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Ranking the Rankings, Week 9: Wild, wild West

The win over Houston was noticed, but it's gonna be a tough fight all season for the Mavs to keep up with the West.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hope everyone has fun New Year's Eve plans! I usually stay in to save up for my birthday on the 1st (I'm lame, I know), but this year I'll be heading to a late dinner party with friends. Whatever your plans, stay safe. We really like you!

As we head into 2014, let's take a look at the last set of power rankings of 2013.

The Rankings

Mmb_power_rankings_2013-14_wk_9_medium

Some observations

  • These rankings all came out before the Mavs' slightly controversial win over the Timberwolves last night. I'm not sure if that would have made a difference either way -- but with games against top teams in the West coming up (Clippers twice, Spurs, Suns, Trail Blazers) on the horizon, they need to stack up every W they can get.
  • That said, consistency is important, and the Mavs have not been consistently good or consistently bad. They will not move higher unless they can string together wins against their opponents -- top teams or otherwise.
  • Speaking of which, I haven't actually checked, but I don't think those top six or seven teams (in whatever order) have changed much since the 76ers stopped toying with us. The Mavs have the eight seed at the moment, and that's fine, but EVERY SINGLE GAME matters this season. Game one mattered. The last game will probably matter. That's how difficult it is going to be.
  • Every set of rankings had a few extra crazy ranks this week for some reason. I know the Kings aren't consistently good, but they aren't 27th or 28th. I know people WANT the Lakers to be better than they are, but they aren't 16th, sorry. Every ranker had the Raptors around 12-14, except one had them at 21. It's subjective to a certain extent, but still.
  • The Bucks win the Battle of Tanking Teams this week. Sorry, Sixers, maybe next week!

Quotables

Yahoo! Sports:

Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 22.9 points this month after averaging 20.4 in November. Monta Ellis is averaging 18.8 this month after averaging 21.4 in November.

NBA.com:

The Mavs got a big win in Houston on Monday and have the league's second-best offense over the last two weeks, but are mostly treading water, because their defense has been pretty bad against teams that aren't horrible offensively. There's still plenty of season left, but Monday's game in Minnesota is a big matchup between teams that currently stand eighth and ninth in the West standings.

CBS Sports:

They seem like such a better team than last season's squad, yet they're hanging on to the eighth seed. The Western Conference is Fight Club.

Sports Illustrated:

The Mavs are benefiting from a recent Vince Carter revival. After shooting just 35.5 percent in November, Carter has begun to find his rhythm of late, averaging 16.2 points on 53.5 percent shooting over his last six games, excluding a no-show goose egg against the Raptors.

Sources