POWER RANKINGS >> Trail Blazers Remain High In The Ranks Heading Into Week 4

In a week where the Trail Blazers were hindered with injuries to starting guards Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons, Portland finished 1-2.

Coming back from a five-day break from games, Portland welcomed in the Memphis Grizzlies one Wednesday. In a game in which the Trail Blazers never led and trailed by as much as 17-points, Portland dropped its second game of the season 106-111.

Portland then headed to the desert for back-to-back games against the Phoenix Suns. Going into Friday's game, Portland and Phoenix had the top two records in the western conference. In a back-and-forth game that had 12 lead changes ended with a game winning shot by Jerami Grant. With the win, Portland secured the season series.

The second game of the back-to-back in Phoenix happened the day after. Phoenix came out hot from the beginning and never looked back taking the game 102-82.

Three weeks into the season, Portland holds a record of 6-3. Looking forward to week four, the Trail Blazers are on the road in Miami on Monday, Charlotte on Wednesday, and New Orleans on Thursday.

John Schuhmann at NBA.com has the Trail Blazers at No. 6, two spots down from last week.

"The Blazers are 2-2 without Damian Lillard, not bad considering that three of the four games have come against the Grizzlies and Suns (x 2). Their bench kept them in the first of two games in Phoenix, allowing Jusuf Nurkic to come up with two big buckets (one of which made him 6-for-9 from 3-point range this season) in the final minute, which set up Jerami Grant for the game-winner. The Phoenix-Portland season series is already over, with the Blazers picking up two clutch wins over the team that was 33-9 in clutch games last season.

The Blazers had a chance to beat the Grizzlies, too. But after erasing all of a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit, they went scoreless (with two of their 20 turnovers) on their next four possessions. Their defense kept them in that game and ranks as the league’s second most improved defense from last season, with only the Bucks having seen a bigger drop in points allowed per 100 possessions. And that’s with five of the Blazers’ nine games having come against teams that currently rank in the top 10 offensively.

Anfernee Simons (foot inflammation) is doubtful, but Lillard (calf strain) is listed as questionable for the Blazers’ game in Miami on Monday. He was injured in their first meeting with the Heat, which was both the Blazers’ worst defensive game of the season (thanks, in part, to 13 live-ball turnovers) and the Heat’s best offensive game of the season (119 points on 96 possessions). After the question of whether Lillard plays on Monday, there will be the question of whether he plays both games of the Blazers’ Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back. The more important of the two games is obviously in New Orleans, and the Pelicans (in Chicago on Wednesday) will also be without rest."

Schuhmann has the Trail Blazers behind the Jazz at No. 5 and ahead of the Nuggets at No. 7.

Zach Harper at The Athletic has the Trail Blazers at No. 10, one spots down from last week.

"The effect: Some of this futility in transition is because the Trail Blazers have been missing Damian Lillard for most of the season. He wasn’t amazing in transition in his brief time this season, but he was still pretty good. Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant have really struggled to put pressure on opponents in transition. Both of them turn the ball over roughly 15 to 16 percent of the time in transition, and that’s just not going to cut it. At the same time, I’m not sure it’s anything to worry about. The Blazers have weapons who can really put you on your heels. Regression to the mean will go in their favor, especially when Lillard returns."

Harper has the Trail Blazers behind the Raptors at No. 9 and ahead of the Pelicans at No. 11.

Enzo Flojo from Clutch Points has the Trail Blazers at No. 8, four spots down from last week.

"The Blazers plunge down quite a bit after going 1-2 this week. Yes, it was a tough week playing the Grizzlies and Suns without Damian Lillard, but it was a good test to see where this team was really situated. A long road trip continues this week as Dame recovers."

Flojo has the Trail Blazers behind the Hawks at No. 7 and ahead of the Nuggets at No. 9.

Andy Bailey from Bleacher Report has the Trail Blazers at No. 12, two spots up from last week.

"The Portland Trail Blazers have returned to earth a bit after their 4-0 start. That was to be expected with Damian Lillard missing the last two games, but he may not be carrying quite as much responsibility as you might expect.

Thanks to a revamped supporting cast, Portland still has a positive plus-minus when Lillard is off the floor, and several of the recent additions (or promotions) deserve credit.

Jerami Grant is averaging 16.7 points and shooting 38.2 percent from three. Returning him to a more natural third- or fourth-option status seems to be helping his efficiency. Josh Hart (acquired in the CJ McCollum trade last season) is averaging 8.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a wing. And Anfernee Simons (promoted in the wake of the aforementioned trade) has averaged 26.0 points and 5.3 threes over his last four games."

Bailey has the Trail Blazers behind the Hawks at No. 11 and ahead of the Bulls at No. 13.

Colin Ward-Henninger from CBS Sports has the Trail Blazers at No. 6, four spots down from last week.

"Only two games this week for the Blazers, who beat the Rockets before losing to the Grizzlies. Damian Lillard has yet to return from his calf injury, which allowed Anfernee Simons to take advantage of the extra opportunity to the tune of 30 and 31 points, respectively, on 42 percent 3-point shooting. Jusuf Nurkic was also a beast on the inside this week, putting up 25 points and 14 rebounds per game while shooting 65 percent from the field. He also hit all four of his 3-pointers."

Ward-Henniger has the Trail Blazers behind the Celtics at No. 5 and ahead of the Raptors at No. 7.