Time to check in on the Blazers in the weekly NBA power rankings!
Portland remains the same in three rankings this week, but drop in four others. Cleveland made the biggest jump this week especially in Matt Moore's rankings (15 to 5).
Drew Garrison of SB Nation: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) Portland, & 5) Houston.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (32-13, Last week:4) LaMarcus Aldridge's decision to play on despite having a ligament tear in his left thumb is being hailed by teammates as heroic. He dumped 26 points on the Washington Wizards in his first game back, but did so on 22 shots. How this injury affects Aldridge is going to be a huge point to watch going forward.
Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) Houston, & 5) San Antonio.
6. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
LAST WEEK: 6
RECORD: 32-13 (2-2)
LaMarcus Aldridge says he isn't "into the rah-rah story," but he's deserving of one. With a heavily wrapped left thumb, one that was supposed to sideline him 6-to-8 weeks, Aldridge mustered 26 points and nine rebounds in a win over the Wizards. The Blazers star was No. 2 in Ben Golliver's midseason MVP ballot last week and will receive even more recognition if he can continue to play at high level through injury.
John Schuhmann of nba.com: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) Los Angeles, & 5) San Antonio.
7. Portland Last week: 6 Portland (32-13)
Pace: 96.8 (11) OffRtg: 104.9 (11) DefRtg: 99.4 (3) NetRtg: +5.5 (5)
The Blazers are still in third place in the West, but things might have gotten hairy had LaMarcus Aldridge not decided to put off surgery on his left thumb. They had lost five of their last six games before he led them to a big win over the Wizards on Saturday, their league-leading 13th victory after trailing by 10 or more points. No other team has more than eight.
This week: @ BKN, @ CLE, @ ATL, @ MIL
Mark Stein of ESPN: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) San Antonio, & 5) Los Angeles.
7. Portland 32-13 Last Week: 4 Given everything they've been through with the likes of Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, Blazermaniacs understandably see LaMarcus Aldridge as a hero for delaying thumb surgery and playing on. This helps, too: LA is one of just three players averaging 20-and-10 this season.
Mark Spears of Yahoo.com: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) Houston, & 5) Los Angeles.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 32-13; last week: 3): Robin Lopez could return later this week after being out since Dec. 15 with a broken right hand, a source told
Adi Joseph of USA Today: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Memphis, 4) Portland, & 5) Houston.
4. Portland Trail Blazers 32-13 2/12 The worst-case scenario: LaMarcus Aldridge ends up needing that thumb surgery in a month and is forced to miss the playoffs.
Matt Moore of CBSsports: 1) Atlanta, 2) Golden State, 3) Memphis, 4) San Antonio, & 5) Cleveland.
7. Portland Trail Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge electing to play through the pain in his hand vs. having surgery doesn't seem like the kind of thing a guy does before he's ready to bolt for free agency, does it? Also, regardless of his free agency intentions, you have to admire the guy for putting his teammates first. Down 2 from 5.