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Dirk Nowitzki (41) and the Mavericks have won nine of their last 10 games to claim top spot in the NBA Power Rankings. ((Danny Bollinger/Getty Images) )

Each week, CBCSports.ca's Lance Winn breaks down the balance of power in the National Basketball Association.

1. DALLAS MAVERICKS [up from 3]
Record : 41-16
Last 10 : 9-1

Four straight wins and nine of their last 10. How good are these Mavs? In a 118-99 win over Utah, Dallas had seven players finish in double-digits, including 18 from the aging but still deadly from deep Peja Stojakovic. An upcoming schedule that includes stops in Washington, Toronto, and Philly should keep the Dallas Express on the right track.
2. SAN ANTONIO SPURS [down from 1]
Record : 47-10
Last 10 : 7-3

Losing to the Bulls in the final game of a nine-game road trip was a slight setback, but a bounce-back 109-105 win over the Thunder made it easier to swallow. There is no Spur averaging over 18 points per game, but all five starters average 10 points or more.
3. MIAMI HEAT [down from 2]
Record : 42-16
Last 10 : 8-2

Would have topped the list, but giving up a double-digit lead and falling to the Bulls by four changed that. They continue to play lockdown defence when necessary, but they're still challenged at point guard. Needless to say, there won't be a whole lot of action as far as trades go in South Beach.
4. LA LAKERS [unchanged]
Record : 40-19
Last 10 : 6-4

All the talk surrounding this year's all-star game centred on the high-flyer on LA's other team. Apparently, everyone forgot who else resides at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant was masterful earning his fourth All-star MVP and has the defending champs in cruise mode ... for now.
5. BOSTON CELTICS [unchanged]
Record : 41-15
Last 10 : 6-4

Exit Kendrick Perkins and Nate (Krypto) Robinson, enter Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Some fine tuning for a run at a championship sounds about right. Still the best defensive team in the Association, hands down.
6. CHICAGO BULLS [unchanged]
Record : 39-17
Last 10 : 7-3

They were surprised by the Raptors before a come-from-behind win over the Heat. Joakim Noah returned to the lineup and Carlos Boozer has been a terror in the paint. If Boston is the best defensive team, the Bulls are a very close second, holding their opponents to 92.8 points (2), 39.3 rebounds (2) and 19.2 assists (2) per outing.

7. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER [unchanged]
Record : 36-20
Last 10 : 6-4

Added some much-needed depth with Perkins and Robinson. Still the domain of the "Durrantula," but should help come stretch time.

8. ORLANDO MAGIC [up from 9]
Record : 36-22
Last 10 : 5-5

Things were quiet in Orlando and it's safe to say this team is a contender. However, consistency is still an issue. Beat the Lakers but lose to the Kings? It's not about to get any easier with OKC, Charlotte, NY Knicks, Miami and Chicago up next.
9. DENVER NUGGETS [up from 10]
Record : 34-25
Last 10 : 5-5

With the Melo-drama in the rearview mirror, time to move forward. Without your leading scorer and floor general, you might think all was lost. Not the case. The Nuggets are 2-0 since and might find a hidden gem or two now that there will be more touches for everyone involved.

10. ATLANTA HAWKS [down from 8]
Record : 33-19
Last 10 : 6-4

Talk about cleaning house! Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford to Washington for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong? Doesn't seem like much, but when you've dropped three straight and five of six, the writing is on the wall.

11. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS [up from 12]
Record : 34-25
Last 10 : 3-7

With just three wins in the month of February, the Hornets need to turn it around. But can they? Their upcoming schedule (Minnesota, Houston and Toronto) might be just what the doctor ordered.
12. NY KNICKS [unchanged]
Record : 29-26
Last 10 : 5-5

Consider the landscape in the East officially changed. Carmelo Anthony dropped 27 points in his MSG debut and Chauncey Billups added 21. That blockbuster deal involving three teams and 13 players will have a ripple effect throughout the league. Sure, the Knicks are better, but are they good enough to compete with Boston, Miami, Orlando and Atlanta? Team chemistry could be the difference between a legit playoff run and an early exit.
13. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS [unchanged]
Record : 32-25
Last 10 : 7-3

Add Gerald Wallace to any team and it instantly gets better. The Blazers and Wallace, another offensive threat, could be a perfect fit, so lets hope he stays healthy. Not an easy thing to do in Portland.
14. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES [unchanged]
Record : 32-27
Last 10 : 7-3

Keeping pace in the West isn't easy, but the addition of Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith will help this team. Does it have the guns to threaten the big boys in the schoolyard? Probably not.
15. PHOENIX SUNS [up from 17]
Record : 28-27
Last 10 : 7-3

Aaron Brooks now resides in the Valley of the Sun. Will help shoulder the load at point guard, currently carried by Steve Nash.
16. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS [unchanged]
Record : 28-29
Last 10 : 7-3

Quietly going about their business holding down the seventh spot in the East. The landscape in the conference has changed, the contenders have gotten better, but can the same be said for the Sixers?
17. INDIANA PACERS [up from 18]
Record : 26-30
Last 10 : 7-3

Still riding the roller coaster, but still sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
18. UTAH JAZZ [down from 11]
Record : 31-27
Last 10 : 3-7

Dropped five in a row, lost your Hall of Fame coach and traded away your best player. Good luck the rest of the way.
19. HOUSTON ROCKETS [down from 18]
Record : 28-31
Last 10 : 6-4

Swapping guards might help with chemistry, but will it translate into the win column?
20. GOLDEN STATE WARRRIORS [down from 19]
Record : 26-30
Last 10 : 7-3

Seven wins this month, but the Warriors didn't make up much ground in the West. Big surprise.
21. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS [unchanged]
Record : 25-32
Last 10 : 5-5

Acquired some big bodies up front in Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and Sean Marks. Not about to set the league on fire, but should help the Bobcats' struggling defence.
22. DETROIT PISTONS [up from 23]
Record : 21-38
Last 10 : 4-6

Awfully quiet in the Motor City. Guess they're waiting patiently for a contender.
23. MILWAUKEE BUCKS [down from 22]
Record : 22-35
Last 10 : 3-7

They can play defence (4), but can't score (30). Can't believe they're still in the Eastern playoff picture.
24. TORONTO RAPTORS [up from 28]
Record : 16-42
Last 10 : 3-7

A big win over Chicago was something to build on, but doing so on a shaky foundation might not be the best idea.
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS [down from 24]
Record : 21-37
Last 10 : 2-8

Blake Griffin jumped over a car while the choir sang. That's good enough for my vote, but with Baron Davis gone, where is this team headed?
26. NEW JERSEY NETS [down from 25]
Record : 17-40
Last 10 : 3-7

Picked up some size in Dan Gadzuric, but they lost out on the Melo sweepstakes and will take some time to recover.
27. SACRAMENTO KINGS [down from 27]
Record : 14-41
Last 10 : 2-8

A franchise on the move? Remember when getting a ticket at Arco Arena was near impossible? Awww, the good old days.
28. WASHINGTON WIZARDS [up from 29]
Record : 15-41
Last 10 : 2-8

Better than last year and the number of arrests are way down.
29. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS [up from 30]
Record : 10-47
Last 10 : 2-8

They've got the Baron ... Davis that is. If you thought he didn't want to play every night in LA, just wait.
30. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES [down from 27]
Record : 13-45
Last 10 : 2-8

Kevin Love working on his 45th consecutive double-double streak ... something to watch. At one point, they weren't as bad as the Cavaliers. That time has come and gone.