On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks took on the Portland Trail Blazers. After losing three of the last four games, the Mavericks were hungry for a win after getting superstar Kyrie Irving back from injury in the game before that.
Since Irving's December 8 injury, the Mavericks have treaded water in the standings. Despite the recent skid, the Mavericks took care of business against the Trail Blazers and defeated them 126-97.
However, the win would come at a cost of a few Mavericks players. Rookie phenom Dereck Lively II would have to exit Wednesday's game with yet another ankle sprain. Along with this unfortunate injury, forward Grant Williams would suffer a similar injury.
NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Brandon Miller falls, who takes his place?
After the heartbreaking injuries, the team would rally behind their two superstars and take care of business. Both Luka Doncic and Irving would combine for 70 points when the final buzzer rang. The two seemingly never missed when given the chance to shoot.
Both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jaden Hardy had big-time performances off the bench. Hardaway Jr. cashed in 14 points on efficient shooting. The same goes for Hardy, as he finished with 11 points in the win.
Regardless of the final score, it has become clear the Mavericks need to find a third star to pair alongside their two superstars. Even if Nico Harrison cannot find a deal for the aforementioned third star, the team must upgrade before the February 8 trade deadline.
Despite the scary injuries, Lively II has been listed as questionable for Friday night's game against the Trail Blazers, reinforcing Jason Kidd's quote that both injuries were mild.
Lively II has had an amazing rookie campaign and looks to build on it if he can stay healthy. Injuries have become a huge factor in Lively II's career, so if he can avoid missing time, that would be huge for the Mavericks. Let's take a look at this week's Rookie Power Rankings.
10. Bilal Coulibaly
Last week's rank: 8
After skidding in this week's rankings, Biilal Coulibaly has failed to play the way he has in the past. The former lottery pick has shown much promise in his rookie year, so this could just be a midseason slump.
9. Scoot Henderson
Last week's rank: 10
Scoot Henderson continues to rise in the Rookie Power Rankings with his much-improved play. Is it too late for Scoot to make a run for first place?
8. Ausar Thompson
Last week's rank: 7
It has become clear that Ausar Thompson's start to the season was too good to be true. Its never too late for the rookie to reach that level of play again, but things need to switch quickly if Thompson expects to get back in the hunt.
7. Keyonte George
Last week's rank: 9
After bouncing back from a lengthy injury, Keyonte George has bounced back in a big way. He has led the charge in multiple big wins for the Jazz and has only gotten better in the process.
6. Brandin Podziemski
Last week's rank: 6
Podzeimski's name was given heavy thought to be placed in the top five after several amazing games in a row. Barring an injury, Podziemski's name will continue to rise.