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(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

1. Phoenix (1): If there’s a weakness, it’s the bench (Jacobsen is top reserve).


2. Seattle (2): The same starting lineup in every game; 12 all of last season.


3. San Antonio (3): Waiting on Malone to decide between them, Lakers, Heat.


4. Miami (4): Jones could be moved as Heat looks to bolster its front line.


5. Sacramento (6): Wouldn’t be a season without a serious injury. Jackson out.


6. Dallas (7): Mavericks are trying to pry PG Payton away from Boston.


7. Minnesota (5): KG on pace to join Wilt as only to avg. 23 pts, 15 rebs, 6 asts.


8. Orlando (13): Win against Spurs solidifies Magic as an elite team in East.


9. Washington (11): Arenas, Hughes are highest-scoring backcourt (41.9).


10. Lakers (8): Buss, Kupchak talked to Malone about front-office position.


11. Portland (14): Van Exel in, Stoudamire out as starter.


12. Clippers (15): Needed OT win at home vs. Hornets to snap a 5-game skid.


13. New York (17): Once trade bait, T. Thomas at 12.8 ppg. in past five.


14. Cleveland (9): Sources say backup PG Snow is on his way out.


15. Detroit (10): Brown sounds like he’s bored and burned out.


16. Indiana (16): Stern will appeal federal judge’s ruling on O’Neal.


17. Boston (21): Young core of Banks, Jefferson, Perkins and Allen improving.


18. Philadelphia (18): AI’s three-game stretch of 51, 54 and 40 points is the best of his career.


19. Denver (12): Sources say Martin and ‘Melo are not the best of friends.


20. Houston (19): Jon Barry? Not what they needed, but he’ll help for now.


21. Memphis (22): Wells: “All I care about is the 15th (payday) and 30th of the month.”


22. Chicago (26): 5-game winning streak is longest since April 1998.


23. New Jersey (24): Kidd to Thorn: “That’s a start, now get me a forward and a center.”


24. Toronto (25): Mourning may receive $9M in a buyout. Rose next to go?


25. Utah (20): Sonics training-camp invitee Radojevich started past 3 games.


26. Golden State (23): Foyle needs a block to pass Carroll (837) on franchise’s list.


27. Charlotte (27): Okafor leads rookies with 16 double-doubles.


28. Milwaukee (28): Talking to Denver about a trade involving Nene, Redd.


29. Atlanta (29): Dangling Walker in front of Boston and Philly.


30. New Orleans (30): Davis is back, but Dickau makes his first start.