The Dallas Mavericks recently played the Portland Trail Blazers in the first of two road games. They would go on to wrangle the Trailblazers in a 131-120 win. It took a Luka Doncic 40-point triple-double to beat the Blazers for a second go around.
With the win, the Mavericks improved to 16-9 and kept their third spot in the Western Conference. It will be critical the Mavericks win as many games as they can after a slew of injuries.
With the help of some key bench players, this injury bug could leave the Mavericks better off than fans initially thought. Both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dante Exum have stepped up in a massive way for the Mavs.
NBA MVP Power Rankings: Haliburton and Durant drop, who takes their place?
Hardaway Jr. has elevated his play so much that he is now being considered one of the best Sixth Man of The Year candidates. Off the bench, Hardaway Jr. has had a massive role and oftentimes leads the Mavs in scoring off the bench.
With the absence of Kyrie Irving, Dante Exum has been asked to step up into a starting role. Exum has not only stepped up but he's become one of the Mavericks' best players moving forward. The former fifth-overall pick has finally found a home in Dallas.
However, one explanation for this sudden blow-up of bench players can be the play of superstar Luka Doncic. Doncic has stamped his name on every game he's played in. It almost seems like Doncic is breaking a new record every time he has touched the court.
With this in mind, things have shaken up in this week's NBA MVP Power Rankings. Let's take a look at this week's top ten.
10. LeBron James
Last weeks rank: 10
James keeps his top ten spot in this week's list. Despite not playing in the loss vs the Spurs, James has found a way to dominate this week in every fashion.
9. Anthony Davis
Last week's rank: N/A
It's a Laker takeover this week. Davis enters the top ten after multiple dominate games. It could have been argued he should have been in last week.
8. Kevin Durant
Last week's rank: 5
The biggest falloff in this week's NBA MVP Power Rankings is Kevin Durant. Having Durant inside the top five could have been controversial in itself. However, Durant's ranking was corrected, and he's still inside the top ten.
7. Tyrese Haliburton
Last week's rank: 4
After a historic week of play, Haliburton touches earth. Haliburton is no doubt a star in the making, and it's showed the last few weeks. Despite Haliburton's career-best start, he has dropped out of the top five.
6. Jayson Tatum
Last week's rank: 7
One of our first risers in this week's MVP rankings. Tatum and the Celtics continue steamrolling the NBA. With just five losses on the season, it's easy to include Tatum in this week's list. If the Celtics can continue dominating, expect Tatum's name to rise once again.