Time for the last power rankings before the playoffs begin. Who's at the top and how do the Portland Trail Blazers measure up against possible first-round opponents?
This week it's Golden State and San Antonio taking the top two spots on all six lists (GS #1 on 5 of them). Cleveland is 3rd on four lists and Atlanta is 3rd on the others. The Trail Blazers lost 3 of 4 games this week and didn't move much.
8. Portland Trail Blazers (51-29, Last week: 8)
The Trail Blazers have gone from one of the favorites in the Western Conference to a team that's looking more like its season will be robbed by injuries. Arron Afflalo's shoulder injury is the latest setback; he could miss the first few playoff games. This again means C.J. McCollum is going to have to step up in a big way.
Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: 1) Golden State, 2) San Antonio, 3) Cleveland, 4) Los Angeles Clippers, & 5) Atlanta.
8 PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS LAST WEEK: 7 RECORD: 51-29 (1-3)
C.J. McCollum might be one of the biggest X-factors entering the playoffs. Portland has a void to fill after losing its third-leading scorer (Wes Matthews) for the season, and with Arron Afflalo now sidelined as well, McCollum has stepped up for Portland. The second-year guard is averaging 17.3 points on 55.8 FG% and 44 3P% this month after being sparsely used all season. McCollum has played at least 25 minutes in six straight games after reaching that mark just three times before all year.
Matt Moore of CBSSports: 1) San Antonio, 2) Golden State, 3) Cleveland, 4) Los Angeles Clippers, & 5) Atlanta.
8 The Blazers will start on the road for the playoffs. They pulled off the upset under the radar last year. Can they do it again?
John Schuhmann of nba.com: 1) Golden State, 2) San Antonio, 3) Atlanta, 4) Cleveland, & 5) Los Angeles Clippers.
8 Last week: 7 Portland (51-29) Pace: 96.3 (12) OffRtg: 105.9 (8) DefRtg: 101.2 (10) NetRtg: +4.6 (5)
The Blazers will start the playoffs on the road, but they won a series that way last year and recent history shows that home-court advantage isn't a big deal in series played between two closely-matched teams. Arron Afflalo is now out, but C.J. McCollum (56 percent effective field goal percentage since Wesley Matthews' injury) continues to play well.
This week: @ OKC, @ DAL
Marc Stein of ESPN: 1) Golden State, 2) San Antonio, 3) Cleveland, 4) Los Angeles Clippers, & 5) Atlanta.
9 Portland 51-29 Last Week: 8 First division title for the Blazers since the lockout-shortened season of 1999. First division title for the Blazers in an 82-game campaign since 1991-92. Yet it won't even get them home-court advantage in Round 1, while the injuries (Arron Afflalo is the latest) just keep piling up. Cruel spring.
Mark Spears of Yahoo.com: 1) Golden State, 2) San Antonio, 3) Cleveland, 4) Los Angeles Clippers, & 5) Memphis.
8. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 51-29; last week: 8): The Blazers landing the West's fourth seed by virtue of winning the weak Northwest Division gives credence to the thought of getting rid of divisions.
Of the Trail Blazer's possible first-round opponents, only the Los Angeles Clippers are ranked in the top-5 on all lists.