in the veteran Nets who welcomed him with no concerns.


18. Denver Nuggets (25-30; last week's ranking: 18): Life is getting back to normal for the Nuggets, who extinguished themselves of the Andre Miller cloud with a trade to Washington.


19. Atlanta Hawks (26-29; last week's ranking: 15): The Hawks have gone from holding down the third seed in the East for a while to eighth spot after losing eight of their past 10 games.

New Orleans

20. New Orleans Pelicans (23-33; last week's ranking: 19): With the Pelicans not trading their rights to D-League star Pierre Jackson, he left to make some real money in Turkey instead.


21. Detroit Pistons (23-34; last week's ranking: 21): Keep an eye on whether Detroit, Cleveland or New York can finally put some wins together to overtake Atlanta for East's eighth spot.

New York

22. New York Knicks (21-36; last week's ranking: 22): It doesn't get any easier for Carmelo Anthony and the struggling Knicks as they have Miami and Golden State up next following Monday's heart-breaker to the Mavs.


23. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-35; last week's ranking: 23): A young point guard battle will take place on Wednesday when Kyrie Irving faces Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.


24. Sacramento Kings (20-36; last week's ranking: 25): The Kings have won two straight games since the trade deadline and have a chance to slow down the rising Rockets on Tuesday.


25. Utah Jazz (20-36; last week's ranking: 24): The Jazz could soon be back in contention for one of the NBA's top draft picks. Utah had dropped seven of 10 games before beating Boston on Monday night.


26. Boston Celtics (19-39; last week's ranking: 26): A source backed the report that Boston shopped guard Avery Bradley prior to the trade deadline. Boston has lost five straight.

Los Angeles

27. Los Angeles Lakers (19-37; last week's ranking: 27): The Lakers now have the worst record in the West. All-Star Kobe Bryant said Sunday there was no update on his injured knee.


28. Orlando Magic (17-41; last week's ranking: 28): Undrafted center Dewayne Dedmon will play for his third NBA team as a rookie by signing a 10-day contract with the Magic on Monday.


29. Philadelphia 76ers (15-42, last week's ranking: 29): The Sixers have dropped 11-straight games and are putting fans asleep in the process. It's Philadelphia's worst losing streak since dropping 12 straight four seasons ago.


30. Milwaukee Bucks (11-45; last week's ranking: 30): The two worst teams in the NBA met Monday with the Bucks blowing out the Sixers on the road. had tickets available for as low as $6.40.