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Power Rankings: Eastward shift of strength ends cycle for now

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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David Stern was right. He usually is.

For years, Stern has been badgered by suntanned NBA analysts who have witnessed quality teams from west of the Mississippi River miss the playoffs while far weaker Eastern clubs limp in.

A move to Chicago or New York for Carmelo Anthony would make the East even better. (Getty Images)  
A move to Chicago or New York for Carmelo Anthony would make the East even better. (Getty Images)  
Many have called for an open playoff format, where the top 16 teams advance rather than eight from each of the seriously unbalanced conferences.

Stern's response? It will eventually even itself out.

And that it has.

On a week when the Lakers move to the top of the CBSSports.com NBA Power Rankings, Eastern teams reside in four of the six front-row seats. And one of the two fast-starting Western clubs -- New Orleans -- appears only to be biding its time until, many believe, Chris Paul eventually lands with the Knicks.

Joining Carmelo Anthony, another with his eyes gazing east, the oracles are saying.

And when that happens? No doubt, Stern once again will hear calls for the open playoff format, this time because Eastern teams are being slighted.

The guy just can't win.

And neither seemingly can the 19 teams that started play Tuesday with non-winning records. Nineteen.

Hey, maybe the commish should consider shrinking the playoff format.

His answer? Let me guess: It will eventually even itself out.

The early indication is: Not this season.

Here are the aforementioned East-dominated, but Lakers-led Power Rankings:

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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