Easy as 1-2-3 ... again

Spurs, Celtics, Bulls still top three teams

Spurs, Celtics, Bulls still top three teams

Third verse, same as the first .. and second.

For the third straight week the San Antonio Spurs hold the top spot in the Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings, followed by the Boston Celtics.

The Eastern Conference's top team has been the perennial No. 2 virtually all season long in the rankings, while the Spurs have not slowed down yet.

San Antonio has fallen just once in the last three weeks — 11-1 in that time, averaging 102.8 points per game in the 11 wins and has a 7.5-game lead over the second-seeded Lakers and eight games ahead of the Dallas.

In the same time, Boston has gone 9-4 and still holds a 2.5-game lead over second-seeded Miami and three games ahead of Chicago.

Chicago remains as the third-ranked team this week. The Bulls have won five in a row, and after being held under 100 points in 13 straight games, Chicago put up 110 against Indiana and got Pacer coach Jim O'Brien fired afterward.

Miami and the Lakers flip-flopped spots this week, with the Heat moving up to No. 4 and L.A. falling to No. 5.

The Heat have bounced back from the four-game losing streak that followed a ridiculous run of 21 of 22 games with a win. Over the last 10 days, Miami has played five games and won four of them.

The Lakers have lost their last two and four of their last seven after having reeled off nine of 10 from Dec. 29-Jan. 14.

Orlando remains at No. 6 despite not having strung together back-to-back victories since a three-game winning streak from Jan. 19-22. The Magic are 2-3 in their last five.

No. 7 Dallas is starting to charge back up. After losing 10 of 13, including six in a row from Dec. 28-Jan. 20, the Mavericks have on their last five games, scoring 102.8 a game in the process.

No. 8 New Orleans has lost its last two after winning 10 in a row and 12 of 14 to start 2011.

Oklahoma City and Denver round out the top 10 for this week.

There are six matchups of top-10 teams this week. TNT gets the marquee games Thursday night when the Heat travel to Orlando and the Lakers play host to the Spurs.

Orlando also travels to Boston on Sunday for a key Eastern Conference tilt. Boston will be coming off a Friday night game against visiting Boston.

New Orleans will travel to OKC Wednesday and play host to the Lakers on Saturday.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

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