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Lakers-Celtics, Heat-Celtics, Magic-Lakers highlight schedule

Lakers-Celtics, Heat-Celtics, Magic-Lakers highlight schedule

The San Antonio Spurs continue to roll, winning two of three last week and as winners of 13 of their last 15. And this week, San Antonio is in the same spot it has been for the last month — atop the weekly Athlon Sports NBA Power Rankings.

Boston and Miami are Nos. 2 and 3 for the second straight week.

The big jumper of the week is Dallas, which went from No. 9 three weeks ago to No. 7 last week and now to No. 4. The Mavericks have bounced back from Dirk Nowitzki's injury and are winners of their last nine and 10 of 11.

There's not much on the slate once again in reference to Athlon Sports' top 10 teams of the week facing off against each other. There are three of the marquee match ups of the season on the schedule, however.

Thursday night, the No. 6 Lakers travel to No. 2 Boston. It will be the second time the two teams have played in 12 days. The Celtics won the first meeting in L.A., 109-96, behind 32 from Paul Pierce and despite 41 from Kobe Bryant. The Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 49-38 and their starters outscored Los Angeles' starting five 81-72.

These two teams are also part of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader that should make for a good day of basketball.

The Celtics play host to No. 3 Miami first, followed by the Lakers traveling to No. 8 Orlando.

This will be the third meeting of the season between the Heat and Celtics. The two teams met on opening night and then 12 days later. Boston won both games — 88-80 and 112-107.

Orlando meets the Lakers for the first time this season. Neither team is particularly hot right now. The Magic are 5-5 in their last 10 with loses to Boston, Miami and Chicago; the Lakers 6-4 with losses to Boston and San Antonio as part of those 10.

Other top-10 games this week include No. 10 New Orleans being the team the Magic have to face on Friday before welcoming the Lakers on Sunday. The Hornets then turnaround and face No. 5 Chicago Saturday night.

It's not a top-10 game, but it's as close as we can get when No. 11 Denver travels to No. 12 Memphis Sunday night.

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

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter

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