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Power Rankings: With end-of-season pressure on, seasoned teams rising

by | CBSSports.com Senior NBA Blogger

Duncan, a 15-year veteran and four-time NBA champ, doesn't look as if he's retiring soon. (US Presswire)  
Duncan, a 15-year veteran and four-time NBA champ, doesn't look as if he's retiring soon. (US Presswire)  

Updated April 10

Sometimes the songs that have been around the longest are the best. And late in this crazy NBA season, with a compact schedule that should have hammered the oldest teams the most, it's the teams that have been around the top the longest we see making a charge.

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The Spurs take the No. 1 spot for the first time in a long time this week, and it's well deserved. Their numbers over the past 20-plus games are something to behold. They're beating teams at an epic rate, as you'll see below, and have fixed their defensive issues while shooting the lights out.

The Spurs are undeniably the most dangerous team in the league going into the playoffs. They have the high-powered offense of an upstart and a defense masterminded by one of the best coaches in the league. They have the depth and versatility of a trendy pick, and the superstar power and game changing players in Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker of a traditional powerhouse. Have we mentioned they match up really well with Oklahoma City?

Meanwhile in the East, the Celtics move all the way up to No. 3 as their defense is silencing anything that crosses its path. The Celtics are not built for the regular season, especially not this one, and yet here they are, ready to take a ton of momentum into the playoffs. Additionally, they'll likely face either a team with limited playoff experience or an injury-depleted Knicks team that, at least without Tyson Chandler, they've shown they can beat convincingly. There are some things falling into place that suggest it could be Boston pulling a stunner in two months.

Sometimes going with the song everyone knows and loves is still the best play.


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