Josh Richardson is in disbelief that the Mavericks maintained a top-10 spot in this weeks Power Rankings, despite his dismal four-point performance on Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans. This week didn’t give analysts much to think about regarding the Mavericks, as they got an easy win against a bad Timberwolves team and then predictably lost the games in which Luka Doncic was missing.
Here’s how they’ve been trending this year:
In some ways, the lack of fluctuation recently for the Mavericks is a good sign that they can maintain a culture of consistent wins, especially against the many inferior teams that they are scheduled to play in the next several weeks. Here’s what was said about the Mavericks this week:
Last Week: 8
Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have missed three and two of the Mavs’ 10 games since the All-Star break, respectively. And without Doncic on Friday, it was an offensive drought (just two Dallas points on a stretch of nine fourth-quarter possessions) that allowed the Pacers to put the game away. The Mavs have scored 13.7 more points per 100 possessions with Doncic on the floor (117.5) than they have with him off the floor (103.8), and it’s those off-the-floor minutes that have really been the difference as the Mavs have slipped from first (last season, when that on-off differential was just 4.0 per 100) to 10th in offensive efficiency.
Despite the Doncic absences, Dallas ranks fourth offensively since the break, with Tim Hardaway Jr. (43%), Maxi Kleber (45%) and Josh Richardson (40%) having all shot well from 3-point range. The defense hasn’t been good (they got bullied by Zion Williamson on Saturday), but the Mavs have had a tough post-break schedule in regard to opposing offenses, with sixth of the 10 games having come against those that rank in the top seven.
Four of their next six games are against teams that rank in the bottom 10 offensively, and both Doncic and Porzingis are expected back for their game in Oklahoma City on Monday.
Last Week: 10
It was a challenging week for the Mavericks. They went 1-2 and ended the week on a two-game losing streak. Luka Doncic missed the last two contests with an illness, and Kristaps Porzingis missed the last game, too. They hung tough against the Pelicans with big performances from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson before losing.
That game against the Pelicans is the start of a five-game road trip for Dallas. Next week’s schedule has the Mavs playing four games in six days with some big stops in Boston and New York. They will need to get Doncic and Porzingis back quickly before they fall into a long losing streak.
To help, Dallas added JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli from New Orleans to add more shooting. Redick has struggled this season, but a change of scenery and the open looks Doncic generates could get him going.
Last Week: 10
It appeared JJ Redick was headed for the buyout market, but the Mavs had other plans. They traded for the veteran sharpshooter and stretch-four Nico Melli to add more spacing for Luka Doncic. Speaking of which, Doncic played about as poorly as he can play in a win over the Wolves, then sat out the final two games of the week with lower back tightness. Kristaps Porzingis sat out Saturday’s loss as well, but averaged 30 points and 13.5 rebounds in the other two games this week.
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 inch past other playoff-bound teams in the Power Rankings like the Lakers or Trail Blazers.