The next round of power rankings (Monday) after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Blake Griffin and the Clippers at the line and before they will try to extend their winning streak tonight against the struggling Nuggets.
Make that no season for old men, except these: Now 17-7 since 1-4 start with Vince Carter becoming a solid player, averaging 12-3-3, shooting 46% in 23 minutes a game as starter.
The Mavericks still don't look like they have everything together, and they're still winning games. That's got to be scary for the rest of the league.
4. Most Overlooked: Dallas Mavericks at No. 9. A 4-game winning streak over Western Conference foes -- highlighted by a late Dirk Nowitzki winner against the Portland Trail Blazers in double overtime -- was all the reminder anyone needed that this team will be a major factor come playoff time. Expect them to keep getting overlooked. They might just have the toughest lead-up to the All-Star break of anyone in the league coming up -- with games against the Nuggets, 76ers, Knicks, Celtics and Lakers over the next eight days -- so there's a good chance they don't separate from the West pack until March or April. Even if the breakout never comes, this will be a feared first round match-up and the early-season questions will be a thing of the distant past. -- BG