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Trail Blazers Remain in Top-10 of Power Rankings

Despite an injury scare to CJ McCollum, Portland still ranks in the upper-third of the league’s hierarchy in this week’s round-up.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The last week was an eventful one for the Portland Trail Blazers. It started out hot—with road wins over the Clippers and Pelicans—but took a turn for the worse on Saturday in San Antonio. Not only did the team lose to the Spurs, but lost CJ McCollum to a popliteus strain in his left knee, and the guard will be out at least one week. Despite the set-back, there wasn’t a whole lot of movement for the team in this week’s Power Rankings Round-Up. (Note that the rankings were unveiled prior to Monday night’s game against the Pacers.)

ESPN has the Blazers ranked seventh, down from sixth last week. Marc J. Spears notes the importance of Rodney Hood in the wake of McCollum’s injury:

Guard CJ McCollum and the Blazers breathed a sigh of relief when he was diagnosed with a popliteus strain in his left knee. With McCollum out for at least a week, Portland will need some scoring from usual reserve guard Rodney Hood. Hood is averaging 11.3 points and 1.6 made 3-pointers per game in March. The five-year NBA veteran scored a season-high 27 points against Charlotte on March 3.

CBS Sports also slotted the team seventh (down from sixth as well). Reid Forgrave is concerned that the Enes Kanter signing may have made more of a negative impact than a positive one:

The Big Question: Will the Enes Kanter trade come back to bite the Blazers? Because of his poor defense, Kanter has the worst on-off differential on the team. In Kanter’s 11 games with the Blazers, they have been outscored by 11.3 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor, and when he’s off the floor, they outscore opponents by 14.6 points per 100 possessions. Since the trade, this team is nearly 25 points per 100 possessions better with Kanter on the bench. Why not less Kanter and more Zach Collins?

Sports Illustrated was less generous, pegging Portland ninth—down from eighth a week ago. Khadrice Rollins is waxing poetic:

Concerned With the Top

Lurking in the packing

Looking to cause an upset

But cannot get swept

Additional notes:

C.J. McCollum has a knee strain that will be re-evaluated in a week, but the injury could have been much worse.

Jusuf Nurkic once had Kobe cuss at him in Bosnian because of course Kobe would do that.

The Trail Blazers (42-27) host the Mavericks on Wednesday and Pistons on Saturday, after narrowly holding on to defeat the Pacers last night.