The Portland Trail Blazers dropped in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 0-3 week (Through Monday, when most Power Rankings go live), that included losses to the Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Last week, the Blazers mostly ranked between 12 and 16. This week, they've mostly settled in the 16-17 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 14 (down from No. 12).
What were we saying last Monday about how the Blazers' success in close games couldn't last? They promptly lost in OT for the first time all season at Denver, fell at home to the Cavs and Bucks by a combined 11 points and are mired in a five-game skid with all five Ls by six points or fewer.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (down from No. 16).
Well, the Blazers' luck in close games has apparently run out. It's now 11 of their last 12 games that have been determined by six points or less, but they've lost five straight. The fourth quarter hasn't really been the problem though. They've been down 13 or more at halftime in four of their last six games. For the season, they rank 26th in first-half point differential at -6.6 points per 100 possessions.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (down from No. 13). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
The Blazers suffered a sobering four-game skid after knocking off the Heat, losing to Golden State, Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland by a combined 19 points. The reason? Perhaps fatigue. Portland had to play four games in six nights, including one in the mile-high altitude of Denver. That's an arduous task for a team that relies more on its starters than any team in the league (35.4 minutes per game). Portland is 7-3 when it has at least two days of rest this season, but just 12-16 when it gets any less.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 16 (down from No. 12).
They have lost five games in a row, and playing .500 ball and being the current eight seed they keep the playoff hopes of Lakers and Mavericks fans alive. What has come unglued is their offense - they are shooting just 40.6 percent as a team the last five games. That won't get it done.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Blazers No. 17 (down from No. 15).
The Blazers' hopes of putting LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum or rookie Damian Lillard on the All-Star team were hurt by six straight losses.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 16 (down from No. 13).
Turns out they can't win every close game they play. Starting to hurt.
David Aldridge of NBA.com dropped the Blazers from No. 14 in his "Fine 15" to out of the top 15.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 17 (down from No. 15).
Portland's rapid slide does not come at a convenient juncture. After facing the Wizards Monday night (no longer a cakewalk), the Blazers have a really difficult couple of weeks ahead, including the Pacers, a home-and-home with the Clippers, a home-and-home with the Jazz, and a six-game mid-February road trip.
John Hollinger (formerly) of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 24 (down from No. 19).
According to Hollinger's team stats, the Blazers ranked...
- No. 14 (same as last week) in offensive efficiency
- No. 21 (down from No. 22) in defensive efficiency
- No. 16 (up from No. 18) in rebound rate
- No. 18 (up from No. 21) in pace
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter