On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks took on the Utah Jazz. The first game of the new year didn't go according to plan for the Mavericks as they lost in blowout fashion 127-90.
In the near 40-point loss, not many things went right in the game. Head coach Jason Kidd quickly pointed out how complex the Jazz's defense was all night and how the Mavericks couldn't crack their defensive code.
NBA MVP Power Rankings: Mavericks star Luka Doncic falls, who takes his place?
Despite the loss, the Mavericks welcomed back star point guard Kyrie Irving with open arms as he missed almost a month with a heel contusion that he suffered against the Portland Trail Blazers. Irving didn't have much of a fingerprint in this game, but he would contribute 14 points and nine rebounds in his 32 minutes of playing time
Irving's absence saw the Mavs drop many games to higher competition. With Irving now back and the Mavericks' schedule only getting tougher, it will be critical he stays healthy. However, even if Irving is healthy, it's clear the Mavericks need a third star, which they may look to acquire via the trade market.
Even if the Mavericks don't acquire a third star by the trade deadline, they must upgrade at the forward position.
After weeks of carrying a heavy workload, MVP candidate Luka Doncic finally got some much-needed help. Despite the help, Doncic still had to carry a heavy workload. All night, he got teammates involved and would finish with 14 dimes after the game. However, Doncic failed to get himself going.
Doncic would finish with only 19 points and led all Mavericks in scoring. To the Jazz's credit, they made it difficult for any Mavericks to get in a rhythm. After a disappointing performance, this may affect Doncic's MVP rankings after the new year. Let's take a look at this week's top 10.
10. Kawhi Leonard
Last week's rank: 10
The claw once again has a strong week, and the LA Clippers are rolling because of it. Kawhi Leonard has led the Clippers to one of the top records in the West, and they currently hold a top-six seed if the season ended today.
9. Anthony Davis
Last week's rank: N/A
Anthony Davis joins the top 10 once again after a strong week. His Lakers have also won multiple games in a row, and it's in large part to what Davis has done on the defensive end.
8. Tyrese Haliburton
Last week's rank: 7
Tyrese Haliburton's dropping shouldn't be a negative. The young star has played amazing all season long, and it was no difference this past week. Unfortunately, he will drop one spot due to the players ahead of him playing that much better.
7. Anthony Edwards
Last week's rank: 9
Anthony Edwards finally has a breakout performance as he dropped 44 points against the Mavericks this past week. Edwards has proven to be the difference maker for this Timberwolves team.
6. Jayson Tatum
Last week's rank: 6
Jayson Tatum fails to move up once again after a week of winning. For many, he's the MVP favorite due to the Celtics' record. Tatum will need to show a lot more than just having the best record in the league if he expects to rise.