Power Rankings: Mavs take steep three-spot slide; Spurs, Suns rise
By Marc Stein
Harsh but fair.
That's the best way to describe developments at the top of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings, where the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns have moved into the top two spots after both toppled the No. 1-ranked Dallas Mavericks.
First came a Thursday reminder from the Spurs that, even though Dallas is younger and more athletic, veteran cool and smarts in a playoff-type atmosphere is a huge difference-maker. Then Sunday, with the Mavericks still recovering from their 98-89 defeat in San Antonio, Dallas' defense failed again in the fourth quarter to absorb a 115-107 setback to the hottest team in the league, extending the Suns' win streak to a league-best 10 games.
With the mighty Detroit Pistons also losing two games last week, San Antonio seized the No. 1 spot for the third time this season and Phoenix -- still without the injured Amare Stoudemire -- climbed to a season-best No. 2. Now to see if the Spurs (at the Los Angeles Lakers) and Suns (at New Orleans/Oklahoma City) can survive road games Monday that tend to be tricky after a headline-grabbing promotion in the rankings.