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Power rankings: 3 for 3

1/3/2011
ESPN.com Illustration

After dropping three of four games in the final week of 2010, the Celtics took another step back in this week's power ranking polls.

The Celtics dropped to No. 3 in ESPN.com's NBA power rankings, dipping behind the Spurs (who they face Wednesday night at TD Garden) and the Heat (who they've beaten twice this season). Writes curator Marc Stein: "Injuries are the obvious issue, but the numbers are still startling: Boston lost seven of its first nine games starting with Christmas 2008, eight of 13 starting with Christmas 2009 and three of four starting with Christmas 2010."

In John Hollinger's computerized power rankings, the Celtics also dipped to No. 3 behind the Spurs and Heat, but are fractions of a point behind San Antonio for the second spot (only .023 points back in the ratings).

Over at NBA.com, the Celtics make it three for three, standing at No. 3 in the weekly power rankings behind -- you guessed it -- the Spurs and Heat. Writes curator John Schuhman: "The Celtics' offense suffered much more (scoring just 97.7 points per 100 possessions) than their defense in this last seven-game stretch without Rajon Rondo. It wasn't much better in Rondo's return on Sunday, but so far the defense has remained strong without Kevin Garnett."