The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off of yet another disappointing week. Following a loss to the John Wall-less Wizards on Tuesday and a hard-fought defeat at the hands of the first place Rockets on Saturday, it should be no surprise to fans that the team continues to fall in national NBA Power Rankings. ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports all were down on the Blazers, to varying degrees, pegging Portland as a middle-of-the-road team through the season’s ninth week.
Sports Illustrated was the most generous, placing the Blazers at 13, three spots lower than last week. Kenny Ducey was impressed with the team’s effort against the Rockets:
There was a lot to like about Portland’s epic battle with Houston, whether it was Damian Lillard’s offensive output, Al-Farouq Aminu’s great shooting night or C.J. McCollum’s effort in the fourth. The most encouraging thing, though? It took a blistering hot fourth from James Harden and Chris Paul to beat the Blazers on a night they so desperately missed Jusuf Nurkic out there.
ESPN also dropped the Blazers three sports, from 11 to 14. Mark Simon noted that the team could fare better this week, given their road record:
After suffering a fourth straight loss, the Trail Blazers embark on a five-game road trip in which they visit the Warriors, Heat, Magic, Hornets and Timberwolves before returning home to face the Spurs. Portland, however, may be able to withstand it, as its 6-4 record on the road is better than its 7-8 home mark.
CBS Sports’ list saw the most dramatic change, dropping the team from nine all the way to 16. Chris Barnewall however remains high on the team’s defense, despite the recent heroics of star players against them:
Portland's defense has been very good so far and deserves praise. Then it ran into a buzz saw of DeMarcus Cousins (38 points), Bradley Beal (51 points) and James Harden (48 points). Even the best defenses can't survive that.
The Blazers (13-12) are road-trippin’ this week. After a stop tonight against the Warriors (minus Stephen Curry) in the Bay Area, they hit the southeast for games against the Heat on Wednesday, the Magic on Friday, and the Hornets on Saturday.