The Mavericks moved up a spot in the latest edition of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rannkings, rising from No. 7 to No. 6 with help from a two-spot drop suffered by the Denver Nuggets. Dallas' playoff conqueror fell from No. 6 to No. 8 as the Nuggets prepare to play the first seven games of the season without suspended swingman J.R. Smith.
The Mavs' promotion, though, hit cyberspace before coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged Monday that it "could be weeks" before swingman Josh Howard returns to the lineup after offseason wrist and ankle surgery.
This week's Mavs comment:
"Dallas is deeper than it was when it went to the 2006 Finals. The problem: San Antonio can say the same about its current team and the 2007 title team. The competition at the top is so much deeper now, too."
Click here for the complete opening-night edition of the rankings.