A grind up top

Spurs, Bulls have gauntlet to run through this week

Spurs, Bulls have gauntlet to run through this week

It's Groundhog Day at the top as the San Antonio Spurs are No. 1 in the Week 20 Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings for the seventh straight week.

A six-game lead over second place in the Western Conference with 23 games to has the Spurs feeling pretty safe about their standing come playoff time. However, if there is any team that may catch them it is a Dallas Mavericks squad that has ascended back up the rankings after injuries plagued them in the middle of the season. Dallas has won nine of its last 10 and jumps to No. 2 in this week's poll.

Boston, the perennial No. 2 in the rankings most of the season, has fallen to fourth for just the second time all season. Ironically, the last time the Celtics weren't ranked No. 2 was the last time San Antonio wasn't ranked No. 1 — Week 12. Miami held the top spot that week — the only week it has done so — and now rounds out the top five this week.

Chicago jumps from No. 5 to 3 and has a heck of a week to try and either maintain that spot or move up to No. 2.

The Bulls play four top 13 teams over the next four games with three of those being on the road. It starts with a trip to No. 12 Atlanta Wednesday, followed by games at No. 7 Orlando on Friday and No. 5 Miami on Sunday before returning home to play host to No. 13 New Orleans.

The Spurs also have a tough week with three games against top 10 teams — at No. 9 Memphis Tuesday, hosting No. 5 Miami Friday and No. 6 L.A. Lakers Sunday.

There are seven games between top 10 teams:
Tuesday — No. 1 San Antonio at No. 9 Memphis
Thursday — No. 7 Orlando at No. 5 Miami
Friday — No. 3 Chicago at No. 7 Orlando
Friday — No. 5 Miami at No. 1 San Antonio
Sunday — No. 3 Chicago at No. 5 Miami
Sunday — No. 6 L.A. Lakers at No. 1 San Antonio
Sunday — No. 9 Memphis at No. 2 Dallas
Monday — No. 8 Oklahoma City at No. 9 Memphis

There are four games between top 10 teams and those just outside the top 10:
Wednesday — No. 3 Chicago at No. 12 Atlanta
Friday — No. 8 Oklahoma City at No. 12 Atlanta
Friday — No. 13 New Orleans at No. 9 Memphis
Monday — No. 11 Portland at No. 7 Orlando

Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings Week 20
1. San Antonio
2. Dallas
3. Chicago
4. Boston
5. Miami
6. L.A. Lakers
7. Orlando
8. Oklahoma City
9. Memphis
10. Denver
11. Portland
12. Atlanta
13. New Orleans
14. Philadelphia
15. Phoenix
16. New York
17. Houston
18. Utah
19. Indiana
20. Golden State
21. Charlotte
22. Milwaukee
23. L.A. Clippers
24. Detroit
25. New Jersey
26. Sacramento
27. Toronto
28. Minnesota
29. Washington
30. Cleveland

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

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