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Power Rankings: Lakers, Celtics Marching toward rematch

by | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
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There's something about March Madness that brings out the best in NBA veterans.

Bryant is averaging 25.1 points per game this season. (Getty Images)  
Bryant is averaging 25.1 points per game this season. (Getty Images)  
With talk about automatic bids and at-large berths dominating the basketball scene nationwide, all of a sudden Kobe Bryant is playing like he never did in college.

Paul Pierce has been so good, some are starting to reconsider if Wilt Chamberlain truly was Kansas' greatest player of all-time.

And Ray Allen has such energy, you'd swear he was being recruited by Big State all over again.

Not coincidentally, their teams have raised their games as well. It's not May yet -- not even close -- yet last year's Finalists already appear focused on a rematch.

That's right, there's a new leader in the CBSSports.com NBA Power Rankings clubhouse with still a round of regular-season games to play. It just serves to remind us one more time: NASCAR and the NBA have more in common than just a couple of letters.

In both cases, once the annual "classic" -- Daytona and the All-Star Game -- pops up on the calendar, it's time to take the sport seriously.

Here are the new rankings, with the Spurs (a little) and Heat (a lot) suddenly having some catching up to do.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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