The Trail Blazers have fallen in the latest power rankings after going 3-3 on their 6-game east coast swing. Strange that a .500 trip would result in the Blazers falling down, considering the not so lofty preseason expectations, but here they are. After wins against the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks, the Blazers picked up their first losing streak since early January, dropping games to the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Detroit Pistons by a combined score of 311-356 (or 103.67 PPG to 118.67 PPG allowed). Let's take a look by the numbers and see how they stack up this week.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com has the Blazers down two spots, now sitting at No. 10.
Last Week: 8 Teams fortunate enough to field a 50-point scorer are 8-2 in those games. But the Blazers became one of those unfortunate two to fall short, along with Sacramento in DeMarcus Cousins' 56-point game in January against Charlotte, when Damian Lillard's 50 points in Toronto on Friday wasn't enough to prevent Portland's first losing streak since early January when it slipped to a season-high nine games under .500.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com thinks the hype for Portland was a bit more than necessary, dropping the Blazers out of his Top-5, down four spots- to No. 9.
A quick reminder that the NBA season is long and a strong stretch should not be assumed as the new reality. Portland collapsed on the back end of its road trip, and face the Warriors, Thunder, and Spurs in the next 10 days. The Blazers aren't sneaking up on anyone anymore. Can they rise to the challenge?
Continuing the downward trend, Jeremy Woo of SI.com drops the Blazers down as well, to No. 12
The Blazers are playing attractive, pass-friendly basketball but hit a major defensive rut during their first losing streak since January. Portland allowed 356 total points while stringing together three of their worst defensive showings this season. A Lillard 50-piece also went somewhat to waste.
Finally, John Schuhmann of NBA.com wraps up the week's review, highlighting the Blazers' defense as the culprit for their drop to No. 11.
Pace: 97.7 (16) OffRtg: 105.3 (7) DefRtg: 104.9 (19) NetRtg: +0.4 (13)
Neither the Jazz or Rockets are playing very well, but the Blazers will have to work for one of the last two playoff spots with the toughest remaining schedule (that includes five road games against the West's top four) amongst the group. Before they got back to Portland Sunday night, they were brought back to Earth by a three-game losing streak in which their defense allowed 120 points per 100 possessions.
This week, the Blazers get to catch a couple games at home against the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic, with a rematch against the Golden State Warriors on the road in between. Over the next nine games, the Blazes only play at home three times. They also have to face each of the top-4 in the Western Conference over that same stretch.