LeBron James is all mouth-guard smiles these days. LeBron James is all mouth-guard smiles these days.

Records through March 17:

1. Miami Heat (51-14, previous No. 1) - The Heat went into Monday night's game against the Celtics literally forgetting how to lose. With 22 wins in a row this season, Miami is just waiting to prey on postseason victims.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (50-17, previous No. 2) - Metro was burned by the Thunder last week when they lost badly to the Tony Parker-less Spurs. Two big back-to-backs ahead: Home vs. Nuggets, away vs. Grizzlies.

 

3. Denver Nuggets (45-22, previous No. 6) - A gritty win over the Grizzlies last Friday earned Denver its 11th straight win. The Heat may laugh at just 11 in a row, but Denver is legit.

4. Memphis Grizzlies (44-21 previous No. 4) - Two tough losses on the road in Denver and in Utah - very hard places to win in. A Memphis-Denver series will go to the home team.

5. Los Angeles Clippers (46-21, previous No. 3) - The Nuggets beat the Grizzlies, who beat the Clippers. Therefore, the Nuggets would beat the Clippers. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

6. San Antonio Spurs (51-16, previous No. 5) - The Spurs continue to kick adversity square in the face, but at some point adversity will kick back harder - unless Tony Parker can return in time.

7. Indiana Pacers (40-26, previous No. 7) - Things aren't going as planned for Indy lately. Exhibit A: Philly's Spencer "Abdul-Jabbar" Hawes racked up 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, and seven blocks in the 76ers' 98-91 win Saturday. Um, what?

8. Houston Rockets (36-31, previous No. 8) - The Rockets have three days to think about their 30-point loss to the Warriors on Sunday. Hopefully they're over it by Wednesday's big game against the ninth-seeded Jazz.

9. Boston Celtics (36-29, previous No. 11) - They could be the second-best team in the East now, which really isn't saying much when you consider how bad every non-Miami team in the East actually is.

10. Atlanta Hawks (37-29, previous No. 13) - Three straight wins for the Hawks, including two over the Lakers and Nets. They are pesky. They'll put up a fight. But ultimately, they'll come up very short in the postseason.

11. Los Angeles Lakers (36-32, previous No. 12) - Mike D'Antoni is clearly having an effect on Kobe Bryant. Bryant couldn't believe that Atlanta’s Dahntay Jones played defense (?!) on him, which led to him landing on Jones' ankle.

12. Brooklyn Nets (38-28, previous No. 10) - The Knicks are begging the Nets to take the division, but the hipsters in Brooklyn are way too into being "up and coming, man." That's fine by the Celtics.

13. Golden State Warriors (38-30, previous No. 15) - Somehow, one of the worst defenses in the NBA (Warriors) limited one of the best offenses in the NBA (Rockets) to 78 points on Sunday. Maybe there is a sliver of hope for this squad after all.

14. New York Knicks (38-26, previous No. 9) - The Knicks are officially falling apart. And honestly, who could have seen a team of 40-year-olds running out of gas down the stretch? Get Allan Houston on the phone!

15. Chicago Bulls (36-29, previous No. 14) - Pretty sure there was a report that came out last week saying Bulls point guard Derrick Rose could play very soon, or not at all this season. And that about sums up that situation right now.

16. Milwaukee Bucks (33-32, previous No. 16) - It should be Miami vs. Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs. Nothing against Milwaukee, but American Airlines Arena can go ahead and book Game 5's date for another event.

17. Utah Jazz (34-32, previous No. 18) - Is this almost the part where we say, "the Jazz are singing the blues"? And if so, how many years in a row is it allowed to be said. Got to be close to the limit.

18. Dallas Mavericks (31-35, previous No. 17) - Mark Cuban and the Mavericks’ fan base made sure to boo the heck out of Derek Fisher upon his return on Sunday. Whatever takes their minds off booing their own team.

19. Portland Trail Blazers (31-34, previous No. 19) - A five-game road trip starting last night and ending in OKC on Sunday should all but guarantee the Blazers’ terrible odds in the NBA lottery.

20. Toronto Raptors (26-341 previous No. 20) - To be honest, the Raptors don't belong in the same power rankings list as the 19 teams ahead of them. Just needed to fill space.

Follow Metro sports writer Jimmy Toscano on Twitter @Jimmy_Toscano

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