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Power Rankings: Lakers solidify place as NBA's best

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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It's hard to imagine a tougher sequence of games than this: At San Antonio, at Atlanta, at Miami, at Dallas and home vs. Orlando over a nine-day stretch.

That was the Lakers’ run from March 6-14. The fact that they won three of those games in double figures and lost only against the most desperate of the opponents leads to an obvious conclusion.

Even with Kobe Bryant at less than 100 percent, Pau Gasol and the Lakers still beat some of the league's best teams. (AP)  
Even with Kobe Bryant at less than 100 percent, Pau Gasol and the Lakers still beat some of the league's best teams. (AP)  
The cream clearly has risen to the top in the NBA ... and in the CBSSports.com NBA Power Rankings.

Yes, I know. I had the Lakers there last week, too. Call it incredible foresight. A week ago, it was debatable. Now, the only question is: Who’s a distant No. 2?

That has changed, and it’s far more likely to change again than the top spot. Yes, the Lakers are that good.

Meanwhile, the Celtics, last week’s No. 2, are playing their worst ball of the season.

The Spurs and Mavericks, who were next in line, are having their ups and downs -- thanks in part to the Lakers.

And the Bulls and Heat, who had fallen a bit off the pace, have gathered momentum.

It's turning into quite a race.

This week, the red-hot Bulls earn the promotion to No. 2, but make no mistake about it: It’s much easier to move up when you don’t play the Lakers.

Here are this week’s rankings:

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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