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NBA Power Rankings: SB Nation Kind To Mavericks

SB Nation has published their latest set of NBA power rankings, and the Mavs hang in there at #4.

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4. Dallas Mavericks (26-10): The Mavs look to get Dirk Nowitzki back this week, and not a moment too soon: Dallas is 2-5 with losses to the Raptors and Bucks without him. The Spurs loom on Friday.

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The Heat, Spurs and Celtics are the top three, and the Lakers are fifth. There aren't a lot of great candidates below Dallas, but this is still a pretty gracious ranking. The 2-5 record without Dirk is fairly easily explainable by his enormous importance to the team, but I'm not sure that everyone realizes just how damaging the Caron Butler injury was. Dallas looks likely to make some sort of trade to fill in for the rest of the season, and, based on the rumors we've heard, that move - if it's made - is likely to be either fairly meaningless or damaging past this year. Roddy's timetable is still fluid, and Jason Kidd isn't getting any younger. 

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The positive (aside from Dirk's imminent return): they still have an 11 game playoff cushion in the loss column. That's a lot.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.