The Mavericks are still playing a stretch of ten consecutive playoff opponents and are 5-3 so far, finishing last week 2-1 with wins over the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and a loss to the Miami Heat. The week featured Jason Terry's worst game of the season, Lamar Odom's best, a Dirk Nowitzki game winner, a Rodrigue Beaubois DNP-CD as well as Delonte West's and Brendan Haywood's return. Before they try to add another tiebreaker (they've already won the season series against the Jazz, Suns, Nuggets and Rockets - Grizzlies also undetermined) to their collection against the Clippers tonight, here's your weekly Power Ranking overview:
It's easy to doubt the Mavs, who have struggled offensively all season and regressed defensively since the break. But they've survived a pretty brutal post-break schedule. It started with nine games in 12 days, and now they're about to conclude a stretch of 10 straight games against teams with winning records.
Dirk has scored 20-plus points in 10 of last 11, comeback in Orlando two nights ago was uber-impressive as Jason Terry, sans headband and high socks in first half after losing a wager to Jameer Nelson, was allowed to wear them in 2nd half (with Nelson’s permission) as Mavs came back from 15 down. Won’t catch Spurs, but could pass Lakers/Clippers for No. 3 seed.
A lot of one-off champions carp about not getting respect, but Dallas may actually have a case, because outside of Houston, there's not a West playoff team most of the top clubs would feel better about facing.
Time to bury all the talk about the champs missing the playoffs? Dirk averaged 25.2 points per game in March, West and Haywood are back from injury at last ... and a 12-6 record on the second night of back-to-backs (after Friday's comeback in Orlando) suggests that these thirtysomethings still have some fight left.
MavsMoneyball - j0Shi's Schedule Adjusted Efficiencies: 14th