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2012 NBA power rankings: Cavs can't escape cellar, stay at No. 28

The Cleveland Cavaliers are ranked No. 28 in the latest NBA power rankings after losing three of four contests this past week.

USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers stood pat near the bottom of Seth Rosenthal's latest NBA power rankings, remaining at No. 28 after losing three of four last week.

Kyrie Irving returned for the Cavs this past week and put on one of the most memorable moments of the young NBA seaso -- -a 41-point performance while wearing a black mask. Still, Irving's career night was not enough, as Cleveland lost that game against the New York Knicks, as well as games against the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. They're sole win was a 100-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rosenthal writes that while traditional basketball strategy has not worked for the Cavaliers early on, perhaps the key is in the mask:

Oh, how very nice it is to have Kyrie Irving back on the floor. I was personally at the thoroughly terrified end of a thoroughly terrifying career night for a black-masked Irving on Saturday. The Knicks' win seemed in hand until Kyrie took it upon himself to make a succession of increasingly impossible contested shots and very nearly bring the Cavs all the way back. The kid had a career-high 41 in that one. Regarding the masks: Irving, Tyler Zeller, and Tristan Thompson are all wearing them now and, at least on Saturday, they all shot quite accurately. Why not mask the entire team? Shit, set them up with some creepy bank robbery masks for added fright. Only question is whether to go with the Point Break look or the Sugar & Spice look.

At the top of the power rankings, the Oklahoma City Thunder now own the premier position, replacing the San Antonio Spurs after a 2-0 week. The Spurs, who beat the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, but lost to the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers last week, dropped to No. 3. The New York Knicks stay at No. 2, while the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat round out the top five.

The entire NBA power rankings can be seen here.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.