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Thunder, Heat battle for top spot in NBA Power Rankings

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Scott Cullen
2/19/2013 11:08:05 AM
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The Oklahoma City Thunder continue at the top of the TSN.ca NBA Power Rankings, a position they have held since the second week of the season.

Not far behind, the Miami Heat have won seven in a row and last Thursday's win over Oklahoma City further tightened the gap between the league's elite teams, but the Thunder maintain top spot with the league's best scoring differential.

Moving up to third spot, from ninth, is the Los Angeles Clippers. Four wins in a row helped, but the return of point guard Chris Paul was the bigger factor in the Clippers' move up.

Other teams making moves up included the Boston Celtics, who have somehow gone 8-1 since losing point guard Rajon Rondo to injury, climbing from 19 to 13. The Toronto Raptors, playing at a higher level since acquiring small forward Rudy Gay, hit the Top 20 for the first time since the preseason, going from 23 to 18.

Heading the other way, the Golden State Warriors couldn't live up to their lofty third ranking and, after losing five straight, dropped to eighth. Losing four of five bumped the Milwaukee Bucks down from 13 to 17 and the Portland Trail Blazers fell from 14 to 20th spot in the rankings after five straight losses.

In this week's rankings, I hand out awards for each team's MVP, Top Rookie, Best Defensive Player, Breakthrough Player and Disappointment. (The Key Injuries listed for each team reflect current injuries only.)

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

James and Durant (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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