The Portland Trail Blazers dropped slightly in the latest round of NBA Power Rankings after a 1-2 week (Through Monday, when most Power Rankings go live), that included a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
Last week, the Blazers mostly ranked in the 16-17 range. This week, they slipped to the 17-18 range.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (down from No. 16).
Unfair as it might seem to write the Blazers' playoff hopes off after one bad L, it's hard to resist in this case. On a crucial six-game trip leading into the All-Star break, Portland simply could not afford to fall in Orlando in the most inviting game of the six to dip below .500 for the first time in 2013.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks the Blazers No. 18 (down from No. 17).
If you have any ideas about making the playoffs, you just can't lose to the Magic. But the Blazers did and, despite a big week (27.0 points, 10.0 boards over four games) from LaMarcus Aldridge, have dropped three straight. Their playoff credentials were always suspect, of course. Now, they've lost seven of their last eight road games, with two more (in Miami and New Orleans) before the break.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks the Blazers No. 16 (same as last week). Note: this one was posted last Friday.
Try to explain this one: The Blazers committed 28 turnovers, the most by any team in a single game this season, against the Wolves last week, yet found a way to win. In fact, it marked the first time they've won with that many turnovers since 1989. Two nights later, Portland patched up the holes and committed a season-low six turnovers against the Mavericks -- only to lose.
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Blazers No. 17 (down from No. 16).
They have dropped three in a row (including one to the Magic who had lost a dozen in a row before that) and have two more road games before the break - at Miami then a back-to-back at New Orleans. They are only 2.5 games out of the playoffs but they need to start picking up wins. Fast.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Blazers No. 18 (down from No. 16).
A source said to keep an eye on forward J.J. Hickson, whose Bird Rights allow teams to go over the salary cap to re-sign him, as possible trade bait. [Editor's Note: Hickson would lose his Bird Rights if traded.]
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com ranks the Blazers No. 17 (same as last week).
Reality can be so cruel.
David Aldridge of NBA.com did not include the Blazers in his "Fine 15".
Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation ranks the Blazers No. 18 (down from No. 15).
The upcoming back-to-back in Miami and New Orleans is Portland's chance to resurrect an important road trip that's been a defensive disaster so far.
John Hollinger (formerly) of ESPN.com ranks the Blazers No. 23 (down from No. 19).
According to Hollinger's team stats, the Blazers ranked...
- No. 13 (same as last week) in offensive efficiency
- No. 24 (down from No. 21 last week) in defensive efficiency
- No. 16 (same as last week) in rebound rate
- No. 19 (down from No. 17 last week) in pace
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter