Blazers Move Up In Second-To-Last NBA Power Rankings
The Blazers clinched their first playoff birth since 2011 on Sunday and they were rewarded in the second-to-last power rankings of the season.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com moved Portland up one spot in his rankings into 10th:
The Blazers have lost their last six trips to the first round, but that’s a skid to worry about in 10 days. They’ve nursed LaMarcus Aldridge back to decent health, halted their recent slide and made it to 50 wins with four games to spare. All of which they would have gladly taken if offered back on Halloween.
Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears moved Portland up to 6 in his rankings, where he’s loved them all year:
The West’s fifth-seeded Blazers play host to sixth-seeded Golden State on Sunday. The Warriors lead the season series 2-1.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com moved Portland from 10 to 9 in this latest rankings:
Pace: 97.5 (10), OffRtg: 108.2 (6), DefRtg: 104.7 (18), NetRtg: +3.4 (9)
Another loss to a good team (Phoenix) at home and more poor perimeter shooting nights are cause for concern, but the Blazers are in the playoffs and could be playing the Warriors for the 5 seed on Sunday. The Rockets and Clippers are two of the three teams that have been most efficient against the Portland defense, so they might not have a preference. Houston does have bigger health concerns.
This week: vs. SAC, @ UTA, vs. GSW
USA Today’s panel has the Blazers staying in the 8 spot of their rankings:
Nicolas Batum, the do-everything small forward who fills in gaps for these overachievers.
Matt Moore of CBSSportts.com moved Portland up two spots to 9th from 11th:
Portland returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Which means we get playoff games in the Rose Garden. Awesome. (No, I will not call it the Moda Center.)
Kurt Helin of NBCSports.com gave the Blazers a sizable six-spot jump from 13 to 7:
Playing better since LaMarcus Aldridge’s return (shocking!) they are just 1.5 games back of Golden State for the fifth playoff seed in the West — the two teams play Friday night in a showdown that could determine the slot. Five seed likely gets Rockets, six the Clippers. Both tough, but Houston is more vulnerable.
Matt Dollinger of SI.com moved the Blazers down a spot to 12 behind Brooklyn, Chicago and Toronto. Dollinger also has Portland ahead of the reeling Indiana Pacers at 13:
The Blazers have won five of six to clinch their first playoff berth since 2011 and restore some faith after a dreadful March. Having LaMarcus Aldridge back to his dominant self certainly helps.
Jason Patt of SB Nation also moved Portland down one spot after a 2-1 week that clinched a playoff spot:
The Blazers are back in the postseason for the first time since 2011 and still have a chance at home-court advantage in the first round.