Before the week opened with an “embarrassing” 133-116 defeat at the LA Clippers, the Portland Trail Blazers were firmly entrenched among the top 10 in the latest batch of NBA power rankings.
After a 2-1 week that included wins over the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder, and a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Blazers held steady in the array of rankings, coming in at either No. 9 or No. 10 on every list.
But just as they seemed to be getting healthy, Jusuf Nurkic was ruled out Tuesday night with right knee swelling and the Clippers massacred the Blazers’ hapless defense, scoring 47 — 47! — first-quarter points on the way to a lopsided win. It was the most points the Blazers have allowed in any quarter in franchise history.
Another performance like that will have the power rankings gurus rethinking their lists.
The Blazers have three more chances this week — with or without Nurkic — the regain their mojo, as they visit the Utah Jazz (Thursday), and host the Detroit Pistons (Saturday) and Miami Heat (Sunday).
Here’s a look at how the Blazers stack up in the latest round of NBA power rankings:
• ESPN: No. 9, no movement:
“With CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic back, plus the acquisition of Norman Powell, the Blazers seem to be rolling. They’ve won five of six and just stomped the Thunder by 48 on Saturday. But there’s some context: Those…