On Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks had a bounce-back win over the New York Knicks after their embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday. This would be the first regular-season matchup between the Knicks and Mavericks.
Furthermore, this would be Jalen Brunson's first game playing in Dallas since signing with New York in the 2022 offseason. Unfortunately for fans, they wouldn't get to see Luka Doncic in this matchup, as he would be listed as out before the game tipped off. With Doncic's injury, Kyrie Irving would have to be the one to take over.
Irving exploded with a 44-points and 10 assists in the clutch-time win. The big debate amongst Mavs fans has been who is better between Brunson and Irving, Irving proved every doubter wrong after that electric performance.
NBA Rookie Power Rankings: Brandon Miller rises, new name enters top five
Despite Brunson's struggles throughout the game, fans got what they paid for as they saw two Mavericks have 30-point performances. Behind Irving's 44 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. would have his presence felt as well. He finished with 32 points and seemingly couldn't miss from downtown as he cashed in six threes.
The Mavericks got off to an early lead and held it for most of the game until the late fourth where the Knicks would make a massive run. After a scare like that fans saw the importance of rookie Dereck Lively II and adding a third star.
Lively II has been out since January 3 with an ankle sprain, but had he played in this game, the Knicks would not have been able to create so many second-chance opportunities. With this in mind, let's take a look at this week's NBA Rookie Power Rankings.
10. Jordan Hawkins
Last week's rank: N/A
A name we haven't seen in almost two months, but Jordan Hawkins has exploded onto the scene in the last week. After falling out of the rotation, Hawkins has reclaimed himself and gotten quality time in the rotation recently.
9. Keyonte George
Last week's rank: 8
Keyonte George has continued to slip down the rankings as he continues to deal with an ankle injury. George has continued to play, but fans can see something isn't right with the former Baylor Bear.
8. Ausar Thompson
Last week's rank: 8
Despite the Detroit Pistons' recent struggles, Ausar Thompson continues to be one of the few bright spots on this team. He has fallen in and out of the Pistons rotation but has finally proved himself to be an important piece for Monty Williams.
7. Scoot Henderson
Last week's rank: 9
A mid-season surge has helped Scoot Henderson skyrocket up the rankings in recent weeks. Scoot has led all rookies in assists and has proved to be a true professional when on the court. Fans are eager to see just how much better he can get.
6. Dereck Lively II
Last week's rank: 4
Dereck Lively II continues to fall in and out of the top five as he has once again been plagued by an ankle injury. Lively II could rise the rankings once again as he could be looking to get back in the rotation next week.