Blazer Banter

NBA Power Rankings: Blazers rise after undefeated week

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The Trail Blazers went 3-0 last week and are on a five-game winning streak so it’s no surprise that they’ve risen in the latest sample of NBA power rankings.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com: 2 (last week: 5)

Something tells me this isn’t the first place you’ll have heard the suggestion that it’s good to be Paul Allen in 2014. Allen’s gridiron football team is one win shy of a championship … and his Cinderella basketball team is halfway to sweeping a San Antonio/Dallas/Houston/OKC road trip!

David Aldridge of NBA.com: 2 (last week: 2)

Is there, in the NBA, a better one-two, inside-outside punch right now than LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard?

Matt Dollinger of SI.com: 2 (last week: 4)

Still don’t believe the Blazers are contenders? They’ve beaten every team in the West currently projected to make the playoffs and have knocked off the Spurs and Thunder twice. And they’re on their third winning streak of at least five games halfway through the season. Convinced yet?

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: 2 (last week: 4)

If their best days are behind them, it was a hell of a run. Portland set the league on fire the first two months, raining 3-pointers and vaulting LaMarcus Aldridge into the best power forward conversation. Portland was supposed to be a fringe playoff team, not a fringe contender. The NBA schedule ferrets out frauds. We’ll see if they’re the real deal.

Jason Patt of SBNation: 2 (last week: 3)

The Blazers beat the Spurs for the second time this season, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews doing their thing in the fourth quarter. Aldridge scored eight big points down the stretch, while Matthews knocked down three straight threes.

Kurt Helin of NBCSports.com: 2 (last week: 5)

They have won five in a row, including the last two on the road in San Antonio and Dallas. They have again done it with their offense playing at an elite level, plus now their defense has been average (which is a step up). Terry Stotts could end up as the All-Star coach (job goes to coach of team with the best record in West on Feb. 2 other than Spurs, as Gregg Popovich did it last year).

USA Today: 3 (last week: 4)

If this team wins a title, expect no fewer than 15 e-books about it.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com: 2 (last week: 6)


Portland
 (31-9)
Pace: 97.9 (10), OffRtg: 110.6 (1), DefRtg: 104.8 (20), NetRtg: +5.8 (5)
The Blazers are in the midst of a stretch where they’re playing eight straight games against the top 11 teams in the West. So far, so good, as their four-game trip began with big back-to-back wins in San Antonio and Dallas. Their defense is an issue, but their No. 1 offense has been remarkably consistent, scoring at least 111 points per 100 possessions in Games 11-20, Games 21-30, and Games 31-40.
This week: @ HOU, @ OKC, vs. DEN, vs. MIN

 

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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