The Dallas Mavericks wrapped up their West Coast road trip with a 107-88 loss to the LA Clippers.
The team finds themselves 10-6, having lost three out of the last four games. In addition, the lone win against the Los Angeles Lakers was not a feel-good win as they almost choked a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Mavs have done little to excite fans over this last week, and it ultimately trickled into their 30-point defeat at the hands of one of their fiercest rivals. It didn't take the Clippers long to crack the Mavericks on offense, as the team only tallied a season-low 88 points.
NBA MVP Power Rankings: Nikola Jokic stays at No. 1, who drops?
It's hard to extract any positives from such an ugly loss, but the Mavericks' defense looked amazing at times in this game. The Clippers are a relatively potent offense, so holding them to 107 can be considered a small victory for the Mavs. Earlier this week, the Mavs fell back down to the bottom five in the league for team defense, so seeing a resurgence on the defensive end is a positive.
Center Richaun Holmes had a huge impact on the Mavs defensively. He was constantly cutting off driving lanes or forcing tough shots down low, which the Clippers got accustomed to making. With Dereck Lively II out due to a lower back contusion, the emergence of Holmes has become a welcomed sight for Mavs fans.
Additionally, Luka Doncic left off where he last ended and had a game-high 30 points in 38 minutes. However, his dominance over the Clippers meant nothing, as only two other Mavericks had double-digit scoring efforts.
Despite an ugly loss, it's clear to see that Doncic is still a glaring MVP candidate. Let's take a look at the MVP Power Rankings for this week.
5. Jayson Tatum
Last week's rank: 4
Jayson Tatum drops one spot for the first time this season.
The former Blue Devil continues his dominance on the season but will drop one spot with the Boston Celtics' recent struggles. The team recently lost in blowout fashion to the Orlando Magic, and Tatum seemingly disappeared at times in the game.
Despite the loss, the Celtics have taken care of business, beating the Milwaukee Bucks just days before facing the Magic. In that game, Tatum would drop 23 points and 11 rebounds on poor efficiency.
Regardless of a few bad games here and there, Tatum has looked like the definitive team leader in Boston. He's now averaging 28 points and nine rebounds per contest and has led the Celtics' to a 13-4 start to begin the season.
Tatum's efficiency will need to improve as the season grows older, as he's hovering just under 45 percent from the field in the last week.
Despite some recent struggles and dropping one spot in the Power Rankings, Tatum has continued to make his MVP case strong and will likely continue to do so.