Wolves record: 1-8
In the Wolves’ case, the mistakes have added up to an eight-game losing streak and the revelation of a troubling trend. Whenever the Wolves (1-8) face tough stretches in games, heads and the intensity level drop, leading to another assessment from Jefferson.
“If we were a mentally tough team, we wouldn’t be putting our heads down,” Jefferson added. “We let teams hit us and we don’t hit back. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
The Wolves shared the ball well in a tight first quarter, when all five starters scored at least three points. But Minnesota’s cohesiveness evaporated from that point on, and the Blazers took control with a 29-12 run. Jonny Flynn led the Timberwolves with 15 points, but Minnesota hit just 44 percent of its shots and got outrebounded by Portland, 47-34. No wonder the Blazers held Minnesota below 100 points for the 12th consecutive meeting.
Ryan Hollins started for the first time this season Wednesday in a move that slowed down Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as intended. Portland then simply exploited a mismatch at center between Greg Oden (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Jefferson, who still is trying to find inside himself the player he was before February’s knee surgery.
Afterward, he preached the same mantra coach Kurt Rambis delivered pregame: Patience.