The Dallas Mavericks notched an inspired win Thursday night on the road against the Phoenix Suns. The team played most of the game without Luka Doncic, who suffered an ankle sprain and reports suggest he will be listed day-to-day going forward. Spencer Dinwiddie led a group that gave all out effort to secure the victory, and even connected on a few clutch free throws thanks to Dwight Powell.
These are the sort of wins the Mavericks have been unable to discover this season and has left them on uneven ground. That’s reflected in this week’s Mavericks Power Rankings Watch. How the team responds in Doncic’s possible absence could say a lot about how the rest of this season goes.
Rank: 15 (Tier 3: Play-in team or better)
Last week: 13
Anybody deserving of All-Star Game? Luka Dončić. This is an easy one. Dončić is getting in as a starter and deservedly so. He would be a unanimous pick as a reserve. He’s one of the most popular players in the world, has one of the best selling jerseys in the NBA and his numbers are ridiculous. Just please don’t put up any murals asking to get him some help, even if he reportedly wants the team to make a move.
Anybody deserving of the Saturday night festivities? I’d love to see Dončić in the 3-point contest and the skills challenge. He’s done the skills challenge before, but his percentages probably keep him from the 3-point contest. Spencer Dinwiddie and Dāvis Bertāns could be in the 3-point contest. Much like my De’Anthony Melton idea, I’d like to see Dorian Finney-Smith guarding guys in the skill challenge.
Last week: 10
Doncic has 11 technical fouls this season (plus one that was rescinded by the league office) after being T’d up in the past two games, putting him five shy of an automatic one-game suspension. He has plenty to be frustrated about other than officiating with the Mavs having lost seven of their past nine games. “I’m focused on winning right now,” Doncic said after Tuesday’s home loss to the Wizards. “I just keep the mind on winning.” — MacMahon
Last week: 12
The Dallas Mavericks lost Luka Dončić early in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, and the rest of the team showed plenty of mettle the rest of the way.
Dallas came out on top, and Spencer Dinwiddie did a heck of a Luka impression along the way. He had 36 points on 10-of-18 shooting, hit 11 free throws and handed out nine assists.
On the season, he’s now averaging 24.7 points and 9.5 assists per 75 possessions when Dončić is off the floor, which should maybe be a clue to the coaching staff and front office that he could perhaps handle a bit more playmaking responsibility.
Last week: 11
Dallas has lost 7-of-9 and while the obvious place to point fingers is on the defensive side of the ball — the Mavericks are 27th in the league over those nine games — that’s not the end that is slipping (they are 25th defensively for the season). Rather, the top-five offense led by MVP candidate Luka Doncic has been closer to the league average over those nine games (18th in the NBA) and that is no longer covering up their defensive woes. They miss what Christian Wood brings (broken thumb), but it is more than that. Dallas is reportedly looking for more shot creation at the trade deadline, but in a seller’s market there may not be a deal that helps them. Dallas is on the road in Phoenix and Utah this week, the kind of games they need to win to stay in the top six and avoid the play-in rounds in a tightly compacted West.