It was not a good week for the Portland Trail Blazers. This was confirmed by the national media on Monday as various media outlets released their weekly power rankings. Following a one-point loss to the Grizzles and a disheartening defeat at the hands of the lowly Brooklyn Nets, Portland unsurprisingly took a dip in at least three of the compilations.
ESPN dropped the team from 12 to 15, with Jose De Leon pointing out that the team has been one-dimensional with the game on the line:
Clutch time in Portland is Damian Lillard time. Lillard leads the league with 13 unassisted field goals in clutch time this season, nine more than any other Trail Blazers player. As a team, Portland leads the league with 16 unassisted field goals in clutch time.
Sports Illustrated’s Kenny Ducey moved Portland from seven to 11, and also touched on Dame in the clutch:
The Blazers have one of the league’s best closers in Damian Lillard, but things have been going horribly wrong in crunch time of late. Portland looked all out of sorts down the stretch against Brooklyn last week, turning the ball over and missing rebound opportunities. That came one game after an awkward attempt at a game-winner from C.J. McCollum that wouldn’t go. Perhaps Dame Time is still adjusting to Daylight Savings.
CBS Sports’ Chris Barnewall pegged Rip City at 12, down from the sixth spot a week ago. He emphasized the team’s improved defense but stagnant offense:
If you thought the Blazers would have a top-five defense and a middle-of-the-road offense, then you are either psychic or lying. Potentially both!
The 6-6 Trail Blazers have a busy week ahead, hosting the Nuggets on Monday, the Magic on Wednesday, the Kings on Friday, and then traveling down I-5 to Sacramento for the second half of a home-and-home on Saturday.