This week the Portland Trail Blazers bounced back from 3-game losing streak to go 2-1 over the seven day stretch. Bookend wins against sub-.500 teams like the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic highlight the week that was. In those two games, Damian Lillard averaged 30 points and 10.5 assists, in stark contrast to the 17 points, 5 assists, and 26 percent shooting he achieved in the 128-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
While there were highs and lows, the week played out as most anticipated it would, with Portland winning the games it "should" win. It feels as though the national writers share the same perspective. Many wrote of Lillard's greatness and realization of what this Blazers team has come to be.
Jeremy Woo of SI.com takes this chance to appreciate the recent run Lillard has been on, for both recent and historical purposes. He has the Blazers at No. 11, holding serve with last weeks position.
Not to over-toot the Damian Lillard horn, but that guy is averaging 31.3 points in his last 15 games. He's made more threes through his first four NBA seasons than any player in history, and joins LeBron James and Oscar Robertson as the third player ever with 1,500 points and 400 assists in each of his first four years. It's probably not worth asking Oscar Robertson what he thinks about that.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com also offers some historical perspective, this time pointing out that the Blazers have an upcoming opportunity to ruin a small part of the Warriors' wondrous season. Stein also has the Blazers at the same position as last week, at no. 10.
No team in NBA history has ever completed an 82-game season without losing twice to at least one opponent. The Blazers have one more shot to prevent Golden State from clinching that slice of history when Damian Lillard gets another homecoming game in Oakland on April 3; Dallas, San Antonio, Minnesota and Memphis are the other teams that can still beat the Warriors twice in 2015-16.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com eschews the historical context and instead looks at what the Blazers have done in the present. Noting that the Blazers are 3-4 in the month of March, he opts to drop them two spots, down to no. 9
In November, we thought we knew who the Blazers were. Then January and February came around, and they were something entirely different. Now, the Blazers find themselves 3-4 in March, having lost four of their last six. We don't know again. We're back to square one. We'll try and figure out who the Blazers are by the time the playoffs start.
Finally, John Schuhmann of NBA.com takes a look forward for the Trail Blazers. Highlighting the upcoming road troubles they face and their recent form, he drops the Blazers one spot to no. 12.
Pace: 97.8 (18) OffRtg: 105.8 (7) DefRtg: 104.9 (20) NetRtg: +0.9 (12)
The Blazers are 13-3 at the Moda Center since early January, but have only been home for two one-game stops in the last 17 days. And they're back on the road (where they've lost four straight) for five of their next six games. Damian Lillard has had bigger games, but C.J. McCollum has been the league's best 3-point shooter since the break, hitting at least two threes in 13 of his last 14 games.
This week: @ OKC, @ SAS, @ NOP, @ DAL