NBA 24-second clock

Published: Saturday, Feb. 26 2011 9:00 p.m. MST

Power rankings

1. Spurs: Earned a tough victory over the Thunder before spoiling Deron Williams' debut with Nets.

2. Mavericks: Continuing to roll, having won 14 of their last 15 before playing Wizards Saturday.

3. Bulls: Loss to Toronto was ridiculous, but they rebounded to defeat the Heat.

4. Celtics: Veteran team devastated by trade of Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder.

5. Heat: Suffered another loss to an elite team when they were defeated by the Bulls Thursday.

6. Lakers: Seem to have gotten over their boredom with three straight wins after the break.

7. Magic: Inconsistencies continued after break with loss to Kings and win over Thunder.

8. Thunder: Lost two straight games after break, but got bigger and quicker at trade deadline.

9. Trail Blazers: Only loss in their last eight games came against Lakers on Wednesday.

10. Nuggets: Revamped roster playing with fire and enthusiasm with Carmelo mess behind it.

STILL LEARNING: LeBron James likes what he sees going on in Miami. Looking at the statistics and the success the team has experienced so far, he says the James-Dwyane Wade -Chris Bosh triumvirate is definitely working.

"To see early on what our plus-minus was on the court together to where it is now, it's night and day," said James. "We had to learn. It was the first time for all of us really, to be playing alongside bona fide superstars in this league, as they label us.

"So to go out there and understand each other and continue to learn each other offensively and defensively, it's helped our game, helped us as individuals, and it's helped our team."

PAYING THE PRICE: With the Boston Celtics a little low on manpower, coach Doc Rivers is determined to do what's necessary to win games. And if that means — gulp — playing a zone defense, so be it.

"I can't stand zone, but we're going to work on it every day," said Rivers. "Right now, with the numbers we have, we're going to have to run some zone just to save guys because of fouls. Every once in awhile it may be a good thing, anyway.

"I don't like it because you're not on a guy, and mentally guys think zone is a concession and they don't guard the guy. But there's some use for it if we do it the right way."

MOVING ON: Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams became the fifth and sixth players in NBA history to play in an All-Star Game and then play for a different team right after the break. The others: Dike Eddleman (Milwaukee to Fort Wayne in 1952), Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco to Philadelphia in 1965), John Block (Philadelphia to Milwaukee in 1973) and Jason Kidd (New Jersey to Dallas in 2008).

EASY LIVING: With Anthony leaving Denver and Williams no longer in Utah, it would sure seem that life became a whole lot easier for Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.

Not so fast, says the Thunder's Kevin Durant.

"It changes a lot," he said. "Those two are all-stars. But in this league, players step up. I can't count Denver or Utah out. They're still going to be good teams and teams that are going to be tough to win against. It's been a wild year for basketball, but we can't worry about it. We just have to continue to worry about the Thunder improving."

FAST BREAKS: The trade that sent Gerald Wallace from Charlotte to Portland was completed seven minutes before the deadline.

Sign in the crowd in Portland when the Lakers were in town: "At least we beat Cleveland."

— Compiled from wire reports

Game of the week: Celtics at Jazz

Newly acquired Devin Harris and Derrick Favors make their home debut for the Jazz against the Celtics on Monday night. Boston will be playing its final game of a four-game Western Conference road trip, so maybe the Jazz can take advantage of their old legs.

Who's hot

Kobe Bryant, Lakers: He reached the 1,500-point total for the 2010-11 season during the week. It is the 11th consecutive season he has reached the total, and that's the longest streak in the NBA since Karl Malone scored at least 1,500 points in 12 straight seasons. Malone did it from 1986-87 through 1997-98.

Kevin Love, Timberwolves: He extended his streak of double-doubles to 45 with 11 points and 14 rebounds in a 95-81 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

Who's not

Gilbert Arenas, Magic: Think Deron Williams struggled from 3-point range before he got traded? He's got nothing on Arenas, who has missed 18 straight 3-pointers after going 0-for-3 against the Thunder on Friday.

Chris Bosh, Heat: He had a John Starks-like shooting performance against the Bulls on Thursday, making 1 of 18 shots.

Boston Celtics: They went ice cold from the field against Denver Thursday. They didn't score in the final six minutes, allowing Denver to close the game on a 16-0 run.

MVP Watch

1. Derrick Rose, Bulls: Even a teammate of LeBron James says Rose is the current frontrunner for the MVP award this season.

"Derrick, he's had a phenomenal season," Heat forward Chris Bosh said on Thursday. "I think I would give it to Derrick if I were a voter. He's playing well. He's playing like the best point guard in the league and the best player in the league. He's the most valuable player if you really think about it. You take him out of the lineup, there's no telling what you get."

By the numbers

30-5 — When Utah's Al Jefferson had 30 points and five blocked shots against the Pacers on Friday, it was a rare feat. No Jazz player had scored as many points and blocked as many shots in the same game since Karl Malone put up the same numbers in a game against Golden State in January of 1994. Malone led the Jazz to a 119-91 win.

13 — Phoenix improved its record against Toronto to 13-0 since the start of the 2004-05 season when it beat the Raptors on Friday night. The Suns haven't lost to Toronto since Steve Nash rejoined the team.

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