The Trail Blazers endured a three-loss result during last week’s slate of games. Despite that slide, the steady play of star guard Damian Lillard kept the Blazers afloat in the latest round of power rankings.
ESPN’s latest rankings moved the Blazers back two spots from No. 8 to No. 10. ESPN contributor Royce Young highlighted Portland’s well-known injury woes in his assessment of the Blazers.
The bell has finally tolled for the Blazers, who through the adversity of the season had maintained a top-five status in the West. But now, with four straight losses — all against quality teams, it should be noted — there’s a bit of urgency to jump-start the engine. Help is on the way, with both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic set to be reevaluated for their return to play. McCollum stressed last week he isn’t going to rush it, especially with the way the Blazers have stayed afloat in his absence. But as the second half opens, they’re going to need him.
Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil moved the Blazers back four spots to No. 12 in his latest rankings. Dakhil cited Portland’s lagging offensive output from last week.
The Blazers’ offensive rating has fallen 10 points to 105.9 during the losing streak from their 115.9 rating before this downturn trend. A big issue has been their three-point shooting taking a dive from their 38.9 percent to 32.6 percent. This Portland team relies heavily on outside shooting considering it scores the league’s fewest points in the paint.
To get back in the win column, the Blazers will need to find their shooting stroke.
The Score’s weekly power rankings update focused Lillard’s MVP-like output when placing the Blazers at No. 11 on the list.
Even without CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins available, Damian Lillard kept the Trail Blazers in playoff contention. He’s once again putting together an MVP-caliber campaign, averaging 29.8 points and eight assists.
This week, the Blazers will look to get back on track with three matchups prior to the All-Star Game. On Monday, the Blazers host the Hornets in the Moda Center.