All-in-all, last week was a good one for the Portland Trail Blazers. With all three games at home, the team won ugly against both the Pelicans on Tuesday and Suns on Saturday, and lost to the Clippers on a Blake Griffin buzzer-beater on Thursday. The fact that the team nearly went undefeated for the week despite not playing their best basketball shows their resiliency and effort, and they were rewarded with the 10th spot in ESPN’s weekly power rankings on Monday. Portland entered last week ranked 12th.
Explaining the ranking, ESPN’s Kevin Arvnovitz praised the team’s defense and rebounding:
If not for the heartbreaker against the Clippers on Thursday night, Rip City would've recorded a clean three-game sweep at home this week. Defense has long been the iffy variable in Portland during the Lillard-McCollum era, so the Blazers have to be thrilled about their early-season stinginess. They currently rank sixth in defensive efficiency, and are the NBA's top rebounding team.
This week, Portland faces the 8th ranked Raptors tonight, the 18th ranked Jazz Wednesday, the 25th ranked Lakers Thursday, and the 11th ranked Thunder on Sunday. All but the Jazz game will be played at home. The Blazers entered the season ranked 14th.