MFFL Playoff Watch: Western Conference Power Rankings – Week 2 (10/24-10/30)

Not a good week for the Mavs, no wins and 4 losses.  This week included the blown 26 point blown lead against the young Hawks in Atlanta, a tough fought game against a good Raptors team in Toronto, our first home loss of the season to the Jazz, and the overtime loss to the Spurs in San Antonio.  The Mavericks were in all of these games, with a chance to make plays in the fourth quarter and win, but apparently this was not our week.

We are now 7 game into the season and this is the 3rd year in a row the Mavericks have started 2-5 or worse.  It is easy to have excuses…Barnes is just coming back, addition of several new pieces take time to gel, Dirk is still not on the floor.  But I am sure everyone in that locker room would agree that playoffs are the goal this year and a week of 4 straight losses is not acceptable.  It is still very early in the season and there is plenty of time to rebound, here is to hoping we turn it around, and quickly!  A bright spot this week was Dennis Smith, Jr returning to form and Luka Doncic continuing to meet and even exceed our already lofty expectations.

Team Wins Losses Win % GB Streak
San Antonio 4 2 .667 W2
Memphis 4 2 .667 W2
New Orleans 4 2 .667 L2
Dallas 2 5 .286 2.5 L4
Houston 1 5 .167 3 L4

Western Conference Power Rankings – Week 2 (10/24-10/30):

Biggest Gainers:  Sacramento ↑6, Utah ↑4

Biggest Losers:  Houston ↓8

1) Golden State Warriors (7-1 overall, 1st in West) (4-0 this week)  – GS won all of their 4 games this week, giving them the longest win streak in the West with 5 games. We saw Steph drop 51 on the Wizards, Klay Thompson set the record for 3s in a game with 14, and the team score 92 points in a single half.  We can lock the Warriors into the #1 spot for the foreseeable future.  Next Week: NOP, MIN, MEM.

2) Denver Nuggets (5-1, 2nd) (1-1 this week) – Denver had only 2 games this week but they squared off against what may be the two top MVP candidates this season, a loss in LA against LeBron and the Lakers and a good win at home against Anthony Davis. Nikola Jokic continues to show he is an absolute all-star, starting the year averaging 21.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.8 assists, a steal, a block, and 42% from 3-point range.  Next Week: @CHI, @CLE, UTA, BOS.

3) Portland Trailblazers (5-2, 3rd) (3-1 this week) ↑1 – 4 road games for the Blazers this week and they won them all, included a back to back @IND and @HOU, except for a close loss @MIA. Lillard was great this week, posting two 40-point games and a uber-efficient 22 points on 10 fg attempts in their rout of the Rockets. Next Week: NOP, LAL, MIN, MIL.

4) Utah Jazz (4-2, 6th) (3-0 this week) ↑4 – this was the rebound week that all Jazz fans were hoping to see. Donovan Mitchell made up for his shooting slump in the first week of the season by averaging 26 ppg on 57% shooting including 2.3 3s per game.  Next Week: @MIN, MEM, @DEN, TOR.

5) San Antonio (4-2, 4th) (2-1 this week) – There were concerns about the Spurs continuing to be a playoff team without a real point guard after the Murray injury. DeRozan has put those concerns to rest, leading his team in both points and assists every game this week, averaging 28 points and 8 assists on the season.  Next Week: @PHO, NOP, ORL.

6) New Orleans Pelicans (4-2, 7th) (1-2 this week) ↓3 – After their 3-0 start in the first week the Pelicans were blown out on the second night of a back-to-back against Utah and then lost on the road in Denver. Davis was not their leading scorer in any of their games this week but he looks to change that Wednesday night against a surging Warriors team in Oracle.  Next Week: @GS, @POR, @SA, @OKC.

7) Memphis Grizzlies (4-2, 5th) (2-1 this week) ↑2 – The Grizzlies held on to their 5th spot in the Western Conference Standings this week and are tied atop the Southwest Division with SA and NOP. Grit ‘N Grind is still in effect, the Grizz only give up 100 ppg, 1st in the West and second only to the Boston Celtics across the whole NBA.  Tough week upcoming at Utah and back-to-back in Phoenix and Golden State.  Next Week: @UTA, @PHO, @GS.

8) LA Clippers (4-3, 9th) (2-1 this week) ↑2 – The Clippers had a pretty good week but still dropped from 8 to 9 seed in the West standings. They have the 5th best point differential in the West and have a very balanced offensive attack with Tobias Harris, Gallinari, and Lou Williams leading the pack. Next week: @PHI, @ORL, MIN.

9) Sacramento Kings (5-3, 8th) (4-0 this week) ↑6 – Count me as someone SHOCKED at how the Kings have started the season. Buddy Hield averaged 23.3 points and 7.8 rebounds over these 4 games this week, putting him at season averages of 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 52% shooting. Their only losses this year are @NOP, @DEN, and a 6-point loss to the Jazz at home on opening night.  With only two games this coming week, and one of those against ATL, the Kings may be able to hold into their playoff seeding another week.  Next week: @ATL, @MIL.

10) Dallas Mavericks (2-5, 13th) (0-4 this week) ↓3 – This upcoming week hold 3 very winnable games, a great opportunity for the Mavericks to rebound from a disappointing 0-4 week. I, for one, cannot wait for the LeBron and Luka match up Wednesday night in LA. In training camp Luka named LeBron as the player he was most excited to play against.  Be careful what you wish for, Luka.  Next Week: @LAL, NYK, WAS.

11) OKC Thunder (2-4, 11th) (2-1 this week) ↑2 – OKC opened the season 0-4 then rebounded to win their next two at home against the Suns and Clippers. Still waiting for a signature win this season, the Thunder may start gaining some momentum and moving back into the playoff picture with a fairly week schedule over the next few weeks.  Next Week:  @CHA, @WAS, NOP.

12) Los Angeles Lakers (2-5, 12th) (2-2 this week) – LeBron and the Lakers are giving up a league worst 122.4 ppg so far this season. A good win against 2nd seed Denver, where LeBron put up 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, is really their only bright spot this season.  Next week: DAL, @POR, TOR.

13) Minnesota Timberwolves (3-4, 10th) (1-2 this week) ↓2 – Karl-Anthony Towns has seen decreases in all major statistical categories (except blocks) with the largest drop being in points. He is averaging 17.6 points this season, down from 21.3 last year, and way down from the 25.1 he averaged in 2016 before Butler joined the team.  It sounds like Jimmy is done playing for the Wolves as he will take an “extended leave of absence,” not great timing as they have a killer schedule next week ending in back-to back road games.  Next week: UTA, @GS, @POR, @LAC.

14) Houston Rockets (1-5, 14th) (0-3 this week) ↓8 – They only lost 7 home games all of last season and they have already lost all 4 of their home games to start this season and now they now head out on a 5-game road trip. They have the second worst point differential in the West at -10.2 as they are scoring 6 less ppg and giving up 12 more ppg than last season. Next Week: @BKN, @CHI, @IND.

15) Phoenix Suns (1-5, 15th) (0-3 this week) ↓1 – Their only win on the season was the opening night beating of the Mavericks and since then they are on a league worst 5 game losing streak. No relief on the way with a tough slate of home games coming up.  Next week: SA, TOR, MEM, BKN.

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