Though it didn’t come easy, the Trail Blazers were able to secure a 3-1 week on Saturday night in Charlotte, and also collected their third straight victory. The lone blemish on the team’s record was the hard-fought loss against the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Monday at Oracle Arena. The national media took notice of the team’s hot stretch, and rewarded them by a surge in various Power Rankings heading into the 10th week of the NBA season.
ESPN gave Portland its largest rise, from 14 all the way up to eight. Vincent Johnson praised the team’s defense, particularly on the road:
The Blazers have won three straight games, all on the road. They lead the league in defensive efficiency (99.0) and opponent field goal percentage (43 percent) on the road. They've effectively limited their opponents from the perimeter, allowing the fewest 3s (8.4) and attempts (24.4) per game away from Rip City.
The team also received a nice jump from Sports Illustrated, from 13 to the ninth spot. Kenny Ducey noted that the team is finally showing some consistency:
Creeping ever-so-closely to the league’s elite tier, the Blazers are getting it done with consistent performances from CJ McCollum and gritty defensive performances late in games. Is it weird to admit it’s kind of fun watching Ed Davis?
CBS Sports moved Portland from nine to seven, but Chris Barnewall noted the lack of a statement win:
Their offense is starting to find itself, but the defense is beginning to slip a little. They appear to be settling in as a team that will more than likely beat bad teams, but they don't really have a statement win yet.
Following tonight’s stop in Minneapolis, the Trail Blazers (16-13) return home to host the Spurs on Wednesday and the Nuggets on Friday, before traveling to Los Angeles for a match-up with the Lakers on Saturday. Portland then has a four-day holiday break before hosting the 76ers next Thursday.