NBA MVP Power Rankings: Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rises, who drops?

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Fresh off a seven-game winning streak, the Mavericks would head to Indianapolis to play the Indiana Pacers to tip off their four-game road trip. The Mavs were looking to make it an eight-game winning streak, but with a sluggish game against the speedy Pacers, the Mavs would get the door shut on their face 133-111.

A combination of bad defense, bad coaching, and just coming out flat during the matinee game led to the Mavericks' demise. Fans flocked to Twitter to discuss the game, and the overwhelming narrative that led to the loss was how many minutes guard Tim Hardaway Jr. got.

Hardaway Jr. played a rough 23 minutes throughout the game and constantly hacked up bad shots on offense while getting outplayed on defense. Jason Kidd's decision was a bit of a head-scratcher, considering that Jaden Hardy has played some of the best basketball of his career and has seen minimal playing time since returning from the All-Star break.

NBA MVP Power Rankings: Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rises, who drops?

Another reason the Mavericks failed to get the win over the Pacers was the lack of defense. For the first time since the Mavericks made their trade deadline acquisitions, a team has scored over 113 points against Dallas.

The Pacers made their game plan simple yet effective: run out in transition and beat the Mavericks by spreading them out. Pacers center Myles Turner racked up a season-high 33 points due to the Mavericks' lack of effort to defend the pick-and-pop.

Despite the gut-wrenching loss for Dallas, guards Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic still proved why they are in contention for the best duo in the NBA. Doncic finished with 33 points, while Irving finished with 29 points after a timely run early in the fourth.

How will this loss fair for Doncic and his MVP race? Let's take a look at this week's MVP Power Rankings.

10. Steph Curry

Last week's rank: N/A

Steph Curry eclipses the top 10 for the first time this season after the Warriors had the best stretch of their season. Expect Curry to rise if the Warriors can continue to dominate.

9. Donovan Mitchell

Last week's rank: 9

Donovan Mitchell remains in ninth after the Cavaliers failed to make noise in the last few games. Since the All-Star break, the Cavs are 1-2, and Mitchell's injury has been a huge reason why. If Mitchell can return soon and the Cavs get back to winning, expect his name to rise.

8. Devin Booker

Last week's rank: 8

Despite the Suns' recent struggles, Devin Booker has played outstanding for them. He has become the team's leading ball handler and has flourished in his new role.

7. Kawhi Leonard

Last week's rank: 4

The Clippers have run into one of their first roadblocks since early December. If they can start winning again, expect Kawhi Leonard to rise.

6. Domantas Sabonis

Last week's rank: 7

Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings have rekindled their season by winning three straight out of the break. After getting snubbed from an All-Star selection, Sabonis has made it his mission to prove doubters wrong.