Last week was less than ideal for the Portland Trail Blazers, as they went 1-3 and lost starting forward Rodney Hood to a torn achilles against the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday. So how does that tough week affect their standing around the league?
ESPN’s Royce Young kept them at 15th, but noted the Hood injury and the potential plateauing of Carmelo Anthony are reasons to be concerned:
Rodney Hood suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon tear, another brutal injury for the already extremely short-handed Blazers to try to overcome. After winning three straight and celebrating a Player of the Week award for Carmelo Anthony, Portland has lost three of four, all by double digits. And Melo’s triumphant comeback might have plateaued a bit to coincide with the Blazers’ slide. His past four games: 13.3 points on 32% shooting (33% from 3). He played 10 games with the Rockets, averaging 13.4 points on 40.5% shooting (32.8% from 3), and Houston was 4-6. He’s played 10 with the Blazers, averaging 15.9 on 40.8% shooting (35.9% from 3), and the Blazers are 4-6.
Despite last week, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes moved the Blazers up one spot to 16th, finding their 4-3 record in the last seven games respectable. He also made note of Terry Stotts’s first ejection and the Hood injury.
Season-ending injuries are devastating in any circumstance, but Rodney Hood’s torn Achilles, suffered in Friday’s 136-113 loss to the Lakers, was a particularly rough one. Hood had been shooting the cover off the ball, hitting a career-best 49.3 percent from long range and filling a vital wing scoring role for a Blazers team that badly needed it.
This season’s difficult start may have gotten to Terry Stotts. He got tossed from the Lakers loss after getting a pair of technical fouls for arguing a third-quarter call. He hadn’t been ejected in any of his 879 previous games as a head coach.
Counting Sunday’s loss to the visiting Thunder, the Blazers have gone 4-3 in their last seven games. That’s good enough for a small climb.
The Blazers will have a tough time replacing Rodney Hood, who tore his Achilles on Friday after shooting 49.3% from three in 21 games. Portland was already thin on its front line before losing the 6’8” forward. Dealing for a scorer in the frontcourt is now increasingly paramount. Danilo Gallinari remains the most logical option.
CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger dropped the Blazers two spots to 20th, citing Melo’s tough week and Hood’s injuries once again as reasons for the decline.
The Carmelo Anthony renaissance couldn’t carry the Blazers through a rough week, as they dropped three of four. Anthony came back down to earth after earning Western Conference Player of the Week honors, averaging just 13.3 points on 32 percent shooting for the week. Rodney Hood’s torn Achilles further depletes an already thin frontcourt.