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February 18, 2012
Power rankings: It's all about the Heat

LeBron James just had to talk about the idea of playing in Cleveland this week, didn't he?

Anything James says is scrutinized and takes away from (for his many naysayers) from the stellar season he is having.

James is averaging 28 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists while shooting a career-high 54.2 percent from the field.

James will be judged by the postseason, but for now, we can enjoy how James has the Miami Heat playing at a high level.

1. Miami Heat (23-7, Last week, 1) - LeBron James looks as if he'll win his third MVP in four seasons.
2. Chicago Bulls (24-7 LW 2) - First-time All-Star Luol Deng is carrying Bulls while Derrick Rose gets his back healthy.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-7 LW, 3) - With Eric Maynor out for the season the Thunder can't afford Russell Westbrook (ankle) to miss a lot of time.
4. San Antonio Spurs (21-9, LW 5) - Nine wins in a row for the old team that refuses to go away.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (18-9 LW 4) - Thursday's comeback in Portland showed why Chris Paul is an MVP candidate.
6. Dallas Mavericks (20-11, LW 8) - Winning streak is up to six games after a bad start to season.
7. Orlando Magic (20-11, LW 10) - Will next week's All-Star Game be one of Dwight Howard's final appearances as part of this team?
8. Philadelphia 76ers (20-11, LW 6) - Dallas was latest marquee team to remind Sixers they have work to do to become elite.
9. Los Angeles Lakers (18-12, LW 14) - Three-game winning streak has Lakers back on track - for now.
10. Atlanta Hawks (19-11, LW 7) - Larry Drew has done one of the best coach jobs this season with Al Horford out.
11. Indiana Pacers (18-12, LW 9) - One of NBA's feel-good stories has dropped six of last 10.
12. Memphis Grizzles (17-14, LW 15) - Is every time O.J. Mayo plays an audition for his next team?
13. Houston Rockets (17-14, LW 11) - Kevin Martin's scoring is down but Kyle Lowry is pushing the Rockets to wins.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (17-14, LW 12) - All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge is the latest Blazer to go down with an injury.
15. Denver Nuggets (17-14, LW 13) - Nuggets aren't nearly as tough to play without Danilo Gallinari.
16. Boston Celtics (15-14, LW 16) - Consistency is still hard to find for the Celtics.
17. New York Knicks (15-16, LW 18) - Winning streak ends at seven and it's time to see how Carmelo Anthony fits with Jeremy Lin at point guard.
18. Utah Jazz (15-14, LW 17) - Another team that started well that is now finding it harder to win games.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-16, LW 19) - Might Nikola Pekovic be an upgrade at center over Darko Milicic?
20. Detroit Pistons (10-22, LW 25) - Winners of six of their last eight games.
21. Golden State Warriors (11-16, LW 22) - Is Nate Robinson going to be who Mark Jackson turns to late instead of Monta Ellis long term?
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (11-17, LW 24) - Anderson Varejao's injury could end Cavs' hope of sneaking into the playoffs.

23. Milwaukee Bucks (12-18, LW 20) - Losers of four games in a row.
24. Phoenix Suns (12-19, LW 21) - Once again Kobe scored at will on them in their fourth consecutive defeat.
25. Sacramento Kings (10-17, LW 23) - Defensive problems have contributed their four-game losing streak.
26. Toronto Raptors (9-23, L 26) - Inability to win close games have aided in losing their last four games.
27. Washington Wizards (7-24, LW 28) - They have the potential to be one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA.
28. New Orleans Hornets (7-23, LW 28) - Three-game winning streak includes ending the Knicks' streak.
29. New Jersey Nets (8-23, LW 27) - Losing streak is up to eight games.
30. Charlotte Bobcats (4-26, LW 30) - Bobcats ended 16-game losing streak on owner Michael Jordan's Birthday.



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