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Lakers are No. 2 in Mark Heisler's NBA rankings

January 3, 2010 | 12:17 pm

Times columnist Mark Heisler ranks the teams from 1-30.

    1. CLEVELAND (27-8)- Including win after donning paper party hats for LeBron's birthday — really — they're 7-0. (Last week: 4)
    Lakerslogo 2. LAKERS (26-6)- At this pace, Kobe will lock up MVP by March 1 and need IV fluids rest of way. (2)
    3. ORLANDO (24-9)- With defenses taking him away, Howard down to 9.0 shots, 17 points a game. (3)
    4. BOSTON (24-8)- Pierce gains in MVP race as Celtics turn into the Nets without him. (1)
    5. SAN ANTONIO (20-11)- Don't we know you guys from somewhere? Just went 8-1 with rookie Blair starting. (11)
    6. DALLAS (23-10)- Terry, Howard, Gooden get 195 off bench over five, making up for Nowitzki slump. (8)
    7. ATLANTA (21-11)- Only New Year's Day worse than Wizards': blew 14-point fourth-quarter lead vs. Knicks. (5)
    8. PHOENIX (21-14)- Looks who's back to where they were before Lakers got too big for them. (6)
    9. DENVER (21-12)- 2-5 since Billups left because of sore groin, as he tries to return, leaves again. (7)
    10. HOUSTON (20-14)- Tired of TMac's act, Rockets tell him to take a hike if he can't take a hint. (10)
    11. PORTLAND (22-13)- Can't go on like this: Just went 10-5 while losing Oden, Przybilla, Aldridge. (9)
    12. OKLAHOMA CITY (18-15)- Major move, given fact they were 3-29 a year ago and made no major deals. (14)
    13. MEMPHIS (16-16)- We're talking major surprise now after 1-8 start; just won in Phoenix. (16)
    14. UTAH (18-15)- Despite all the times in last two seasons I said they were back, they aren't. (12)
    15. MIAMI (16-15)- Fading: 7-10 since their 9-5 start with 19 of next 26 on road. (13)
    16. TORONTO (16-18)- Ended 2009 on 5-0 streak but it ends in Boston — with no KG, Pierce, Rondo. (19)
    17. CLIPPERS (14-18)- Hanging in there waiting for Griffin, even if debut was just nudged back again. (20)
    18. NEW ORLEANS (15-16)- Getting ready to move again? No. 11 in West as Shinn tries to dump salary. (15)
    19. CHICAGO (14-17)- Now for the comeback of the ages? Amid reports Vinny's gone, they go 4-0. (24)
    20. NEW YORK (13-20)- Krypto-Nate indeed: Gets 40 in first game in month as they stun Hawks. (23)
    21. SACRAMENTO (14-19)- If they won half their close games, they would be shocking the world too. (17)
    22. MILWAUKEE (13-18)- Yanked by Skiles as they lose 15th in 19, Bogut gets 23-15 in win over Thunder. (18)
    23. CHARLOTTE (12-18)- Augustin, whom Brown wanted over Brook Lopez, now chained to his bench. (21)
  24. PHILADELPHIA (9-23)- It works?! 2-0 with AI and clone Lou Williams starting before reality sets in. (26)
    25. DETROIT (11-21)- Not all they hoped for: Lost six in row, got Hamilton, Prince back, now up to nine. (22)
    26. INDIANA (10-22)- Not that they were in slump, but starters scored 26-46-50 to opponents' 76-63-105. (27)
    27. MINNESOTA (7-28)- Love is all you need, almost: Averaging 15-12, missed triple-double with 17-11-9 game. (28)
    28. GOLDEN STATE (9-23)- Anthony Randolph Tango: Averaging 12-7, still playing only 23 minutes a game. (29)
    29. WASHINGTON (10-21)- Nice knowing you. (25)
    30. NEW JERSEY (3-30)- Yi averaging 20 in five games since returning. Nets even won one! (30)


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