The Portland Trail Blazers are 31-9 on the season after a 3-0 week that included wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.
Here's how the Blazers stack up in the various NBA power rankings following week 12 of the 2013-14 season. Last week, the Blazers ranked from No. 2 to No. 8. This week, Portland placed from No. 2 to No. 3, rising on just about every set of rankings.
No. 2 (Last week: 5): Marc Stein, ESPN.com
Something tells me this isn't the first place you'll have heard the suggestion that it's good to be Paul Allen in 2014. Allen's gridiron football team is one win shy of a championship ... and his Cinderella basketball team is halfway to sweeping a San Antonio/Dallas/Houston/OKC road trip!
No. 2 (Last week: 6): Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports
The Blazers' five-game winning streak will be tested with back-to-back road tilts against Houston and Oklahoma City.
No. 2 (Last week: 4): Matt Dollinger, SI.com
Still don't believe the Blazers are contenders? They've beaten every team in the West currently projected to make the playoffs and have knocked off the Spurs and Thunder twice. And they're on their third winning streak of at least five games halfway through the season. Convinced yet?
No. 2 (Last week: 4): Matt Moore, CBSSports.com
This edition's a little different. This isn't reflective of this week, relative to last week and factoring the whole season. This is a look at the halfway point, and how the teams shake out.
If their best days are behind them, it was a hell of a run. Portland set the league on fire the first two months, raining 3-pointers and vaulting LaMarcus Aldridge into the best power forward conversation. Portland was supposed to be a fringe playoff team, not a fringe contender. The NBA schedule ferrets out frauds. We'll see if they're the real deal.
No. 2 (Last week: 5): Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk
They have won five in a row, including the last two on the road in San Antonio and Dallas. They have again done it with their offense playing at an elite level, plus now their defense has been average (which is a step up). Terry Stotts could end up as the All-Star coach (job goes to coach of team with the best record in West on Feb. 2 other than Spurs, as Gregg Popovich did it last year).
No. 2 (Last week: 6): John Schuhmann, NBA.com
The Blazers are in the midst of a stretch where they're playing eight straight games against the top 11 teams in the West. So far, so good, as their four-game trip began with big back-to-back wins in San Antonio and Dallas. Their defense is an issue, but their No. 1 offense has been remarkably consistent, scoring at least 111 points per 100 possessions in Games 11-20, Games 21-30, and Games 31-40.
No. 2 (Last week: 2): David Aldridge, NBA.com
Is there, in the NBA, a better one-two, inside-outside punch right now than LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard?
No. 2 (Last week: 3): Jason Patt, SB Nation
The Blazers beat the Spurs for the second time this season, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews doing their thing in the fourth quarter. Aldridge scored eight big points down the stretch, while Matthews knocked down three straight threes.
No. 3 (Last week: 4): USA Today Sports
If this team wins a title, expect no fewer than 15 e-books about it.
No. 3 (Last week: 8): Hollinger Power Rankings
- Offensive Efficiency: No. 1 (Last week: No. 1)
- Defensive Efficiency: No. 20 (Last week: No. 23)
- Rebound Rate: No. 3 (Last week: No. 5)
- Pace: No. 10 (Last week: No. 10)
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-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter