The Dallas Mavericks continue to waffle between historic unstoppable offense and bottom of the barrel defense, matching the level of play against their toughest opponents and dipping down to play against their weakest. They are consistent, you can give them that.
It is those reasons why their record continues to sniff .500, why teams fear facing the two-headed attack of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, and why playoff teams will likely never be out of a game when the Mavericks are leading. In many ways the team should be thanking the basketball gods above that they have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league. But with how they play inferior teams, are they so lucky? There will be plenty of prove it games down the stretch. Given how mediocre the middle of the Western Conference is this season, the Mavericks have legitimate shots at 5th and 13th place. What a terrifying ride.
Follow below for this week’s Mavericks Power Rankings Watch!
Rank: 11 (Tier 3: Play-in Tournament Teams or Better)
Last week: 11
2021-22 win total: 52
Preseason over/under: 48.5
Pace last time we checked in: 46
Any changes to how we feel? Since we last checked in, the Mavs traded for Kyrie Irving to pair him with Luka Dončić. But they’re no closer to the over than they were. Their loss to Phoenix on Sunday put the Mavs at 2-5 with Kyrie and Luka together. They’re on pace to go roughly 42-40 right now. Dallas has 10 of its next 14 games on the road, where the Mavs have struggled. Dallas is down in the Play-In Tournament right now but could very easily be in fifth with a good week. Of course, it’s the West, so a bad week could have them in 11th.
Prior confidence on the over: 6.5/10
New confidence on the over: 0.5/10
Last week: 11
The Mavs’ first five games out of the All-Star break have been their best five-game stretch of offense this season (126.2 points scored per 100 possessions). Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have combined to average 59.8 points over the five games, and both guys have scored more efficiently since Irving’s arrival in Dallas than they did prior. They combined for 82 points (on a true shooting percentage of 79.6%) against Philly on Thursday, when the Mavs got their first win against a non-Spurs team with both in the lineup.
But, after their loss to the Suns on Sunday and despite the efficient offense, the Mavs are just 2-5 with both Irving and Doncic in uniform. Since Irving’s arrival, Dallas ranks last defensively, having allowed 122.6 points allowed per 100 possessions over their eight games with him on the roster. While the Mavs have outscored their opponents by 16 points over the seven games with both stars, they continue to struggle in the clutch. All five losses have been within three points in the last five minutes, and the Mavs have scored just 19 points (shooting 1-for-14 from 3-point range) on 26 possessions with the score within three in the last three in those five games.
The Mavs have the league’s second-biggest differential between their record with rest (31-24) and their record in the second games of back-to-backs (2-8). They have three back-to-backs remaining on their schedule, with the first of those on Tuesday and Wednesday. They’ll be at a rest disadvantage in New Orleans, currently leading the ninth-place Pelicans by just a game and a half, with the home team having won the first three head-to-head meetings.
Last week: 12
Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving got their first big win together last week. After a rocky start, the All-Star duo combined for 82 points in a seven-point win versus the 76ers on Thursday. The Mavericks couldn’t keep the momentum going over the weekend, however, as they came up just short against the Suns. Dallas and Phoenix, which met in the semifinals in the playoffs last year, ended up splitting the season series, 2–2. The Mavs have some work to do over the next month to stay out of the play-in tournament. Luckily, they have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league.
Last week: 11
The Dallas Mavericks were in desperate need of a win on Thursday. Before Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers came to town, they were 1-4 in games in which Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving both played.
Against Philly, they broke out of that slump in historic fashion.
The defense gave up 126 points and a couple stress-inducing runs when the game should’ve been decided, but it didn’t matter, thanks to the absurd offensive peaks this offense can now hit.
Dallas will now put every opponent from here on out in one of basketball’s worst imaginable pick-your-poison scenarios. Teams will have to put their second-best perimeter defender on either Luka or Kyrie, and he’s almost certainly going to get dominated by either.
On Thursday, that equation led to 82 points on 28-of-44 shooting in a win.