GT's Top 20 NBA Teams

March 26, 2002 5:41 AM
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  1. LA Lakers (49-20): The Lakers hold on to the top spot out of respect and the road win at Sacramento. But they’re in peril. The Lakers need to beat the Spurs on Sunday.

  2. San Antonio (48-21): For a moment were considered for the No. 1 ranking. The Spurs are playing the best ball in the league, but faced the Lakers coming off Dallas.

  3. Dallas (48-21): The Mavericks could have been ranked first with a win over San Antonio, but came up just short. The Mavs split two games the Lakers, closing the gap.

  4. Portland (43-26): The Blazers continue to pile up the wins. They are gaining ground in the Pacific, but are probably stuck in the No. 5 slot for the conference playoffs.

  5. Sacramento (49-19): We dare to be different. The Kings failed a major test Sunday at home against Spurs. It proved that Peja, not C-Web, is the main man.

  6. New Jersey (45-25): The Nets are 29-6 at home and that will loom big when the Eastern Conference playoffs begin. It wouldn’t hurt to rest Jason Kidd a bit more now.

  7. Detroit (41-28): The Pistons are for real. Rick Carlisle should be Coach of the Year. Ben Wallace is a legitimate MVP candidate. They could steal the East with defense.

  8. Minnesota (42-27): The T’wolves still haven’t righted the ship. Kevin Garnett needs to shake his slump. Wally World has enjoyed a break-out season. Mentally fragile.

  9. Boston (39-31): The Celtics lost at home to Portland, then fell on the road to Detroit. The setbacks show that Boston is not yet ready for prime time. But, things could change.

  10. Seattle (39-31): The Sonics suffered a bad loss at Denver, a team with absolutely nothing to play for. Seattle can ill afford a slump with Utah and the Clippers close behind.

  11. Milwaukee (37-31): The Bucks will be a threat in the postseason, but must hope Ray Allen doesn’t blow out his knee. They’re done if that happens.

  12. Utah (38-31): The Jazz found a jewel in Andrei Kirilenko, but Stockton and Malone need more minutes off. That may not be possible with the West playoff race so tight.

  13. Philadelphia (37-32): Iverson promises he won’t miss 4-6 weeks from the broken hand. The media said 76ers were   0-8 without A.I. Make it 1-8 now with Aaron McKie is back.

  14. Orlando (37-32): The Magic desperately need a healthy Tracy McGrady. Right now, his back makes  him day to day. Don’t be surprised if the Magic slide to eighth in the East.

  15. LA Clippers (36-34): The Candi-Man is playing great ball in the pivot. The Clippers are playoff-worthy, but may get left out if injured Lamar Odom doesn’t get back in time.

  16. Charlotte (36-33): A team to watch. Finally, healthy with  Wesley and Mashburn back. Baron Davis is outstanding at the point. Hornets are 20-15 on the road, best in the East.

  17. Indiana (35-34): The Pacers began the week 3½ games up on Toronto and Miami. Our advice: Austin Croshere needs more action. He can score, defend and rebound. (18)      Washington (32-38): Michael Jordan came back quicker from injury in order to push the Wiz into the playoffs. We don’t think that will happen, but Hamilton is a player.

  18. Miami (31-37): Pat Riley guaranteed that Miami would make the playoffs, which was a bold statement. Right now, it doesn’t look good. Losing to Indiana really hurt.

  19. Atlanta (28-41): The Hawks are playing better basketball than Toronto and Phoenix even though the record is worse. Jason Terry has become a major scorer to go with Rahim.