Power Rankings: Celtics the undisputed No. 1
This, for a change, was simple. Where's the fun in that?
For the first time since the preseason, there was zero internal debate at Stein Line HQ in assembling the latest edition of the ESPN.com NBA Power Rankings. The Boston Celtics wholly deserved to be No. 1 four of the past five Mondays, having mowed through a much more taxing workload than their closest rivals in that span, but some slippage last week from the Los Angeles Lakers while the Celtics were avenging a rare loss at Indiana -- twice -- didn't allow us to even consider alternatives.
The only uncertainty at the top was whether to bump scorching Cleveland up to No. 2, in the wake of the Cavs' record-setting eight straight wins by at least 12 points. But the Lakers -- having already amassed seven wins against top-10 opposition to Cleveland's two -- managed to hold on. Dallas, meanwhile, moved into the top 10 for the first time in the regular season by virtue of having gone 9-1 since its 2-7 start, with only a narrow road loss to the Lakers to blemish its recovery.
Tune in Tuesdays to "NBA Fastbreak" on ESPN to see this week's U.S. Army Power Rankings. The Mavericks are the U.S. Army Team of the Week after beating Phoenix and Atlanta to move to a season-high No. 8.