NBA power rankings: Blazers rank as high as No. 6

Prediction time! KGW's Jared Cowley, Orlando Sanchez and Nate Hanson pick the winners of Portland's next three games, against the Lakers (3-4) on Thursday, the Thunder (4-3) on Sunday and Grizzlies (5-3) on Tuesday, all at home.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers put a challenging week behind them Sunday with an impressive win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Portland has now won two in a row after dropping two straight to the Raptors and Jazz early last week.

After 10 games, the Blazers (6-4) rank 11th in offensive rating, fifth in defensive rating and sixth in net rating. In traditional stats, Portland ranks 12th in scoring, seventh in points allowed and fifth in point differential.

Portland also ranks high in the following categories: free-throw shooting (second); total rebounds (third); offensive rebounds (third); blocks (third); 3-point shooting (fifth); defensive rebounds (sixth); and free-throw attempts (sixth).

Areas the Blazers are struggling include field-goal shooting (28th); assists (27th); steals (27th); and personal fouls (24th).

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According to ESPN's NBA RPI rankings, the Blazers' strength of schedules ranks 18th in the league after 10 games. Portland's opponents have a .501 winning percentage.

The Blazers have a light week ahead, with a tough tilt against the Memphis Grizzlies (6-4) at the Moda Center on Tuesday, and a home game against the Brooklyn Nets (3-6) on Friday.

Here's a look at where the Blazers rank in the latest batch of power rankings:

RANKINGS PUBLISHED ON MONDAY

CBS Sports: Blazers rank No. 6

Previous ranking: 4

Portland's neighbors: Minnesota Timberwolves at 5, Memphis Grizzlies at 7

What they wrote: Damian Lillard is playing absolutely out of his mind right now. He's scored 30-plus points in four straight games, hit a game winner to beat the Lakers and made the clutch shots needed to beat the Thunder late.

USA TODAY Sports: Blazers rank No. 6

Previous ranking: 10

Portland's neighbors: Detroit Pistons at 5, Memphis Grizzlies at 7

What they wrote: Star point guard Damian Lillard poured in 36 points (on 18 shots) and 13 assists in Sunday's win over Oklahoma City, becoming the first Portland player to reach those marks since Clyde Drexler in 1986. It was his fourth consecutive 30-plus point game.

Sports Illustrated: Blazers rank No. 7

Previous ranking: 13

Portland's neighbors: Detroit Pistons at 6, Memphis Grizzlies at 8

What they wrote: Just as I was feeling down about the Blazers, Damian Lillard took the wheel and led Portland to glory in consecutive games. As a lot of teams in this range waffle, but the Blazers have the weapons to duel with the West’s powers. Now, they just need to show the consistency.

NBA.com: Blazers rank No. 8

Previous ranking: 6

Portland's neighbors: San Antonio Spurs at 7, Washington Wizards at 9

What they wrote: The Blazers blew a late lead in Utah on Wednesday, but set their clocks back to Dame Time a night later. After his game-winner against the Lakers and another big shot (and a bunch of free throws) against Oklahoma City on Sunday, Damian Lillard leads the league (by a wide margin) in clutch points, with seven of the Blazers' 10 games having been within five points in the last five minutes. Lillard has an effective field goal percentage of 44 percent in the first three quarters and 61 percent in the fourth quarter and overtime. C.J. McCollum has kind of gone the other way, but hit two huge threes in Sunday's win. The Blazers are seven games into a stretch where they're playing 10 of 11 at home.

ESPN: Blazers rank No. 12

Previous ranking: 10

Portland's neighbors: Oklahoma City Thunder at 11, Utah Jazz at 13

What they wrote: The Trail Blazers needed a Damian Lillard 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in the game to beat the Lakers on Thursday. It was Lillard's fourth go-ahead 3-pointer with less than two seconds left in the game since his rookie season in 2012-13, including playoffs. No other player has more than two over that span.

RANKINGS PUBLISHED WEDNESDAY

NBC Sports: Blazers rank No. 12

Previous ranking: 13

Portland's neighbors: Philadelphia 76ers at 11, New Orleans Pelicans at 13

What they wrote: Damian Lillard remains one of the most clutch players in the NBA. Look at it this way: Lillard shoots 42.3% in the first quarter, 32.4% in the second, 37.9% in the third, then suddenly 54.3% overall and 43.8% from distance in the fourth. He was getting to the line late against the Thunder, then against the Lakers he did this.

Jared Cowley is a digital producer at KGW. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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