Power Rankings: Competition tight for top-5 spot

Updated: December 7, 2009, 12:44 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
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The Los Angeles Lakers have claimed the top spot in ESPN.com's weekly NBA Power Rankings for the third successive week.

The difference on this Monday is L.A.'s company in the top five.

 ESPN.com Senior Writer Marc Stein
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Steady improvement from the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers leaves room for only one upstart in the upper crust of the rankings, where the top four slots all are now occupied by teams expected to contend for the championship.

Atlanta snagged that last available top-five slot beneath the Lakers, Magic, Celtics and Cavs with a win Saturday night in Dallas, leaving Denver and Phoenix -- teams that have enjoyed some steady top-five time this season -- looking up again from the No. 6 and No. 7 slots, respectively.

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