Portland was a big gainer this week moving into the top-5 in four of our seven lists and all the way to #3 according to USA Today. The Blazers were #6 on two other lists and their lowest ranking was #7 according to ESPN.
The other significant gainer this week was Cleveland. They are now in the top-5 on all seven lists.
Drew Garrison of SB Nation: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Memphis, 4) Cleveland, & 5) Houston.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (44-20, Last week: 9)
The Trail Blazers haven't crumbled without Wesley Matthews, instead getting the most out of the wing depth they've put together. Nicolas Batum turning it up, especially with an 18-point outing in a big win over the Rockets, has kept Portland in the mix at the top.
Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: 1) Golden State, 2) Cleveland, 3) Atlanta, 4) San Antonio, & 5) Oklahoma City.
6. Portland Trail Blazers last week: 8 record: 44-20 (3-0)
The Blazers are refusing to go down easy without Wes Matthews, going 3-1 since losing their starting shooting guard for the season. Finding offense off the bench won't be easy for Terry Stotts, but he doesn't need to find much. Portland's starters average the second-most points in the league.
Matt Moore of CBSSports: 1) Golden State, 2) Cleveland, 3) Atlanta, 4) San Antonio, & 5) Portland.
5. Portland Trail Blazers. Everyone had them in a casket after the Wes Matthews injury. Now they're a game back of the West's 2-seed and rolling again, knocking off East No. 3 at Toronto on Sunday. Underestimate this team at your peril. They are horror-movie-villain un-killable.
John Schuhmann of nba.com: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Cleveland, 4) Portland, & 5) Memphis.
4. Portland (44-20) Last week: 6 Pace: 96.5 (13) OffRtg: 105.3 (8) DefRtg: 99.9 (5) NetRtg: +5.3 (4)
Arron Afflalo has shot just 35 percent in his four games as a starter, but LaMarcus Aldridge (who shot 30-for-50 in three games last week) and Damian Lillard (19-for-32 in the last two) have picked up the slack and the Blazers are tied in the loss column with the second-place Grizzlies, who'll they'll visit on Saturday (having lost the previous three meetings). This week: @ WAS, @ MIA, @ ORL, @ MEM
Mark Stein of ESPN: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Cleveland, 4) Memphis, & 5) San Antonio.
7. Portland 44-20 Last Week: 9 The Blazers are 6-1 in March. They beat Houston at home and opened a five-game road trip with a 16-point W in Toronto just after the Wes Matthews injury that was supposed to end their season. They're hanging in there quite nicely without their best defender/emotional leader.
Mark Spears of Yahoo.com: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Cleveland, 4) Portland, & 5) Houston.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 44-20; last week: 5): Here comes Portland, winners of eight of its past 10 and three straight. The Blazers are making a run at the West's second seed.
Adi Joseph of USA Today: 1) Golden State, 2) Atlanta, 3) Portland, 4) Memphis, & 5) Cleveland.
3. Portland Trail Blazers 44-20 Arron Afflalo is realizing how difficult Wesley Matthews' under-the-radar role is to fill