The Portland Trail Blazers leveled off a bit in the various NBA Power Rankings thanks to an 2-2 week, that saw wins over the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat and losses to the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. Still, they remain in the top half of virtually every list.
Last week, the Blazers ranked between 10 and 17. This week, they've mostly settled in the 12-16 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 12 (up from No. 13).
The Blazers are 6-2 in games decided by three points or fewer and 5-0 in overtime games, and they remain firmly in the playoff hunt despite the only negative average point margin (minus-2.0) of any team in the West's top eight. Everyone keeps saying none of that can last ... but do they know that?
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 16 (down from No. 14).
There's no such thing as garbage time in Portland. Each of the last six and eight of the last nine Blazers games have been determined by six points or less. They've lost two straight, but are still 11-4 in such games. Wesley Matthews' two clutch 3-pointers against the Heat gave them three players with at least six clutch-time threes this season. No other team has more than one.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 13 (up from No. 16). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
The Blazers stood at 6-10 at the end of November, seemingly destined for a mediocre season. But Terry Stotts' team has played exceptionally well ever since, going 14-5 and knocking off teams like the Knicks, Grizzlies and Heat. The Blazers have a bright future with the trio of LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum. But they'll have a tough decision to make at the end of the year if they want to keep J.J. Hickson in Portland. Hickson, who has come out of nowhere to be one of 12 players in the league averaging a double-double, signed a one-year, $4 million deal last offseason, and he will be looking to cash in this summer.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 12 (up from No. 14).
Tough week with losses to the Warriors and Thunder, but they picked up a win over the Heat in there too. They are currently the eight seed in the West, but with Houston just half a game ahead of them and Utah one game behind.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Blazers No. 15 (down from No. 16).
After facing Russell Westbrook last Sunday, rookie Damian Lillard gets Ty Lawson, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Jennings and John Wall next.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 13 (down from No. 10).
I have this theory that the Blazers run on an engine of pure chaos and that's how they're staying competitive. Weird things just happen.
David Aldridge of NBA.com included the Blazers in his "Fine 15" rankings at No. 14 (up from No. 15).
It will be hard for the Blazers to hold up this season getting such small production from their bench, but their starting five (see LaMarcus Aldridge interview below) is really getting the job done, especially at home, where Portland had won nine straight before Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City.
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 15 (down from No. 14).
Gahhhhh why y'all gotta go to a long LaMarcus Aldridge two with a win over OKC on the line?
John Hollinger (formerly) of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 19 (up from No. 21).
According to Hollinger's team stats, the Blazers ranked...
- No. 14 (down from No. 13) in offensive efficiency
- No. 22 (up from No. 23) in defensive efficiency
- No. 18 (same as last week) in rebound rate
- No. 21 (up from No. 22) in pace
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter