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NBA power rankings roundup: Mavs slog through toughest schedule stretch

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Surprisingly, a tough schedule sometimes means a move up in the ranks.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As I predicted last week, most rankings this week reflect the Mavs' brutal stretch, with losses to the Cavaliers, Spurs and Thunder hurting, while the win vs. the Bulls didn't help terribly much. Surprisingly, though, a couple of rankers moved the Mavs up, choosing to see a close loss to the Cavs as a positive and the losses to OKC and the Spurs as "shrug, they probably weren't going to win those anyway." Really, I think that reflects some of the split amongst Mavs fandom generally on that issue.

These rankings do not reflect last night's win over Boston, and as always, you can read the full ranks for any site by clicking "what they said." Let us know what you think of their thoughts and ranks in the comments!

ESPN

This week: 14  Last week: 11

What they said:

Neither a 4-6 record in January nor a 7-13 mark against .500-or-better teams sounds great. But the Mavs knew the past week would be their hardest week of the regular season in terms of scheduling and remain one of the surprises of the season ... unless you expected Zaza Pachulia to be averaging 10.6 PPG and 10.8 RPG and holding a 170,622-vote lead over Dirk Nowitzki in All-Star balloting.

CBS Sports

This week: 7   Last week: 10

What they said:

The Mavericks are in the worst stretch of their schedule. But they pushed the Cavaliers to the very edge, and beat the Bulls (again). I can't punish them for getting blown out by OKC and the Spurs.

NBA.com

This week: 15  Last week: 12

What they said:

The Mavs sat all five starters in Oklahoma City on Wednesday and their offense hasn't really recovered. They rank 26th on that end of the floor in January after an ugly win in Chicago and a shellacking at the hands of the Spurs. Dirk Nowitzki has shot 35 percent in the five January losses he's played in, and the guys around him have continued to shoot poorly from 3-point range. Two top-10 defenses are in town this week.

Sports Illustrated

This week: 13   Last week: 10

What they said:

Dallas's off-season gambles have paid off, as Wesley Matthews continues to get comfortable and Zaza Pachulia's career year continues. Dirk Nowitzki remains a wonderful constant, and Dallas reinvents itself yet again like clockwork

USA Today

This week: 9  Last week: 10

What they said:

ZaZa Pachulia is a double-double machine

NBC Sports

This week: 11  Last week: 8

What they said:

They went 1-3 last week but the losses were to the Cavaliers, Thunder, and Spurs, not going to ding them too much for that. Still, the offense has struggled of late. Long Live Zaza Pachouli [sic] for the All-Star Team!