The Trail Blazers returned home for week five facing San Antonio, Brooklyn and Utah at the Moda Center. Portland finished the week 1-2 dropping two close games on Thursday and Saturday.
The homestand began on Nov. 15 as the Spurs rolled into town. Jerami Grant, Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons all scored over 20 points resulting in a 117-110 Trail Blazers victory.
The homestand continued on Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. On a night in which Shaedon Sharpe scored a career-high 20 points shooting 7-9 from the field, the Trail Blazers loss 107-109 on a last second tip in.
A battle of the top two teams in the west (at the time) met at the Moda Center on Saturday night as the Blazers faced the Jazz. Portland came out hot to start the game leading 21-9 with four minutes left in the first quarter. Then a big second and third quarter by Utah helped propelled them to lead by as much as 19 in the third. The Blazers brought it back to eventually take the lead late in the fourth but a surge by the Jazz in the final minutes helped secure the 113-118 Utah victory.
Five weeks into the season, Portland holds a record of 10-7. Looking forward to week six, the Trail Blazers hit the road to Cleveland on Wednesday, and cap off the trip with two in New York with the Knicks on Friday and Nets on Sunday.
John Schuhmann at NBA.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 5, two spots down from last week.
"Prior to Thursday, the Blazers were the league’s best second-half team (plus-8.9 per 100 possessions) and a perfect 7-0 in games they led by double-digits. But a 14-0 Brooklyn run to close the third quarter on Thursday turned an 11-point lead into a three-point deficit, and the Blazers eventually lost on Royce O’Neale’s tip-in with less than a second to go. Two nights later against Utah, the Blazers lost an early, double-digit lead, again coming up short down the stretch. Ten of their 16 games have now been within five points in the last five minutes and, while they’ve had the league’s second most efficient clutch offense, they’re now 6-4 in those games.
Jusuf Nurkic has hit some big shots down the stretch of some of those close games, but the Blazers have just as often closed with Justise Winslow or Drew Eubanks at the five. Eubanks gave the Blazers some great minutes against San Antonio earlier last week, when he and Anfernee Simons combined for 12 points on a 17-4 run to close the game, turning a six-point deficit into a seven-point win. Eubanks is registering career-high marks in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, and over the last five games, the Blazers have been 41 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than they’ve been with him on the bench."
Damian Lillard reinjured his right calf on Saturday, missing the fourth quarter of that narrow loss to the Jazz. So he’ll miss all of a four-game trip that begins Monday in Milwaukee. The Blazers have lost 10 of their last 12 games against the Bucks, though one of those two wins was part of their four-game winning streak right before the All-Star break last season."
Schuhmann has the Trail Blazers behind the Suns at No. 4 and ahead of the Mavericks at No. 6.
Zach Harper at The Athletic has the Trail Blazers at No. 11, four spots down from last week.
"What are they thankful for? Jerami Grant and Drew Eubanks. The Portland Trail Blazers made two big acquisitions in the last year. Grant is the obvious one. The Blazers desperately needed a guy who could be versatile and compete on both ends of the floor. Grant has been growing into this player since his days in Denver, and we saw him blossom in Detroit. All of that has carried over. Eubanks has been an important alternative to Jusuf Nurkić when he doesn’t have it going. He single-handedly turned a game against San Antonio this past week when he was called upon to neutralize a massive game from Jakob Poeltl. These were two amazing pickups for the Blazers and their depth."
Harper has the Trail Blazers behind the Pelicans at No. 10 and ahead of the Nuggets at No. 12.
Enzo Flojo from Clutch Points has the Trail Blazers at No. 15, eleven spots down from last week.
"These Blazers have fallen fast and hard, with Daman Lillard suffering another injury setback. They’ve also just lost back-to-back against the Nets and Jazz. Keep in mind as well that the Blazers need to do much better at home, where they’ve won as many games as they’ve lost."
Flojo has the Trail Blazers behind the Cavaliers at No. 14 and ahead of the Nets at No. 16.
Andy Bailey from Bleacher Report has the Trail Blazers at No. 8 (as of Nov. 18), two spots up from last week.
"After starting 4-0, the Portland Trail Blazers have leveled off a bit, but we're far enough along to buy this team's chances to remain in playoff contention all season.
The turnover that began with the CJ McCollum trade last season is paying dividends (particularly in the form of Jerami Grant, who's averaging 20.1 points), but their season will still be decided by the lone superstar.
After struggling to 24.0 points on 40.2 percent shooting in 29 appearances last season, Damian Lillard appears to be all the way back. After dropping 25 in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, he's now averaging 27.6 points while shooting 44.3 percent from the field."
Bailey has the Trail Blazers behind the Grizzlies at No. 7 and ahead of the Cavaliers at No. 9.
Colin Ward-Henninger from CBS Sports has the Trail Blazers at No. 5, one spots down from last week.
"Portland beat San Antonio this week, but also lost close games to the Mavericks and Nets. Jerami Grant had a scorching start to the week, averaging 33 points against Dallas and San Antonio before cooling off in the loss to Brooklyn. Damian Lillard did not shoot well from the field, but still put up over 25 points per game. Anfernee Simons picked up the slack when it came to shooting, hitting nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc."
Ward Henninger has the Trail Blazers behind the Kings at No. 4 and ahead of the Hawks at No. 6.