NBA Western Power Rankings Week 6: Clippers start rising

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Dec 9, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) and forward Dwight Powell (7) celebrate during the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

5th: Dallas Mavericks (22 points)

By Tom West

Record: 13-11

December record: 3-3

The Mavericks are undoubtedly one of the best surprises of the season so far. With all the contenders that are in the NBA, especially the top few teams in the West, it still doesn’t feel like the Mavs should actually be holding onto the 5th seed. They had a terrible offseason (just look at Mark Cuban’s whining to show that) and signed plan B or C players at best. Not to mention Dirk Nowitzki is 37, Deron Williams was meant to be useless, and Zaza Pachulia wasn’t meant to be this good.

As the season progress, though, the Mavericks keep on grabbing wins and maintaining an above average standing in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Whether it’s 10 threes from Wesley Matthews or a deadly accurate shooting night from Dirk, they’ve been getting it done. At the very least, while most teams in the West aren’t actually far above .500, the Mavs have surpassed all expectations by a long way.

So far in December, they have wins against the Trail Blazers, Wizards and Knicks, while suffering losses to the Rockets and Hawks (both of which were decided by four points or less). Matthews has started finding form, Williams looks revitalized, Dirk is averaging 17.6 points per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three, and Pachulia is the new double double machine with 10.7 points and 10.3 rebounds a night.

It’s strange to see them winning, but they play to compliment each other and Rick Carlisle has formed a tight group out of what looked like a random bunch of players thrown together.

Next: Memphis Grizzlies