POWER RANKINGS >> Blazers Struggles Continue Resulting In A Drop In The Ranks About A Quarter Into The Season

The Portland Trail Blazers hit the road for week six of the NBA regular season, with stops in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and both New York teams. After a tough 1-3 road trip only winning against the Knicks, the Trail Blazers found themselves at 11-9 heading into week seven.

The trip began in Milwaukee against one of the top teams in the NBA. After a heavily contested first half, the Bucks came out hot in the second half, outscoring the Blazers 30-18. The Milwaukee lead remained for the rest of the game, resulting in a 111-119 Bucks win.

Portland then headed to Cleveland to take on another top team in the East. Despite having 20-point performances from Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic, and Anfernee Simons, the Cavs were able to take the game convincingly, 96-114.

The team then headed to the Big Apple to play the Knicks on the day after Thanksgiving. In a record-breaking night for multiple Blazers including Jerami Grant's career-high 44-points plus a team record 21 free throws made, and Josh Harts career-high 19rebounds, Portland pulled off the overtime victory 132-129 as Grant and Simons combined for 82 points.

Sunday afternoon concluded the trip as Portland faced Brooklyn. Both teams previously faced back on Nov. 17 which resulted in a 109-107 Nets victory in Portland. The outcome of Sunday's game was no different as Brooklyn won 111-97.

Six weeks into the season, Portland holds a record of 11-9. Looking forward to week seven, the Trail Blazers are back home on Tuesday against the Clippers, then hit the road at the Lakers on Wednesday and in Utah on Saturday before returning home again on Sunday to take on the Pacers.

John Schuhmann at NBA.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 9, four spots down from last week.

"The Blazers have gone from 10-4 to 11-9, with the only win in their 1-5 stretch (at New York on Friday) having come in overtime. Damian Lillard (out the last four games) has obviously been missed, but the bigger drop-off has come on defense, with the last five games being the Blazers’ worst defensive stretch of the season (119.9 points allowed per 100 possessions). Their opponents have turned the ball over a lot less, gone to the line more, and shot much better inside the arc. On Sunday, the Nets had just eight turnovers, took more free throws (18) than they did in their previous two games combined (17), and shot 15-for-20 on non-restricted-area shots in the paint.

The Blazers have still seen the second biggest season-to-season drop in points allowed per 100 possessions, but they probably couldn’t be worse defensively than they were last season. And in the last nine days, they’ve fallen from sixth to 18th on that end of the floor.

A potent offense can certainly make up for a slightly worse-than-average defense. And with Jerami Grant putting up big numbers (31.3 points on a true shooting percentage of 66.2% over the last three games), the potential is there for the offense to take off when Lillard returns. Though he had 28 free throw attempts on Friday, Grant has scored a little more efficiently in games that Lillard has played (true shooting percentage of 62.9%) than he has in the games that Lillard has missed (61%).

The Blazers will play two back-to-backs this week, and the first (Tuesday and Wednesday) comes against two teams — the Clippers and Lakers — that rank in the top 10 defensively. They beat the Lakers on one of Grant’s game-winners in Week 1, but have yet to face the Clippers."

Schuhmann has the Trail Blazers behind the Grizzlies at No. 8 and ahead of the Warriors at No. 10.

Enzo Flojo from Clutch Points has the Trail Blazers at No. 19, four spots down from last week.

"It’s no surprise that the Blazers continue to slump without Damian Lillard. They went 1-3 this week, with their only W in OT against the Knicks. We love what we have seen from Anfernee Simons, but he certainly cannot carry this team on his shoulders just yet."

Flojo has the Trail Blazers behind the Hawks at No. 18 and ahead of the Heat at No. 20.

Andy Bailey from Bleacher Report has the Trail Blazers at No. 14 (as of Nov. 25), six spots down from last week.

"The Portland Trail Blazers have lost five of their last six. And while it might be easy to credit the absence of Damian Lillard for the slide, he's only missed the last two games, and his season-long net rating is, at best, underwhelming.

The likelier reason for Portland cooling off is simply a regression to the mean. The league is loaded with talent right now, and if you don't have a couple stars, every night can be a challenge.

Lillard is an aging one, while Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant are on the fringe."

Bailey has the Trail Blazers behind the Raptors at No. 13 and ahead of the Timberwolves at No. 15.

Colin Ward-Henninger from CBS Sports has the Trail Blazers at No. 16, eleven spots down from last week.

"Who would have thought taking Damian Lillard out of your lineup would be detrimental to your team? The Blazers struggled in losses this week to the Jazz, Bucks and Cavs, with Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic and Jerami Grant taking the lead offensively once Lillard went down with another calf injury. Unfortunately it just wasn't enough to keep up with three potent offensive attacks, as the normally stout defense might have run out of gas a bit. Josh Hart kept up his reputation by doing a bit of everything this week, averaging 14.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game."

Ward Henninger has the Trail Blazers behind the Mavericks at No. 15 and ahead of the Warriors at No. 17.