The only reason this isn’t an F is because all three of Portland’s losses last week came against teams that are currently .500 or better, while two All-Stars delivered A-plus performances.
Even so, the Blazers are 18-19, sit in 10th place in the West, have lost three straight, and have dropped six of their past eight in the once impenetrable Rose Garden.
The week began with a nine-point road loss to Denver on Wednesday in which Nate McMillan criticized his team’s effort. It continued with an 11-point loss to Miami the next night, when LeBron James poured in 38 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Dwyane Wade added 33 points and 10 assists. McMillan didn’t look so displeased after that particular defeat, conveying more of a “what can you do?” attitude given the two superstars’ exploits.
Two nights later, Kevin Love racked up 42 points and 10 rebounds while knocking down five 3-pointers to lead Minnesota to a 122-110 win. McMillan praised Love postgame, but after allowing 40 points in the first quarter and 38 in the fourth, the Blazers coach slammed his team’s defense saying they “needed to get smacked upside the head,” before they started playing hard.
The loss dipped Portland to below. 500 for the first time this season, and with a seven-game road trip coming up after Monday’s game vs. the Hornets, the stability of its season appears very tenuous.
Inconsistent throughout the season, particularly on the road, Gerald Wallace delivered an inspiring performance in a losing effort Saturday night scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. His post-game chatter, however, may have been more resonant.
Asked why he was playing so hard against the Timberwolves, the Blazers forward said “I’m tired of losing, man ... this hurts like hell.” He then gave a soliloquy on how the rest of the season comes down to pride and that every member on the team needs to look themselves in the mirror and decide which direction they want to go.
“We all gotta get on the same train and get this thing moving before they shut down our station,” Wallace said.
By the Numbers
0 — Portland’s number of wins since the All-Star break.
109.6 — The average number of points the Blazers have allowed in their past three games.
37 — Joel Przybilla’s total minutes in the two games since he’s returned to the Blazers. Nate McMillan said he initially planned to cap Przybilla’s minutes at 15 per game.