NBA power rankings: Heat slow Linsanity, take top spot - New York Daily News

The Miami Heat is back on top in our weekly NBA rankings after putting an end to the Linsanity, at least temporarily.

"We tried not to let him see the floor because he can pick you apart," Dwyane Wade said after Miami held Lin to eight points and three assists in a decisive 102-88 verdict over the Knicks to close out the first half of the season. "I think we did a pretty decent job of it."

Pretty decent? Try tremendous. How we see the NBA shaping up as it heads into the All-Star break:

How we see the NBA, from top to bottom:

1. Miami (27-7) - Last Week: 2
Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Heat probably doesn't want to stop playing now. When they resume next week, it's off the West Coast for games versus Portland, Utah and a marquee matchup against Kobe Bryant's Lakers.

2. Chicago (27-8) - LW: 1
The Bulls' hold on first place ended when they got pounded at home by the Nets.

3. San Antonio (24-10) - LW: 4
They had won 11 straight games before sitting both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in Portland while Manu Ginobili was out with an injury. Whether you agree with Gregg Popovich's strategy or not, the Portland fans deserved a refund.

4. Oklahoma City (27-7) - LW: 3
Thunder made NBA history vs. Denver when it became the first team to have a player score 50 (Kevin Durant), another score 40 (Russell Westbrook) and a third post a triple-double (Serge Ibaka) in the same game.

5. L.A. Clippers (20-11) - LW: 6
Looking at the weak field for the All-Star weekend slam-dunk competition, we're already fondly remembering when Blake Griffin jumped over that car last year in L.A.

6. Orlando (22-13) - LW: 9
Here's your All-Star weekend in a nutshell: Wall-to-wall rumors about Dwight Howard leaving the Magic City, with a little Jeremy Lin mixed in for good measure.

7. KNICKS (17-18) - LW: 10
Carmelo Anthony will love the All-Star Game. He gets to shoot all he wants.

8. Lakers (20-14) - LW: 11
Forget Dwight Howard. The Lakers should make Deron Williams their primary target, even after they took their frustrations with their front office out on the Mavs in Dallas.

9. Indiana (21-12) - LW: 14
Hey, did you hear? Pacers' Paul George is the favorite to win the Sprite Slam Dunk Competition Saturday night. I know what you're thinking, Paul Who?

10. Houston (20-14) - LW: 12
Surging Rockets are six games over. 500 for the first time since Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were still on the team.

11. Memphis (19-15) - LW: 13
When the Grizzlies return to practice Monday, they'll have Zach Randolph back from a knee injury.

12. Dallas (21-13) - LW: 5
When the Mavs get down early, they're toast. They're 1-7 in games in which they're trailing after the first quarter, and 0-4 in those games at home.

13. Philadelphia (20-14) - LW: 7
They're on a five-game losing streak in which they've averaged only 83 ppg on 40% shooting. And the fact they lack a star who can close games doesn't help matters, either.

14. Atlanta (20-14) - LW: 8
Joe Johnson had to bail on the All-Star Game due to knee troubles, which is about the last thing coach Larry Drew needs.

15. Denver (18-17) - LW: 16
No team needed the All-Star break to come more than George Karl's Nuggets, who have been playing without three of their four top scorers.

16. Portland (18-16) – LW: 17
It just wouldn't be an NBA season without Greg Oden having another round of knee surgery. He just had his fifth operation in the last five seasons, in case you're scoring.

17. Minnesota (17-17) - LW: 18
Timberwolves have already matched last season's win total (17) and are at .500 at the All-Star break for the first time since 2005, when they had Kevin Garnett.

18. Boston (15-17) - LW: 15
Joe Johnson's knee troubles opened the way for Rajon Rondo to get to the All-Star Game.

19. Utah (15-17) - LW: 19
Ex-Net Derrick Favors made the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend. That passes for big news these days for the Jazz.

20. Golden State (13-17) - LW: 24
Word is Monta Ellis isn't long for the Warriors, even if he hit the last-second, game-winner against the Suns as the Warriors entered the break winning five of their last eight games.

21. Cleveland (13-18) - LW: 21
Say this for the Cavs and their celebrated rookie Kyrie Irving, they don't give up. They've got five wins in games when they've had to come back from double-digit deficits.

22. NETS (10-15) - LW: 26
If I'm Billy King, I'm started to call the Lakers and Dallas about trading Deron Williams, rather than losing him as a free agent this summer.

23. Phoenix (14-20) - LW: 22
You know things are bad for the Suns when they can't even beat the Warriors. For the first time since 1994-95, they've lost the season series to Golden State.

24. Milwaukee (13-20) - LW: 20
Silver lining in another lottery season: Bucks are almost a .500 team (9-11) in games against the East.

25. New Orleans (8-25) - LW: 29
They're rolling and beat Jeremy Lin, which is more than the Lakers and Mavs can say.

26. Sacramento (11-22) - LW: 25
David Stern and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson need to stop with this arena stuff and let the Kings either move or fold. They don't deserve a penny of the taxpayers' money.

27. Detroit (11-24) - LW: 27
Word is they've asked the league if they can just skip the second half of the season.

28. Toronto (10-23) - LW: 23
Once the Raptors get really good, they'll get an All-Star Game. That probably means never in our lifetime.

29. Washington (7-26) - LW: 28
Interim coach Randy Wittman is starting to get on his team for not making winning basketball plays. It's too late, coach.

30. Charlotte (4-28) - LW: 30
They could use a new starting five and a new owner, but otherwise they're on their way.

25 Feb, 2012


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