The Portland Trail Blazers rose across the board in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 2-1 week (through Monday, when most power rankings go live). Last week, the Blazers ranked in the 19-22 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 16 (up from No. 20).
Who had J.J. Hickson averaging 13 and 11 and Terry Stotts' Trail Blazers over .500 and sitting four games ahead of Rick Carlisle's Mavericks at the turn of the year? No one in Dallas that I know of ... not even when you factor in the 27 games that Dirk Nowitzki had to sit out after knee surgery.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 19).
That the Blazers are a game over .500 this late in the season is one of the league's biggest surprises. But given their point differential and easy schedule, they have the most inflated record in the league. Things start getting tougher this week, when they travel through New York, Toronto, Memphis and Minnesota. Next week, they play the Heat, Warriors and Thunder.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 22). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
Portland is playing its best basketball of the season, winning six of seven to get above. 500. J.J. Hickson continues to be a revelation, recording nine straight double-doubles and averaging 16.4 points (on 63.3 percent shooting) and 13.7 rebounds in that stretch. The team has also been getting a lift from Nicolas Batum, who has stepped up his play in Wes Matthews' absence to average 16.2 points, six rebounds and six assists over the last four games. Damian Lillard has maintained his firm grasp on the Rookie of the Year award and is finding ways to turn his all-world talent into wins.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 19).
The Damian Lillard show is about to go out on the road the next week with stops in New York, Memphis and Minnesota - all tough wins. But if the Blazers are serious about the playoffs those are the kinds of wins they need to be picked up.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Blazers No. 17 (up from No. 19).
Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been bothered by a bruised chest of late, will probably get bulk of the minutes guarding New York's Stoudemire on Tuesday.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 16 (up from No. 20).
They're either a bad team doing a great impression of a good team or a good team doing a terrible impression of a bad team. Can't figure out which.
John Hollinger (formerly) of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 21 (up from No. 22).
According to Hollinger's team stats, the Blazers ranked...
- No. 14 (down from No. 13) in offensive efficiency
- No. 21 (up from No. 22) in defensive efficiency
- No. 18 (up from No. 19) in rebound rate
- No. 22 (down from No. 19) in pace
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