By Jerry Zgoda
The first two times the Wolves and Blazers played in this 13-day stretch, the Blazers won by 23 points each time.
This time, for the third time since Nov. 8, they lost by 28 after leading briefly by a bucket with four minutes gone in the third quarter.
This is progress?
Kurt Rambis called it such after the Wolves allowed 66 in the second half — the most the Blazers have scored in a half all season — and couldn’t score a lick after holding that brief 51-49 lead.
The Blazers outscored them 57-27 the rest of the way.
Rambis said his team played “really, really well for tremendous stretches” and when I asked if he saw progress from those first two games against Portland, he said, “Absolutely.”
Later, in the locker room, I asked Al Jefferson the same question and he stared at me blankly.
Then, he said, “We lost by 30. We played good into the second half, then we couldn’t score no more in the third quarter. We couldn’t make no shots.”
The Wolves have lost the last eight games in this 12-game losing streak by an average of 20.6 points, all of those eight by 10 or more points.
“Thanks for reminding me,” Jefferson said.
The Wolves haven’t won since opening night when they beat New Jersey, the NBA’s only remaining winless team (0-13).
That was 26 days ago.
If the Wolves lost Monday to the Clippers in L.A., they will tie the franchise record for worst start to a season, 1-13 in the 1994-95 season.
The franchise’s longest losing streak is 16 games, reached twice (1991-92 and 1993-94 seasons).
That’s all from Portland tonight. Got an early flight to L.A. tomorrow.