Power Rankings: Lakers finally rise above the rest, claim No. 1 spot

15. Philadelphia 76ers (13): Andre Iguodala closed out the week with back-to-back triple doubles, and the Sixers have won six of their last seven. For a team that started the season 3-13 to now be two games over .500, it says a lot about the progression of this team, and that it was a good decision to keep Iguodala, instead of attempting to shed his contract.

14. Houston Rockets (17): After an up-and-down first two-thirds of the season, the Rockets are starting to vie for a playoff spot. They are only three games out of the eighth seed, but they can still snag it as long as they continue to win at the rate they currently are (seven wins in their last 10 games). People thought losing Brooks was going to hurt this team, but in reality it helps them, as it solidifies Lowry as their starting PG, and he no longer has to worry that another guy is breathing down his neck for playing time.

13. New Orleans Hornets (16): CP3 leaving the arena on a stretcher during Sunday’s game certainly didn’t leave a positive feeling among Hornets fans heading into the new week. They’ll need David West to really step up offensively if they don’t want to slide too much during Paul’s undetermined period of absence.

12. Atlanta Hawks (9): There’s no doubt that Kirk Hinrich has helped this team in transition. They were already poised to be a great transition team, but the addition of a lead guard with the vision and skill of Hinrich allows them to play a much more up-tempo style of play. They still need a real big man to helped Horford out down low, but for now, they are a tough team that is good enough to easily pull a first-round upset

11. Denver Nuggets (14): They are 5-2 without Carmelo Anthony and it seems as if the trade released this team from a paralyzing state of confusion. They know their direction for the rest of the season, and although some of the guys may not be back next season, they are still going to put up a fight on a nightly basis no matter what.

Next: 10-6

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