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News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

March 17, 2012
Power Rankings: Bulls keep running without Rose

The Chicago Bulls won't beat the Miami Heat in a playoff series without Derrick Rose.

Beating the Heat will require Rose at his best.

But during the regular season the Bulls have shown they can win without key players on a regular basis and have the best record in the NBA.

Chicago lost Friday night to Portland, but did manage to beat Miami without Rose this week. So for now, with or without Rose, there isn't a team better than the Bulls.

1. Chicago Bulls (36-10 LW 2) - Lost on Friday, but beating Miami without Derrick Rose is hard to ignore.

2. Miami Heat (32-11, LW, 1) - Lost twice this week to two potential playoff foes, Chicago and Orlando.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (33-11 LW, 3) - No longer are the Thunder comfortably leading the Western Conference.

4. San Antonio Spurs (29-13, LW 4) - Adding Stephen Jackson gives Spurs another player who thrives under pressure.

5. Orlando Magic (29-16, LW 5) - Dwight Howard is still on the team! So will the drama return next season?

6. Los Angeles Lakers (28-16, LW 8) - Winners of five in a row and closing in on No. 2 in the West.

7. Memphis Grizzles (24-18 LW 6) - Zach Randolph is back, which makes the Grizzlies even better.

8. Indiana Pacers (25-17, LW 9) - Trading for Leandro Barbosa might be enough to get Indiana out of the first round of the playoffs.

9. Philadelphia 76ers (25-19, LW 10) - Not playing their best, but still leading Atlantic Division.

10. Los Angeles Clippers (24-18 LW 7) - Can Nick Young help stop the slide the Clippers have been on since the All-Star break?

11. Dallas Mavericks (25-20, LW 14) - Up-and-down Mavericks are sixth in the West.

12. Denver Nuggets (23-18, LW 11) - How will coach George Karl deal with life coaching JaVale McGee?

13. Atlanta Hawks (25-19, LW 12) - Josh Smith was not traded, so it will but to him and Joe Johnson to carry the Hawks.

14. Houston Rockets (24-20, LW 15) - Rockets traded away three lottery picks from the 2009 NBA Draft, none are expected to make an impact.

15. Boston Celtics (23-20, LW 13) - Boston went 2-2 playing the four California teams on the road.

16. Phoenix Suns (22-22, LW 18) - Suns have surged into playoff contention while still giving veterans some rest.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (22-23, LW 16) - Led by Kevin Love, Minnesota has a chance to still beat playoff teams down the stretch.

18. Utah Jazz (21-22, LW 17) - Some thought the Jazz might be one of the worst teams in the NBA. Utah has exceeded low expectations.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (20-24, LW 22) - Monta Ellis might make the playoffs with the resurgent Bucks.

20. New York Knicks (20-24, LW 20) - Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire hope new coach Mike Woodson gets them the ball a lot more.

21. Portland Trail Blazers (21-23, LW 19) - Veterans were traded and coach Nate McMillan was fired as the Blazers started rebuilding again.

22. Golden State Warriors (18-23, LW 21) - If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, the Warriors finally have their franchise center.

23. Detroit Pistons (16-28, LW 23) - Rodney Stuckey is playing at an elite level after Pistons began season 4-20.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-25, LW 24) - Antawn Jamison wasn't traded to a playoff team, but Tristan Thompson's development is still a top priority.

25. Toronto Raptors (15-29, L 27) - Pulled off an impressive overtime win at Memphis on Friday.

26. Sacramento Kings (15-29, LW 25) - Kings need to play with energy and intensity every night to have a chance to win and not save that for elite teams.

27. New Jersey Nets (15-30, LW 26) - Deron Williams is now the free agent-to-be everyone will be following this summer.

28. Washington Wizards (10-33, LW 28) - Team has a new look with Nene at center but is a long way from contending.

29. New Orleans Hornets (10-34, LW 29) - Close losses and injuries sum up the Hornets' season.

30. Charlotte Bobcats (6-36, LW 30) - On pace to give Michael Jordan another chance to get the first pick in the draft right after selecting Kwame Brown in 2001 with Washington.

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