1. Los Angeles Lakers: Lost a "road" game Wednesday at the Staples Center to the Clippers.
2. Boston Celtics: With Kevin Garnett injured, Rasheed Wallace is taking on bigger role.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: King James and Co. will be making lone visit to Utah on Thursday.
4. Dallas Mavericks: Lakers drilled them by 35 last week to show who's the West's best.
5. Orlando Magic: Recent losing streak shows defending East champs are vulnerable.
6. San Antonio Spurs: Strong defensive play of late has Spurs looking like title contenders.
7. Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash is getting up there in age, but is still playing like he did in MVP years.
8. Denver Nuggets: Rookie Ty Lawson played well while Chauncey Billups was injured.
9. Atlanta Hawks: In tough stretch with Magic game sandwiched between 2 with Celtics.
10. New York Knicks: Hot streak means Jazz-owned draft pick not so valuable anymore.
Game of the week
Bulls at Celtics
These two teams played perhaps the best first-round series in NBA postseason history. It went the entire seven games with a grand total of seven overtime periods before the Celtics prevailed. Thursday's game on TNT will be a rematch with much less at stake.
24-second shot clock
Four Washington Wizards have been fined $10,000 apiece for making fun of a serious situation. The coach has banned gambling on the team plane and has told his story to law enforcement authorities. Some of his players are doing the same.
The team is doing its best to remove all traces of Gilbert Arenas from the Verizon Center, the place where he infamously brought some guns to work.
It's been no fun being a member of the Wizards.
"It was foolish, stupid, immature," said guard Randy Foye, one of the four players fined Friday night, "but I've got to be a man and accept my penalty and I apologize to the fans and the organization for behaving in that manner."
Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and Nick Young also were docked by the team for their lightheaded participation when Arenas pointed his index fingers at teammates as if he were firing a pair of guns during an on-court huddle before Tuesday night's game at Philadelphia. A photo shows most of the Wizards players smiling or laughing, but the four players were deemed the worst offenders. ...
The Orlando Magic are making history now.
It's not the good kind of history, either.
The defending Eastern Conference champions on Friday night lost their fourth consecutive game for the first time under coach Stan Van Gundy. The Washington Wizards came back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to humble the Magic, 104-97, before a sellout crowd of 20,173 at the Verizon Center.
"It just gets worse," Van Gundy said. "I mean it was terrible."
The reeling Magic (24-12) have lost four consecutive games to teams that had losing records at tipoff: the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and now the Wizards. ...
Jose Calderon, the Raptors' point guard, returned from a long injury absence Wednesday. He must have been a welcome sight for Toronto fans, not just because he is back but because he looked more like the sensation who took over the team at the end of the 2007-8 season than the less efficient version he had become. He had eight assists and one turnover in 25 minutes off the bench.
In 25 games this season, Calderon's 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio is his worst since 2006-7, the season before he became a regular. In a Nov. 25 loss to the Bobcats, he turned the ball over six times and had eight assists. In 12 games from March 26 to April 16 in 2008, Calderon had 6 turnovers and 88 assists.
— Compiled from wire services
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