The Portland Trail Blazers are 48-27 on the season after a 3-2 week that included victories over the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies, and losses to the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
Here's how the Blazers stack up in the various NBA power rankings following week 22 of the 2013-14 season. Last week, the Blazers ranked from No. 7 to No. 18. This week, Portland placed from No. 6 to No. 13, rising on just about every one of the various rankings.
Playoff forecasts are also included below.
No. 13 (Last week: 15): Marc Stein, ESPN.com
Lookie here. After 10 consecutive losses to teams that entered the game with a winning percentage of .600 or better, Portland uncorked surprising weekend wins over Chicago (road) and Memphis (home) and, more importantly, is 3-0 since getting LaMarcus Aldridge back in the lineup.
No. 7 (Last week: 9): Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports
Golden State currently owns a playoff tiebreaker over the Trail Blazers with a 2-1 series lead. Portland hosts the Warriors on April 13.
No. 11 (Last week: 12): Matt Dollinger, SI.com
With LaMarcus Aldridge back in the lineup, the Blazers stopped the bleeding with three consecutive victories over playoff teams (are we still counting Atlanta?). Most impressive was Sunday's win over the Grizzlies, who beat Portland by double digits in their two previous meetings.
No. 10 (Last week: 14): John Schuhmann, NBA.com
LaMarcus Aldridge shot just 11-for-31 in his first two games back and had another scary fall on Sunday, but his jumper was falling in the Blazers' huge win over the Grizzlies. That was their first victory over one of the other teams in the West's top nine since Jan. 18 (they had lost 12 straight). They're the only team that's done with back-to-backs and their only road games left are against the Lakers and Jazz.
No. 11 (Last week: 18): Matt Moore, CBSSports.com
It's like they spent six weeks trying to figure out why the car was making that weird noise, only to flip a switch to make the car run fine again. The switch is named "LaMarcus Aldridge."
No. 7 (Last week: 13): Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk
LaMarcus Aldridge returns and the Blazers win three in a row, including beating the Bulls and Grizzlies - beating Memphis was the first time in 13 tries the Trail Blazers beat another team from the West's top nine. The Blazers are not going to catch Houston for the four seed (four games in the loss column too much to make up) but playing back to form them become a tough first round matchup.
No. 6 (Last week: 14): Jason Patt, SB Nation
The Blazers make a huge jump this week thanks to the return of LaMarcus Aldridge and the subsequent three-game winning streak, including an impressive win over the Grizzlies.
No. 8 (Last week: 8): USA Today Sports
Nicolas Batum is averaging 10.1 rebounds a game since the All-Star break after averaging 6.5 before it.
No. 6 (Last week: No. 7): Hollinger Power Rankings
Hollinger Statistical Rankings...
- Offensive Efficiency: No. 6 (Last week: Tied-No. 4)
- Defensive Efficiency: No. 19 (Last week: Tied-No. 20)
- Rebound Rate: No. 7 (Last week: No. 7)
- Pace: No. 11 (Last week: Tied-No. 10)
- Projected record: 53-29, No. 5 seed (Last week: 52-30, No. 5)
- 99.9 percent chance to make the playoffs (Last week: 99.4 percent)
- 4.4 percent chance to make the Finals (Last week: 3.6 percent)
- 2.9 percent chance to win the title (Last week: 1.8 percent)
- Projected record: 53-29, No. 5 seed (Last week: 53-29, No. 5)
- 100 percent chance to make the playoffs (Last week: 100 percent)
- 5 percent chance to make the Finals (Last week: 7 percent)
- 3.1 percent chance to win the title (Last week: 4 percent)
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-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter