Off to a blistering 9-4 start, the Portland Trail Blazers maintain high positioning in NBA power rankings around the country. They have even climbed a bit after a 4-2 road trip that, despite several injuries, was a huge success. Check out where the major outlets place Portland, here.
NBA.com – No. 3 (previously No. 6)
The Blazers have trailed 10 of their 14 games by double-digits, and they’re 6-4 in those 10 games. (No other team has more than four wins after trailing by double-digits.) They were down 15 in the third quarter in Miami on Monday, down 12 in the third in Charlotte on Wednesday, and down 10 in the second quarter in New Orleans on Thursday. They came back to win all three of those games, despite the absences of two starters in both ends of the Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back.
Sports Illustrated – No. 3 (previously No. 9)
The Trail Blazers added wins against the Heat, Hornets and Pelicans before losing to the Mavericks on Saturday. After both Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons missed games due to injuries, they both returned and played an integral part in last week’s wins. Jerami Grant, Portland’s third 20-plus point scorer, led the way for the Blazers in their final two games that capped a six-game road trip. This week features a three-game home slate against the Spurs, Nets and Jazz.
The Athletic – No. 7 (previously No. 10)
The Blazers have been one of the better stories to start the season after the way they let things fall apart last year. A lot of their success has happened without Lillard on the floor. Anfernee Simons has been brilliant. Jerami Grant has been an incredible pickup. And the team is just jelling in a very encouraging way. They’ve had one of the tougher schedules in the league, and they’ve thrived despite Lillard missing a handful of games.
This would have been unexpected just a few short weeks ago, but the Trail Blazers have earned their due recognition. Already Week 5, the team currently has the best record in the Western Conference.
Will they hang on and continue to enjoy top-10 placement in week-to-week rankings? Honestly, the on-court product makes it seem pretty likely. Or will they push even further up the list? We’ll know soon enough. The Trail Blazers host the San Antonio Spurs (6-7) to tip off a three-game homestand on Tuesday.