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Ranking the Rankings, Week 5: the roller coaster begins

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After a rough stretch of games, the Mavs fall back down to earth a little in the rankings.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hello everyone! This week has been a tad rough for watching Mavs games, though the win last night was certainly a welcome change (I guess. I missed the first half but I hear it was atrocious. Thank goodness for Dirk, huh?)

Let's take a look at how our rankers dealt with the stress of the Mavs falling back to earth a little bit. (Just a reminder, these rankings do NOT reflect last night's game.)

The Rankings

Mmb_power_rankings_2013-14_wk_5_medium

Some Observations

  • Don't think the Mavs falling this week is much of a surprise after their stretch. Carlisle commented after one game last week that every game would be hard fought, and the Bobcats game last night was probably evidence enough of that. Makes me wonder if their ranking won't stay pretty consistent all season right here, maybe up or down 1-3 spots depending on the stretch in any given week.
  • Then again, maybe getting Brandan Wright and Devin Harris back eventually stops the back and forth. Certainly having Harris would have helped with Calderon being out a game or so. They still need to find a more consistent answer on defense though. ("Consistent," mind you. As in, passable. I don't know if "good" is possible.)
  • Notice how many Eastern Conference teams are up near the top? Mmmhmmm. The Mavs really need to stay competitive at minimum. The Lakers are playing well: one of the biggest rises this week. And who knows what will happen when Kobe gets back.
  • And you know, the Warriors will only get better when Iguodala comes back. The Blazers remain legit. The Clippers might have a rough stretch without J.J. Reddick, but they still have a number of other weapons. Don't expect these top teams to do much other than move up or down one the rest of the season.
  • Awwwwwwww look at that plucky Utah Jazz team! No longer at the bottom! On the other hand....eeesh, Knicks. And the 76ers are trying their best to fall fast.

Quotables

NBA.com:

After a 6-1 stretch, the Mavs have lost four of their last five. It's been a mix of bad offense and bad D, so there are no easy answers, though they could just blame the schedule, having played six back-to-backs in November and 11 of their 18 games against teams at or above .500. But they have another back-to-back early this week and then head out west to face the Blazers, Kings and Warriors.

ESPN:

The Mavs have scraped through a November that served up six back-to-backs in passable fashion, but the reality is they haven't played well since that stirring fourth-quarter comeback at home against Houston, losing their grip on what would have been handy road wins in Denver and Atlanta.

CBS Sports:

Their defense has started to hemorrhage. They have to score the pants off everyone in order to not lose their shirt.

Sports Illustrated:

The Mavericks can't foul their way to respectable defense. Dallas has allowed the most free throws made and attempted in the league, while owning the No. 27 unit in defensive efficiency (104.8).

Sources