In the Rankings: Week 18

Every Monday the BasketBlog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.
This Week: 3 | Last Week: 1 | Diff: -2

You could chalk up Friday’s loss in Portland, which ended the Lakers’ 10-game winning streak, to fatigue. And you can chalk up Sunday’s win over the Mavs to my new pick for MVP (sorry, KG), Kobe Bryant.
This Week: 2 | Last Week: 1 | Diff: -1

The latest pearl of Zen wisdom from Phil Jackson: “40 before 20.” Translation: You must win 40 games before you lose 20 to be seen as an elite team . . . and these Lakers just did so for the first time since Shaq left.
This Week: 3 | Last Week: 3 | Diff: 0

They downed the Mavericks on Sunday in OT to get back on track after having their 10-game winning streak snapped in Portland. Kobe Bryant had an NBA-season-high 52 points, along with 10 rebounds, to continue his MVP surge.

Average Ranking: 2.66 | Last Week: 1.66 | Diff: +1