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Celtics return to top of The Times’ NBA rankings

WHAT FINALS PREVIEW? ? 1. Boston (35-11) Back already? Forget something? (2) ? 2. San Antonio (40-7) If they finish 22-13, Lakers must go 30-5 to beat them. (1)

ON BRIGHT SIDE, IT’S NOT APRIL ? 3. Lakers (33-14) Unhappily after noting their age, West took rest of week off. (4) ? 4. Miami (32-14) LeBron shoots 7-24 as Heat flips out in loss in N.Y. (3) ? 5. Chicago (33-14) If Noah and Boozer ever play together, may never lose a game. (6) ? 6. New Orleans (31-17) You’re unbelievable: Hornets allow 87 a game in 10-0 run. (7) ? 7. Orlando (30-17) Nelson shot 50% as All-Star in 2009, merely mortal 45% now. (5) ? 8. Oklahoma City (30-16) Still make what they have go a long way, just not as far as 2009-10. (9) ? 9. Dallas (31-15) Nowitzki still hurting? Rebound average since return is 5.0. (8)

10. Atlanta (30-18) Rookie Larry Drew in one of the more unsung coaching jobs. (10)

11. Utah (28-19) Happily it’s not a season it takes 50 wins for playoffs: Just went 0-6. (11)

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YOU STILL HERE?

12. Denver (28-18) Just went 4-0, if only vs. teams with a combined 54-111 record. (12)

13. Portland (25-22) Part of ensemble cast no longer, Aldridge at 25-10 this month. (13)

14. New York (24-22) Bagged elephant, even if Heat thought it was summer league game.(14)

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15. Memphis (24-24) .500 the hard way: Went 7-3, coming from 21 back to upend 76ers. (16)

16. Phoenix (21-24) Bagged elephant, even if it was old Celtics playing back-to-back. (15)

17. Houston (22-27) Just think if Spurs kept him: Scola averaging career-high 19. (19)

EAST APPETIZERS, ER, PLAYOFF CONTENDERS

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18. Philadelphia (20-26) Collins kept away from sharp objects after blowing 21-point lead. (20)

19. Charlotte (20-26) Fooled another one: Bobcats hoping Kwame’s their answer at center. (22)

20. Milwaukee (19-26) Jennings back -- for 11 minutes -- as Bucks win third in row. (23)

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED

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21. Clippers (18-28) If you didn’t notice before Gordon left, depth isn’t a strength. (17)

22. Golden State (19-27) Meet Most Improved: Dorell Wright averaging 17 since Dec. 1. (18)

23. Detroit (17-30) Won in Orlando, blew seven-point fourth-quarter lead in Miami. (25)

24. Indiana (17-27) 4-13 run ends worry about breaking up team that could make playoffs. (21)

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25. Sacramento (12-33) Lord of Flies cast stuns Lakers. Who knew it plays basketball too? (28)

26. New Jersey (14-34) Harris shot 32% this month before Melo talk died, revives in 4-2 run. (27)

27. Washington (13-33) Blatche baffled at booing. Try taking your 6-11, 260 bod around hoop. (24)

28. Minnesota (11-36) At 24-16, 52% this month, Love may be best non-All-Star ever. (29)

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29. Toronto (13-35) GM Colangelo, hostage in Bosh dilemma, shaky as ownership changes. (26)

30. Cleveland (8-38) Must have worn themselves out hating Bron: 1-28 since playing him. (30)


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