That’s right, Luka, the Mavericks have officially entered Top-10 territory, as they continue their solid stretch over the last few weeks. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, and 9-1 in the last 10 games in which Kristaps Porzingis participates. The Maverick offensive efficiency has also steadily risen, as Porzingis’s production as a shooter and offensive rebounder has suddenly jumped since the All-Star Break.
Dallas has been through a lot this season, on top of playing by far the hardest first-half schedule in the league. Here’s how they’ve been trending since the season began.
Let’s take a look at what the major Power Rankings publishers had to say about the team this week:
Last Week: 9
The Mavs have 10 back-to-backs (tied for third most) in the second-half schedule, and they rested both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in the second game of the first of those 10. Without their two leading scores on Thursday, they got off to a slow start and fell just short of coming all the way back from 21 points down in Oklahoma City.
With Doncic and Porzingis, the Mavs won their two more important games of the week, scoring more than 125 points per 100 possessions against the Spurs and Nuggets, even though Doncic shot just 5-for-20 from 3-point range. Porzingis totaled 53 points on 21-for-32 shooting in the two wins, with his seven restricted-area buckets against San Antonio (featuring a baseline-drive and tough finish against super defender Jakob Poeltl) being tied for his second most in 82 career games with the Mavs. Dallas has won nine of the last 10 games in which Porzingis has played and scored 125.6 points per 100 possessions in his 300 minutes on the floor over that stretch.
The Mavs are in the middle of their longest stretch of the second-half schedule without a back-to-back, as the next one isn’t until March 26 and 27. And they’ll have a rest advantage (the opponent is playing the night before) in their first game against both the Clippers and Blazers this week.
Last Week: 14
The Mavs went 2-1 this week, but their loss to the Thunder came without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in the second game of a back-to-back. The wins were solid, over the Spurs and Nuggets, and Dallas has now won seven of its last 10 games as it continues to rise in the Western Conference hierarchy. Kristaps Porzingis looked great in the two games he played, averaging 26.5 points and 10 rebounds on 58 percent 3-point shooting, while playing solid defense against Nikola Jokic in Saturday’s win over Denver.
Last Week: 11
Josh Richardson has recently looked like the player the Mavs thought they were acquiring when they gave up Seth Curry to get him from the 76ers in an offseason trade. Richardson has averaged 14.6 points on .490/.371/.925 shooting splits as the Mavs have won 11 of their past 14 games. “Nobody’s talking about it, but Josh Richardson has really stepped out defensively the past couple of weeks,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Saturday’s win over the Nuggets, when Richardson helped hold Jamal Murray to 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting. — MacMahon
Last Week: 13
O Rating: 112.3 (13th) | D Rating: 112.6 (24th) | Net Rating: -0.3 (17th)
Summary: Injury-struck and underachieving for a spell, the Mavericks are 9-2 in their last 11 games and looking their prolific selves, posting a 117.7 offensive rating in that span.
First-Half MVP: If 28.6 points, 9 assists and 8.4 rebounds per game is Luka Dončić playing himself into shape, the second half of the season could get scary.
Remaining Strength of Schedule Rating: -0.74 (4th)
Check in next week after the Mavericks face a very tough pair of mini-series against the Clippers and the Trail Blazers this week.