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Week 14 power rankings: The Mavericks maintain a top-10 spot

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The Mavericks can thank their splits against two great Western Conference teams this week.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks maintained a spot in the top 10 in all Power Rankings published this week. They split the two mini-series they had this week, against the LA Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers. In all four games, Luka Doncic was phenomenal, posting averages of 35.5/8/9.5 on 50% three-point shooting.

Dallas has, up to this point in the season, played the hardest schedule in the league. Starting Wednesday against the Timberwolves, they play the easiest remaining schedule in the league. That should bode well for their record.

Here’s how they’ve trended this year:

Here’s what different sites had to say:

NBA.com

Rank: 8

Last Week: 8

In very ’19-20 Mavs fashion, Dallas outscored its opponents by 40 points last week, but split its four games against the Clippers and Blazers. The Mavs beat LA by 16 on Wednesday and absolutely clobbered Portland on Sunday, holding both top-six offenses under a point per possession. But they lost the two games that were within five points in the last five minutes, unable to get a bucket when they really needed one. After cutting the Clippers’ 12-point, fourth-quarter lead to four on Monday, the Mavs went scoreless on their final five possessions. And in Portland on Friday, they scored just once on an eight-possession stretch as the Blazers won the game with a 12-2 run.

With his 8-for-9 performance on Sunday, Luka Doncic is an above-average 3-point shooter (37.1%) for the first time this season. After making 55 3-pointers (at a 31% clip) through his first 25 games, he’s made 57 (at 46%) over his last 13. The Mavs rank fourth offensively over that latter stretch and, having just scored 133 points per 100 possessions over two games against the Blazers’ 29th-ranked defense, will face two more defenses in the bottom five (those of the Wolves and Pelicans) this week. The Mavs have a lot of games (with nine back-to-backs) still to play, but only nine of their 31 remaining games are against the other 12 teams that are currently over .500.

CBS

Rank: 10

Last Week: 11

The Mavs split a pair of series with the Clippers and Blazers, but ended the week on a high note with a 40-point drubbing of Portland. Luka Doncic is on another planet right now, averaging 35.5 points, 9.5 assists and eight rebounds per game this week on blistering 22-for-44 3-point shooting. Kristaps Porzingis struggled from the field, but Tim Hardaway Jr. picked up the slack with 18 points per game on 50 percent 3-point shooting. Dallas has now won 16 of its last 20 games.

Bleacher Report

Rank: 10

Last Week: 10

Dallas got an MVP-like week from Luka Doncic, who averaged 39.0 points, 7.3 assists, and 7.3 rebounds. It was against stiff competition with miniseries against both the Clippers and Blazers. The Mavericks split both series to go 2-2 for the week and have gone 7-3 in their last 10.

The Mavs have gotten key contributions across the board during this stretch. Kristaps Porzingis has not only been scoring but has also been back to his rim-protecting ways, averaging 1.6 blocks. Tim Hardaway Jr. is bringing some punch off the bench with 15.0 points nightly. And Jalen Brunson, Josh Richardson and Max Kleber are providing solid defense.

Very quietly the Mavs are climbing in the standings and the rankings. If that continues to happen, expect Doncic’s name to get more love in the MVP conversation.

ESPN

Rank: 10

Last Week: 10

Luka Doncic scored 117 points over the past three games, shooting 59.5% from the floor and 54.5% from 3-point range in that span. It’s the second-highest-scoring three-game stretch in franchise history, trailing only a 118-point, three-game run Doncic had last month. “When you feel like this, everything’s great,” Doncic said after scoring 37 points over three quarters (and hitting his first eight 3-point attempts) during Sunday’s rout in Portland. — MacMahon

Check in next week to see if the Mavericks can continue to climb.