In the Rankings: Week 23

Every Monday, the Lakers Basketblog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.

NBA.com
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: +1

Andrew Bynum may make his return in Thursday’s game against the Nuggets. The Lakers won’t have much time to reintegrate him before the playoffs, but he should help solidify the defense that allowed the Clippers to score 29 points in the fourth quarter and make Sunday’s game much too interesting.

ESPN.com
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: +1

Historical precedents are only so useful, especially after a disturbing near giveaway to the Clips, but it seems relevant to share that this is Phil’s seventh 60-win season … with each of the previous six leading to a title.

SI.com
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: +1

You get the feeling both the Lakers and Cavs are hoping someone surges ahead in the standings so they can start resting some key players. Last week Lakers coach Phil Jackson, with his team falling behind Cleveland in the race for the No. 1 overall seed, suggested he might start limiting the minutes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. But back-to-back losses by the Cavaliers has the Lakers right back in the mix for home court advantage. Not that Bryant seems to care. “In my years of experience, if you’re going to be a champion, you should win on the road anywhere,” Bryant said. “The better team is going to advance, no matter where you play.”

USAToday.com
This Week: 2 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: N/A

If Lakers can make up one game on Cavs, they’ll have home court throughout playoffs. Lakers won season series with Cleveland.

Average Ranking: This Week: 1.25 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: +.75