NBA power rankings 2013: Clippers on top, Lakers making ground

USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers are the top team in two power rankings while the view on the Los Angeles Lakers is not quite as clear.

One has to look back to a time called ‘never' to find a span of time this long where the Los Angeles Clippers were consistently the more productive and more exciting story to talk about in comparison with the Los Angeles Lakers. But that's where we're at now as the Clippers' 17-game winning streak has vaulted them to ‘best team in the NBA' status while the Lakers try to gain momentum after the return of Steve Nash breathed life into their season.

The Clippers were No. 1 for both NBA.com and ESPN. NBA.com realized that Tuesday begins a tough four-games-in-five-nights stretch where the Clippers' improved defense will face four of the top 10 offenses in the league. The streak will surely be tested. ESPN was impressed with the 15.2 points per game the Clippers have been beating teams by during their streak.

The Lakers are ranked No. 15 on NBA.com and they recognized how well Kobe Bryant has played with Steve Nash on the floor. Too bad they still don't play any defense.

ESPN was a bit more kind, moving the Lakers up one spot to No. 10 despite having a record of 15-15. They gave Bryant props for averaging a crazy 33.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in December -- at the age of 34.

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