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Power Rankings: Early-surprise Knicks, Clippers showing stripes

by | Senior NBA Blogger

Funny how the season plays to the mean. If the NBA had a 16-game schedule, the Celtics would be out of the playoffs, the Blazers a high seed and the Knicks the prohibitive favorite. But unlike other sports, the NBA actually gives you time to figure out who the best teams really are.

You can't escape the schedule.

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New York is proving that. For about six weeks, they played well -- great, really. And we all wondered if we were that wrong about the team. "Maybe they really are dedicated to ball movement and team defense."

Slowly but surely, though, they slipped a bit and then a bit more and then a bit more. (As a counterpoint, Indiana has developed into the team it should be, the only serious challenger to Miami in the Eastern Conference.) The Knicks are a good team having a good season, but they remain the team we thought they were back in October.

If they want to prove us wrong on that, they have to remember what it was that made us all look so stupid for two months early on.

The Clippers are in a similar situation. What once looked like dangerous new wrinkles and an exciting new chemistry now look like parlor tricks trying to mask what is still a middle-of-the-pack team in the West.

Everyone's settling in about where we thought they would, outside of the injury squads (Minnesota, Chicago) and a few genuine surprises (the Blazers).

You can run, you can hide, but eventually 82 games will show who you are.

With that, here are this week's Power Rankings.


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