The Portland Trail Blazers are 24-6 on the season after a 1-1 week that included a win over the Los Angeles Clippers and a loss to the Miami Heat.
Here's how the Blazers stack up in the various NBA power rankings following week nine of the 2013-14 season. Last week, the Blazers ranked from No. 1 to No. 5. This week, Portland placed from No. 3 to No. 7, dropping a few spots on a majority of the lists.
No. 4 (Last week: 2): Marc Stein, ESPN.com
Not going to overreact to Portland finally losing one of those close games just because a chance to beat the LeBron-less Heat was squandered. The Blazers' slippage to No. 22 in defensive efficiency, by contrast, is fair game for dissection, because their D is where doubters get their fuel.
No. 4 (Last week: 1): Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports
Injured rookie guard C.J. McCollum (foot) is expected to make his NBA debut shortly after New Year's Day, a source told Yahoo Sports.
No. 4 (Last week: 2): Matt Dollinger, SI.com
The Blazers came within a Chris Bosh three-pointer of pulling off their most impressive back-to-back wins of the year, but Portland is still 5-2 against 20-win teams. They haven't lost to a squad that is currently under .500 and are undefeated coming off a loss. We're not punishing the Blazers this week as much as rewarding others.
No. 4 (Last week: 5): Matt Moore, CBSSports.com
Come on. They were going to lose a close game at some point.
No. 4 (Last week: 1): Kurl Helin, ProBasketballTalk
They continue to win games with the best offense in the NBA - like the comeback win over the Clippers, another dramatic victory that makes this team entertaining to watch. But in their last 10 games they have given up 107.2 points per 100 possessions on defense, 26th in the NBA in that span. They will not win when it matters without better defense.
No. 4 (Last week: 2): John Schuhmann, NBA.com
The Blazers had the league's best 3-point defense through Nov. 30, but rank 26th in defending the arc in December. So maybe Chris Bosh knew what he was doing when he told Erik Spoelstra that he wanted to go for the win on Saturday. Portland has held just one of its last 16 opponents under a point per possession and both teams have scored 100-plus in their last eight games.
No. 4 (Last week: 3): David Aldridge, NBA.com
Tough last-second loss to the Heat on Saturday, but a month with wins over Indiana, the Thunder, Houston and the Clippers, five road wins in six games and an 11-3 overall mark with two games left is still pretty impressive.
No. 3 (Last week: 4): Jason Patt, SB Nation
Losing to the LeBron-less Heat at home wasn't a good look, but they did come up with a thrilling overtime victory over the Clippers a few nights before. Overtime wouldn't have been possible without this clutch three from Nicolas Batum...
No. 4 (Last week: 3): USA Today Sports
Joel Freeland, the only born-and-raised Brit in the NBA, has turned his cup of coffee into a full pot of tea.
No. 7 (Last week: 5): Hollinger Power Rankings
- Offensive Efficiency: No. 1 (Last week: No. 1)
- Defensive Efficiency: No. 22 (Last week: No. 22)
- Rebound Rate: No. 4 (Last week: No. 5)
- Pace: No. 13 (Last week: No. 13)
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter