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Power Tankings: The Mavericks win, the Grizzlies and Suns pull away

The Mavericks notch two costly victories this week, while Memphis’ losing streak continues.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Power Tankings, where we watch the basketball you don’t want to. This week, we’ve started to see a bit more separation at both the top and the bottom of the pack, and with two wins this week, the Mavericks seem like less and less likely contenders for the top pick.

We also saw most of these teams, including all of the bottom four in the Western Conference, officially eliminated from the playoffs. And since no one expect the Magic, Nets, or Bulls to sneak into the eight spot in the East, expect more official eliminations soon.

How have the teams fared since last week?

The Bottom Eight

Rank Change Team W L PCT GB DIFF STRK L10
Rank Change Team W L PCT GB DIFF STRK L10
23 none Chicago Bulls 23 43 0.348 29 -6 W1 3-7
24 up 1 Sacramento Kings (e) 21 46 0.313 31.5 -8 L1 3-7
25 up 3 Dallas Mavericks (e) 21 46 0.313 31.5 -2.5 L1 3-7
26 none Brooklyn Nets 21 46 0.313 31.5 -4.3 L1 2-8
27 none Atlanta Hawks (e) 20 47 0.299 32.5 -5 L3 2-8
28 down 4 Orlando Magic 20 47 0.299 32.5 -4.3 L4 2-8
29 none Phoenix Suns (e) 19 49 0.279 34 -8.9 L5 1-9
30 none Memphis Grizzlies (e) 18 48 0.273 34 -5.3 L17 0-10

Where Dallas stands

Unfortunately for Dallas’ offseason plans, the Mavericks won several games this week, evening their regular-season series against the Denver Nuggets and obliterating the Memphis Grizzlies, who I guess we’re all still pretending are an actual NBA basketball team that totally does not deserve to be fined for tanking. These victories propelled Dallas into the upper echelons of the bottom of the barrel.

The Mavericks, the biggest movers this week, are now sitting in the 24th spot between (and with the same record as) the Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets. And where all eight teams were within just three games of each other last week, there’s now a five-game spread between the worst and the eighth-worst teams in the league. Where Dallas was just half a game ahead of Phoenix and Memphis, they’re now 2.5 games ahead of them. Some of us are having a hard time coming to terms with this:

Standouts this week

The Chicago Bulls have won three of their last five games and are now five games ahead of the Suns and Grizzlies and 2.5 games ahead of the Kings-Mavs-Nets trio right below them in the rankings. If they have another winning week, the team may be officially booted from the tanking conversation.

At the other end of the spectrum, come the eff on, Grizzlies. On Friday night, Memphis put up just 78 points against Utah Jazz. The Jazz have the third-best defensive rating in the league, so fair enough, but the Grizzlies managed just 80 points against the Dallas Mavericks, who are most definitely not league leaders on defense, including a paltry 30 in the first half. Their losing streak is now at 17 games.

And while we’re all busy shaking our heads and diving out of the path of the Grizzlies’ epic tank, the Suns deserve a shout-out for keeping pace with Memphis. If you remove Phoenix’s match against Memphis (which the Suns won), their losing streak would be an almost-as-impressive 16 games. Good job, everyone!

Tank-on-tank action

This week features significantly fewer games played between these teams. Chicago faces Memphis on Thursday, March 15 and Dallas visits Brooklyn on Saturday, March 17.