NBA Power Rankings: Kobe-less Lakers Bounce Back

5. San Antonio Spurs (1):  A blowout loss to the Lakers exposed the Spurs’ vulnerability. To make matters worse, they still have two more meetings with the Lakers before season’s end. It seems like age is catching up to this veteran team.

Coach Kobe4. Boston Celtics (5): Even without the Big 3, the Celtics have still been carving their way through the final month of the regular season. They went 4-1 this past week, but their reduced lineup will be tested throughout their final five games.

3. Los Angeles Lakers (10): Just when you thought that the Kobe-less Lakers were doomed, they go on a four-game winning streak. The bench has been revitalized and World Peace is looking more like Ron Artest. They’re picking up a full head of steam as the playoffs come within view.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (4): The Thunder bounced back and recaptured control of the Western Conference with a 3-1 week. Despite some late-season struggles, don’t think for a second that Durant and Co. won’t be ready when the playoffs begin.

1. Chicago Bulls (2): Arguably the league’s hottest team right now, the Bulls are running on all cylinders with the playoffs just around the corner. Derrick Rose is finally back in the lineup and they’re the early favorites to take the Eastern crown.

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