On Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks had their toughest test of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They would fall 119-101. An accumulation of bad shooting and stale offense led to a Timberwolves takeover throughout the second half.
Superstar Luka Doncic was one of the few bright spots, as he finished with 39 points and 13 assists. Despite struggling, the Mavericks leaned on Doncic to take the bulk of the shots. Had Doncic not been available, this game would have been completely one-sided.
The Mavs struggled to get the ball moving as the Timberwolves defense created 15 turnovers. Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert created havoc defensively with their long wingspans.
NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Ausar Thompson falls, familiar face takes his place
It was evident that the absence of Kyrie Irving hurt the Mavericks due to their lack of shot variety and ball movement that occurred on Thursday. Irving is still laboring with a bad heel contusion from last week's match against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Off the bench, Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled all night with efficient shot-making. He only scored ten points and failed to make a single three-point shot.
With the Mavericks' recent injury bug, they have been relying on guys to step up in the rotation. Dante Exum had an efficient 14 points as he got the starting nod once again. It's been clear the Mavericks need to make a move for a third guy to even out the rotation in times like this.
However, Dereck Lively II had a solid game as he finished with 15 points and yet another two-block game. His recent play won't go unseen in this week's Rookie Power Rankings. Let's take a look at this week's top ten.
10. Scoot Henderson
Last week's rank: N/A
Scoot continues to fall in and out of the top ten but after a recent resurgence, he will find himself back in the top ten. Is this something that will become a common sight for fans?
9. Bilal Coulibaly
Last week's rank: N/A
Coulibaly is another play that has fallen in and out of the top ten. He finds himself in the top ten this week after a strong showing this week and an increased role within the Wizards offense.
8. Brandin Podziemski
Last week's rank: 9
Podziemski rises in this week's list after a strong showing for the Warriors. His role continues to get bigger and bigger as the season goes a long, and he has proven to be one of the better role players in this year's draft class.
7. Ausar Thompson
Last week's rank: 5
Thompson's free fall out of the Pistons rotation has continued to surprise many. The young rookie has struggled shooting the ball and finding his touch within an NBA-level offense. Things will need to shift quickly if Thompson wants to remain in the top ten.
6. Keyonte George
Last week's rank: 8
One of the biggest risers in this week's top ten. George has done an amazing job all season, being what the Jazz need him to be. He has become a primary scorer at times and also a facilitator for the Jazz's offense.