On Saturday night, the Dallas Mavericks took on the New Orleans Pelicans for their first of two matchups at home. The Mavericks were 4-1 in their current seven-game home stand and will close out this streak with two games against the Pelicans.
Similarly to how the Mavs lost to the Grizzlies earlier this week, they would lose to the Pelicans 118-108. The Grizzlies were without Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., while the Pelicans were without their big three of Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum, and Brandon Ingram.
The Mavs played down to their competition, which is unacceptable given how tight the Western Conference is. Despite being without star player Luka Doncic for a second straight game, the Mavericks would come out flat and tired.
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Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., and Tim Hardaway Jr. all had respectable games, but it was no match for the Pelicans. New Orleans dominated the glass and inside the paint. On the perimeter, rookie guard Jordan Hawkins once again torched the Mavs for 34 points.
With two embarrassing losses to shorthanded teams, fans have called for moves to be made. Dallas has been surrounded by rumors regarding Toronto's Pascal Siakam. Siakam could be the key to unlocking the Mavs' true potential but his asking price could be too much for Nico Harrison.
With both Dereck Lively II and Doncic missing multiple games now, it's clear the front office needs to make moves. Both Lively II and Doncic will likely be out for Monday's game against the Pelicans, but after their recent slip without Doncic, this could affect his MVP placement. Let's take a look at this week's MVP Power Rankings.
10. Tyrese Haliburton
Last week's rank: 7
Despite the Pacers' recent winning streak, Tyrese Haliburton will drop. The young guard needs to reach another level if he wants to be engaged in MVP conversations on a consistent basis.
9. Anthony Edwards
Last week's rank: 8
The Timberwolves have proven to be an elite team, but can they contend when it comes to the playoffs? Minnesota's recent struggles against good teams could prove otherwise. Anthony Edwards has played great throughout the season but has failed to lead his team to a marquee victory this season.
8. Kawhi Leonard
Last week's rank: N/A
The Clippers are not discussed enough when it comes to the best teams in the league. The Clippers are now 17-3 in their last 20 games and don't seem to be slowing down. Kawhi Leonard has proven he can tap into his 2019 self for months on end now.
7. Domantas Sabonis
Last week's rank: 9
Domantas Sabonis has led his Sacramento Kings to one of the top records in the West and has showcased why he is the number one player on his team. Sabonis leads all players in rebounding this season and is only getting better.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Last week's rank: 5
Losing four out of your last eight games is not a good sign if you want to rise in the MVP rankings. Giannis Antetokounmpo has still played amazingly but has failed to make an impact when it matters most, causing him to fall from the No. 5 spot.