Earl Watson

Mark Heisler's NBA rankings

Last week's rank in parentheses

Records through Friday

1. Celtics 23-5 (2): How tough are these guys? With Paul Pierce out two weeks, won in Orlando.

2. Lakers 23-5 (1): Guys must be trying to get out of playing on Christmas every year.

3. Magic 22-8 (3): Also may prefer Christmas at home: Dwight Howard scores five vs. Celtics.

4. Cavaliers 23-8 (4): Welcome back: Shaq scored 9-5-3-8 before busting loose for 11 vs. Lakers.

5. Hawks 20-8 (5): Oops: Marvin Williams, whom they took over Chris Paul and Deron Williams, averaging 10.3.

6. Suns 19-11 (6): As in back-to-back MVP years, Steve Nash at 50 percent from field, 40 on 3s, 90 from...

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