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NBA Power Rankings: Clippers remain No. 1

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

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Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul have the Clippers battling for the West's best record. (USA Today Sports)

The Los Angeles Clippers' franchise-record winning streak came to an end last week at 17 games. But the Clippers' reign atop the Yahoo! Sports' NBA Power Rankings continued for the third straight week, which is the longest by any team this season.

The Clippers' record win streak was followed by road losses to the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors, but L.A. responded with strong home wins against the Lakers and the Warriors.

Records are through Monday.

Los Angeles
1. Los Angeles Clippers (27-8, previous ranking: first): Expect injured Clipper forward Grant Hill to make his debut pretty soon. Clippers guard Chauncey Billups also isn't too far from returning.


Oklahoma City
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (26-8, previous ranking: second): What was supposed to be a big showdown is now just another game when the Thunder travel to Los Angeles on Friday to play the struggling Lakers, who will be missing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.


San Antonio
3. San Antonio Spurs (27-10, previous ranking: third): What was supposed to be a big showdown is now just another game when the Spurs play host on Wednesday to the struggling Lakers, who will be missing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.


[Also: Carmelo Anthony confronts Kevin Garnett after Knicks-Celtics game]

Miami
4. Miami Heat (23-9, previous ranking: fourth): Assuming Chris Andersen is healthy, signing the veteran center could be great move for the Heat to address their need for size and length.


Memphis
5. Memphis Grizzlies (22-10, previous ranking: seventh): Grizzlies have won three of their past four, but their upcoming schedule is tough with games against Golden State, San Antonio (twice), Dallas and the Clippers.


New York
6. New York Knicks (23-11, previous ranking: fifth): Carmelo Anthony will likely face a fine or suspension or both for waiting near the Celtics' bus and trying to confront Kevin Garnett after the Knicks' loss to Boston.


Golden State
7. Golden State Warriors (22-11, previous ranking: sixth): Games against Memphis, Denver, Miami, San Antonio, the Clippers, Oklahoma City, Chicago and Milwaukee over the next few weeks will give the Warriors a good idea of where they stand among the league's elite.


Atlanta
8. Atlanta Hawks (20-12, previous ranking: eighth): The Hawks have an easy week with games against Minnesota, Cleveland, Utah and Washington.


Indiana
9. Indiana Pacers (20-14, previous ranking: ninth): Are the Pacers back? They'll know after facing the Heat and the Knicks this week.


Houston
10. Houston Rockets (20-14, previous ranking: 11th): The Rockets are soaring after winning four straight games. Who will win Tuesday's scoring showdown between James Harden and Kobe Bryant?


Chicago
11. Chicago Bulls (19-13, previous ranking: 10th): The addition of 3-point specialist Daequan Cook could be good for the Bulls, especially when Derrick Rose finally returns.


[Also: Suns in trade talks for Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay]

Denver
12. Denver Nuggets (20-16, previous ranking: 12th): The up-and-down Nuggets look better after winning three of their past four games. Former Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo returns to Denver on Tuesday with the Orlando Magic.


Brooklyn
13. Brooklyn Nets (19-15, previous ranking: 14th): The Nets have won three straight and five of their past six games under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. Is Carlesimo getting serious consideration to keep the job?


Portland
14. Portland Trail Blazers (19-15, previous ranking: 17th): Point guard Damon Lillard, widely viewed as the NBA's top Rookie of the Year candidate, will visit his hometown Warriors on Friday for the first time as a pro.


Utah
15. Utah Jazz (18-18, previous ranking: 19th): The gritty Jazz are trying their best to stay within the mix of the Western Conference playoff contenders after losing point guard Mo Williams for six weeks following surgery on his right thumb.


Boston
16. Boston Celtics (17-17, previous ranking: 18th): Rajon Rondo was surprised by his one-game suspension for making contact with a referee and failure to cooperate with the investigation – especially after he didn't get a technical for it.


Milwaukee
17. Milwaukee Bucks (16-16, previous ranking: 13th): Bucks players probably weren't upset about the departure of coach Scott Skiles. The majority of them disliked him, two sources said. Skiles had a record of 162-182 with Bucks.


[Also: Dirk Nowitzki doesn't sound excited about the Mavericks’ future]

Minnesota
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-15, previous ranking: 15th): Forwards Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams are being asked to step up for the T'wolves now that forward Kevin Love could be out for a while after fracturing his hand again.


Los Angeles
19. Los Angeles Lakers (15-18, previous ranking: 16th): As if it wasn't bad enough for the Lakers, Howard is out for at least a week while Gasol and Jordan Hill are out at least two games. Guess Antawn Jamison will play now.


Philadelphia
20. Philadelphia 76ers (15-20, previous ranking: 20th): Injured center Andrew Bynum says his knees are better and he still plans on playing this season. The Sixers could certainly use him after losing their past three games.


Dallas
21. Dallas Mavericks (13-22, previous ranking: 22nd): The Mavericks have suffered back-to-back overtime losses after dropping three straight games and 12 of their past 14. The only win in the last 10 contests was against the lowly Washington Wizards.


Sacramento
22. Sacramento Kings (13-22, previous ranking: 23rd): It won't be sleepy in Sleep Train Arena on Saturday as the Heat make their lone visit. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 24.5 points and 15.3 rebounds in January, despite trade speculation.


Orlando
23. Orlando Magic (12-22, previous ranking: 21st): 'Melo waiting by the bus brought a reminder of when former Nuggets coach George McCloud punched then-Magic star Ron Mercer after a game in 2000. Mercer's head hit a steel beam after the punch.


Toronto
24. Toronto Raptors (12-22, previous ranking: 24th): While much has been made about Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon as potential trade bait for Toronto, keep an eye on forward Linas Kleiza, whose contract runs through the 2013-14 season.


[Also: Cavs' Omri Casspi requests trade]

Detroit
25. Detroit Pistons (13-23, previous ranking: 26th): The Pistons have four straight days off before playing back-to-backs on the road at Milwaukee and home against Utah. That's followed by four more days off before a game against New York.


Phoenix
26. Phoenix Suns (12-23, previous ranking: 23rd): The Suns have lost eight of their past nine games. It doesn't get any easier this week with road games against Milwaukee, Boston, Brooklyn and Chicago up next. The Suns are 2-14 on road.


New Orleans
27. New Orleans Hornets (9-25, previous ranking: 28th): The Hornets have now won four of their past six games, including a big 95-88 victory over the Spurs. New Orleans is a much better team with shooting guard Eric Gordon back.


Charlotte
28. Charlotte Bobcats (9-24, previous ranking: 27th): The Bobcats are rolling – by Bobcats standards – after winning two of their past three games. Charlotte is not shopping shooting guard Gerald Henderson, a source said.


Cleveland
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-28, previous ranking: 29th): The Cavaliers have dropped five or their past six games. It doesn't get any easier this week as Cleveland next plays Atlanta and Denver before facing a Lakers team it has beaten already.


Washington
30. Washington Wizards (5-28, previous ranking: 30th): The Wizards snapped a five-game losing streak with a big home victory over the Thunder on Monday night. Washington is expected to get more good news soon with the pending return of John Wall.

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