I rarely give these type of rankings a moments thought. But this caught my attention. Pacers are the 6th best team according to David Dupree and the best team in the east.
A look at the week that was and the week ahead in the NBA:
Team of the week
Charlotte Bobcats: They won three of four games last week, losing only at Cleveland. The Bobcats won at Denver, and beat New York and Golden State at home. Small forward Gerald Wallace was the mainstay, averaging 26.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 blocked shots and 2.0 steals. "It's great that my production is helping us win," Wallace said. "We're feeding into the aspect of us potentially as a playoff team." The Bobcats entered this week only four games out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Dwyane Wade, Miami: Wade averaged 33.7 points, 7.3 assists and 6.0 rebounds in leading the Heat to three straight wins.
Mehmet Okur, Utah: Okur was a major contributor in two critical games. He had 29 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's win at Phoenix and 31 points and 11 rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Elton Brand, Los Angeles Clippers: Brand averaged 24.7 points, 11.7 rebounds. 3.3 blocked shots and converted on 58.5% of his shots as the Clippers won three straight to get to two games above .500.
Thrills, spills and chills
Boston bumbling: The Celtics have lost a franchise record 14 games in a row after a dismal 0-4 week that saw them fall to Washington, the L.A. Lakers and Clippers at home, and to Indiana on the road. "The plan is to stick together," said pivotman Al Jefferson, who averaged 13.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in last week's losses. "We've got to stick together regardless of how bad it gets. We can't start turning on each other or pointing fingers at each other. The only reason we should be mad about anything right now is we should be mad about losing." Forward Ryan Gomes, who averaged 18.0 points and shot 63.5% for the week, said the losses are starting to get to the team. Boston's last win came Jan. 5 at Memphis. The Celtics will play at Detroit on Tuesday and host Miami on Wednesday.
Magic relief: Orlando fans contributed $12,500 before Friday's game against the New Jersey Nets, and the Magic matched it for a total of $25,000 to aid victims of the severe tornado that killed 19 people earlier Friday in an area north of the city. The Magic held a similar fundraiser Saturday before their game against the New York Knicks. All money collected was to be sent to the Orlando chapter of the American Red Cross for distribution to families affected by the storm.
Not in our house: The Denver Nuggets lost in Sacramento's Arco Arena for the 20th consecutive time on Saturday ? the longest current road losing streak against one opponent in the league. Kings assistant coach Scott Brooks led Sacramento to the victory in his first game running the team in place of head coach Eric Musselman, who was serving a two-game suspension for driving under the influence.
One-liner: Pau Gasol of Memphis showed Monday in a 124-117 win against Sacramento why practically every team in the league has called the Grizzlies since he said he wanted to be traded. Gasol's line:
Min FG M-A 3FG M-A FT M-A Reb Ast Blk PF Pts.
38 14-17 0-0 6-6 8 1 8 1 34
This week's big game
Houston at Dallas: The Texas powers go at it again Friday. They are 1-1 against each other this season and will play their last regular-season game against each other just before the NBA All-Star break.
This week's best matchups
Dwyane Wade vs. LeBron James: The good friends square off for the second time in two weeks Friday at Cleveland. Wade had 41 points and James, nursing a sore toe, had only 17 in the Heat's 92-89 win last Thursday at Miami. (8 ET, ESPN).
Chris Bosh vs. Dwight Howard: The Eastern Conference's two best young big men will test each other Wednesday when Orlando visits Toronto. Bosh is averaging 22.7 points and 10.8 rebounds; Howard 16.8 points and 12.0 rebounds.
USA TODAY Top 10
(through Saturday's games; last week's ranking in parentheses)
1. Dallas (1): One-point wins against Memphis and Minnesota capped off another undefeated week. The Mavericks can rest until a Wednesday rematch with the Grizzlies.
2. Phoenix (2): The Suns had a 10-game home winning streak ended by Utah on Saturday and have lost two of three.
3. Utah (-): The Jazz have handed the Suns three of their 10 losses this season.
4. Houston (5): The Rockets' athleticism is showing with a more wide-open style while Yao Ming is out.
5. San Antonio (3): The Spurs are still looking for someone other than Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker to be consistently effective.
6. Indiana (-): Jermaine O'Neal averaged 24.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in a 3-0 week.
7. Los Angeles Lakers (8): Kobe Bryant averaged 34.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in three games (two of them victories) after serving a one-game suspension in Tuesday's loss to the Knicks.
8. Washington (4): The Wizards are playing small ball with Jarvis Hayes starting for injured forward Antawn Jamison.
9. Chicago (6): Luol Deng averaged 20.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in back-to-back road wins at Seattle on Friday and Portland on Saturday.
10. Detroit (7): The Pistons have a tell-tale five-game home stand leading up the all-star break. It begins Tuesday against Boston.